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Twelve ways MSOs can build name-recognition, win new customers, and encourage referrals
Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 06:00
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Help your customers give back

No one likes to have their car in for repairs, but Mike Rose’s Auto Body tries to take out some of the sting by turning it into a chance for the customer to help out their choice of a local non-profit organization.

When a customer has a car repaired at one of the Mike Rose’s 13 shops in California, the company makes a donation in the customer’s name equal to 3 percent of the parts and labor on the job to any of the two dozen non-profits that are part of the MSO’s “Community Give Back” program. Customers can choose from among local schools, charities and medical research organizations.

It’s a way to help customers feel even a little better about choosing where they had their car repaired – and no doubt has those involved with the non-profits thinking about Mike Rose’s when they or someone they know has an accident.

Reward referrals

Caliber Collision Centers doesn’t just ask its customers to refer their friends and family members: They reward them for doing so. In a number of Caliber markets, if a new customer says they were referred by a previous customer, Caliber will send that referring customer a $50 Visa gift card as a way of saying thanks.

Salute veterans and the military

An article in ABRN last year focused on some of what MSOs are doing to honor and help the nation’s veterans and active members of the military. CollisionMax Autobody & Glass Centers, which operates 11 shops in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, has one of the most creative such efforts, a “Metal of Honor Project” in which the MSO selects a U.S. military veteran each month to receive free repairs to their vehicle.

The company set up a website for the project (www.metalofhonorproject.com), which enables anyone to nominate a veteran in need of vehicle repair. The website also includes video interviews and other information about each of the winners.

One such winner was Jerry McMullin, who was wounded while serving in the U.S. Marines in the Vietnam War. Despite significant injuries, after multiple surgeries he was returned to active duty until he was discharged in 1972.

McMullin’s return to civilian life was difficult, including an eight month period of homelessness, living in his car. But he eventually turned his life around, retiring in 2000 and living with his wife and their 27-year-old son, who has Down’s Syndrome.

CollisionMax repaired a variety of damage and rust on McMullin’s 2002 Chevrolet Silverado, and put in a new windshield.

“I use the truck to take my son back and forth to work, and now it’s looks better than new,” McMullin said.

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