With “Werk3”, Thomas and Patrick Gruber have realized their dream of owning their own car repair shop. The bosses still work in the day-to-day business – so there is little time for marketing during the day. So that the two don’t have to work at five in the morning or on weekends, they rely on the support of socialPALS. With the trade marketing platform, the brothers can be regularly present on social media with little effort – and are happy about a fivefold increase in customer frequency with LIQUI MOLY’s “Gear Tronic” campaigns!
1. Thomas, could you briefly tell us something about yourself and "WERK 3" in Rohrbach an der Gölsen? What is your concept, your services, your history, and what exactly is it that you do?
We – that’s me, Thomas Gruber and my brother Patrick Gruber – decided to open an automotive repair shop in about 2017. I graduated from the HTL for automotive engineering with Matura in 2001 and then worked in various mechanical engineering companies, most recently for 10 years until 2018 as a technical project manager for a large German corporation in the field of hydropower. My brother Patrick worked in the metalworking sector.
Neither of us was dissatisfied with our jobs, but we wanted to realize “something of our own finally”. We agreed that we wanted to offer everything that a car workshop can offer very soon after opening – i.e. state-of-the-art wheel alignment, diagnostic systems for all car brands, air conditioning services for all refrigerants, the complete handling of insurance claims and, in addition, §57a inspections (which corresponds to the German TÜV) up to 3.5t permissible total weight (from 2.8t, additional equipment is necessary in Austria, which almost no workshops in our area have except us).
It was imperative to me that we can perform inspections according to the manufacturer’s instructions and that we are also registered with all manufacturers where entries in the digital service booklet are required. After we bought a suitable plot of land, the new hall was built in June 2019, and we opened in August. In the meantime, in addition to the two of us, there is another mechanic, three apprentices (trainees), and an office worker. In September, another apprentice will join us.
2. What first led you to participate in a LIQUI MOLY campaign with socialPALS in the fall of 2020 and test automated digital marketing?
That can be explained quickly. We’ve been sourcing our oils and additives from LIQUI MOLY right from the start. And so our “supervisor,” Herbert Linhart, asked us if I wanted to try it out. So that’s what I did with the “Gear Tronic” campaign for the first time.
3. How much time did you spend on launching this first and then various other campaigns with LIQUI MOLY?
The time required was very modest; even the first time, I would estimate it at around 15 minutes.
4. Are the continuous marketing measures successful from your point of view? What factors do you use to measure the success of a supporting offer like this?
I notice the success, especially with the “Gear Tronic” campaigns. We have an average of one flushing inquiry per week. As soon as the socialPALS campaign starts, there are at least five inquiries per week – and these are also from customers who have a journey of 100 kilometers.
I’m particularly pleased that we have customers who had to travel an hour to get a transmission flush and then come to us for engine oil changes and repairs. From this, I conclude that we are doing our job quite well! 😊
In the case of the other LIQUI MOLY campaigns, such as stone chip repair or engine oil changes, I find it rather difficult to assess the realm values because we carry out these jobs daily anyway. We don’t ask customers how they became aware of us for such “standard orders”.
5. Do you also invest your own budget, in addition to the brand's advertising allowance? Have you noticed a positive effect of content promotion on reach?
I have often promoted posts from the “Gear Tronic” campaign on Facebook with my own budget of about 50 to 100 euros. This pays off in my eyes; the increase in reach is enormous!
6. What do you personally see as the advantages of socialPALS for the trade? Was the platform a helpful support in the communication of your service? Did it save you time/money and reduce your workload compared to "classic" marketing?
My biggest advantage is that socialPALS saves me a lot of time – now it’s just a few clicks per campaign, and the campaign can start. Sometimes, I push the dates in the calendar a little, but that’s it. In a company of our size, where the bosses are still really involved in the day-to-day business, there is little time for marketing during the day. So when do you do it? Either at five in the morning or on the weekend. It’s a great thing for me to have a regular social media presence with so little effort!
7. Will you continue to participate in socialPALS campaigns to which you are invited? Would you like to see more brand partners working with socialPALS?
For me, the campaigns are a fixed point,, and we will continue to participate in them. If I could wish for campaigns, they would be for wheel alignment or air conditioning services. In other words, things that you have to “motivate” customers to do. For example, an air-conditioning service would make sense every two years – but in practice, most customers only have it done when the air-conditioning is no longer cooling properly. It’s the same with wheel alignment – customers don’t come in until they find out the tires are badly worn when they change them.
I think it would be great if there were a campaign to make customers aware that independent workshops can and are allowed to carry out services and inspections in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications – without the customer losing the right to a warranty. The prevailing opinion is that you must go to a brand workshop within the warranty period. Unfortunately, this misconception is also successfully propagated by the brand workshops.
8. You also took part in our Christmas campaign. What did you think of this free additional offer? Would you like to see more "generic" campaigns like this?
The Christmas campaign was really nice for us because it gave us a social media presence again. However, the pre-written posts didn’t quite fit us as a car repair shop because no one really comes to us and buys a Christmas present for someone else – apart from a few vouchers. I have to admit, though, that’s on me. I hadn’t looked at the posts enough in advance.
9. What do you consider to be the "USP" (unique selling proposition) of stationary retailing compared to the flourishing online offerings? Car repair shops will probably always be needed?
Our advantage in retailing is that we can order parts by chassis number, so the customer gets the right parts 99.9 per cent of the time. We don’t have a problem with online offers – it hardly ever happens that a customer asks us to install the parts they brought. When it comes to safety-relevant components such as brakes or chassis parts, we refuse to do that anyway.
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