Did you know that it costs your auto shop five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one? Financially, it only makes sense to focus on maintaining repeat customers, and one of the best ways to do that is with an auto repair loyalty program.
Research shows that 79% of consumers look for deals in loyalty and reward programs before making a purchase. An auto repair loyalty program is a great marketing tool to encourage drivers to return to your shop and creates a win-win where you both benefit.
Here’s how you can start an auto repair loyalty program and keep existing customers happy.
How to Start an Auto Repair Loyalty Program
- Choose A Reward
- Pick A Format
- Spread The Word
- Use Auto Shop Software
Choose A Reward
The first step in starting a loyalty program is to decide what behaviors you’re going to reward and what gift you’re going to offer. You also want to decide whether the program will be for all customers, or if you’ll reserve it for a special group.
Here are some common rewards offered by auto shop owners:
- One free oil change for every 10 oil changes
- A free service worth up to $50 per $100 spent
- A discounted service during a customer’s birthday month
If you’re thinking about setting up a system where customers can accrue points per service, here’s an example of that from Express Oil Change:
You may also choose to offer rewards when a customer leaves a review or shares your business through word of mouth. In this sense, a loyalty program can also function as a referral for your auto shop.
Pick A Format
When you think about a loyalty program, the first thing that comes to mind may be the traditional punch-card format. That may work well for many auto shops but there are other types of formats you can offer.
You could hand out a loyalty card that can be loaded with points, shop bucks, or some other reward. Each time the customer spends money at your auto shop, the rewards can be added to the card like you’re making a deposit into their loyalty account.
This concept can also be used with keychain tags and be implemented using a smartphone app like this example from Meineke:
Getting punch cards created can be as easy as placing an order with a local print shop. If you’re needing help with the more complicated formats, companies like loyaltygator specialize in automotive loyalty programs and can get you started.
Spread The Word
Once you’ve launched your auto repair loyalty program, you want to get the word out as quickly as possible. Here are a few effective ways for you to do that:
- Social media – A new loyalty program provides great content for a post on your Social Media platforms. You can reach followers and potential customers to create excitement about your new program.
- Email – Through email, you have direct access to your customer’s inboxes. It’s a great way to introduce your loyalty program to customers on your mailing list.
- In-store – You can promote your program with signage at the front desk or exit doors of your auto shop. It’s a great reminder and incentive for customers to choose your shop for their next service.
Use Auto Shop Software
To manage your auto repair loyalty program, it’s best to streamline the process. This can be done easily by integrating your loyalty program right into your POS system.
Companies like, BayIQ offer automated software that’s designed specifically for the auto industry. Their software allows you to create customer portals where you can initiate enrollment into your loyalty program or even offer the rewards based on past transactions.
Auto Repair Loyalty Program Best Practices
Rewards Should Be Used for Future Use
Regardless of what type of format you choose, rewards should only apply to future jobs and not same-day work.
“Next” is the keyword, and encourages customers to come back to your auto shop the next time they need service.
Notify Customers When They Earn a Reward
Whenever a customer achieves a reward, make sure your employees let them know immediately. If your customer knows that they are eligible for a discount or free service, they know they’re getting added value the when they return for their next service.
Make Rewards Transferable
Don’t limit your customer’s rewards to one specific vehicle, but associate it with their entire household. Most families have more than one car, and by making your loyalty program transferable between vehicles, you encourage your customer to bring in their spouse’s car or their children’s car the next time they need work done.
Auto shops rely heavily on customer loyalty to maintain their business. Introducing an auto repair loyalty program will incentivize repeat business and improve customer retention. As you design and implement your loyalty program, be sure to keep the steps and best practices mentioned in mind to reward loyal customers and keep them satisfied.