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Found 29 results

  1. Take a look at this short video on marketing to the new generation. You may find it very interesting ! https://www.concentrix.com/resource/video/we-are-not-all-broke/
  2. I recently made a call to my Internet provider to discuss and issue I was having. After multiple attempts at trying to explain my problem, the customer service rep on the other end of the phone had no clue how to solve my problem. She was nice, extremely polite, and had the voice of an angel. She was well-trained, but not in the art of problem solving. Great customer service is not about being nice to people, it’s all about understanding the customer’s needs and coming up with solutions to their problems. Train your service personnel in the art of proper etiquette, but also in the art of problem solving. Empower your people to also make decisions. Set limits, but give them the authority to solve issues without every problem reaching your desk.
  3. I’ll never forget the day when Mrs. Obrien brought her car back for me to look at. She was furious. I stayed late the night before, well into the night, to finish her car so she could have it for work the next day. I even did a few little things on the house because I felt she may be a little inconvenienced picking the car up so late. Why did she bring the car back? A comeback? Well, not in the conventional way. It was the greasy smudge on her seat that she was angry about. But what about me staying late? Or giving away a few minor services? Doesn’t that count? She is upset about a grease smudge? Oh yes, and she has every right to be. The fact is, you can do the best repair, using the best parts, performed by the best technician on the planet. But what the customer sees is not necessarily your hard work, it’s that little greasy smudge that you are judged by. Unfortunate and unfair? Yes. But it’s a reality. Perform the best repairs and provide world-class customer service; and never forget; it’s the little things the customer sees. And that’s what important to them.
  4. A woman called her dentist the other day and asked how much would a root canal cost. Her dentist replied, “Sure, hold on, let me look that up. Ok, that’ll be around $1400 for that job. Would you like to come in and have that root canal done?” Ridiculous scenario, you’re thinking? I agree! A dentist would never give a price over the phone without first examining the patient. Why do some shops continue to give prices over the phone? Even something as simple as a wheel alignment price can lead the customer and you in the wrong direction. Do you really know the car needs an alignment? Pricing over the phone is the same as giving them a diagnosis. When a customer calls for a price on a water pump and you give a price, you are saying to them, “Yes, it IS the water pump and here’s the price. And then you get the car in the bay and it needs hoses, a thermostat, and the radiator is leaking, not the pump. Giving prices over the phone also tells the caller to please judge you on price alone; a road I refuse to go down. I know this is going to push a lot of buttons today, but my tip today is to resist giving prices over the phone. Get the car into you bay, perform the inspection and/or the proper testing and then when you know what the problem is, sell the job. We are professionals, no different than the Dentist. Your thoughts?
  5. It’s easy to get sucked into the drama and the negativity of your worst customers. For some reason, no matter how hard you try, there will be some people that you will find impossible to please. My advice: stop trying. I am not suggesting that you ignore all problem customers. That goes with the territory. What I do suggest is that you don’t ignore your BEST customers. Pay a lot of attention to them. Educate your customers; explain the reasons why you are suggesting certain repairs or services. However, you will find that devoting your time and energies to your best customers will bring you a lot more happiness and add a lot more to your bottom line.
  6. Lets face it, a week cant go by without a technician comeback or a customer service issue. Mistakes will happen, theres no avoiding it. Obviously, you need to put systems and procedures in place to reduce the chances of mistakes occurring, but the truth is everyone at one time or another we will drop the ball. The key thing to remember when a mistake happens is to keep the lines of communications open. With every mistake there is learning experience that everyone in the shop can benefit from. Discuss the issue with your tech or service advisor. Get all the facts. Dont assign blame; the person who committed the mistake already knows he or she dropped the ball. Draw out of the person ways to improve and ask that person if it would ok to share the findings with the rest of the staff. We all need to adopt the culture of continuous improvement. We can sometime learn more from mistakes then when things go smoothly. One last note; I am not suggesting to ignore habitual mistakes or not recognize when someone refuses to improve or cannot do the job. In some cases you may have to let someone go.
  7. Source: Use technician comebacks and customer service issues to learn and improve
  8. The holidays are a great time of the year to strengthen your relationship with employees and customers. Spend time with customers and employees discussing holiday plans and family. Show everyone that you value people first, profit second. Make sure you are genuine and show sincere interest in others. In the spirit of Christmas, the more you give the more you will receive. And of course, never forget your own family. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!
