By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Keep Your Shop's Summer Momentum Going!
Elite's Supercharge Your Shop, a series of 4 live online courses for shop owners, starts Sept 14th!
Learn to master your shop's numbers, recruit the top techs & advisors, maximize employee productivity, fill up your bays with your ideal customers and more!
These live online courses will be taught by industry superstars Joe Marconi and Kevin Vaught, who have both experienced extraordinary success as shop owners, so everything you'll learn has been proven to generate extraordinary real world results!
You have the option to either enroll in the whole Supercharge Your Shop course series, or pick and choose the individual courses that will help your shop the most. Here's the course schedule:
Sept 14-15 - Mastering Your Shop's Numbers and Cost Control
Sept 16-17 - Hiring America's Top Techs & Advisors
Sept 21-22 - Maximizing Employee Morale, Productivity and Profits
Sept 23-24 - Filling Up Your Service Bays with the Ideal Customers
To enroll in the complete series of these 4 live online courses, just visit our Supercharge Your Shop Page to reserve one of our last openings!
By Joe Marconi
We, automotive shop owners of America, must take the opportunity of a lifetime and turn it into a bunch of success stories. What opportunity? Look around you. The world is in turmoil. COVID-19, social unrest, uncertainty about the presidential election, the economy, how are we going to get out kids back to school, on and on and on.
While the world is spiraling out of control, we have the power to make big changes to our auto repair shops. And it can all be positive!
First, the average age of a car in the U.S. is about 12 years old, attaining well over 200k on the clock.
Second, Uber, taxis and limo companies are suffering. Guess why?
Third, the motoring public in the foreseeable future will be traveling by car, taking road trips like they have never did before.
Fourth, the roads are packed with motor vehicles, as more and more people prefer their own car as their primary means of transportation.
Fifth, as the cars get older and older, more of them will be out of factory warranty.
Sixth, independent auto repair shops have a vast amount of training, resources and replacement parts.
Seventh, the overwhelming majority of cars being build and sold today are still internal combustion engine powered cars. If you factor in the expected average age of car these days, we can safely bet that those gas engine cars being sold today will still be on the road in 2033 and beyond!
Eight, You need more? That's not enough!
Get your plan in place. Get your prices in line with making a profit. Don't give anything away anymore (I am mostly referring to checking, testing, diags of any sort!) Offer world class customer service. Be a leader of your employees. Show the world what you are made of!
By Joe Marconi
Most of you probably already know what I am about to say: The Service Advisor position is the most crucial position in the shop. I know, I know, what about the mechanical work done by the techs? Well, that's important too, of course.
For the most part, customers spend their hard-earned money and most of time don't really know or see what was done to their car. Let's face it, the customer can't see the water pump or T-belt. And most of the time, the customer does not feel any difference with the car as they drive out of your parking lot.
What the customer does see (or experience) is how she was treated. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Plus, great service advisors also motivate the technicians, because great advisors are also great leaders of people.
Think about this...Six months from now, your customer will not remember the fuel injection relay or the mass air sensor that was replaced....but she WILL remember how she was treated.
And trust me, that OE-quality fuel injection relay install by a certified A-level Master tech using Snap On tools and a Launch Scanner IS NOT the reason WHY your customers return to you....She returns because of the level of service your provide.
I am helping a growing business to be more efficient. As part of this, I am looking at a service to maintain our general hardware and supplies. The shop needs a manager as the owner is too involved with the shop - and rightly so as he is highly respected in his arena. That's another discussion.
As he moved into a larger facility and hired more people. I'm working on efficiencies. The current goal is to have common hardware an supplies on hand, always. I am looking for a service to handle this. I have spoken with Rogo, Fastenal and Kimball Midwest. Any other suggestions? Runs to the hardware store are costly...
By Joe Marconi
After a recent trip to California (Yes, in spite of COVID-19, I went to visit my family and grand-kids) I found that complacency has set in with many people. I thought that due to the current economic state for so many businesses, those that are working would be on high alert to go above the norm and provide an extra level of amazing customer experience. I found the opposite.
The airport in NY, JFK, nearly empty, was filled with workers leaning up against the wall on their phones. The people in security bordered on rude, no, let me rephrase that...they were rude. The flight attendants must have been auditioning for the next zombie movie, because there was NO sign of life with them.
We went to a restaurant in L.A. Outside dining only. We were herded like cattle through roped walkways, to our table and everyone spoke in a monotone voice, as if to say to us, "Why are you here? Can't you see we don't want to be here."
I know we have been through a lot, but I was surprised at the level of complacency. Or was it something else?
