The "in town" U Haul dealership went out of business - their other business, not the U Haul part - and we have been approached to take it over.
Is anyone else an independent U Haul dealership?
Pros and cons? We are in doing due diligence and researching everything about it.
By Joe Marconi
Got your attention? Good!
This past Sunday I took a booth at the local Business EXPO in my town. I like doing these things for the obvious reason - It helps to promote my company's brand in my community. But the other reason I do it is to speak with the average consumer to gain information. One of questions I ask is this: "What model car do you drive and where do you go for service?"
It is amazing to me how many people go back to the dealer for service work. And here are some of the reasons:
It's a lease car, I didn't know you could take my car to you for service It's a new car, don't you HAVE to go back to the dealer? I don't know where to take my car, so I stayed with the dealer I have free maintenance (we all what "free" means) I don't want problems if I need warranty work My salesman told me when I bought the car that I had to used dealer parts and service Aren't the dealer mechanics better trained?
By the way, when I asked about the level of service and convenience, all of them rolled their eyes and said something like this, "Well, it's the dealer, you know what you get." MAN! I can't help thinking that if they came to YOUR shop you would win them over just on your level of customer service!
So, as you can see, we are in a fight with the dealers. The great news is that we are still the number one choice of the motoring public. Let's fight to stay that way.
We, as independent aftermarket shops, do not aggressively market ourselves against the dealer. Maybe we should start?
I was struggling to find the right forum to post, so please feel free to move to the appropriate column if you wish.
Was looking for another management software and ran across this, specifically dealer targeted, system.
For those who worked at the dealer before, it is probably not news, but to me it was. I realize that they have to sell their system to the dealer, just like AllData or whoever is selling theirs to us. But, please click on the video and see how they approach the customer experience process as a long term commitment. We are constantly talking about it here on the forum, but are we really giving our 100% commitment to each and every one of them?
If we are to beat the dealer at their game, we must see what they are doing and how to tweak our business accordingly.
At 02:04 of the video you will notice the word I love to hate - UPSELL
I just wish more of our customers can see what the dealer is really interested in. See 02:22
No, I am not into dealer bashing and actually believe there is plenty of decent dealerships out there that have customer benefit in mind and would treat them right. On other hand, there is plenty of them that don't and that's where majority of our business will come from.
It's funny because I actually said this would start happening not even 2 weeks ago. So the service manager for a Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge dealership called me today to see if we could swap an engine in a 2006 Dodge Durango with a Hemi. He said he can't find engines and it's too hard for their mechanics... Now this is no small dealership so I'm guessing they can't find mechanics that want to work for peanuts. Of course we accepted so we'll be swapping the engine.
By Joe Marconi
The daughter of a long time customer came to our shop the other after the dealer, during their free Oil Change service, informed her that she would need brakes on all four wheels. (This dealer gives free oil changes with the purchase of a new car) She called her father from the dealership and the father emphatically told her to get the car out of the dealer and bring it straight to Joe. She brought with her the invoice that clearly stated: “Brakes needed front and rear, pads at 3mm”.
After a road test and a four wheel brake inspection, we found that she only needed rear brakes. The front measured at 5-6mm. In addition, the car was due for its annual NY State inspection, the wiper blades were torn, and the tires needed rotating. She authorized the rear brakes, the wiper blades, the Sate Inspection and I included rotating and balanced the tires at no charge.
She was happy and upset (at the dealer) at the same time. I did not discredit the dealer, but did bring up the fact that sometime free is not a good value.
This situation got me thinking. This car had 42,000 miles on it and has been going back to the dealer since new for the free oil changes. So, in that time, the dealer was unable or could not establish a relationship strong enough for this customer to trust them. When the customer needed repair work that would actually cost them money, my relationship won out.
I think this is a lesson for all of us, don’t give up on what makes us so strong as independent shop owners: The relationships we have with our customers.
I plan on working hard finding out what customers have purchased new cars recently with free service and market to these people that free is not to be confused with value. I also plan on inviting these customers for my FREE safety check, after all these are still my customers and I want to make sure their cars are safe and maintained.
Let’s brainstorm on this and see if we can share ideas. The customer may still go to the dealer for that free service, but their hearts are still with us. WE need to capitalize on this.