By Joe Marconi
The other day, a customer asked my service advisor, if he would price match a set of tires. This customer got an online quote from the internet; a local TIre Store know for discouting tires.
My rule, I don't price match. My prices are competive and fair.
Would you price match just to get the job, and sacrifice profit? Remember, no one really knows the true cost of any service or repair until the car is in the shop. So, internet quotes are not set in stone.
IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Kelley Blue Book announces its new Auto Repair Guide experience, addressing both consumer and automotive industry needs for a principal source of trustworthy recommendations related to servicing and maintaining a vehicle. The all-new experience on KBB.com guides consumers through three primary service categories: Recalls, Maintenance and Repairs. KBB.com is also including the ability to allow consumers to schedule service online through the Featured Auto Repair Center, a pilot with its sister company, Xtime.
To point consumers in the right direction, the Auto Repair Guide on KBB.com helps car owners answer their top service and repair questions: What do I need to get done? When should I get it done? Where should I get it done? How much should it cost? With this new experience, Kelley Blue Book serves as a trusted advisor that connects consumers and service departments.
Kelley Blue Book's all-new Auto Repair Guide includes:
Information on recalls, maintenance and repair work
A Fair Repair Range estimator—similar to the Kelley Blue Book Price Advisor tool—to guide consumers on service and repair price ranges, based on average dealer service pricing
The ability to schedule service appointments with local dealerships directly on KBB.com through the Featured Auto Repair Center
Kelley Blue Book, backed by more than 90 years of experience and the most trusted third-party automotive brand,1 enables both consumers and dealers to remain on the same page for pricing and now, in the service lanes with its integration with Xtime, the leading integrated software platform for retail automotive service departments.
"Car shoppers have long trusted Kelley Blue Book to provide them with vehicle values, new-car information and more," said Jim Roche, vice president at Cox Automotive. "With this new auto repair feature on KBB.com, now they can rely on Kelley Blue Book throughout the ownership experience for guidance on service and repair costs, all while experiencing the same trust and transparency they've come to expect from the brand."
Consumers have negative perceptions about getting their vehicle serviced at dealerships, citing unreasonable total cost, overcharging, and labor or parts charges among top reasons for not using their dealership service department2. In reality, common maintenance and services provided by dealerships are on par from a pricing standpoint with independent offerings3. Kelley Blue Book's new Auto Repair Guide also makes service appointment scheduling easier for both consumers and dealers. Car owners can see the Fair Repair Range, select a service provider, and book service without leaving the site. Meanwhile, the Featured Auto Repair Center can connect dealers with engaged car owners, increasing consumer trust and confidence by validating their service pricing within the Kelley Blue Book Fair Repair Range.
"The complexities of how to maintain and repair a vehicle, as well as understanding the associated costs, are a major pain point for most consumers," said Tully Williams, fixed operations director of The Niello Company in Sacramento, California. "Not only has our dealership increased service cost transparency and communication with our customers, but they also have an increased sense of trust from knowing they are being fairly charged for every service visit."
To learn more about Kelley Blue Book Auto Repair Guide visit https://www.kbb.com/auto-repair, https://www.kbb.com/car-maintenance-service and https://www.kbb.com/ownership/recalls.
For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb, and follow us on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kbb_com/ (or @kbb_com).
About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week the company provides market-reflective values on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In Values and Kelley Blue Book® Price Advisor tool, which provides a range for what consumers can reasonably expect to pay for a vehicle in their area. Car owners looking to sell immediately can also get a redeemable, transaction-ready offer with Kelley Blue BookSM Instant Cash Offer. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Kelley Blue Book is a Cox Automotive brand.
About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling, owning and using cars easier for everyone. The global company's 34,000-plus team members and family of brands, including Autotrader®, Clutch Technologies, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, VinSolutions®, vAuto® and Xtime®, are passionate about helping millions of car shoppers, 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents and many others throughout the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based company with revenues exceeding $20 billion. coxautoinc.com
2018 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Cox Automotive Service Industry Study 2018 Cox Automotive Service Industry Study 2018 SOURCE Kelley Blue Book
By Mail Shark
It’s critical that you understand the pain points of your targeted prospects in relation to the products and services you offer in order to be able to strategically choose the marketing content that will be most compelling for them. This will enable your client to react and consider you for their next repair or maintenance service.
For example, in a 2017 Survey from AAA, the findings show that one-third of drivers in the US could not afford a repair bill that was unexpected. 33.33% is a pretty significant number of vehicle owners that have tight budgets.
With that in mind, if you offer any type of financing options for repairs, it’s important that your marketing message contains content that informs your prospects that you have options. These options will help them get financing for their repairs or maintenance and get them back on the road fast.
