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Hold a Clinic for your Customers


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Last week we held two consumer clinics for women. Both were a huge success. I spoke about the importance of car maintenance, safety, what to do if you have a break-down and gave them many more tips. I expected the clinic to last about an hour or so, but went on for over 2 hours.

 

The clinic was so successful that I am already planning another one in July for teen drivers and students going back to college.

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general heavy-duty 728x90


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Last week we held two consumer clinics for women. Both were a huge success. I spoke about the importance of car maintenance, safety, what to do if you have a break-down and gave them many more tips. I expected the clinic to last about an hour or so, but went on for over 2 hours.

 

The clinic was so successful that I am already planning another one in July for teen drivers and students going back to college.

 

How did you promote it and how far in advance?

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Last week we held two consumer clinics for women. Both were a huge success. I spoke about the importance of car maintenance, safety, what to do if you have a break-down and gave them many more tips. I expected the clinic to last about an hour or so, but went on for over 2 hours.

 

The clinic was so successful that I am already planning another one in July for teen drivers and students going back to college.

 

 

Questions:

Did you charge a fee to be at the class?

 

Was it entirely just women... or did some men come along?

 

Would this be something that might be incorporated into a drivers education class?

 

Could you see this as a monthly class, something that they could get more info each time they attend?

 

Did you have a lesson plan, and if so, could you share your class ideas?

 

I like the concept... great idea... Gonzo

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I promoted it a number of ways. I made a generic TV commercial about consumer clinics what aired a month before the clinic date. I will use the commercial in the future, since I will be holding these on a regular basis, probably 4-6 times a year. I had 2 already. I also announced on the radio, it on my web site, a made a poster for the waiting area and I sent out an email newsletter a few time inviting people to come to all my customers and to all the local business groups in the area. We also asked the local papers to give us some free press. I also featured it my quarterly newsletter .

 

We started promoting it about 6 weeks prior to the first class and now it will be promoted on an on-going basis with classdates to be determined.

 

It was a women’s clinic only. We had one guy show up for the 2nd clinic (my daughter’s boyfriend).

 

There was no fee for the class but the clinics were actually fund raisers for local organizations that help needed families. Most women donated something.

 

We actually will be starting Defensive Driving courses at my shop also, but I would not incorporate the clinics with the driving course; two separate audiences and deferent massages. Plus the defensive course is a required 6 hours.

 

I do have a lesson plan: If anyone would like a copy let me know I could send you my notes.

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Joe, I would like to have a copy of your plan. I also thought of new way to promote these clinics. One could put a clinic on for existing customers but make the price of admission that they have to bring along a friend who has never done business with your shop. That would guarantee an even mix of current and prospective new customers and would allow the customer to do the promoting. Just a though!

 

 

Now we're talkin business... send me a copy.

 

This is a great idea... and the fact that you tied the "needy families" into the mix... great effort!!!

 

You've proved to me again Joe,,, ya got it goin' on... Not bad for a fossil... (as my son would say...LOL)

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I promoted it a number of ways. I made a generic TV commercial about consumer clinics what aired a month before the clinic date. I will use the commercial in the future, since I will be holding these on a regular basis, probably 4-6 times a year. I had 2 already. I also announced on the radio, it on my web site, a made a poster for the waiting area and I sent out an email newsletter a few time inviting people to come to all my customers and to all the local business groups in the area. We also asked the local papers to give us some free press. I also featured it my quarterly newsletter .

 

We started promoting it about 6 weeks prior to the first class and now it will be promoted on an on-going basis with classdates to be determined.

 

It was a women’s clinic only. We had one guy show up for the 2nd clinic (my daughter’s boyfriend).

 

There was no fee for the class but the clinics were actually fund raisers for local organizations that help needed families. Most women donated something.

 

We actually will be starting Defensive Driving courses at my shop also, but I would not incorporate the clinics with the driving course; two separate audiences and deferent massages. Plus the defensive course is a required 6 hours.

 

I do have a lesson plan: If anyone would like a copy let me know I could send you my notes.

