Paintwerks Case Study: Practical advice for growing a customer-focussed business

Simon Richards, PaintwerksSimon Richards started using the Happy Customers Program for his automotive body repair and restoration business, Paintwerks, almost 2 years ago and hasn't looked back since. Simon has a background in marketing and says; "We already had a few reviews, but we wanted to raise our profile and gain more credibility in the market. We wanted to let people know that we truly care about their work – and the $50 per month seemed a very fair cost to lift our profile."

"Since joining and focusing on getting customer reviews, a large proportion of our new customers will say: 'I found you on WOMO' or 'I read all your excellent reviews and that's why I'm here'.  Aside from WOMO, we also participate in an online forum for motor enthusiasts, but that's really the only marketing we do. Word of mouth referrals, WOMO and repeat customers make up the bulk of our work."

"Until a customer calls or comes to me, I can't influence them – that's where the reviews come in. I know how powerful the reviews can be in helping customers choose us."

We asked him about his approach to customer service and he explained;
"We appreciate that everyone is driving the best car they can afford and each car is special to us – no matter the make, model, or how much it's worth. So as a result, we treat every one of our customers' cars like they're a Ferrari."

"We're also very big on following up after we've finished the repair work. I'll ring, email or text the customer to check that they're completely happy with everything – and I'll also use this as an opportunity to ask them to review us online."
Paintwerks work in progress
"We talk about our reviews from the onset. If the customer doesn't mention that they've seen them, I'll staple a Review-Us flyer to our business card when we first meet. I'll also explain verbally how important their review is to our business – even before we've done the work as this actually gives them more confidence that we'll do a good job. I'll then put another flyer on their invoice, and mention it when I follow up by email or SMS."

"I'll say 'We'd be honoured if you'd leave us a review. My business survives because of my reviews.' They know that I have 3 kids and they feel good supporting a small business."

"The best thing is, our customers keep coming back. In fact, many clients have become friends, often dropping by just to say hello when they're in the area."

"What I like about reviews is that people get an idea about who I am as a person and how my team and I treat their cars. It tells people I have high standards."

"Trust is so important. When people read our reviews, to date they can see that at least 53 other people have spent money with us and have been extremely happy with the results. It's easily been the best and most cost effective way to promote our business."

"There's been a lot of changes in the collision repair industry with the insurance companies pushing work directly to their own workshops – it's meant that a lot of businesses like us have closed down. Fortunately we've got our reputation which keeps bringing customers to us and we're keeping busy. I fear what would happen if I wasn't part of WOMO's Happy Customers program."

When asked if he has any advice for fellow business owners, Simon says;
"Remain true to the mission of the business. Never deviate on your standards. And, it's absolutely critical to stay in touch with customers by following up, and getting their reviews online."

>> See the WOMO Listing for Paintwerks here <<

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