Depending upon how much content and space you have available on your marketing, there are a few different ways to promote your financing.
Below are a few ideas to promote financing options on your direct mail marketing.
1. Create a burst or some other type of call out that promotes your financing option.
2. If you are listing other benefits your shop offers, you can include financing info here.
· Financing Options Available
· Quick & Easy Financing Available
· NO Credit Check Financing
3. Utilize your financing company’s info, logo, etc. to create a larger impact.
Below is an example of a new project that just came by my desk demonstrating one of the many ways to promote your shop's financing. This example shows one side of a Jumbo 8.5x10.5 postcard.
Included is a bullet point calling out “Quick & Easy Financing Options” under the: Why Choose Auto Clinic? section. Since this is a critical message, we placed it first in our bulleted list based on the Primacy/Recency Effect, in order to drive home to the consumer . In other words, people tend to recall information provided at the beginning of a list (Primacy), and end of a list(Recency) better than information presented in the middle of the list.
We then reinforced this with another message addressing their customers' potential problem: “Unexpected Repair”, & our Solution “Fix it Today! $0 Down”. In addition, we incorporated the EASYPAY FINANCE branding.
Finally, knowing that 33% of drivers may be struggling financially is also a compelling reason to have a strategic coupon offering. Giving prospects the ability to save on repairs, in conjunction with providing them financing options, can help position you as the best option for their repairs.
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
By Nevil Jay
I'm currently looking into a business acquisition. It's a wheel repair shop based in South California. I have questions in terms of profitability and also, the expenses involved within the business.
I have profit and loss statements of the business. They currently operate 24/7 and have 30-35 employees. I am looking for someone who has experience in this sector that may be able to give me some unbiased advice. I also wanted to somehow come up with a valuation of the business. It operates out of a leased building, but consistently profits the owner a large amount of money. Who should I look for to verify these numbers? Will any CPA be able to understand?
Thanks in advance,
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By Joe Marconi
We all have those customers that focus on price alone. And we all struggle with our persistent attempts at converting them into believers. Believers of the concept that, while we cannot totally dismiss price, it’s the value of the product or service the customer needs to consider when making a purchase. What’s funny about these customers is that each visit tends to start with a complaint about price, even before the car is looked at. We recently had a situation that started off on the wrong foot, with price being the issue; but ended up a win for us, and for the customer.
Charlie Challenge (not his real name) arrived at our shop and asked for an estimate on replacing the timing chain for his Nissan Altima. My service advisor responded with, “Mr. Challenge, that’s a big job. How do you know your car needs a timing chain?” Charlie replied back, “Another shop checked it out and they told me it does. Can you please give me a price?” My advisor continued with, “Well, before we do anything, we need to perform a few tests to make sure you really do need a timing chain.” Charlie emphatically replied back, “And how much is that going to cost? All you guys want is my money! I asked for one thing; a price on a timing chain and you just want to make more money on something I already know I need!”
It took a lot of composure, but my advisor calmly stated all the reasons why testing is the best way to go, emphasizing the fact that if we replace the chain and it’s not the problem, the money spent would be wasted. Charlie shook his head, threw the keys on the counter and authorized the testing.
I’ve known Charlie for a long time. He’s not a bad guy. But price is always the topic of discussion. He has told me in the past that I should take a look at what other shops charge, and be more competitive with my prices. I have told Charlie that I don’t, and never will, price my services by what other shops are charging. I have also told him to look beyond price and look at the value you get. Besides, all the quality shops that I know are pretty much the same when it comes to pricing.
During the write-up process, Charlie revealed to my service advisor that the check engine light had been on, and that’s why he took his car to the other shop. The other shop replaced a valve timing solenoid, but that didn’t fix the problem. He was then told that the next step was to replace the chain.
Later that morning, the car was dispatched to a technician. A multipoint inspection was performed, along with all the tests related to the check engine light; which was a timing error. After the MPI and the tests were completed, we found a few things wrong with Charlie’s car. His Altima needed an oil change service, a battery, rear brakes, an air filter, the cabin filter had a mouse nest in it and the car needed an intake timing control sensor, not a timing chain. This engine has two intake control solenoids. One was supposedly replaced by the other shop. So, did this car have two bad sensors? Or was the wrong sensor replaced by mistake?
When my service advisor called Charlie to tell him the good news, he was silent for a moment. He was shocked that the car didn’t need a timing chain. He authorized the solenoid replacement, the oil change and replacing the mouse-infested cabin filter. He declined the other work.
I purposely did the follow-up call with Charlie a few days later. He was happy to hear from me and told me that car hadn’t run this good in years. I had to needle him a bit, “So Charlie, are we really expensive? We saved you a ton of money by doing the tests first and not just replacing the chain.” He said, “Ok Joe, I get it, I really do this time.”
