The majority of traffic coming through our doors is referral based, whether stemming from online reviews or good neighborly advice from our existing customers. I personally love when a new customer tells me that he/she heard about my shop from a family member, friend, or someone at church. There is a high possibility this new customer will be easy to work with and become a customer for life. If customer referrals are so important, then shouldn’t we track these relationships?

This is another area where shop management systems fall short. They allow us to track a business to a customer, but not a customer to a customer. I have known shops that do this by hand, but that method is very manual and tedious.

SALES PITCH: This is why I wrote the Rewards and Referrals program, the latest module to autotext.me. You can track customers to referrals and build visual referral trees, enabling you to see which customers are out there pushing your business. We further tied this in with a rewards program, built to recognize and reward those customers. With the season of giving and new year upon us, it’s a fitting time to incorporate a better way to say thanks to “Joe,” who has referred five people to your business, by rewarding him with a free oil change.

In a small business, your most loyal customers are your best salespeople. Funny thing is, as small business owners, we tend to chase new customers and spend hundreds of dollars a month in advertising that nets us a very small rate of return. Yet, it’s customer referrals that are the life blood of our business, and tracking them is therefore essential.

I hope you have a great holiday season.

Merry Christmas.

Chris Cloutier

Chris Cloutier

Architect/President at autotext.me

As an auto repair shop owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, Chris Cloutier realized the need for a better way to communicate with his customers as he observed how communication gaps created bottleneck situations and wasted valuable rack time. With 20+ years experience as a software developer including employment stints at Southwest Airlines and Wyndham International, Chris had seen the benefits of the marriage of software and customer service.  With the entrepreneurial passion to create an innovative solution to solve a common industry problem, Chris designed autotext.me, a tool that dually functions as a visual workflow management system and as a means for keeping customers engaged and informed by providing status updates throughout the stages of the vehicle repair process. Click here to read more...

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