Great Stuff!

 

I would love to see the lesson plan!

Thanks for the promo info as well.

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Joe, I would like to have a copy of your plan. I also thought of new way to promote these clinics. One could put a clinic on for existing customers but make the price of admission that they have to bring along a friend who has never done business with your shop. That would guarantee an even mix of current and prospective new customers and would allow the customer to do the promoting. Just a though!

 

 

Great Idea!

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**** Here is the Outline from the women's clinic*****

 

 

Consumer Automotive clinic # 1 (Women’s Clinic)

 

Keeping You Safe on the Road & understanding your car care needs

- Give Short bio about yourself and company; explain the purpose and goals of the clinic

- Introduce Staff members

 

Begin Clinic:

 

Today, all surveys show that women are not only becoming more influential in deciding what car to buy, they are also taking over the traditionally male-dominated responsibility of maintenance and repair. With this increased buying power of women comes an increasing need for automotive service employees to understand women’s likes and dislikes, as well as their buying habits.

 

Here are some facts:

 

• ASE reports that 65 percent of customers who take their car to a repair shop are women and in some market areas that number is as high as 80%

• 52% of all new car purchases are made by women

• Of all used-car purchased, 53% are made by women

• When it comes to a couple or family purchasing a new car, women influence the decision by 85% and display 95% of the vetoing power against a car (Woman Motorist, 2000; Road and Travel, 2004).

• Women spend $300 billion annually on new cars, use cars, service and repairs (Road and Travel, 2004).

• Women value safety (77.8%) over men (65.3%) (Edmunds

• As of 2004, more than 68% of all women use the Internet to research product information and resources online (Road and Travel, 2004).

• At The Auto Channel, (which is an online automotive information web site) women make up 56.1% of the readership.

• The overall percentage of female drivers rose from 4% in 1972 to 49% in 1996, while the overall percentage of male drivers decreased from 56% to 51%. (Source: U.S. Department of Transportation)

 

Conclusion: the automotive world is no longer a male dominated industry.

 

Our Goals today:

 

• To give you a better understanding of the world of automotive service and repair

• To give you the knowledge to get the most from your car, tips to save money and make it last longer

• And, the most important, to make sure that you are safe on the road

 

 

Begin Topics:

 

How do YOU choose an Auto Repair shop? For example, your son or daughter will be going to school in North Carolina, how do I find a reputable shop down there?

 

 

- Things to look for:

o Find the shop before you need one

o ASE Certification (show business card and brochure)

o TNP Affiliation (show business card and brochure)

o Look for other affiliation, ex, chamber of commerce

o Cleanliness, junk cars, junk around the shop, etc

o Talk to people in the area, word of mouth

o Don’t judge by price alone

o Stay away with what we call “Shade Tree Mechanics”

o Go in and talk with the owner or manager

 

o Do I need to take my new car or new lease car back to the dealer for routine service? NO!

 

o Review The Magnuson Moss Act of 1975 (have hand outs)

 

Now let’s get to some key areas of auto service

 

Common Warning Signs:

 

Note: You are driver, you are the best judge on how your car is running or handling

 

o Pay attention to anything that does not feel the same

 Pull to one side

 Shimmy at hi speeds from steering wheel

 Shimmy at low speeds

 A pulsation when you apply the brakes

 Brake noises, although not always an indicator of a serious problem

 Lack of power

 Unusual noises from the engine

 Does the engine have the power it should

 Does the engine seem to stumble or hesitate or idle low? These are all indicators of potential problems that can leave you stranded.

 Take a look from time to time under the car, any leaks?

 Take a walk around the car from time to time; inspect lenses, tires, glass.

