Reminders are a simple and great way to keep in contact with your customers. They remind them about your garage, provide them with useful information, and importantly if you’re not doing them currently, can boost your bottom line by at least 20% just by starting to send them.

Continuing our A-Z of running a successful garage, we are onto the letter ‘R’, which is for Reminders.

Here’s our lowdown on MOT and service reminders…

Don’t be afraid to contact your customers more than once; you know what it’s like when it comes to booking something which needs to be done but will cost you money; you put it off. So it is worth sending more than one reminder to those who do not respond the first time or even follow up with a phone call.

Telephone service reminders

One of our customers simply runs a reminder report and then calls each one, believing the personal contact nets the best result. Certainly seems to work as he told us 90% of them end up booking in!

Of course, that’s all well and good if you have a manageable number to call and you are vigilant in setting time aside to make those calls every day or each week.

Analysis from Marketing Delivery, a company specialising in reminders and email communications shows on average, around half of customers respond to the first reminder up to 60 days or approximately two months before the due date. A further 35% typically respond around a month-and-a-half before the service is due. The remaining may well react with the deadline fast approaching and a further reminder is recommended seven days before the service due date.

But even if the date has passed, there’s still no harm in contacting those who have ignored your previous communications with around 10% of bookings, on average, from this group of people.

In addition, you should consider implementing a lapsed service reminder marketing schedule for those who are two weeks, one month and two months overdue. The recommendation is to contact lapsed customers up to six times even if the only outcome achieved is an update of their records.

Email reminder

Current best practice says that email (45%) is the best form of communication because it is the least intrusive. That’s followed by text message (19%) If you have a really personal relationship with your customers, a telephone call could prove to be the most effective for your garage. The important thing here is getting into a routine whereby you’re running the report regularly and keeping on top of it.

Most car drivers are pretty unsure when their annual service or MOT is due so they are grateful for the reminder simply because they lead such busy lives these days. As well as making sure a car isn’t running on the road illegally with an out-of-date MOT, a full service history can enhance its future value and obviously keeps it running at its optimum.

Event reminders can account for 70% of aftersales revenue so it’s WELL worth the effort.

franchise-cars

Fighting the Franchise

The phenomenal growth of new car registrations, franchised dealers attracting customers with older vehicles back into their workshops plus the after-effects of the recession have all made it harder than ever today to run an independent garage here. All the more reason to ensure you’re maximising every advantage, one of which being to take a leaf from the franchised book and implement a service and MOT reminder campaign.

Many garage owners are running reminder campaigns that we used to see at work only in the franchised sector. Importantly, many are also embracing the digital transformation to deliver a smarter and more customer-friendly experience.

And it’s here where independent workshops can get ahead. Many franchised dealers are part of large motor groups that are often tied into old-style software systems, being held to ransom by huge upgrade costs. They may have the ability to run reports, but it’s a whole lot more legwork than running a report and texting or emailing. We are seeing garage owners bidding for work on sites such as whocanfixmycar.com, creating strong online personalities with the use of social media and reacting to consumer demand and displaying their prices online.

Keep up the good work and don’t forget that often the simple, tried and trusted campaigns can still deliver the goods. The humble MOT and service reminder is a well-proven loyalty tool that will help you win more and retain more business and should be the bedrock your marketing plans are built on.

Service reminders in CarVue on a tablet

Service & MOT Reminders in CarVue

CarVue equips workshops and garages in the UK with a great set of tools to remind their customers of key events.

Firstly, you have Service and MOT reminder reports. With these you can quickly run and export a report of customers with an MOT or service due, as near or as far in advance as you want to book them back in.

You’ve then got a couple of options to contact them straight from the app. You can email them or text them, both of which are great tools for making your customer’s happy, and reminding them of important events they need to carry out to keep their car healthy, and importantly, legal, on the road. With our SMS text messaging feature, you can choose to brand the messages with your business name, or you can enable 2-way texting. If you do the latter, we will apply a standard UK mobile number to your CarVue location, and then customers can reply straight to your messages and you’ll see them instantly in CarVue!