Body repairers need to stop waiting for the fax machine to ring and start getting proactive in the search for business, delegates at the Bodyshop Magazine conference were told.
However, many repairers remain reluctant to move into the private repair sector for fear of jeopardising their insurance work. At best, private work is a top up, secondary to the main work provider source.
Irrespectively, marketing has a key role to play – marketing to work providers as well as car owners. Bodyshops should spend 60% of their marketing time on existing customers, 30% in attracting new customers and 10% on awareness in the local community.
Nick Gaskell of Gaskell Motor Bodies in Lancashire said: “I thought marketing was a big flashing ad in Yellow Pages.
"But it’s about making us the first point of call, not the insurance company, for the customer.
"We have put brochures out to all our customers making them aware of our services and it’s working for us.”
One bodyshop has taken it one step further, according to conference moderator David Lingham.
Alansway in Exeter has issued a flyer urging motorists “don’t get bullied by your insurance company; use the bodyshop of your choice”.
Marketing brings the customer in; quality service keeps them. Bodyshops have to build long-term relationships with customers so that they choose their business time and time again irrespective of whether they change their insurance company.
Paul Avins, of Avins Enterprises, said: “Satisfied customers aren’t necessarily loyal customers.
"Just because they are happy with the service doesn’t mean they will come back. You have to establish loyal customers.”