Opinion: How the cost-of-living crisis presents an opportunity for workshops

GW columnist, Tim Benson explains why it's never been more important to attract "the right customers"

Opinion: How the cost-of-living crisis presents an opportunity for workshops
Image: Bigstock.

Motorists are delaying car repairs and maintenance due to fear of costs and “auto anxiety”, Garage Wire recently reported, but I wanted to offer my opinion on how this presents great opportunities for independent garages – if we do it right.

Tim Benson of Oldfields Garage in Leominster.

As an independent garage you need customers who trust and value what you do.

Whilst I appreciate that there is a real issue in the UK with the cost-of-living going up, garage owners should carefully think about their customer profile.

What kind of customers are you attracting and is that who you want to bring in to your business? Do your prices meet that aim? How do you present your business to customers?

If you are charging low prices and don’t understand your business costs and profit objectives, you are very likely to attract customers at the lower end of the market who are primarily price focused.

Price doesn’t equal value – cheap rarely means good.

Cheap definitely means you don’t value your own work, expertise and experience correctly.

Cheap rarely means good

Price-focused customers with lower expectations for a garage are not likely to value what you do and exactly the customers who cause challenges to garages.

You’ll find that they question prices, want to supply their own parts and tell you that ‘I didn’t think you’d charge to look at it’ or ‘or can you just plug it in?’.

These are not the customers any garages should aspire to attract.

In contrast customers who value what you offer are more likely to spend on keeping their vehicles in tip-top condition.

If customers value what you offer, they are more likely to trust what you do and what you are telling them.

Value-based customers give garage owners the opportunity to make a profit so they can develop their business, investing in staff, training, facilities and equipment.

If you present yourself correctly you will appeal to customers that care about more than just price.

If your reception is top-notch, customers won’t expect prices to be cheap.

Keeping up appearances

If you have a skilled professional front of house team, you can create more value and trust.

If you use a great garage management system you can enhance your customer interactions and manage the business performance.

If your facilities are clean, well-maintained and welcoming, people will remember.

The list of things you can do to create value goes on and on.

All of these areas can help to reduce customer ‘auto anxiety’.

Customers who trust you and value you are less likely to be anxious about using you.

We all know that the UK’s vehicle parc is ageing but I believe it means that quality independent garages are in prime position to benefit from these vehicles needing more maintenance and repair.

But that’s only if you are attracting customers who value what you do and have the financial capacity to maintain them correctly.

Share your comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Have your say!

0 0

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.