Thinking You're Working Harder? Maybe It's Smarter!

Automotive & HD Business Management Articles.
Bob Greenwood. March 21, 2013. ( over 8 years ago ) 1,640 views

The negative news all around us today certainly takes its toll on not only the consumer, but also shop management and employees.

Consider that tough economic times actually means potential good times for the aftermarket, however, business processes must be adjusted to reap the rewards. Have you had this in-depth discussion with the staff?

Realistically, two words must now be communicated to the client on a regular basis during 2013. They are “reliability” and “safety”. The customer/client may feel nervous about their financial situation and therefore reluctant to get things done on their vehicle this year and into 2014. As an automotive professional, you know that is not the right solution they should embrace.

Over the past 5 years, the best shops have made the transition to the maintenance side and management of the vehicle on behalf of the client. Times have changed for the client and the shop must now also adjust again to stay in the game. An example question to explore would be, “Do you know each client’s situation and outlook for the year ahead for themselves?” You must know that detail because when they feel uncertain about their income security, they will even neglect preventative maintenance items. This is reality today.

To stay on top and carry out your professional duties on behalf of the customer/client you must spend more time with each person. Consider this example of a transaction. “John, based on how your use the vehicle and your expectations with it, the vehicle requires $850 of work to maintain it according to the manufacturer’s specifications and maximize the life of the investment. However, to ensure the vehicle is reliable and safe for you, we must get this $250 job done today and here’s why.” (You explain fully). “I’ll work with you over the months ahead to get the balance of the work required done to ensure the vehicle stays up to standards which in turn achieves your long term expectations.”

This approach takes into consideration the client’s situation, builds a solid trust and confidence relationship with the client and points out your professionalism that reliability and safety are the most important points today. It will also make you feel you are working so much harder for each transaction as time spent with the client has increased just to get the basic requirements done. This is not a bad thing, in fact, it is smart because you are building and extending the long-term relationship prospects with each client. Take a good close look at how the front counter is dealing with each customer and client. Are you clearly displaying to the customer/client that you’re in this for the long run with them? Or are you trying to slam each transaction and get the most from them because you lack the confidence that the relationship of trust isn’t in place? Consider that clients will judge your business character and culture this year as never before. Management and staff must get on with the responsibility and learn how to transition the business and understand the new realities of this economy; an economy that opens the door to opportunity for the shops and Jobbers “that get it”.

Bob Greenwood

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Bob Greenwood
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada