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Joe Marconi

Management
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Joe Marconi last won the day on February 14

Joe Marconi had the most liked content!

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About Joe Marconi

  • Rank
    ASO Staff Member

Business Information

  • Business Address
    44 Route 118, Baldwin Place, New York, 10505
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
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    Tech-Net

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  1. January and February have always been a struggle. People are still paying off credit card bills from the holidays, heating bills are an issue, the weather is a problem and the overall mood of the consumer is not as positive as with other times of the years. The only thing that seems to help somewhat is the make sure you flood your customers with service reminders and recommended repairs during this time and get on the phone and call people who have not done the work you have recommended. Also, budget for the slow down to ride out those months.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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 View full article
  5. I think it’s safe to say that few people go to McDonald’s for the fine dining. In fact, McDonald’s struggled a few years back when it introduced healthy choices on its menu. Even with its challenges, McDonald’s is considered one of the most successful business models on the planet. It’s a brand that is so well known for its consistency that it actually promotes comfort in the mind of the consumer—a lesson in marketing that could prove powerful for your business. Imagine yourself traveling with your family on a highway far from home one night. It’s late, everyone’s hungry, and you’ve been on the road for hours. You’re not familiar with the area but you tell yourself to turn off the next exit and find food. As you drive off the exit, you notice a cluster of stores and bright lights; a good sign for weary travelers. As you approach the stores and bright lights you notice two food establishments: Billy’s Burgers and McDonald’s. The only two restaurants in town. Now you tell me: Which one would you choose? Most would choose McDonald’s. While there are many reasons why most people would choose McDonald’s over Billy’s Burgers, perhaps the most compelling reason is that McDonald’s has done an amazing job building its brand on the consistency of its service and its products. McDonald’s’ customers know exactly what they are getting, and that communicates comfort. People tend to feel more secure with what they know and what they anticipate. So, what does McDonald’s have to do with running a repair shop? It’s the marketing lesson of consistency of service. Promoting consistent world-class service with each customer will create an experience that will give customers a compelling reason to return in the future. Now, most of us are not franchised across the country, and many of us are single location business owners. Our business model is different in that we tend to build relationships over time. While we may not be a national brand, we can still have brand recognition in our community. We can still have a brand that communicates consistency and comfort; a winning marketing strategy. When a customer walks into your business, it’s not because he or she is hungry and looking to eat a meal. There’s a problem with his or her car, or a service they need to have done. People rely on their cars and leaving their car at your shop can be disrupting to their lives. This causes a level of anxiety within every customer. We need to recognize this and find ways to reduce or eliminate this anxiety. If not, the experience won’t burn a positive impression in their mind, which means they may not be back. The customer experience is a crucial element to the success of any company. But, do we fully understand the impact of consistency in service at every step of the customer experience? How being consistent can promote a feeling of comfort and security? Your customers must be greeted the same, the phones must be answered the same, car delivery must be the same, and the quality of service and repairs must be consistent. Something as simple as forgetting the lube sticker or not resetting the maintenance light can raise anxiety and make the customer question the quality of your service, which will have a negative effect on the entire experience. However, the marketing lesson is not only how you define great customer service, but in defining how to deliver consistent, great customer service at every step of the customer experience, time and time again. This strategy will ease the anxiety within your customer, which will benefit you the next time your customer’s check engine light comes on or when her car needs servicing again. By delivering a consistent, amazing customer experience again and again, you will instill comfort and security in your customer’s mind. This simple strategy increases the odds that the customer will think of you the next time for their automotive needs. And that’s the secret of McDonald’s. Think about this. A consumer is traveling to work on a Monday morning. She notices that oil change maintenance is on. This consumer has been to your shop, the dealership and the local quick lube in the past. She knows the cars needs servicing. Where will she choose to get her oil change done? Will it be your shop? Will it be the dealership or quick lube? That all depends on what business made the best impression in her mind. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on January 25th, 2019
  6. I think it’s safe to say that few people go to McDonald’s for the fine dining. In fact, McDonald’s struggled a few years back when it introduced healthy choices on its menu. Even with its challenges, McDonald’s is considered one of the most successful business models on the planet. It’s a brand that is so well known for its consistency that it actually promotes comfort in the mind of the consumer—a lesson in marketing that could prove powerful for your business. Imagine yourself traveling with your family on a highway far from home one night. It’s late, everyone’s hungry, and you’ve been on the road for hours. You’re not familiar with the area but you tell yourself to turn off the next exit and find food. As you drive off the exit, you notice a cluster of stores and bright lights; a good sign for weary travelers. As you approach the stores and bright lights you notice two food establishments: Billy’s Burgers and McDonald’s. The only two restaurants in town. Now you tell me: Which one would you choose? Most would choose McDonald’s. While there are many reasons why most people would choose McDonald’s over Billy’s Burgers, perhaps the most compelling reason is that McDonald’s has done an amazing job building its brand on the consistency of its service and its products. McDonald’s’ customers know exactly what they are getting, and that communicates comfort. People tend to feel more secure with what they know and what they anticipate. So, what does McDonald’s have to do with running a repair shop? It’s the marketing lesson of consistency of service. Promoting consistent world-class service with each customer will create an experience that will give customers a compelling reason to return in the future. Now, most of us are not franchised across the country, and many of us are single location business owners. Our business model is different in that we tend to build relationships over time. While we may not be a national brand, we can still have brand recognition in our community. We can still have a brand that communicates consistency and comfort; a winning marketing strategy. When a customer walks into your business, it’s not because he or she is hungry and looking to eat a meal. There’s a problem with his or her car, or a service they need to have done. People rely on their cars and leaving their car at your shop can be disrupting to their lives. This causes a level of anxiety within every customer. We need to recognize this and find ways to reduce or eliminate this anxiety. If not, the experience won’t burn a positive impression in their mind, which means they may not be back. The customer experience is a crucial element to the success of any company. But, do we fully understand the impact of consistency in service at every step of the customer experience? How being consistent can promote a feeling of comfort and security? Your customers must be greeted the same, the phones must be answered the same, car delivery must be the same, and the quality of service and repairs must be consistent. Something as simple as forgetting the lube sticker or not resetting the maintenance light can raise anxiety and make the customer question the quality of your service, which will have a negative effect on the entire experience. However, the marketing lesson is not only how you define great customer service, but in defining how to deliver consistent, great customer service at every step of the customer experience, time and time again. This strategy will ease the anxiety within your customer, which will benefit you the next time your customer’s check engine light comes on or when her car needs servicing again. By delivering a consistent, amazing customer experience again and again, you will instill comfort and security in your customer’s mind. This simple strategy increases the odds that the customer will think of you the next time for their automotive needs. And that’s the secret of McDonald’s. Think about this. A consumer is traveling to work on a Monday morning. She notices that oil change maintenance is on. This consumer has been to your shop, the dealership and the local quick lube in the past. She knows the cars needs servicing. Where will she choose to get her oil change done? Will it be your shop? Will it be the dealership or quick lube? That all depends on what business made the best impression in her mind. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on January 25th, 2019 View full article
  7. Your accountant is dead on! I have been in business for 39 years. I have to be honest, I hated the years I had to pay a lot of taxes, until I realized they were my best and most profitable years!
  8. With over 40 years in the auto repair industry, I can write a book on shop production, and I would title it: "The reason why production suffers, and ways to improve it" But, perhaps the first step in getting production to where you want it is to promote team spirit. Yes, I know about training, workflow processes, making sales, the right tools, quality equipment, shop layout and correct labor billing. All that counts too. But, none of that means anything if your techs and service advisors work in an workplace with poor morale. As a shop owner, recognize the performance of your employees. Set the right tone and encourage them to exceed their limitations, and also say thank you once in a while. Raise team spirit, and you will raise production. I know this is a wide-open field for discussion; so what are your thoughts.
  9. Joe Marconi

