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CERTIFIED FEMALE FRIENDLY? JUST BE FRIENDLY


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This article was written by one of our female team members... all the ladies in our office feel the same way. There are some important lessons to learn here, starting with the fact that heralding your shop as "Certified Female Friendly" by our poll, is actually a negative marketing tool.

 

 

 

CERTIFIED FEMALE FRIENDLY? JUST BE FRIENDLY

by Tonya Briggs, Autoshop Solutions

 

This past year, talk among shop professionals has revolved around women- mainly, how to earn our business, be “female friendly” and retain us as loyal customers. I realize that 52% of the auto repair market is women, and that shop owners need a certain amount of appeal to keep us coming back for more, but I have to wonder... How did this conversation happen? What triggered all of the hype? Why are all of these shop owners spending money to be “Certified Female Friendly?” I don’t get it.

 

When I go into a shop, I don’t want to see “Certified Female Friendly” displays; I just want a friendly smile and a “What can I do for you today?” I don’t want my mechanic to take a course in order to be “female friendly.” I want you to be an expert on my car, show me what the problems are, be honest and give me some advice for preventive maintenance- really the same thing ALL customers want, regardless of gender.

 

Back in college, I found a great car mechanic. I met him when my rear tire went flat. I was stranded on the side of the road and called AAA. I only had a few towing miles left, so I had the company tow my car to the nearest repair shop. The mechanic met me with a friendly smile and asked how far down the road I was. I told him that it was just a couple of miles. He asked me why I had my car towed when it was just a couple miles down the road. Didn’t I have a spare?

 

He wasn’t being condescending. I told him that I did have a spare, but I wasn’t strong enough to change it myself. He showed me where my car jack was, taught me how to use it, and proved to me that I could change a tire by myself any time of day. All the tools were already in my car. After he showed me how to change my own tire, he created a customer for life. He could have really taken advantage of me by selling me anything. But he didn’t. Instead of getting me to a buy new tire, he patched up my old one. I used it for a pretty long time, and when I needed new tires, guess where I went? Yep, I went back to him.

 

After he taught me how to change my tire, he showed me how to check my oil, add wiper fluid and check the coolant. Every time I went to him for service, he taught me something new until I felt like I knew everything about my car: the hoses, the tires, the belts and the engine. From time to time, I’d peek under the hood to make sure that the rubber was good and the battery was clean. Owning a car became really fun.

 

Back then, I never thought of him as being a particularly “female friendly” mechanic. He was just friendly and I enjoyed taking my car in. I learned about my car.

 

Having a clean and organized shop isn’t the only way to be “Certified Female Friendly.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s refreshing to walk into a tidy auto shop, but teaching women about their cars and enabling them to be more independent is truly the best way to earn female customers for life.

 

 

See it on our blog http://www.autoshopsolutions.com/marketingblog/

or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/autoshopsolutions

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Exactly... Why is it that you have to purchase a membership to the BBB but you don't need a dime to call in with a complaint. I would have the highest respect for them and places like it if they would go out into the real world, work on finding the good shops and recruit them. And, collect responces from satisfied customers instead of the complainers.

 

When is the last time you heard someone call "Ask Patty" or the BBB and said, "This shop is the greatest, why I would recommend them."

 

That's my beef ...

 

 

It is all about who is willing to pay! Better Business Bureau is the same way. It is all about money! There can never be any business accepting money from the people that review without there being a conflict of interest.

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Exactly... Why is it that you have to purchase a membership to the BBB but you don't need a dime to call in with a complaint. I would have the highest respect for them and places like it if they would go out into the real world, work on finding the good shops and recruit them. And, collect responces from satisfied customers instead of the complainers.

 

When is the last time you heard someone call "Ask Patty" or the BBB and said, "This shop is the greatest, why I would recommend them."

 

That's my beef ...

 

 

Thats why I am a member of neither. Anyone willing to pay is allowed. Not what I consider great ways to find a shop.

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First, I need to tell you...THANK YOU. This is something I have been saying for a very long time. We all know that treating "people" with kindness and in a professional manner is something we all need to do to be successful. But this one-sided approach to a certain gender or group makes no sense. What if we singled out another group of people? Can you imagine if a shop advertised, "We are an Asian Friendly Repair Shop". Think about that!

 

It's because of the feminists. Think about it, only special groups can be marketed to without uproar. We have a local weekly paper called GT Woman magazine. The last time I checked they ONLY accepted content contributions from women. So an expert in a male dominated industry like auto repair could not contribute, but a female "mechanic" (you all know a "mechanic" male or female) could have a podium to spew all sorts of misinformation. But if it were a male oriented magazine that only accepted content from men, oh would there be a screaming fit. And then look at the uproar about the new head of Ebony magazine being a (GASP!) non-African-American. So the sad but simple reality is that the so-called minorities can pick and chose, but the rest of us must accept all. It is really stupid. Everyone is a person and therefore deserves a basic level of dignity, respect and civility, at least until they prove otherwise by deed or word. Treat people as you would want them to treat you. Like Tonya wrote, just smile and be friendly, regardless of whether they are female, male, black, white, purple, Chinese, Hispanic, French or extra-terrestrial.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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