  9. In order to make any sale,the person you are trying to sell to must see the benefit of what you are recommending. Your customer must see that you are trying to help them, rather than just sell them something. Each of knows the reasons "why" we recommend a timing belt or a wheel alignment. But, sometimes in the mist of a busy day we don't effectively communicate the "why". When a customer understands that replacing the timing belt is thousands of dollars less than major engine repair, the customer knows the why. The customer sees that you are trying to help. The other component in selling is clearly identifying your true profile customer, and ones that you have established strong relationships with. You will have an easier time selling to the right customer and those you have created strong relationships with. Focus on these customers and do all you can to continue to identify and build more of these relationships with the right customers. I am not saying to ignore certain customers, but the truth is we cannot be everything to everyone and attempting to be will eventually hurt sales, morale and profits.
  10. Source: Selling is all about helping the right customer
  11. I'm hoping to get some feedback regarding the circumstances described below. Any advice you might have about other ways to have handled the situation is welcome. Maybe you had a similar situation in your shop? How do you handle this? I started our commercial fleet services program five years ago, and have been fairly aggressive in doing what's necessary to attract local business, including the following: We bought a targeted mailing list (B2B) that was designed to reach the right-sized businesses & target the decision makers. We setup a budget to mail out our carefully constructed postcard mailers every 3-5 weeks. We hired an additional service advisor with outside sales experience & give him the opportunity to spend about 30-40% of his time out of the office shaking hands & making friends in high places. We share the responsibility in attempting contact with prospects who've never given us the chance to be their automotive service provider, and we've spent a fair amount of money on dynamic fleet service program brochures & other program collateral. Everything about the program is designed with our end-game in mind, and overall the program has been very successful. It's important to know that we didn't want to simply "dabble" in trying to attract this kind of business, we planned to dive in, commmit our resources, and be consistent in our efforts. People were either going to give us the chance to serve, or compel them to give us a bona fide reason to stop calling/contacting. (A simple "No", or "We handle this in-house", etc, is sufficient to call off our dogs!) So, on to the events of the day... There's a company with a small fleet of about twenty E150 & E250 vans who's maintenance supervisor has failed to give us the privilege of performing even a single oil change on any of their vehicle over the last 5 years. Of course - that's just how it is...sometimes you get the business, and sometimes you don't. In this case, although I've never been so unprofessional as to take it personal, it's a fact that they are just NOT our customer. He called the other day, and so it began: "Hey, how are you? This is Bill over at XYZ, Inc. Remember me? Of course you do, we've talked plenty of times - I'm the guy that has 20 Ford vans at our company. We do a lot of service on our vans, and I mean A LOT of service. It seems like we always have one of them in the shop for one reason or another." So right off the bat, I was trying to decide if it meant we were finally going to be given the chance to show him what a good job we can do for him. Afterall, we'd been "chasing" him for 5 years, with no response from himever ...even a polite return phone call or email. "Listen, we have another shop that handles our repairs & service, and they do a fine job, but to tell the truth, they're just a little backed up right now, and I'm having an issue. There's a strange electrical issue on one of our vans, and I think we need new balljoints." The reason for his call was transparent to me, now, and I felt like he was setting us up for an ambush, either with an attempt to low-ball, or expect service at a level proportionate to someone deserving of the "no-holds barred" variety for an account that brings thousands of dollars to us annually. "If I bring it to you in a little bit, are you guys gonna be able to diagnose our electrical issue & give me an estimate for the suspension work? If so, can you get it fixed & back to us today, do you think?" I explained that we would be thrilled to finally see one of his vehicles, and that I hoped it would be a chance for us to show him how hard we work for all our customers. I explained the basic premise behind our comprehensive inspection process (A $19.99 service that's waived completely if he authorizes the suggested repairs), as well as the normal steps we take to trace down the type/caliber of electrical faults he described to me over the phone. "Well, we don't need an inspection, we already had that done at our regular shop. You need time to trace the electrical issue? How long? There's a COST for that? Do I get the diagnostic free if I let you fix it, too?" By now, I guarded my tone to hide my disappointment, but told him enthusiastically that if he didn't need the inspeciton, that there would be no charge, of course, to write him an estimate immediately when he arrived in our office, if his "real" mechanic already told him what he needed. As for the diagnostic question, I was matter-of-fact as I told him that the honest time/materials to trace faults in power/ground would be charged, but that our shop rate for that kind of service is no higher than our standard rate. "Ok, well, I guess we'll just see, then. Can I bring it to you now?" Before he arrived, I began looking up the parts/labor for the suspension work he suggested he needed, and then even took the time to cross-reference it with the information found at Repairpal & AutoMD. In this case, although the estimate was rough and constituted