Perspectives: The Way You Want It or The Way They Want It
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Perspectives: The Way You Want It or The Way They Want It

You need to ask your customers how and when they want information. And, once you receive their answers, you must be ready to respond.

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Facebook, Twitter, Instant message, e-mail, e-Newsletter, Website, Print, Phone, Fax.

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There are many ways to communicate with an audience these days. Depending on the month, day or year, some are more popular than others. But popular does not always mean efficient. Some of these options are more cost efficient than others, but cost efficient also does not always equate to effectiveness. So what do you do?

Since we are in the business of communicating to you — shop owners and technicians — we conduct ongoing research to determine which format you would like to receive our message. In our latest survey involving 380 shop owner/manager/technician respondents, we learned that 94% of you still prefer to receive our ­magazine in a printed format versus receiving it as a digital magazine.

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We also learned that 45% of respondents visited a work-related magazine website in the past month and that there is interest in receiving information via an e-newsletter.

While there is a lot of talk these days about Facebook and Twitter, we found that more than 90% of respondents are NOT using social media in their business efforts. Our survey also revealed that while 81% of respondents have Internet access at their work location, only 46% have a website and only an additional 9% want to get one.

Of all the information we gathered from this research, the website statistic is the one that always surprises me, especially since the percentage of shops with websites does not grow much.

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So how are your customers learning about you? Do they want a phone call when their car is ready, or do they prefer a text message or an e-mail? Do they want to receive coupons in a direct mail piece or from an e-newsletter, or downloaded from your website? Do they want you to e-mail them a digital photo of their leaking shock absorber?

You need to ask your customers how and when they want information. Some will say they want to be able to receive it in all the different formats. Others will say they don’t want you to send it to them, but want to know where they can get it when they want it.

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Once you receive the answers, you must be ready to respond. While most of our readers prefer a printed magazine, we also provide our content on our website and in e-newsletters for those who prefer a digital format. If you’re still relying on your ad in the Yellow Pages as your primary communication tool, it’s time to move on. 

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