During our conversation, Charlie did confess that he didn’t go to another shop, but actually went to that all-knowing, all-powerful place on the internet known as Google. It was Charlie that replaced the solenoid, not realizing there were two, and not knowing how to properly test the system either.
When I asked Charlie why he didn’t let us replace the battery, air filter and the rear brakes, he replied, “Joe, come on, I can do that work myself, and besides, you guys are expensive.”
Sometimes you win the battle, but it’s hard to win the war with some customers.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on October 1st, 2019
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By Joe Marconi
If there is one thing that doctors and dentists do very well, it's that they book the next appointment for their clientele. I have heard every excuse possible why many auto repair shops don’t do this. But the fact remains that everyone in your shop today will need future service and repairs. And the question is, “Are they coming back to you.”
Another reason for booking the next appointment is that there are times when not all the recommended services were done today. Some were postponed due to budget and prioritizing what’s most important. So, before that customer leaves, make sure the customer commits to a future date to have the work done. After all, why did you recommend it in the first place?
Car delivery is the time to review all the work done today, continue to build the relationship and to inform your customers of upcoming work and services. But don’t leave it to chance that the customer will remember. Be proactive, discuss future dates and put those dates in your calendar.
Lastly, call customers a few days before the appointment as a reminder. If the appointment has to be moved, then move it.
By Joe Marconi
A few years ago, some friends and I were having dinner at a local restaurant. There were six of us enjoying the food and having a great time. A few minutes after our waiter served us our coffee and dessert, the owner of the restaurant walked over to us, introduced himself and said, “I have people waiting for this table; how much longer do you think you’ll be?” Shocked by his comment, I hesitated for a second, looked up at him and said, “No worries, we’re done.” With just a few simple words, the owner of the restaurant wiped out the pleasant experience we were all having.
As we were finishing up, we couldn’t help noticing the stares from our waiter and the owner. Their eyes were laser-focused on us. They made it obvious that they wanted our table. We didn’t say anything to our waiter, or the owner. But we told each other, “We’ll think twice about coming back to this restaurant.” None of us ever did go back to that restaurant. And I heard similar complaints from other friends about that restaurant. About a year later, that restaurant closed its doors for the last time.
As a business owner, I fully understand what each table means in terms of profit. The tables at a restaurant are no different than the service bays in our business. The more people you can process through the restaurant, the more profitable the restaurant is. The more cars we can process through our service bays, the more profitable we are.
While I don’t fault the owner of the restaurant for recognizing the need to be profitable, I do fault the owner for not understanding a basic rule in achieving success in business. And that is: You build a business one customer at a time and by developing strong, long-term relationships with those customers. And to maintain that success, a business must continuously cultivate those relationships.
The owner of this restaurant didn’t get it. All of us had dined at his establishment before. The owner didn’t see us as an opportunity to strengthen the relationships. He saw the opposite. By asking for our table, he put the emphasis on his next sale and eliminated any chance of us returning again. Losing customers, and not understanding why, is the kiss of death for any small business.
What the owner determined important was profit per table, per person. The process to get people fed and done became the primary objective, when it should have been ensuring its customers were enjoying a nice meal and having a great time. It was a mistake that eventually led to his failure. Never think that customer quantity ever outweighs the quality of the customer experience. Making a memorable experience is the essence of great customer service.
If we dig a little deeper, we find another mistake made by the restaurant owner: believing that the customer experience was over when the meal was over. The meal was prepared, it was served and we consumed it. Then, at some point during the end of that process, we became an obstacle to his next sale. He failed to comprehend that the sale is not over when the meal is over, and that everything that occurs right up to the moment when a customer drives away from his parking lot will have an influence on whether that customer will return in the future.
The lesson for us is simple: Never lose sight of the importance of creating a customer. Establish a culture in your company that cultivates long-term relationships. Build a process that always strives for world-class customer service during the entire customer experience—and especially at car delivery.
Never think that when the technician completes the repair, your job is done. The customer experience continues right up until the time the customer is picking up their car. The time you spend with the customer after the repair is done is as important as making the sale.
Value each customer. Work on those relationships. Don’t worry about short term profit gain. Remember: building long-term relationships, builds long-term profit.
By the way, that restaurant has recently opened up again. My friends and I went there for dinner last Friday night. We noticed that the new owner was walking around greeting everyone. He eventually made his way to our table, introduced himself and said, “Can I get anyone anything? It’s great to see you here tonight and hope to see you again soon. Thank you.”
Now, you tell me: Do you think we’ll go back?
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on February 1st, 2019
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