Shop Owners, it's been a strange and tough year. But we are still standing. Maybe a little battered. So, let's be thankful for each and every day. Let's smile. People may not see that smile through the mask, but it will show in your voice and attitude!
Those with the right positive mindset will come out the other side of this stronger than ever. Trust me on that!
Don't become a victim of complacency.
Similar Tagged Content
By Joe Marconi
Usually the winter drops off in sales, but along with car counts. This year is different. Customers seem consumed with debt and worried about thier finances, and putting off needed vehicle maintenance. Not good. In the long run this leads to breakdowns and larger repair bills.
By Joe Marconi
This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry.
For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business. If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now.
Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over. Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy.
Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair. Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment. Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment. Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.
By Joe Marconi
Back in the late 1990’s, I began to get concerned about car counts and customer retention. Around that time, cars were beginning to become more reliable and many of the services and tune up components we once counted on, were going away.
I also started to notice that many customers were going to the quick lubes for their oil changes. To be honest, I couldn’t blame them. There was a time when I did not offer any “wait” service and I was never concerned about the oil change business.
That all changed. I began an all-out blitz to get my customers coming back to me for their next oil change. I especially made it a point to inform customers of their next appointment when we did not due their last oil change. I just informed them of their next service date and made sure they received a service reminder.
The plan took time, but it worked. It increased car counts and customer retention improved. We still use this strategy to this day.
Make sure you speak to all customers at car delivery about their next service. Book it in your calendar. And if the car was not in for an oil change, check the oil sticker, enter the date in your CRM reminder system, and assume that the customer wants to return to you.
We need to be proactive these days. We cannot wait for the phone to ring, we have to make it ring!
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
By Bob Cooper
We all know that there are many things you can do when it comes to customer retention. Follow-up calls, sending out service reminder notices, ongoing advertising campaigns that keep your name at the top of the customer’s mind, and scheduling the next visit at the time of car delivery are just a few. Yet there are some timeless rules that are often forgotten. During these competitive times I feel I can best help you by reminding you of the 6 most important rules when it comes to customer retention.
Rule #1. Create a principle-centered culture. All great companies realize that getting to the top, and staying at the top, is dependent on having a culture that is based on principles. As a business owner you need to ensure that you have a clearly defined Mission Statement, you need to share it with all of your employees, and you need to constantly keep it at the forefront of their minds. Remember, your “goals” are what you are going to accomplish, whereas your Mission Statement is what you will be doing along the way. For example, a Mission Statement could read, “It is the mission of Elite Auto Service to deliver extraordinary service to our customers and opportunity to our employees, while never compromising our ethics or our responsibility to society.”
Rule #2. Offer and deliver a good value. I am not suggesting that you be the lowest priced, or the highest priced in your community. What I am suggesting is that you deliver a good value in return for the money you charge. Companies that charge more than they should just because they can typically discover that their profits will go up in the short term, but that they lose their customer base at the same time. Great companies are competitive, not greedy, and that is why they become, and remain, great companies.
Rule #3. Hire the Superstars. The success of your company, and your ability to retain customers over the years, will be dependent on the people who work with you. As I am sure you will agree, just being good is no longer good enough, so you need to have employees who truly are superstars. I can only hope you bear in mind that whenever someone buys a product, they will always remember the product, but whenever they buy a service, they will always remember the people providing the service. Simply put, your customers’ impression of your business will only be as positive as their impression of the people who work with you.
Rule #4. Provide consistency in the experience. Great companies such as McDonald’s, Starbucks and Nordstrom all understand the importance of consistency in service. With any of these companies, before you step into their stores you already have an expectation of what the experience will be. The top shops understand this rule, and that is why they have clearly defined procedures for everything they do, from handling the first-time caller, through car delivery. When customers feel there is no consistency in service, they will typically look for an alternative service provider.
Rule #5. Deliver on your promises. Hopefully you can see how this rule ties into your Mission Statement. If you want your customers to continue to return, then make sure that all of your employees choose their words carefully when they are making a commitment to your customers, and then ensure they move the earth to deliver on those promises.
Rule #6. Never put money ahead of people. All world-class business owners understand that money is the result of doing the right things for the right reasons. When you embrace this rule you will also discover why the world-class businesses will never take their customers for granted. They understand that it’s the trust their customers have in them and their people that is priceless, not their credit cards.
In closing, there are a number of things you can do to improve your customer retention, but the one promise I can make you is this: These 6 rules are timeless ones, and if you apply them to your business, you will not only see more repeat customers, but unlike your competitors, you will be building a business that will last for generations to come.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. To learn more about Elite, visit www.EliteWorldwide.com.