 

Dash Warning Lights (review and explain in detail)

 

• Check engine light

o Flashing check engine light

• ABS and or brake light

• TCS

• Air bag

• Oil light

• TPMS

• Battery light or GEN light, or Alt

• Coolant light or temperature light

• Some cars use the cruise control light to warn of power train problems

 

Please note, when a warning light is on, certain systems will be shut down

 

Non-Warning Dash lights, information lights or messages

• Maintenance required light

• Low washer solvent and other fluid lights

• Door ajar light

• Fuel door

• Low fuel light

• Seat belt light

• Other messages…

 

What do I do if you get a flat tire? *** REFER TO NATIONAL SAFETY CONCIL Hand-out ***

 

• If it occurs while cruising, especially on the highway…

o Think safety first, don’t worry about the tire

 

First reaction may be to put foot on the brakes

 

o If it’s a front tire, be sure to hold the wheel steady, the car may tend to pull one side

o Steer off the road to the right hand shoulder

o If there is no should, move to the right, slow down, put the hazard lights on and pull off the road when you know absolutely that you are safe

o Again don’t worry about the tire or rim

 

• So, now you have a flat tire. Here’s what you are going to do

o Pull out your cell phone or OnStar

 Call family

 Call road side assistance

 Call your service center

• You should always carry a cell phone and have stored emergency numbers

 

Why not teach you how to change a flat tire?

 

 Years ago it was a lot easier

 Today, I’m not sure I could tell you how to find the jack in your car, let alone where to place the jack safely.

 I hear all the time the trouble people have getting to the jack, getting the spare tire out and knowing where to place the jack

 Another thing, on many SUV’s, and light trucks, the spare tire is under the car, and you need to unwind the spare tire down. The problem is that many times the mechanism is seized. If you could get the spare tire down, you will have to crawl under the car on you back and lift the tire up, off the cable.

 

o Everyone should have some sort of road side assistance program like AAA or through your insurance company. We offer free road side assistance from a company called SAFTRACK, a nation-wide program, for all customers, if needed.

 

How to communicate better when a problem occurs

 

A little understanding of common problems will help you through the repair process. I will review some of the more common problems and what they mean:

 

Sometimes we, (mechanics) use terms that the public may or may not understand and may be embarrassed to ask to explain,

 

Do not be embarrassed; if you do not understand something, ASK!

 

Scenarios: (review and explain in detail)

- Crank, no start

- No crank, no dash lights, no power

- Start and stall, cannot keep engine running

- Engine starts, no power or no transmission

- No power , can be accompanied with a check engine light

o Could be a brake issue, brake sticking or seized caliper

 Smell???

- Overheating

- No brakes or spongy pedal

- Stalled while driving and will not restart

- Noises

o Engine noises

o Transmission noises or slipping

o From under the car

o When going over bumps

o Going over speed bumps

- Oil leaks, all types; different colors

- Exhaust noise or loud exhaust ( muffler)

- NY state inspections, what is a failure?

 

 

You just hit a massive pot hole, did you do any damage?

 

- Pot holes can cause severe damage to:

o Steering components

o Suspension, shocks, struts

o Wheel damage

o Tire damage

o Wheel alignment

o Tire balance

o Repeated pounding from pot holes is not good and should be avoided

 

We recommend a complete steering, suspension check along with a wheel alignment in the spring

 

 

Tips to long car life:

- Always perform scheduled maintenance along with period oil changes

- Consider performing recommendations that may not be listed in your owner’s manual

- Preventive maintenance will lower the chances of break-downs and lower the total cost of ownership

- Preventive maintenance improves and maintains fuel economy

- Basic services such as tire rotations and wheel alignments can extend the life of your tires, putting money in your pocket

- Changing your air filter when needed will make your car run better, save fuel and extend engine life, a simple filter

- Changing your cabin filter will allow your car’s heater and A/C to work better but is healthy for you.

 

 

An oil change is not just an oil change:

- The most cost effective service and most important service

- Change oil and filter but a lot more

 Gives a trained mechanic the chance to inspect the entire vehicle:

• Lights

• All fluids levels

• Belts

• Hoses

• Listen to the engine

• Road test for transmission issues, brake issues, steering issues

• Inspect tires

• Adjust tire pressure

• Check suspension shocks

• Make recommendations to keep you safe and prevent a potential problem from turning into a major issue, saving you money

• Changing oil and the oil filter is critical for long engine life

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