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Cheap oil changes and Mudlick mail


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I started watching mudlick mails webinars and one thing that stuck a cord with me. The "highly successful" owner that owns many stores and sells millions a year preaches car count and sales, not per ticket or gross profit. He claims "where they get their oil changed is where they will get their brakes done in six months" * This seems to be a strongly held idea on this forum about those being bad customers. I am not trying to start a battle and I know he is trying to sell me their services but I thought it was worth a discussion.

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I agree with Joe on this one. I have been trying to pound this into my service writer. When people call wanting oil changes, we do them now. They normally aren't hard. We stock most of the filters and keep people coming back. Its the same reason that I added a tire machine. I don't sell a lot of tires but my most loyal customers don't want to go anywhere else and it keeps them coming to me for everything.

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GREAT TOPIC!

I also believe in making sure we can handle oil changes ASAP and at a competitive price. We have to make sure that we are thought of as "their" shop for everything the vehicle needs. Allowing them to go other places for service seems to really hurt the "loyalty" we want from our customer base.

 

In regards to the "cheap" oil change:

I too have believed cheap oil changes and coupons may attract too many of the wrong type customers. I accidentally just exposed my customer base to coupons, and had unexpected results.

 

I have never used coupons in any of my advertising/marketing pieces (except for my referral program). I recently started using Customer Link for my customer retention, and it has been received very very well by my customers. I did not catch that ALL of the emails and mailers had some sort of coupon on them ($5 off next oil change, $10 off $100, $20 off $200, etc). Once they started pouring in the front door I called and removed the coupons. I have been using Customer Link for 3 months, I removed the coupons in the second month, and now I have actually had a few customers comment on the fact that they haven't been getting any coupons! These are my GOOD customers and not "bottom feeders."

 

I am having a hard time deciding what to do with this information. The coupons worked very well on making sure my customers came back, but most of them were coming back anyways. (although I did have 3 customers tell me that they chose to do previously recommended work because of the coupon). I do not like the idea of paying for the coupon to be sent, and discounting my service with the same coupon! It's like a double hit! But, if it keeps the bays full AND I adjust pricing around it, it may work well. It just goes against everything I have been told (and believed) up to this point.

 

I am very curious as to what others are doing in regards to coupons and if anyone has had any similar experiences. (I hope that isn't too far off topic!)

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  • 4 weeks later...

How long did you use them? Seems like marketing can be hit or mis. I just bought 2 5000 drops.

 

My last direct mail campaign looked far worse and I got 4 to 1 return. That was a smaller run and that return was one customer over a month.

 

They are cheaper than vista print.

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We do oil changes, we also do not stock tires, but we can get them from a warehouse for the next day. People do like the one-stop-shop. What we have stopped doing, is oil, filter change coupons, no more discounts for that. We had too many customers that we only saw for the coupon. Well, those people still come here for their oil changes. There's always the "Jiffy Lube" too. We do the 10% discount for, seniors, Moose Members, elk members and military (we're close to a base).

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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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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