|The shop after Katrina.|
Two of the shops have onsite rental counters and the third has a rental company located close by. “We assist customers with rental arrangements in an attempt to remove friction from the process. If we are a DRP (direct repair program) for their insurance company the customer should not have to make another phone call in regards to their vehicle claims. We will handle everything,” says Waller.
The company’s three DRP relationships account for half of the company’s business.
“If we are not a DRP (for a particular client) we will attempt to set up and handle anything that we possibly can. If the customer needs to get involved for some reason, we will at least be able to guide them through whatever it may be,” he adds.
“We will also do anything we can to accommodate customers who do not have rental. We have brought customers to the airport, work, home, and even the mall if the repair is something that will take only an hour or so. We will deliver a vehicle to the customer’s home or work,” Waller says.
“Whatever we can do to make the process easier we will do,” he continues. “By doing small things like this, we can alleviate unnecessary stress and anxiety for the customer. This creates a sense of trust between us and the customer, so it allows us to do our jobs better. They trust us, so they know we are going to do whatever it takes to get the repairs done accurately and timely.”
A full mechanical facility is located at the Chalmette shop. “If a customer needs mechanical repairs and they are closer to Metairie or the Northshore, we will provide complimentary vehicle transfer from the drop-off and pick-up location of their choice.”
Waller goes on to tell about a now-repeat customer who had been turned away by several competing shops. “It wasn’t the most sought after repair, but we told him to absolutely come by and we would see if we could help. Long story short, we have done multiple repairs for him. After the first repair, we started noticing referrals coming in from a local business that does small mechanical repairs. It ended up being this customer, who does mechanical work,” Waller says.
“That’s why we always tell our CSRs (customer service representatives) and estimators that you never know who you are talking to on the phone,” he notes. “Treat everyone with kindness and give people the respect they deserve. Even if we can’t provide the service they are looking for, don’t immediately shut anyone down. You never know who could turn into your biggest cheerleader.”
Maintaining open lines of communication with insurance companies is another emphasized company policy. “We honor their requests, and if we can’t we communicate it to them. Keeping the customer happy and doing quality repairs is one of the biggest factors in a good relationship with insurers,” says Waller. “Keeping our eye on the KPIs (key profit indicators) is also huge.”
Within the past two years Fradella’s has been placing enhanced attention on its online presence by partnering with a digital marketing company.
“When we started we were buried on the second and third pages of Internet searches using the top keywords for our industry. Today we are at the top of the first page. When new customers search for a body shop in the area we are one of the first places they will see,” Waller reports.
“We also constantly strive to wow our customers to the point that we get them to refer us. Most people are not going to tell their friends and family about a good experience. It is going to be great or really bad, so we know just being good isn’t enough if we are going to rely on word-of-mouth referrals,” he says.