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Found 8 results

  1. 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? Your thoughts?
  2. If your shop is in the northern part of the country, there is no denying that this winter has been one of the toughest on record. Storms have forced many shops to lose work days, resulting in loss of income, which may be hard to recover from. But, there is another thing that can affect business, and that’s the mood and morale of customers and your employees. People tend to shut down as they endure day after day of bad weather and cold. This may have hurt your business more than the weather. For you, the shop owner and leader, you must maintain the right frame of mind. Remain upbeat and positive. Do not get sucked into doom and gloom attitude and find things to celebrate and feel good about. Your positive attitude will go along way with both customers and employees. Let’s face it; it will not be long before spring is here, and the winter…a distant memory.
  3. Customer satisfaction is a key component to insuring our success as shop owners. Too often we are not in touch with the customer and how their view our shop. In addition, what we do after the sale is crucial to our future business. Here's a link to an article in Motor Age written by Brian Canning worth reading on how to improve customer surveys and at the same time improve your customer's retention and confidence in you. http://www.searchautoparts.com/motorage/shop-owner/shop-management/perfecting-shop-customer-satisfaction-survey?cid=95882
  4. Yes, you can get it cheaper on the internet… I am not alone with this one. We see more and more people telling us that they can get the part cheaper on the internet, right? I overheard my manager speaking to a customer about a catalytic converter job. After Bill gave him the price of the job, the customer said, “I see those catalytic converters on the internet for half the amount you are selling to me. I cringed when the customer said this. But my manager was ready. He simply said, “Yes you can get it cheaper on line, do you have any other questions?” He remained silent and waited for the customer to continue, the customer said, “Well I guess it’s like anything else, you can always get things cheaper on line, you might as well get it done” I am not sure this strategy will work every time, but it was fun to see it work this time.
  5. I have preached on these forums, at my shop, to my coaching clients and at seminars that price is not the major deciding factor with regard to consumers. Well, I need to restate that comment. For some people, it is. I have a customer that constantly complains that my prices are too high, that I am higher than the dealer, that he can get the same parts on line for less, etc, etc, etc. After a 20 minute battle over the price of a catalytic converter, trying to point out all the benefits of why we are his best choice, I asked him, “Is price your only concern when it comes to your car?” He sternly replied, “YES!” So, I told him, “Well, then we can’t do business, please pay me for what you owe me up to this point, pick up your car, and good luck to you.” I felt uneasy after I hung up the phone, not just because of this one person, but for the many out that have no real understanding or respect for what we do. How would you have handled this situation? BTW: I gave the guy multiple options, explained the difference in parts and also called the dealer to see what the price would be for the job. We were not higher.
  6. My wife was having lunch at her job the other day and a conversation started regarding a check engine light. One of the ladies at the lunch table had a check engine light on and was fearful of the cost before bringing it to a repair shop. Another lady responded by saying, “Take it to either Advance or AutoZone, across from the Putnam Plaza on route 6, they’re right next to each other and they will diagnose your car for free.” My wife cringed when she heard this but did not say a word. We all know how some people think that pulling codes is an analysis, and how tough it is to charge what we need for Diag time. This perception about Advanced and AutoZone does not help. I am going to make it a point ASAP to meet with Advance, since they will be the primary part supplier in my area, and have a discussion on this topic. Some may call me naive, but I have to try. Pulling a code and making a judgment without performing tests is like a druggist at Rite Aid coming around the service counter, taking someone’s blood pressure and then selling them pills based on the readings. To me I see no difference. You?
  7. I recently read about this organization, Brake For Breasts. Shop across the country have joined in the fight to find cure for breast cancer by donating a percentage of the proceeds from a brake job. The link to the site for more information is below. Has anyone heard of this or participated? And what are your thoughts on this? http://brakesforbreasts.wordpress.com/
  8. I first-time customer arrived to us the other day, a referral from one of our regular customers. She had a drivability problem which her repair shop could not diagnose, so they sent her to the Honda Dealer. The car was supposedly diagnosed at the Honda Dealer, but she declined any work being done there. After my service advisor wrote her up, I asked her, “What made you leave the dealer without letting them repair the problem?” She replied, “I got a real bad feeling with the way both the women at the counter and the service guy spoke to me. I just did not trust them.” They told her she got a load of bad gas and wanted to remove the tank, flush it out, flush the injectors and do a de-carb. They were wrong. The problem was a valve adjustment, which we did, and the car runs like new. We did manage to save her money and correctly diagnose the problem. But, what was more interesting, were her instincts about the dealer’s credibility. Also interesting, she had only good words to say about her regular repair shop, even though they could not diagnose the problem. Why? I guess because they were honest. Even in today’s crazy world, honesty and integrity still wins out in the end!


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