about 6-7 hours of work, by all accounts, it fell at OR below the estimated price range found at both sites. I was confident the estimate was accurate & competitive, and awaited his arrival. The moment he arrived, he tried "rushing" me through the drop-off, insisted that he didn't need an inspection, but he wanted us to "look at it", and said he decided he didn't want us to address his electrical issue at all, that he would wait for his mechanic. I enthusiastically interrupted him, and let him know that I took the time to prepare an estimate for the repair he suspected needed to be done, and handed him the estimate, along with printed pages from the two valuable web resources, showing the competitiveness of the service. He took issue with the fact that I wrote estimates without looking at the van. I asked him if he wanted me to inspect it, and told him I was under the impression that he didn't want the inspection. I told him that if the work was approved based on his mechanic's assessment, that we would (of course) road test the vehicle & make sure the repair would accomplish his goal before proceeding. He left my estimate on the table, and rudely turned & walked out, saying that he was just going to go elsewhere. When I followed him toward the door, I asked him if I somehow offended him, and he said he was just a little "overwhelmed" (??) I asked him to at least take the estimate that I prepared for him, and encouraged him to call me with any questions. At least, I indicated, you can use them as a second opinion if you don't find what you're looking for elsewhere. It's my contention that he simply had NO intention of giving me the chance of earning his business, and that he only wanted me to give away the inspection, give away the diagnostic service, and lowball me on a difficult suspension job on a commercial vehicle. (Either because his ACTUAL mechanic didn't have the time, or desire to do it, or maybe he just finished beating up his "regular" guy and found himself without the professional help he needs yet again) Do you ever "fire" customers? Size them up? It's dangerous to pre-judge people this way, but isn't it plain sometimes that there are customers who, if they're difficult on the first day, that they'll be forever difficult, taxing, and unprofitable in the end? Ok friends...if you've read this far...please tell me if you agree, or if you think I have some growing up to do. Just one man's confession.
  12. New announcement from Michelin. Looks like they're getting into the online game with a new and different approach to making it easy for the customer to do business with them. There are a number of interesting things in the website's FAQ's that caught my eye. http://www.moderntiredealer.com/news/story/2015/08/michelin-pilot-program-sells-tires-online-and-offers-concierge-service.aspx Even if you're not a tire dealer, this move is a game-changer, What are your thoughts on this?
  13. stowintegrity

    No more Mr. Nice Guy

    This week has brought our shop more than our fair share of ups & downs. Some big jobs have gone on through completion without so much as a hiccup, while some small jobs have seemed to be nothing more than a painful distraction from "real" business. This one story, though...I really need some encouragement. Please tell me where we've gone wrong, or how we might boldly change our process to avoid these situations, because I've heard just about enough from whiny, underhanded customers. The facts: A gentleman brought his vehicle in because he claimed he was hearing a squeaky noise. He couldn't tell us anymore except that he though it was brake-related. He made it sound as though it pierced his eardrums and woke the neighbors. Anyhow, we road tested the vehicle, only to find that we weren't in fact, hearing any squeaking. His brake inspection revealed 2 things. First, his front brakes had been recenlty serviced. There were new rotors & new pads (along with a fair share of dust). The rear brakes had LONG since been serviced, and the pads were at 2-3mm, with sever piutting/grooving on the surfaccr of the rotors. The recommendation: We told him we didn't hear the squeaking, however, noted the new brake parts in the front, along with the excessive brake dust. He only acknowledged that he had the brakes serviced recently somewhere else. We told him that as a part of the brake inspection, we used our shop air to blow out the loose dust, and told him that if he was certain that the noise he was hearing was in his front brakes, to take it back to where he had them serviced, as there may be an eligible warranty service due him. As for his rear brakes, we shared the measurements, and he approved the installation of rear pads & rotors. We performed the service, and off he went. The followup: We called him as a matter of protocol the following week. He acknowledged that the squeak seemed more persistant, and was unhappy that we didnt take care of it. We empathized with him, and encouraged him to come back for a free road test/reinspection, thinking that if it was more persistant, it would mke the noise while he rode with us. He seemed ok with that and schduled the appt for today. The comeback: He didn't show up. He didn't call. He didn't answer the phone when we called back. He hasn't responded to our voicemail message. The review: He posted a low review for us online indicating that he came to us because he told us his front brakes were making noise, and we sold him work that didn't take care of it, and that he "probably didn't need at all". So....did we do something wrong? Should I have been adamant about the obviously cheap pads the other shop used? Should I have mentioned that we don't install "economy" brake parts? How about the response to his review? I've decided that I don't want him to come back, based on either a complete lack of respect for how hard we work, or out of genuine ignorance to the way things work. Someone else gets to do the brake service, but WE get a low review because we can't hear the squeak? Someone...please tell me if I'm crazy here, because I'm getting ready to put on my angry eyebrows and post a response to his review...
