“I think the trade as a whole has been fairly slow to embrace social media and the internet but we are getting better! Most garages are very busy being garages and running businesses in what are very challenging times but ABP recently decided to get hooked up on both Twitter (ChrisABP) and on Facebook with very encouraging initial results.
So far and just through word of mouth we have 250 facebook followers and nearly 70 followers on Twitter and that allows you to directly market news, promotions and offers directly to the people who are happy to like or follow you. We are now pushing facebook on our business stationary and hope to obtain 1,000 followers by the end of the year.
The benefits of these direct communication channels into customers smart-phones, lap-tops and Pcâ€™s is endless with promotions, special offers, service reminders, MOT reminders and just keeping the ABP name fresh in their minds with constant news updates and pictures.
With the new extortionate postal rates coming in at the end of April businesses need to look at more cost effective ways of communicating MOT and Service reminders which include Facebook, SMS Text messages and emails. Garages need to start building databases of customer email addresses NOW!”
Chris Meredith, ABP Motorsport
“I would think most companies would have websites and a Facebook page etc as we do but I am still finding that most of the new customers we attract come from word of mouth and local press, that said, we are attracting custom from our website because we have links with the Motorcodes association and the Trading Standards Buy with Confidence scheme.Â Consumers are able to go to the schemes websites and see feedback that has been left about us (another form of word of mouth!).
From our experience these schemes are a great thing to be apart of because from your own web page all you are trying to do is sell yourself with no real back up that customers can trust.Â So standing alone as an individual on the internet I feel is not the best way forward, get your company linked with a trustworthy scheme and use them to instill confidence in new customers.”
Julian Glover, Anglo Continental Cars
“The internet is a wonderfully powerful tool for information sharing, and at TT Automotive our new website at www.ttauto.co.uk has been created with this type of functionality in mind. Not only can our trade customers login and order online (with a reg plate lookup facility ensuring that finding the right part is easy), but they can find all sorts of information, technical and non-technical, on our web pages. We have a blog, in which we highlight both company and industry news and issues, and also an FAQs section which covers all sorts of common pump and injector queries.
Weâ€™ve even got an â€˜ask the expertsâ€™ section, where vehicle owners (or indeed technicians) can ask us technical questions, whether theyâ€™re trying to find the right part, or are having a particular problem with their vehicleâ€™s fuel injection system.â€
Chris Paxman, TT Automotive
“Internet advertising and social media is one of the important issues facing the modern independent workshop â€“ and I include dealing with the modern vehicle in that statement! Â It is modern phenomena that most peoplesâ€™ decision making processes are dictated by the internet, whether it is where to go on a Friday night, what this years holiday hotspot is or which vehicle repairer to use.Â These days most decisions are not based on first hand information but rather the skilful advertising of companies embracing the technology.Â Unfortunately our sector is woefully behind in adopting these opportunities and Iâ€™ll gladly hold my hand up and say Iâ€™m one of them.
In order to flourish in this modern environment and combat the prospering middle men that are cashing in on our naivety as an industry, we must act now.Â Itâ€™s not black magic or voodoo and the excuse that you just donâ€™t know how to use computers is no longer valid.Â If you, like me, donâ€™t have the time to work it out for yourself, then find someone who can and you will certainly reap the rewards.”
Mike Harding, Harding Autos