    BG Products

    I agree Frank. We keep the margins low for that reason. We want to be competitive. What we do is to combine services. For example: When replacing spark plugs, we sell a package - Spark plugs, Oil Change, MOA, Fuel Induction Service. Or, we combine any brake work with a brake fluid flush. When we do a timing belt, we will package in a coolant service. When we do Factory Maintenance Services on vehicles less than 100k, we offer the benefit of the BG Lifetime Protection Plan. There are many other examples. We also so seasonal packages: MPI Safety Check, LOF, MOA, CF5 for $69.95. By the way, perhaps our best marketing plan is the Lifetime Protection Plan. A week does not go by when we tell someone, "Good News, Bad News" The bad news is you need a water pump that will cost $600. The good news, you don't pay a dime. It's covered under the BG Protection Plan. I hope this helps.
  10. Joe Marconi

    BG Products

    We have a few different three part kits. GDI, regular fuel injection, etc. Our rep makes up the kits for whatever we need.
  11. Below is a link to an article in Ratchet and Wrench Magazine about what Valvoline is doing about the tech shortage. The aftermarket needs to look at social media and other unconventional ways to bring techs to our industry. https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/7471-Valvoline-launches-auto-career-platform
  12. Joe Marconi

    Shop owners: Should we embrace competition?

    Frank, I have seen this before, and you are right; it hurts us all. And as you said, we are all in this together. I don't know if we will ever overcome some of these challenges, but we are making a difference. I have been in this industry for decades and I see a promising future with bright young techs, service advisors and shop owners that truly care about the work they do and the industry. As long as we keep communicating and pushing forward, we will continue to make a difference.
  13. In my opinion, competition is actually good for the industry, and good for your repair shop too. It keeps us focused and forces us to maintain pace with other repair shops. It drives us to take a look at our own business to see where and how we can make improvements. Don't worry about the competition. And never compete on your competition's features. Find what sets you apart; your differentiation factor. Deliver world class service and promote your culture to your employees. So, how do we handle the competition? Learn from them, but don't copy them. Become the best you can be. Promote a culture of customer caring with your employees. The rest will take care of itself. Your thoughts?
  14. Joe Marconi

    New York Cost of Doing Business

    You are right on target. Even without the internet, part prices in general are lower now than they were years ago. That's why we need to be careful with margins. A 50% margin on a water pump that cost us $40, five years ago, is not the same as a 50% margin on a water pump today that cost us $30. Years back we made $40 on that pump, now, at the same margin we make $30. Pay attention to dollars, not margins. Add in the internet, and you have challenges. That's why we need to sell the Customer Experience, and make sure our labor dolllars drives our profit. Keep expenses under control, keep production up and make sure we all get paid for the hard labor we do each and every day.
  15. Joe Marconi

    BG Products

    I am, and the products are great and so is the support from my rep. We also promote the BG Lifetime Protection Plan. This is a Gold Mine for shop owners. You sell the service and the customer has a protection package. If a failure does occur, such as a caliper or wheel cylinder, the customer has coverage and in most cases BG pays the entire bill. And the best news is, it's not like working with an extended warranty company. In terms of marketing, BG is something I would urge every shop to consider.


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