  14. We’re not the cheapest guys in town. There – I said it. But we’re not downright unfair, and we do a good job at offering over the top value to those we hope to serve. In any market or industry, there are three distinct categories of customers, the price conscious, value conscious, and the quality conscious. Sadly, the price conscious folks seem to be the most discussed in forums. We had a young lady come to us 2 years ago for service when she had a breakdown. In addition to the way her concerns were addressed from a technical/mechanical standpoint, she received such over-the-top treatment (I think her initial invoice was about $300), that her review of our company online indicated some key points in our company's mission statement, validating our effort to serve our market in the way we set out from the beginning. This, alone, made us dance joyfully. (I know…picture that, will you…) A month later, she cancelled an oil change appointment...actually, I think she was a "no call, no show". When we called, we found that she had fallen ill with the flu. As she was local, and exactly the kind of customer we knew we wanted to be of service to, my service writer took it upon himself on his lunch to buy her a get well card, some hot soup, and a balloon, and deliver it to her door that afternoon. Total cost? About $10. Weird, I know, but seriously, how awesome do you think SHE felt about it? What happened after that, and over the next 2 years was nothing shy of amazing. She has, without failure, come in EVERY FRIDAY with a plate of fresh, homemade cookies for us to leave out in our lobby for our other customers to share. Every week, for two years and counting! He cookies initially sat next to a well-articulated, printed letter she wrote, expressing her gratitude for “these weird mechanics who always seem to be more interested in the people who come in than the money they are hoping to make.” As it turns out, she had a rotten experience with her last mechanic, and as we’ve all heard the story, vowed she’d never return there. Apparently they just didn’t seem to care about her…they only wanted her money, and over time, it became more and more evident to her & her family. Zig Ziglar (paraphrased) said that you can have everything you’ve ever wanted in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what THEY want. He’s right. We focus on serving the people that come in, not the “almighty dollar”. Focus on the needs of people, and the money will ALWAYS follow, I promise. Focus on the dollars, and you may make a few…but you’re falling short of your potential. By the way, the customer described herein is married, has 3 college aged kids, and an elderly parent living with her. 6 cars. Six. In the last 2 years, we’ve collected almost $12,000 dollars from them for services provided, including 2 engine jobs. And she couldn’t care any less about the coupon in the paper at my competitor offering $10 off an oil change. Just one man’s story.
  15. 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.
  16. Last Wednesday I brought my wife’s car in for a few repairs: a T belt, a check engine light repair, spark plugs and a few other services. The car also needed front struts and mounts. The car would hit really hard over any road imperfection. The check engine light was related to a fuel problem, and I noticed a lack of power at times. As I drove the car home after all the repairs were done, I could notice a big difference in the way the car ran and handled on the road. Yesterday my wife took the car out, went to lunch with my daughter and then out to the mall and I few other errands. She had the car the entire day. When she returned home, I asked her, “So, do you notice a difference with the way your car runs and handles on the road?” With a straight face she says, “Not really”. Not really? I could not believe my ears. How could something so obvious to me, go unnoticed by someone who drives the car every day! This got me thinking about how our customers. We work so hard and at times perform technological magic. How many of our customers notice a difference when they get their car back? I would bet many do not. It all goes back to what the customer CAN and WILL notice. And that’s how they are treated, the look of you shop, your customer bathroom, your techs, how clean the waiting area is, and the appearance of the car when they get it back. Unfortunately, the hard work under the hood or under the car simply goes unnoticed.
  17. 34 years ago, when I opened the doors to my shop, I had broken cars lined up in front of the bays on a daily basis. Thank God for GM, Ford and Chrysler. Cars back then broke down at any alarming rate. We didn’t have to be the best sales people either; broken cars just arrived at our doorstep. We lived in a reactive world, where we repaired one car after the other. Those were the days! Well, those days are gone. Today, if you wait for cars to come to you, you may be waiting a long time. With extended service intervals, improved car quality, and less maintenance items to service and repair, we need to take a proactive approach. We need to improve our image, hire the best people, adopt a culture of continuous training, speak to all customers as if they are best friends or family, inform them of needed future services, book the next service, sell preventive maintenance and deliver world-class customer service. Most important; Create the customer experience so memorable, so enjoyable, so rewarding that when they leave your shop, they think to themselves…. “That was a great experience, I’m coming back.”
