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A Peek Inside the Mind of a Perfect Customer


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Not long ago, I interviewed over forty people for a panel of customers that I moderated in Dallas, Texas. My intent was to discover what drives their decisions in choosing an auto service facility and how they make their purchasing decisions. I also need to mention that all the candidates met the profile of the perfect target customer for today’s auto service facility; they were all average to above average wage earners, they all had at least two years of college education, they had good credit-worthiness, their vehicles were less than 9 years old, they drove an average to above average amount of miles and the majority of them were female. Unlike you shop owners and managers, I was able to ask very specific questions about perceived value, motivators and price. Here are the most revealing conclusions…

 

Regardless of their income, the majority of your customers are very sensitive to price, even if they have been dealing with you for years. They’re looking for value, and they determine value not by the lowest price, but by what they receive in return. I also discovered that today’s customer is highly motivated by coupons, and the discounts don’t have to be large to be effective. Most of the people I interviewed, who again were average to above average wage earners, felt a $10.00 savings on a service was enough to motivate them to take action. Now I realize that many shop owners believe they have a business and clientele that are above coupons or discounts. Unfortunately, they’re dead wrong, and it’s that pompous, over-inflated feeling of self-worth that has put many business people out of business.

 

Now please don’t misunderstand me, because I am not suggesting that you give away your services. What I am suggesting is that you establish retail prices for your services in a way that allows for both coupons and some limited discount programs. Just look at Dell computers; clearly they don’t have to provide the promotional prices or discounts they advertise. Without question, Nordstrom, the leading high-end clothing retailer, doesn’t have to offer semi-annual sales either. But there are two primary reasons why they do: not only do promotional prices drive sales, which are the lifeblood of every business, but equally as important, they send a powerful message to their customers. It’s the message that says these companies care enough about their customers to constantly be looking for ways of assuring they get a really great value for every dollar they spend. Ladies and gentlemen, I may be the messenger with this article, but this message came from the single, most important part of your business: your customers. I can only hope… you listen to them.

 

Learn More about Elite’s wide selection of auto repair sales solutions

 

Bob Cooper is the president of Elite Worldwide, Inc (www.EliteWorldwideStore.com), an ethics-based company that offers shop owners industry-leading sales, marketing and employee management audio courses available for instant download; coaching services and a wide variety of carefully chosen services from its affiliate companies. Visit the new Elite website for more great tips on how to increase auto repair sales in your shop or service center.

 

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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