Why do customers keep coming back?

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For almost 40 years, the Jamieson family entrusted their cars to Sharp Auto Body. It all started, says Jim Jamieson, with his parents’ vehicles. Then when Jim got to high school and had his own car, he took his vehicle there. Now Jim takes his children’s vehicles there. Most recently, he recommended the store to his daughter’s best friend.

“He treats us like we are family. It might as well be our family business, that’s how we feel, ”Jim said.

In the world of accident repair, it can be difficult to capitalize on loyal customers. Unlike the mechanical industry, regular checks are not anchored in the economic model. And situations beyond the control of a body shop, such as a negative experience between a customer and their insurance company, can indirectly harm a body shop.

So what can a body shop do to increase the likelihood of returning customers? FenderBender went straight to the source, spoke to longtime customers of some of the best body shops in the industry, like Jim from Sharp Auto Body, and asked them a simple question: “Why are you coming back?” ? “

“They are picky about what they do.”

The client: Randy Johnson

Store of choice: Jerry’s Body Shop

Location: Mankato, Minnesota.

Years of loyalty: 10 years

Randy Johnson, originally from Mankato, Minn., Considers himself a car guy. Maybe not in a room full of mechanics, but for an average Joe he thinks he knows his stuff. Johnson is familiar with the different types of spray booth drying methods and has brought in several vehicles for auto body and detailing jobs over the past 10 years. So when he drives his car to Jerry’s Body Shop in Mankato, his attention to detail is heightened by that of a regular customer.

“I had a faulty paint job on a local dealer recall,” he says, recalling what he called an “orange peel” finish that was rough and unintentionally textured, “so I’m picky about the finish when it’s done. “

In 10 years, taking several cars to Jerry’s, the finishes have always been exactly as he wanted. This quality is key to Johnson, and it’s the reason he keeps coming back. He sees that the store’s attention to detail matches his own. They are super focused on making sure his car looks exactly what he asks for.

“They are picky about what they do,” he says, noting that all of the staff are committed to getting the job done right. “I don’t know them personally, but I have no doubts that when I bring the vehicle there, they will do a good job. “

Among almost all of the customers FenderBender spoke with, quality was a top priority.

“They have always treated us well.

The client: Matt Clark

Shop of choice: Carrosserie Heppner’s

Location: St. Paul, Minn.

Years of loyalty: 5 years

The client: Mark Smith

Shop of choice: Carrosserie Heppner’s

Location: St. Paul, Minn.

Years of loyalty: over 30 years

The client: Jim Jamieson

Shop of choice: Sharp body

Location: Island Lake, Ill.

Years of loyalty: ~ 40 years

Unlucky and awkward.

This is how Matt Clark, a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, describes himself. Add to that a family of six, with multiple cars going to multiple locations all the time, having a trusted body shop on hand, Heppner’s Auto Body, has been a must for Clark.

Clark is comfortable calling himself “a goof”, but for many, walking into a body shop is a daunting experience. They are nervous, they are embarrassed. What’s always been impressive about Heppner, says Clark, is that these feelings quickly disappear. He is always addressed promptly upon entering the store, employees are empathetic to his situation and never speak down on him.

“Their kindness at the front door takes them a long way,” he says.

Mark Smith also takes his vehicle to Heppner. Smith had known the store’s original owner, Bill Heppner, for over 30 years. He has since brought his car there. But his loyalty goes beyond his own car. Smith works in the auto insurance business for American Family Insurance. Heppner’s is the place where he recommends all his clients.

“If I recommend someone and they don’t take care of them, I risk losing this business,” he says. “So it goes beyond my own vehicle. “

For Smith, treating the customer well is one of Heppner’s main referral factors. He knows the car is going to be well repaired, but he also knows that the experience will be second to none. The most common response he gets from customers is that they feel “special”. From the moment they walked into the store they had the full attention and empathy of the staff. Customers didn’t feel like one among many, says Smith.

“We’ve all been in the situation where you pick up your car and there’s no eye contact from the employees. You feel that you are not important. It’s chaotic. I never felt that in Heppner, ”says Clark, recounting a situation similar to that described by Smith.

Jamieson thinks the same about Sharp Auto Body. Quality of work and reliability are key words, he says, and whenever he has questions, the staff at Sharp Auto Body respond quickly.

“Whatever you need, they help you. Selling a car, fixing a car, they will always be useful, even when it’s not something they do, ”he says.

“They fixed their mistakes.

No business is perfect. Mistakes happen. Several of FenderBender customers have spoken of experiences where their longtime body shop made a mistake. However, none of them were kicked out of their body shop due to the company’s backlash. In fact, it made them feel better about their store.

Johnson recalls an experience with his Toyota 97. Jerry’s Auto Body accidentally made a small hole in a headliner he was repairing. Due to the year of the vehicle, the store couldn’t replace it, so they gave Johnson money to make up for the mistake. The hole was barely noticeable, Johnson says, and he didn’t expect any monetary compensation or redress. But he got it.

“They go out of their way to appreciate customer appreciation,” Johnson says.

Due to his great experiences with the store, he even considered asking the owners to donate to a bike fundraiser he was participating in. He knew how invested they were in his vehicle and thought they might consider donating. Sure enough, he quickly received a check from the store.

Clark recounted an experience with Heppner where a glass repair on a side window was not done properly. The store got out immediately and corrected him and very apologized.

“The faster you recognize the event, the better everyone is,” says Clark.

For Johnson and Clark, the mistakes actually instilled more confidence in their respective stores. The two knew that if something went wrong, the store was going to do too much to make sure their problem was rectified. The answer was more crucial than the error.

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