  18. We all know the value of making a great first impression. The way you greet your customers has a direct affect on sales and your overall success. But, why is it even more important to impress a first time customer? Think about your favorite restaurant which you have been going to for years. You are a loyal to that restaurant and continue to patronize it without even thinking about it. But do you go out of way to promote that restaurant? Probably not; and unless someone happens to ask you, you don't go around your neighborhood telling everyone about your favorite restaurant. Your long-time customers are no different. You have done a great job over the years and built long-lasting relationships. You have created a level of experience that they have to come accept. And to some degree, take for granted. This is not a bad thing. Its just a fact. This is one of the reasons why you need to continue to deliver that level of service your customers have grown accustomed to in order to keep them. Now, lets take a first-time customer. Their anxiety is usually high. Your shop is all new to them and they don't know what to expect. They may have had a bad experience at another shop. If you dont do something so extraordinary, they will not be impressed. And if they are not impressed they will leave your shop with no reason to promote it, and no reason to return either. But, if you really do WOW them, if you go the extra mile and create an amazing experience, they will leave your shop with a feeling of elation. When the level of experience for a first-time is so extraordinary, they will leave your shop and become song birds for you. They will tell their family about you, their friends and their coworkers. Each new customer is an opportunity to grow your business. If the experience with a new customer is less the ordinary, so will your business.
  19. 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
  20. Be Careful of Who’s Greeting Your Customers? Have you ever walked into a store, restaurant or other establishment and the person greeting you treated you as an inconvenience, rather than a valued customer? Sure you have. Well, who’s greeting your customers? More importantly; how are your customers being treated whether on the phone or in person? The people you have greeting your customers and on the phone represent you and your business. Sales can suffer with the wrong people taking care of your customers. This is especially true for first time customers. Every point of contact; from scheduling an appointment, to write up, to car delivery, are critical steps in the customer experience. These customer touch points can be either have a positive or negative emotional experience. Negative experiences will hurt customer retention; positive experiences will help grow your business. The best repairs, using the best tools and parts, done by the best tech means nothing when the customer is treated poorly. If you want to improve the customer experience, which will help increase sales, then take a long hard look at how the customer is being treated, in person and on the phone. Make sure that every point of contact with the customer triggers a positive emotional experience for the customer. So, your greeting your customers?
  21. With school ending, the focus will be on summer, and that means vacations. Meet with your techs and advisors and strategize on ways to insure that your customer’s cars are prepared for summer driving and for road trips. Create and promote a “Summer Vacation Road Trip Package”. Emphasize to your customers the need to insure that their cars are road-ready for the summer fun. Areas of concentration: Air conditioner Coolant Tires Wipers Oil Change Air and cabin filter Lights Fluid levels Belts and hoses Etc. Be proactive today. Your customers and your bottom line will thank you.
  22. What do doctors, dentists, eye doctors and hairdressers all have in common? Thats right; they all book the next appointment. So why dont we do it? Oh, I know many of you do, and that's great. But most shops don't, and I have heard every excuse under the sun why booking the next appointment does not work: "My customers dont know what they are doing in 4 month." Well, guess what; when your dentist books your next cleaning, you dont know if you will be available on the booked date in six months or a year from now either, do you? Booking the next appointment will help to smooth out the highs and lows in your workflow. It will keep the customer coming back to you and not thinking of someone else. But, there is a trick to the success of booking the next appointment. What does your dentist do a day or so before the appointment date? Yes, he calls you. And if you cant make it that day? Right again; he books another day. So the trick is to set up a call system to remind customers. The thing to remember is this.every car in your shop today will need future service workthe questions is this; will that customer come back to you? The odds are in your favor when you book the next appointment.
  23. I walked into an electronics store the other day and on the walls were large posters of sale items. On the service counters at the register were more sale offerings. There were sale tags on the items on the shelves. I instantly got the feeling of “information overload.” This got me thinking, many of us (me included), flood our customer waiting areas with brochures, posters, flyers, menu boards, etc. How effective are they? Should we narrow our focus on fewer items at a time? Is less, actually more, in terms of how we market our shops?
  24. 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/


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