How many websites do you visit in the course of a week, month or year in both your personal and professional life? If you’re not accessing sites from your PC, laptop or tablet, you’re checking them out on your smartphone. The statistics show that we are on the Internet more and more all the time, which isn’t surprising. In 2010, studies reported that the average person (ages 18-55) was visiting 80-90 sites every month, but now that figure has more than doubled. There are approximately one billion websites in existence worldwide, depending on who you believe.
The fact is that websites are not going anywhere and we are going to rely more and more on this technology in every aspect of our lives. Can you remember the days when you had to go to a library for information? Or if you needed to learn how to fix a vacuum cleaner or play guitar, for example, you didn’t have YouTube to help you through the process? It’s hard to imagine the world without Google, Facebook, Amazon or eBay..the list goes on and on.
Here are five areas in which many automotive repairers drop the ball with their websites, based on the fact that we see literally thousands of them every year from body shops, mechanical repair shops, auto glass companies and car dealerships nationwide.
#1: What you don’t know…
Too many service departments and independent shops look at their websites with a “check box” mentality, which means they don’t make them a priority when they really should. One of the main problems is that they don’t know how much to spend and some unscrupulous companies will take advantage of their lack of knowledge. A shop owner one day told me that his 8-page Word Press website cost him $9,000 and I almost choked. When I told him that he could have done the same site with SEO built-in and ongoing support for approximately $300 to $3,000, based on site complexity and market rates, his face dropped three feet! Do your research and due diligence before you embark on the development of your website and ask a lot of questions rather than just simply making it another thing on your lengthy to-do list.
#2: It’s Got to Be Mobile!
Google has moved to a Mobile fist Indexing strategy. This means that your sites quality and SEO are based on the mobile version and content, not your desktop version. Shops and service departments often forget to make their websites responsive, which means they can be viewed on screens of all sizes, including laptops, desktops and smartphones. If you don’t have a responsive website you are actually pushing customers away , because studies show that nine out of 10 mobile users will switch to another site if they can’t see yours easily. Test your site now using the Google Mobile Friendliness Tool
#3: Take Full Control
With today’s new website development platforms, you don’t have to pay a developer to make changes and update your site anymore. Find someone on your staff to go through a tutorial and empower them to be that person. GoDaddy and several other hosting companies now offer hosted WordPress sites from pennies on the dollar compared to traditional hosting. Combine WordPress with the power of template based website software like the DiVi Theme from Elegant Themese and your staff will shine like super programmers!
#4: Realistic Expectations
Too many automotive repair companies in general expect a huge boost in business after they unveil their new or re-built websites. They figure the phones will start ringing 24/7, but that is a fantasy. Unless you’re going to purchase a ton of Internet advertising (to be discussed in-depth in an upcoming article) things happen organically online. If you devise a strategic plan and stick to it, you will see positive results over time, but don’t panic and try to pull the plug after 4-6 months if people aren’t camping outside your door. I tell people that marketing is like cutting down a huge tree with a penknife. It will take time, but eventually–boom!
#5: Are You Down with SEO?
You went and designed an incredible website with all of the bells and whistles you wanted, but how can people find it now? A great site that sits and no one sees is like having a Picasso in your laundry room–it’s a waste. So, make your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts important and do everything you can to rank at the top of search engines for the services you offer. Keep in mind however that most automotive repair services are not something that customers wake up looking for each morning. There is a specific strategy to market your services that is not conventional to most marketing and SEO companies. Do your research, interview your customers, family and friends and ask them how they searched, or would search, for the service you offer. Keep their answers in mind when interviewing SEO companies.
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Status Updates Can Improve Customer Satisfaction Rating By 10%
Informed customers are happy customers
Automated status updates ensure customers are kept informed during the service lifecycle.
Automated two-way communication
Reduce inbound and outbound calling between service writers and customers with real-time status updates via text messaging and email.
Available analytics in real-time provide realistic target date and time on all delivery promises. Customers are able to schedule and plan their day more efficiently.
The first 24 hours are crucial for retaining customers
Texting is 10 times quicker than phone calls – by the time you make one call to a single customer, texting would have enable an effortless communication with 10 customers. The essential truth about retaining customers is the way you are able to keep them engaged. As the old saying goes – the best way to grow your customers is not to lose them.