CRA Business Profitability Explored   

By Maraya King


How to increase your capture rate is crucial to your bottom line and is one of the most important KPIs for collision repair shop owners to manage. If your employees lack sales skills, it could be hurting your bottom line. 

Capture rate is a percentage based on the number of repair orders that result from estimates written. If your shop writes $1 million worth of estimates in a year and does $650,000 in repairs, your capture rate is 65 percent. A good benchmark is a capture rate of 75 percent to 85 percent.

And while it’s based on a simple formula, increasing your capture rate is anything but, requiring you and your employees to sharpen sales techniques, employ empathy, and most importantly, start conversations.  

Robert Rick, strategic account manager at Axalta Coating Systems, says to start every interaction with the assumption that customers have a need that your shop can fill. By listening to them and applying appropriate sales techniques, he says walk-ins can quickly become customers. 

Here are a few surefire ways to make an impression and capture more customers the first time around. 


Visit CRA’s industry news blog page for more relevant articles.


Talk to the customer. 

In the shop setting, cars are often seen as customers and not the people who drive them. As sales professionals, we need to remember the basics, and that means talking to customers. ‘

I believe you need to slow down before you can speed up. At Axalta we encourage each of the shops we supply to take an extra three minutes upfront with customers to hear what brought them in and how they are feeling.

Start with a question as simple as, “Do you have any children?” or “Do you feel comfortable driving your vehicle?” Asking with sincerity opens the discussion, puts the customer at ease, and shows that you are invested in them.


Layman’s terms save lives. 

Too often, we tend to talk in industry jargon, which can lose the attention and trust of a potential customer. I encourage shops to try to talk in layman’s terms as often as possible—keep it simple.

Talking human to human, at a level of communication everyone can wrap their arms around, develops a sense of transparency and honesty that will help your shop retain customers. It sounds unconventional, but talking through the repair process at a third- or fourth-grade level will help you capture more customers.


Show, don’t tell.

Our sales representatives have two screens at their desks: one for them and one for the customer. Something as simple as turning the screen around so customers can see what you’re doing helps to build trust.

Walking customers through the process, even the parts selection page, makes them feel included and builds trust in your company. Even if not communicated, your customer could be thinking, “The last guy didn’t tell me I had that option,” which gives your shop an advantage.

I also recommend delaying the print key for as long as you can. Once you hit print, the interaction is over, but as long as you hover on that page, you can continue chatting with the customer.


Call to Action. 

Ending customer interactions with plans for a follow-up appointment increases capture rates more often than not.

As Americans, we tend to go out of our way to make sure we show up for an appointment. We know this at Axalta, and that’s why we push the shops that we supply to to wrap up all of their conversations with a follow-up of some kind.

Verbal calls to action are highly effective: “I can’t wait to see you back in here on Thursday,” or “Could I give you a call Tuesday morning to go over your options?”

Traditional methods, like thank you notes, go a long way as well. When you send a thank you letter, be sure to include your unstapled business card to give the customer a reminder of who they spoke to and the interaction that was had.

Adding a personalized message, like, “I hope your kid won the game,” can also go a long way.


Make time for a post-mortem. 

Another way to increase your capture rate is by conducting a post-mortem. To do this, sit down with your manager and figure out which customers left your shop and why.

If you wrote four estimates that day but only received two repair orders, go through the process and figure out where the differences were in the interactions that made you money, and the ones that lost money.

For the shops that Axalta supplies, we recommend sending a follow-up letter or giving potential customers a phone call to make sure they got their questions answered, and to make one last pitch for why they should choose your shop.


Article Credit to Fender Bender.


Are you actively tracking and monitoring your capture or quote conversion rate? Are any of the suggested ideas helpful and might bear fruit for your business? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you found our content informative, do like it and share it with your friends.