By Mail Shark
I hear a lot of auto repair shop owners say they don't want to offer a cheap oil change coupon on their direct mail marketing. They feel the cheap oil change coupon brings in the wrong clientele, and they don't want to devalue their brand and position themselves as the cheap oil change shop.
As a quick note, the concept behind the cheap oil change offer is that it is a loss leader and utilized to entice new customers. The key is getting new customers through the door, which the cheap oil change can be extremely effective at doing. Once you get them in your shop and you do a great job for them, you can build a great rapport with them and win them over as a loyal customer.
All that said, you will always know your business better than any marketing company. Therefore, we certainly can't argue with the fact that you would not like to use this strategy if in fact you have already executed a cheap oil change coupon campaign and it did bring in the wrong clientele.
However, having an oil change coupon as part of your shop's direct mail marketing strategy is critical. Here are a few reasons why.
An oil change is something that every non-electric vehicle owner will need at some point in time. Consequently, I would venture to say that most vehicle owners are familiar with what an oil change is more so than any other maintenance service. Compare that to a timing belt replacement coupon or a serpentine belt replacement, each of which the average consumer may not be familiar. When you have a coupon that is familiar and relevant to everyone that you are targeting, you have a much higher chance of increasing redemption rates.
Therefore, for those shop owners that are afraid of attracting the wrong clientele or devaluing their brand with a low-price point oil change, the simple fix is to increase your oil change price point to a number that you are comfortable with and that is still a value from a consumer perspective. An alternate option would be to offer a specific $ off discount that you are comfortable with — for example, $10 off any conventional oil change & 15 off any full synthetic.
My next recommendation, if you are a general auto repair shop, which is a non-negotiable one, in my opinion, is to structure your oil change coupon to offer both a conventional and full synthetic oil change offer. All too often, shop owners only offer a conventional oil change coupon. A conventional oil change coupon is fine. However, it will never appeal or be applicable to owners of vehicles that require full synthetic oil. There is no reason to limit your offer to only appeal to a specific set of vehicles. It's crucial you cast a wider net and appeal to as many vehicle owners as possible. The simple and quick solution is to offer both options.
PRO TIP: if you are concerned about coupons bringing in the wrong clientele, think again. Even the wealthiest consumers use coupons.
Here is a snippet from our blog post entitled "WHY YOU SHOULD BE SENDING DIRECT MAIL COUPONS:
It might seem surprising, but wealthy people love saving money with coupons. In fact, households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to use coupons than households earning less than $35,000 a year.
Wealthy customers may be able to afford your most expensive products and services, but that doesn't mean they don't want a good deal. The majority of them are cautious about spending money and rarely make frivolous, unnecessary purchases. Rather than viewing your business as cheap, they'll appreciate your coupons and the opportunity to save money,
You can check out the entire blog post here.
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
Oil Change Coupon Example.pdf
Yesterday, went for a drive through North Jersey, was very concerned to see that independent shops are putting permanent signs with the $19.95 oil change offers, the $59 A/C recharge, and the $5 dollar flat fix. This reeks of desperation, clearly the industry is coming due for a strong correction. At my shops this month we are starting to see price resistance from the lower income segment, we are having to exert price flexibility for price discovery which we are finding to be 10% to 20% from list pricing. The mid to upper segments are still going strong.
By Joe Marconi
According to a recent survey featured in the May issue of National Oil and Lube News, 38% of the motoring public usually go to a new car dealer to have their oil changed. Second place was a quick lube and third place was the traditional auto facility.
Now, I have to admit, this survey was done by a publication dedicated to the Quick Lube industry, so I am not sure of any bias here. But it is worth taking note that the people polled were car owners from across the country. And, in spite of what we think about the new car dealers, they do want to penetrate the consumer market we took for granted for so many decades.
The point is that in today’s competitive climate we need to take a proactive approach to our business. Anyone who knows me or reads my articles and posts know I have been preaching this for some time now.
We also need to be convenient and deliver world-class service. We need trained people on the phone and on the service counter. Of course you need quality techs, training, information systems and the best equipment. But, look at your business through the eyes of your customers. That will tell you your next marketing strategy.
If I were you, I would do my own survey….find out for yourself….Who’s changing YOUR customer’s oil?
Article: Tell a mechanic to Telematics ---- Communication from customer, car, and mechanic is about to changeBy Gonzo
Tell a Mechanic to Telematic
Telematics, the latest in automotive communication. Not a communication between systems and scanners, but a communication between the car and mechanics. All without driver intervention.
For generations, when you have a problem with your car, you’d tell a mechanic. That’s all about to change as we head into the future with global positioning, drive by wire, and even more computer control in the modern car. Instead, your car will talk directly to the service center.
