Complete and Thorough Auto Repair Shop Invoicing - Part 2
Invoicing Part 2 - Control by Rick White, President 180BIZ
This is the second episode where I’m talking about invoicing, the second most neglected area in an auto repair shop. In the previous episode, I talked about curiosity. Today I will talk to you about Control. Most of us do not communicate properly with our clients or with our potential clients. It's not that we mean to hide stuff, but we do. Either through a lack of communication, omission or just hoping and praying they don't realize what we're doing because we're afraid of being called out on our pricing. Most of the time we neglect communicating properly with our clients until it is too late.
The best time to communicate your pricing is before it’s too late. And what I'm talking about is control. The best thing you can do is give your client 100% control over the entire interaction. Now, how do you do that? The first thing you do is discuss any potential upfront charges at the very beginning. You ask for authorization through text or email. You can have them sign a piece of paper if they’re in the shop. Whatever it is, let them stay in control. See people don't mind spending money they just want the choice. When you're a little bit wishy-washy and not fully communicating, you're making that choice away from them and you’re spending their money without their knowledge. And that is wrong.
Transparency, today, is a differentiator. When you can say to your client, “Hey, thanks for coming in. We do things differently. Let me explain to you what that looks like.” And then you do what you say. That transparency is a differentiator. They're not treated like a number. They're not on a conveyor belt. They're not just a wallet. You're going to get in front of them. And you're going to say, “Hey, this is what you're asking us to do. Is that right?” We talked about curiosity. So, we understand that part of now. You want to stay curious and document control. How do you do that? By getting their authorizations at different key points.
How else can you keep them in control? By giving them status updates, whether by phone or text, or email lets them know where they're at in the process. The more we keep them in control of what's going on the lower their stress, as they have options. The control part is critical.
The repair order, while you have your client on the phone when they're calling to make the appointment, write it up and then send them a text saying, “Hey, while I got you on the phone, I'm sending you an authorization so that you and I are on the same page. I'm asking you to allow us to go up to $XXX to help you with your issue.” Or if they're walking in, have it preprinted, have them sign it. Make sure there's a dollar amount that's authorized so that everybody is in the same space.
Almost every complaint you get is due to a breakdown in communication. It's a fact. The better you can communicate, the more effective you're going to be. Let them control the process. Deal with issues before they come up. I would much rather have someone say, “Whoa, you're going to charge that much to diagnose for my vehicle?” I would rather have them say that before I start on it than after I've done the work and made an investment in labor and such. So, I would much rather have that communication ahead of time. Keep them in control.
God bless, stay safe, and go make some money!
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