There’s one component many shops often overlook—the customer waiting room.
When clients enter your collision center, whether it’s to drop off or pick up a vehicle or wait for an estimate, help them feel welcome with a designated waiting room. Rather than having customers stand in the corner of the shop or outside, an inviting waiting area shows how much you appreciate their business and want to ensure they are comfortable. Not only does it enhance their overall experience but it also demonstrates that your shop goes the extra mile.
10 ways to improve your customers’ waiting experience:
Comfortable seating: It’s time to replace those generic folding chairs with comfortable couches or other seating. Your customers will enjoy the relaxing environment and you may even find they take a quick snooze.
Reading materials: An assortment of magazines will occupy customers while they wait for their vehicles. Try to choose those that appeal to both women and men, whether they are focused on lifestyle, family or business topics. You can include industry publications relevant to your business such as Autobody News! If you have brochures or flyers with information about your shop, don’t forget to have them on display as well.
Beverages: Asking customers if they would like a complimentary cup of coffee, tea or a bottled water is a great way to greet customers. Having an assortment of soda, juice or other drinks such as iced tea during the summertime when it’s warm outside is also a great addition.
Snacks: Even if your budget is tight, it isn’t too costly to offer granola bars, fruit or nuts, popcorn and salty snacks for customers to snack on. Have some fun and add candy or even a gumball machine. You’ll probably find that it’s not just the kids who will enjoy it.
Play area or toys: Parents often bring their children to the collision center. When they do, having something to occupy their young ones while they wait will definitely be appreciated. Think about providing coloring books and crayons, books, games and even an XBox or PlayStation.
Television: Nobody likes to wait for appointments, so having a flat screen television available helps pass the time for customers and takes their mind off the recent collision they may have just had. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to get caught up on the news or watch a favorite game show or talk show.
Wi-Fi: Most people now expect to have access to free Wi-Fi while they wait for appointments. Ask your Internet provider to provide a guest password so your internal network is protected. This will allow your customers to catch up on emails, check social media or watch YouTube videos. Not only does it help pass the time, but it can also give the illusion of your business being faster and more efficient.
Business center: If you have the extra space, consider adding a desk with a printer and computer with Internet access for those coming in during the day and wanting to catch up on a few work-related tasks. It’s also a great place for clients to charge their devices.
A view of the shop: Depending on the layout of your facility, adding a few picture windows in the waiting room with a view of the shop is a unique way to showcase your business and demonstrate how hard your techs are working to repair customers’ vehicles.
Pizzazz: You’ve covered all the basics, now the only thing left is to add a personal touch. That might mean some of your favorite artwork on the walls, such as unique automobiles, vacation destinations or movie posters. Some shops will include a funky addition such as a coffee table made out of a tire or metal wall art.
Whatever you ultimately decide to include in your body shop’s waiting room, make sure the area is clean and well organized. By implementing some of the above suggestions, customers will most likely be much happier and share their positive experience with friends and family, which will ultimately help grow your business.