Your auto body shop needs a modern website that’s more than a simple billboard. With the technology available today, every facility should have a professional website that gives customers what they need.
How You Get Found Online
The most likely scenario for how a prospect lands at your website is this:
- He’s been in an accident, so he Googles the phrase “auto body shop in city name”.
- Then Google shows a map with several options and their customer reviews and star ratings.
- He’ll likely click on the ones with the highest star ratings first.
Once he gets to your website, he doesn’t care about your company history or mission statement - he wants to see that you look like a legitimate shop that can fix his vehicle properly and work with his insurance company.
This might be the first impression someone gets of your collision repair business, so make sure it’s a good one! If it looks like it was cobbled together by an amateur, that can imply that your repair work might not be up to par either!
What Do Customers Want From Your Website?
When people are having their vehicle fixed, they're looking for a few things. First is functionality - their car has to work at least as well as it did before the accident. They also want safety - when they get back on the road, they should be confident that their vehicle is safe to drive. And third, let's not discount looks. People spend lots of money on cars, and they take pride in them, and they want them to look nice.
Those expectations also apply to your website. Looks matter - If your website looks like it was cobbled together over a weekend that has an impact on people's impression of your business - whether that’s right or wrong, it's the truth.
More importantly, functionality matters. There are lots of beautifully designed sites out there that still require someone to pick up the phone and call the shop.
You should look at your website as a business tool that can help your prospects get the repair process rolling before they even need to speak with you.
For whatever reason, there are a lot of people out there who don't like to talk on the phone. Maybe it’s generational or maybe it’s social anxiety, but there are people who freeze up at the thought of making a real live phone call.
Then there are other people who simply like the convenience of texting. A great solution to improve your customer service is to add a chat widget to your website. Many of these systems have mobile apps you can download to your phone, so when someone messages you through the website, it can send that message right to your phone or computer.
Some of these messaging tools can integrate with SMS (text messages), Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other systems, and can even be setup to feed right into your management system or CRM.
You can have one or more of your team members watching for and answering chats. The best fit may be your receptionist, or maybe it’s an estimator. The goal isn’t to solve their problem while you’re on the chat - it’s to reassure them that they’ve found a shop that is prompt and that can help them.
“Get an Estimate” Tools
This might take the form of Frequently Asked Questions, or a list of insurance companies and their logos, or an explanation of what to do if they’ve been in an accident. But the most useful tool is the ability to start an estimate right from your website. Some shop management systems offer website widgets that can let your customer enter their info into your website or a mobile app, along with photos of the damage.
This lets your customers feel like the ball is rolling, even though your estimator may not have actually done anything just yet, but your shop gets notified, then your estimators can jump on it at their earliest convenience.
Once a customer has dropped off his automobile, he obviously wants it back as soon as humanly possible! So having a repair status tool on your site is a great way to let him incessantly check the status without needing to call you twice a day for updates.
In fact, all of these tools can serve to decrease the amount of calls coming in - not because you don’t want calls, but because a call brings a certain sense of urgency with it, so you stop what you were doing to deal with a call right now. The other tolls don’t have to be quite as immediate. For example, you can be on a call with another person, and still manage a chat at the same time.
Get an Honest Opinion From Friends or Family
You may be so used to your website, you can’t be impartial about it. If that’s the case, find somebody you know, a friend or family member who's not afraid to give you their honest feedback about your website.
Ask them to imagine that they’ve been in an auto accident, and to visit your site and tell you what they think - what they like, dislike, what they expected to see that wasn’t there, and so on.
If they say it's not up to par, believe them! It's probably not up to par.
If you can, go through the same process, starting with a Google search, then look at your website, look at each page, and ask yourself - is this the best we can do for our customers?
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