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make regular visits to current and potential customers. Have a plan; discuss something that might be of interest to them. Do some reesearch! Discuss new vehicles with dealerships, insurance industry news with an agency etc. Try to make regular stops ie. every other month. Regular visits can be associted with reliability. For consumers: it's name recognition. Be consistent with your name, signage and the like. Invest in quality signs. Offer an employee referral bonus. Visit small business owners 9plumbers, electricians etc. Sell convenience and minimum down time for their vehicles. Good luck!
I've never had to have a windshield repaired or replaced but if someone were to ask me to name the first local glass company that came to mind it would be Cherrydale Glass simply for the fact that you constantly hear their commercials on local radio and you see their trucks all over the place.
What I find interesting is that a few months ago I was out for dinner with the family. I noticed a really small safelite sign near the back entrance to what was once a major shopping center that I used to drive by all time. I never noticed the sign there before. Apparently they have a shop in the old automotive department of a former K-mart big box store. Its on the back side of the building and the front side is empty. Not to open a can of worms but I'm curious as to how they get any business with just that one little sign for a shop that is tucked out of the way of traffic.
Anyway - just thought I'd share a consumer point of view in regards to name recognition. I'm going back to sleep now.
1) If you're going to give away something make it practical, something that will be kept for a while. Things like notepads & pens are great. Private labeled bottles of water aren't. Don't be afraid to spend a few extra dollars to get quality products.
2) People trust another persons first-hand experience far more than they trust advertising. The trick is to inspire your customers to rave about your business. Instead of spending money on media advertising (TV, radio, newspaper) spend it on individual customers. Provide them with "above & beyond" service that far exceeds what they were expecting. Provide some extra give-aways. Be creative here.
3) Stick with the Yellowpage ad. Make sure it's the real YP too, not the fakes. Ad doesn't have to be spectacular, just clear and simple. Pictures are great, they say a ton.
4) Create an "experience". What is memorable about your shop? Think about your shops atmosphere/motif. It has one whether it's done on purpose or not. Is it organized or cluttered? Is there anything interesting on your walls? Is your waiting area comfortable? Are your bathrooms clean? Are you vehicles attractive? All this says something about your business. Make sure you're communicating the message you want your customers to hear.
5) Don't fear honesty. If something goes wrong be up front about it with your customer. Take full responsibility for it and fix it correctly. Think long term - the customer may initially be upset but they will soon get over it and have a long term appreciation for your honesty. Honesty has always been a admired virtue!
6) Everyone is an advertisement. What do your employees, vendors, creditors, business neighbors say about you & your business? Take care of issues right away. Be more gracious than what the situation warrants. Give them reason to say good things.
I've got more if you're interested. To much for a message board though. Call if you'd like. Anyone else can too!
Coach Glass, A-1 Auto Glass, Premier Auto Glass