Five Reasons Auto Shops Need Customer Surveys

By andrew cantle on April 23, 2015

5 Reasons Auto Shop Owners Should Use Satisfaction SurveysAre your customers happy with your shop’s service? Many owners assume the answer is yes. No one wants to be proven wrong by losing business to the shop down the street.

For auto shop owners who rely on customer referrals for a portion of their revenue, customer service could be the difference between a thriving business and a faltering one. On average, consumers tell eight people about a good customer service experience they had, but will tell over sixteen people about a bad experience, according to an American Express-sponsored survey of more than 1,000 consumers.

As more customers use online review and rating websites to share information about their experiences, the number of potential customers who hear about any individual’s experience at your shop, good or bad, is probably on the rise. The rise of online information makes customer service even more important. Auto shop owners must find ways to ensure their service far outpaces that of other shops in their area.

The good news is that while technology is raising the stakes, it’s also making it easier to foster a culture of great customer service. That’s especially true with the emergence of mobile apps that make surveying customers easy, fast, and actionable.

Here’s why:

  1. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
    You may think your employees are doing a great job with the “people side” of your business. But customers may not see it that way. Receiving feedback through a customer survey can help you identify where you need to improve. Without that information, it’s impossible to form a plan of action.
    There are multiple ways you can survey customers: paper surveys (and deal with the customer’s messy handwriting), or perhaps an email blast (if they even open your message). But there’s a third option: a mobile survey app, on a smartphone or tablet, makes forming the right plan of action even easier. You can capture the information while your customer is still in the shop. All survey responses will be stored in the cloud. Data becomes easy to aggregate, analyze, and filter. 
  2. Surveys send customers the right messages about your shop.
    Customer satisfaction surveys send the message that you care about your customers and are working hard to address their concerns and needs. Even if they aren’t completely satisfied with the experience they had at your shop, they will be much more likely to return if they feel that you are dedicated to improving it.
    The survey experience sends a strong message. Handing the customer a tablet and having them fill out the survey right in your shop suggests that your business is modern and forward-thinking. That will help build their confidence in your repair recommendations.
  3. Surveys help create a customer-service-centric culture in your shop.
    Your customer survey program doesn’t just send a message to your patrons. Your employees will understand that customer service matters, and that you’re tracking performance. Include department-specific survey questions in each survey, and share those results with the relevant employees.
    None of your employees will want to be the weak link in the customer-satisfaction chain, so all will begin to improve their customer service.
  4. Real-time surveys increase the response rate.
    How many times have you made a purchase and the salesperson has asked you to go online to fill out a customer satisfaction survey? Probably dozens. How many times have you actually filled out one of those surveys? Probably rarely.
    Giving customers the chance to complete a survey right in your waiting room will increase your response rate. Remember, the higher your response rate, the easier it will be to identify where you need to make improvements.
  5. It’s easier to identify specific areas that need improvement.
    Survey responses collected and stored electronically are easier to analyze. You’ll be able to see which areas of the shop need the most improvement. And you’ll see how your shop’s customer service performance is improving or declining over time – both on a large scale and even for individual customers.
    In other words, you’ll be able to track over the course of, say, a year the changing attitudes of your customers overall, as well as that of individual customers.

So how can you get started? Start by drafting a list of questions that you’d like to ask your customers about your shop’s services. Make it easy for them to answer, and for you to amass the responses, by using multiple-choice and “scale-of-1-to-5” response types. For example, you might ask them to agree or disagree on a scale of 1 to 5 with the statement, “I was greeted courteously by the front-desk receptionist upon my arrival,” or with the statement, “My service manager carefully explained what the technician recommended for my vehicle and why.”

To take it further, download Canvas’ Simple Customer Survey for free today, then use the App Builder to add your own questions and otherwise customize the survey for your shop’s needs. Browse our collection of Inspection and Survey mobile templates or send us your paper form and we will convert your first form to a mobile app for free.