The mechanics will know when the car needs serviced long before the owner decides whether or not it really needs to go to the shop. With telematics, a mechanic can even watch the car’s condition in real time, which could make the search for intermittent problems a thing of the past. Of course you could call it another form of “Big Brother” watching your every move, but it’s all in the name of creating a safer and more efficient vehicle for the consumer.
The transition to a telematics system is inevitable. Change is part of progress, as they say. These new and ever changing technologies are what dictates the cars of the future. We might be driving a hybrid model, or a full electric, or perhaps a hydrogen vehicle by the time telematics is common place.
But, for me, the mechanic who services these technical wonders, it’s going to change things in a way nobody ever expected. And that’s in the initial diagnostic work. There will be a lot less effort spent on trying to sort out the problem with the car when the mechanic asks, “So, what’s wrong with your car?” Think about it, we have such a sophisticated piece of machinery operated by the average consumer who has little to no knowledge of how it actually works. When a problem arises the only indication is this little yellow light on the dash.
Then, with some sort of symptom in hand they’ll head to the repair shop. Their answers to the question of what’s wrong with their car can be far from being technically correct or even in the same ball park sometimes, which makes the mechanic’s job that much harder. The car and telematics, on the other hand, both speak “mechanic”.
For example, take these encounters at the counter, and imagine how simplified it would be by telematics telling the mechanic, instead of the driver telling the mechanic.
A lady called to tell me her computer was flashing. She told me that it would disappear and then reappear. I asked, “I’m sure you’re not talking about the little box mounted under the hood or under the dash disappearing and reappearing, are you?” Obviously not, she was talking about a light on her dash for the traction control. Rather than telling me it was the traction control light going on and off she kept insisting that it was the computer that was disappearing.
Last week it was an intermittent problem. A repair shop tried the same part three times and it still didn’t fix it. The owner of the car was wondering if I thought it could be something else.
Or, the guy who ran his truck out of gas and the repair shop told him the new pump they put in just a few months ago burnt up because he ran the tank dry. I told him that it’s virtually impossible to burn up an electric fuel pump by running the car out of gas, and that he must have a problem elsewhere. Turns out his truck has a dual tank setup and the transfer pump was faulty, but the repair shop only replaced the fuel pump, and filled the empty tank. (I seriously doubt they even know how to diagnose it.)
So where does this all lead too? Simply put, less second hand information, and less likely to have parts-swapper repair shops slapping unneeded components on a customer’s car without properly testing.
Half the battle of getting to the root of car problems is sorting through all the hearsay and gossip about what could be wrong from untrained and unskilled people, or people with a vague idea of how things work, who then mislead the consumer with some half-wit idea. Now everybody has an opinion about what’s wrong, but nobody knows how to fix it. Chances are even those free code checks at the parts stores will be a thing of the past, because the code, or problem, will have already been sent to the agency, repair shop, or dealership long before the owner has a chance to make that drive to the parts store.
If there was ever anything, that changes the automotive repair industry in a big way, for both the independent and dealership repair facilities, it’s definitely a working telematics network of professional shops across the country. I know I need to keep in mind there are still a lot of mechanics and repair shops that won’t agree. Some shops are stuck in the 20th century and see cars as mechanical machines with a few wires and a couple of computers. I’m sure there will be these type of shops around for years to come that will still fix cars with a timing lights and dwell meters. True, but as I see things shaping up, more and more mechanics are likely to be using a scanner or scope to diagnose and repair a car rather than a socket and ratchet. Let’s face it, times are changing, and so will the type of work the mechanic will be doing in the future.
Obviously, wearable items such as brake pads, timing chains, oil changes, and electrical components will all need to be serviced as they age, the big difference is how the mechanic finds out about those failures. The modern car can go a lot farther between scheduled maintenance than cars from just a decade ago, but very few people bring their cars in for periodic maintenance, and far fewer follow the recommended intervals for regular service. Telematics, will take care of that. It won’t be left up to the consumer or to a book crammed in the back of the glove box or that occasional email from the repair shop; the car will tell you when it needs to go in for service. It might even send you a text or email too!
Chances are you’ll show up at the repair shop with not much more than a vague idea of why you’re there, but the car has already talked to the mechanic. No need trying to explain things, he already knows. All you have to do is deliver it to the shop. Of course, if we’re talking about a time far into the future and you own an automatous car, the car might take care of that all by itself, too. Just think, you won’t have to try and explain things to the mechanic by reenacting the sound and motion the car made just before it acted up, or how you watched a YouTube video that you’re certain is the solution to the problem. Don’t worry technology has taken care of it all. Telematics, will tell the mechanic.
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