If you’re an automotive service professional, chances are you’re always looking for ways to grow your business, to know more, and to gain a competitive edge, right?
In no particular order, here’s our list of seven websites worth checking out, along with one of our favorite posts from each one. Read the list carefully – some of the sites will help you as an individual, some could help your customer-retention efforts, and – perhaps if you take all the information and advice to heart, to the point where you need to expand (Why not dream big?) – one post will even help you to find the location for your next business, when it’s time to expand.
Auto Care Association’s “Be Car Care Aware” Campaign
How It’s Useful: Helps You to Inform Your Customers
Why We Like It: the Auto Care Association’s Car Care Council has a fantastic consumer campaign, called “Be Car Care Aware,” that outlines benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair, designed to provide knowledge from all segments of the automotive aftermarket industry. The Car Care Council is a nonprofit funded and directed by the Auto Care Association.
Our Favorite Post: the 75-page Car Care Guide, which outlines preventative maintenance needs and explains 12 major vehicle systems, along with diagrams. Word to the wise – share this “Car Care Guide” with your customers via email, and/or order hard copies to distribute – you’ll only be charged for the actual cost of printing.
Think With Google: Automotive
How It’s Useful: Helps You Understand Your Customers
Why We Like It: This is “Google’s source for insights, trends and research in digital marketing. Get creative inspiration, industry intelligence and best practices for your business.” And, given Google seems to know everything, we’re all ears for its insights!
Our Favorite Post: The Road to Winning Drivers: What Drivers Want in Automotive Aftermarket Service. We can’t see this study enough times. If you’re smart, this will change how you do business. Among Google’ findings:
- There’s no clear, dominant winner in service provider chains – the driver is “yours to win.”
- 62% of drivers research their technician’s recommendation
- Only 2% of vehicle owners get digital reminders from their service provider
DealerADvantage’s Industry Trends blog
How It’s Useful: Learn from Dealers’ Best Practices
Why We Like It: DealerADvantage’s articles are developed in collaboration with franchise and independent dealers and industry professionals from across the country. Dealerships are often known for their commitments to customer service, and service centers of all kinds could benefit from their best practices.
Our Favorite Post: Trust & Price Transparency: the Key to Rescuing Service Profits. Understand why digital marketing matters, whom you’re losing out to in SEO, and see the two qualities customers want in a repair provider.
TireBusiness.com’s Service Zone
How It’s Useful: Gives You Great Insight into the Industry
Why We Like It: Owned by Crain (which runs Automotive News & Autoweek, among many others), TireBusiness takes a far bigger look at automotive service industry, reporting on breaking news, compiling rankings and industry statistics relating to the North American tire and automotive service markets.
Our Favorite Post: Selecting the best Site for your Shop. Here, Greg Sands, founder and CEO of Mudlick Mail, and head of operations for 35 auto repair shops, discusses the elements of the ideal auto-repair business location.
How It’s Useful: Has Posts Worth Sharing on Social Media
Why We Like It: Here, you’ll find stories of drivers who are happy with their auto repair experiences (yes, it’s possible!), alongside many stories worth sharing with your customers, such as why tire rotation matters. If you’re spending too much time browsing online for material to post on your social media channels, this is a good place to start; the Openbay blog has hundreds of posts about car repair, from “Air filters – what happens when you don’t change them” to “100K mile service: what’s the cost to you.”
Our Favorite Post: What do Mechanics Look for When Performing Safety Inspections? Customers are never happy when their vehicles fail an inspection, right? Why not include this blog within your monthly customer newsletter to show them what you’ll look for in advance, so you’re able to fix their cars before you fail ‘em. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?
How It’s Useful: Great Individual & Business Management Tips
Why We Like It: Whether you spend your day behind a desk or underneath a car, Inc. has something for everyone. They’ve got tons of posts on winning new customers and how to keep them happy, stories of entrepreneurs’ successes and failures, and ways to increase productivity.
Our Favorite Post: 5 Ways to Create a Happy Customer this Holiday Season.
Among all the facts in the infographic, here’s an especially useful one – “Turning a passive customer into a happy one can increase revenue 2.6x.”
Experian’s Automotive blog
How It’s Useful: Understand Auto Industry Trends
Why We Like It: Experian is “a recognized source of automotive information and analysis on the latest trends impacting the automotive industry… [providing] resources that help automotive businesses get the valuable automotive data insight they need to get ahead.”
Our Favorite Post: Experian Automotive Briefing: 2014 market share and registration trends. Are you knowledgeable about what you do, or could you better understand the industry as a whole? This report outlines the vehicles on today’s roads, and shows how many of them are within the “aftermarket sweet spot.”
Are there any other great sites that are inspiring and helping to you to grow your auto-repair business? If so, find Openbay on Twitter or Facebook and please drop us a line to let us know what’s helping you and your business to become successful.
Image credits: Gill Wildman, Fort Rucker, Sacha Chua, flickr