RR 156: Kathleen Long from Repair Pal

repair-palKathleen Long  is the VP of Customer Success and the GM of the Shop Network at RepairPal.  She has been with RepairPal for 2 years. She prides herself in working closely with the smart employees and savvy owners of the high quality shops in RepairPal’s Certified Network.

Over the course of her career, Kathleen has provided thousands of practical solutions to small and medium sized businesses to help them develop and thrive. In the last 15 years, Kathleen built and developed world class, award-winning sales, success and support teams, experiences and strategies. Kathleen delights equally in mentoring and developing employees, and has enjoyed watching many achieve great success. She has a degree in General Studies and Philosophy from the University of Nevada Reno.

This episode will bring many stats that Repair Pal collects on a regular basis. I thank Kathleen for being so giving of these results. You will need a pad and pencil because when the ideas spark you’ll want to write them down. Among the many highlights:

Outside of the shop walls, consumers are researching vehicle repair and service options from their homes, places of business and from anywhere on mobile phones.

Online trends come and go, and search terms change over time. Consistently, though, there are messages that appeal to consumers. Ready for the shocking truth about consumer search needs? The best converting internet advertisements and pages focus on pricing. Words like: “Happy to provide a good estimate”, “We never overcharge”, “Straight forward and transparent pricing” work to remedy the price concern.

Most consumers (60%) feel they were not charged a fair price for their last repair.  30% of the consumers that were surveyed said they called another shop or did Internet research, 37% said the repair they received didn’t fix the issue at hand, and the remainder had a gut feeling (or were told by friends and family) that they had gotten ripped off.

Checking Prices.

45% of consumers check the price of a repair ahead of time, 14% check around during the course of the repair, and 26% follow up afterwards.

46% of consumers say they would pay more for a 2 year vs a 1 year warranty and 66% of consumers say the length of the warranty is more important coverage. At minimum, a straightforward, ‘no hassle if the part fails you will make it right’ warranty, is fundamental.


When asked how consumers assess quality, 28% of consumers said they use their previous experience (at the same shop or a different one) as their gauge. 23% rely on friends or family members to provide an opinion. 15% look at the warranty and another 15% do online research. Kathleen covers this in some detail.

Convenience is also important. In order of importance, consumers prefer shops located close to their home or places of business. They prefer shops with service options that make their experience more convenient, and lastly they assess the appearance and general comfort of the shop and lobby/ waiting area. In particular, young, wired, auto service consumers (“millennials”) are intensely price and convenience driven.

Consumers indicate that the number one thing they rely on when selecting a new mechanic or shop are their friends and family members. Beyond that, consumers trust reviews, especially when they are third party verified, from members of their own community. When reviews are all unilaterally good, especially as it relates to a service related business, it causes consumers to be suspicious.

Consumers who need a repair that is not an emergency have the luxury of making this a considered repair. They will typically take between 10 and 14 days to decide on a repair shop.

Consumers were asked how long they had been with their current mechanic, 1/3 have been with their mechanic 5+ years and 1/3 said 1 month or less. If a shop can keep a customer for more than 6 months (which equates to about 2 visits), they will likely be a long term customer.

Customers most often leave their current mechanic or shop because of poor work and expensive prices. Together, these total 70% of the reasons they seek a new mechanic.

Bedside Manner
A great dialogue, in this episode, is about being sure the consumer feels very comfortable in their relationship with the shop. A total explanation of work done makes a world of difference to continued value and loyalty.

Repair Pal website here.

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About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast and the pioneer of automotive aftermarket podcasts. Carm calls on his years of experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices, and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host of over 1,000 episodes, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ paths to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

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