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Hey guys. I'm new to the forum and was looking for this subject but couldn't find it. Sorry If I'm posted something that's already been discussed. I own a brake shop in Austin, TX. We do anywhere from 10-20 brake jobs a day. We only do brakes so I don't know how much full service auto shops deal with this problem but... Customers are constantly calling in claiming they've bought the best parts or they want to provide their own parts because they've done research and know what is best. This drives me crazy. First of all they don't know whats best. Then after being told no they get offended and act like tons of shops allow this. What is the best way to handle these customers? Just send them away? I'll quote them a price using our parts and they act as though its a rip off. What shops are doing this for their customers? I feel like I'm letting jobs get away from me. Any experience with this?
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We all have our favorite customers. You know who there are. They’re the ones that throw their keys on the service counter in the morning and say, “Do what you need to do and I’ll see you at 5 p.m.” They never question your price, they trust you and they keep coming back. But does that person define your true profile customer? The answer is probably yes. But it’s not the only criteria. It’s a little more complicated than that. Defining your true profile customer starts with you. It starts with who you are, why you are in business and the culture of your company. By the way, determining your true profile customer has nothing to do with excluding certain people due to their income level. The young 23-year-old college graduate who sets aside part of her paycheck to shop at Whole Foods does so because she believes in the company and for what they stand. It’s not about what she “supposedly” can or cannot afford. She is Whole Foods’ profile customer because she aligns herself with that brand. And Whole Foods welcomes her with open arms. Many of my profile customers endured tough economic times during the Great Recession of 2008. They lost their ability to pay for some of the things they previously could afford. What they didn’t lose was their loyalty to my company. So, what did we do? We helped them through that difficult time. We helped them manage their car care needs better, offering services that would save on fuel, reduce repair costs, and reduce breakdowns. We showed them how to squeeze every mile out of their tires and brakes. We took care of them and we still do to this day. We consider them family and we don’t turn our backs on family. One thing we didn’t do, and will never do, is compromise on price to get a job. That would not be fair to all my customers, my employees or the company. With regard to pricing your services and repairs, it’s a delicate balance between being profitable and competitive. But I don’t know of any shop that prefers a customer walk away or sends someone to another shop because he or she cannot afford a particular price. A smart service advisor will give options, prioritize the work needed, and offer finance options. If you’re a startup company, your doors are wide open to everyone. You need customers and car counts, and you need them right away. But as your business matures, you begin to realize that not everyone is your customer. And there’s nothing wrong with this realization. As you build your customer base, you begin to see that there are customers that respect the work you do, align themselves with your culture and appreciate what you do for them and for the community. They become your profile customers. Let’s say you sponsor a youth baseball team in your area, help out at community events and involved with local fundraisers. You will become known as the business person that cares about the community and children. That’s making your business stand out among the rest. As you define who you are, you also attract those that want to do business with you and support your brand. While I do recommend treating everyone the same, I don’t recommend trying to be everything to everyone. That’s not a sound marketing strategy—that’s a recipe for failure. Defining your customer and targeting your market does not isolate consumers. It actually increases market share. Here’s an important fact: In your geographical area, automotive shops basically do the same thing; they repair and service automobiles. So, how is a consumer going to choose you over another? You need to stand out. You need to be different. You need to build a brand culture and establish a marketing position that will make people take notice. By the way, every successful company, large and small, understands its true profile customer and creates a marketing plan on attracting them. One last thing: When you build a business around your culture, you put the focus on your brand and the value you provide. This strategy is one of your pathways to success. When you combine value with culture, you will have an enduring and profitable company. If you want to build a great company, ask yourself these questions: Why are you in business? What’s your life’s purpose? Your culture? Build a marketing strategy and a brand message around the answers to these questions. Not all people will take notice, but your profile customers will. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on August 3, 2018
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Those shops doing courtesy inspections how much time are you paying your tech's to do the inspection? I've read on some forums anywhere from .30-.50. I am attaching a link to one of our courtesy inspections to give you an idea of what we check during our inspection process. Also, what do you pay the technicians for oil change & rotations each? http://2un.me/1ibws
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We want to start offering finance options to our customers. Can anyone recommend some companies that you use? I've heard good things about One Road Lending. GE Capital is now Synchrony and they have horrible reviews. Appreciate your help! Thanks, Pam
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By Chris Monroe of Elite We have all felt that empty feeling in our gut when a client walks back in the door with the “look” shortly after installing that new set of tires on their BMW. As they uncomfortably begin to describe some rim damage that didn’t exist when the car was dropped off…yuck.
Yes, you have policies in place to address such situations, but for whatever reason, the training on quality control has failed and now you are left to deal with the fallout. What next?
It is obvious there is a quality control issue that must be addressed, but how you take the next steps are very critical to the image of your business, as well as the credibility of your team.
The first step is to remain calm while reviewing with the client their concerns. Walk out to the vehicle and allow them to express what they feel is of issue. Once you have listened and observed with sincerity, start the process of restoration.
In our case, we had an incorrect set up on the tire machine with a low profile run-flat that ultimately allowed contact with the rim. This scratched the lip in multiple places. In addition, the technician continued with the installation without stopping to involve the advisor so we could get in front of the issue with the client. The technician did tell the advisor, but the timing was such that the client looked at the assembly on the car prior to checking out. Imagine how much easier this would have been had the advisor gotten to the client immediately to make them aware and assure them that we would professionally restore or replace the wheel.
Needless to say, I spent the next day with each and every technician reviewing the situation and the importance of why we have policy and process in place. Our technicians are now well aware of what to do (stop immediately and report the issue to the advising team) if damage occurs or could occur to a client’s vehicle, and understand the importance of getting in “front” of these concerns.
A better example this week where a technician wisely notated worn lug nuts and a partially damaged center cap “before” we began work. He gave the advisor a quick heads up that enabled a client visit to the vehicle to see in person and discuss the concerns. Not only did we replace the brakes on the car, but also replaced 20 lug-nuts and 4 center caps! The service concluded with the client scheduling another vehicle for service and thanking our team for being honest and helping resolve the issues. (This ain’t rocket science folks)
If you are in the automotive service business, incidents can and will happen. Coach and train your team on how to handle these situations, and demonstrate how important timing is with advising your client. Your shop's reputation and credibility ride on it. This article was provided by Chris Monroe, an industry leading shop owner who recently won the 2018 Tire Dealer of the Year Award, and a Business Development Coach who helps other shop owners reach their goals through the Elite Coaching Program.
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