Dealers can no longer rely on traditional forms of marketing as their only way of attracting business.
Gone are the days when happy customers would tell their friends, colleagues and their postman of the delightful experience they got at their local garage. If they do happen to engage in conversation with someone, it’ll probably be more of the negative type rather than anything complimentary.
These days, if customers have something good to say about a dealer or a garage owner, they will migrate to the internet to spill all. But keeping track of where, when and how customers do this can be tricky – which is where Motor Codes’ Code of Practice for Service and repair can help.
The scheme can help out in a variety of ways, from support to helping settle disputes, but perhaps the best way it can assist dealers and garage owners in 2012 in making more profit is from the marketing power it boasts.
With a presentation entitled ‘A new perspective to your marketing’, Modes Codes’ managing director Chris Mason told Profit Clinic delegates that by embracing the benefits of its services, not only can profits rise but also recognition and respectability can too.
Mason urged dealers to look beyond product margins and instead focus on modern marketing. That’s not the traditional word-of-mouth marketing, but one that relies on social media and is consumer-led – something which other industries have been doing, but the motor industry has been slow to follow.
Mason said: ‘Motor codes is a traditional form of self-regulation that the government requires us to run an advice line. But wrapped around that is customer technology that cuts straight to the heart of marketing in terms of aftersales in dealers’ postcode regions.
‘We have to admit that marketing is evolving. The days of big-spend national advertising are being questioned by more low-cost, high gain tools which allow dealers to manipulate the internet to drive business to them locally instead of waiting for a brand campaign. My view of the future is that static paid-for advertising will be a decreasing currency.’
By simply signing up to Motor Codes, subscribers will be joining a band of garages who want to offer fair and honest services to customers, who want to complete work as agreed, and who want to deliver open and transparent pricing and good practice.
‘Within 24 hours you can have a government-backed business, with full OFT approval, and a Motor Codes rating – it really is that straightforward’
The Code allows customers to fill out a survey on the Motor Codes’ website and rate the service they received. accurate satisfaction ratings are then generated which advertise the service to new customers via the ‘Garage Finder’ tool. This can even be downloaded as a ‘widget’ and added to garages’ websites to give customers assurances of the service they’ll receive. It’s consumer-led and is real-time. ‘Within 24 hours you can have a government-backed business, with full OFT approval, and a Motor Codes rating – it really is that straightforward,’ said Mason.
More than 30,000 customers have filled out a survey, and, in November alone, there were 1.6m subscribers listed in searches, and 77,000 page views. ‘That’s the opportunity for 77,000 jobs of work to go through businesses in the month of December,’ said Mason.
The structure of Motor Codes’ website means customers can find businesses by locality and reputation above anything else. Mason said you should think of each subscriber’s page as an online advert boasting all the information needed by customers when picking where to have work done.
Last year’s big news was the OFT giving the Service and Repair Code full approval. That means any subscribers will now be able to make their businesses fully government-backed with OFT approval.
‘The OFT approval of the Service and Repair Code concludes phase one of our work. Now we are thinking about phase two which is about growing the scheme and making it work harder for our subscribers.’