Investing in the Future: Communication and Expectations
Are you servicing your customers to their standards?
It’s commonly known that for service providers, customers often want to have the vehicle in and out of the shop as fast as possible.
We all live busy lives, but when it comes to servicing and repairing vehicles, are shop owners and we as an industry, giving our customers the best service and what they expect from us?
Since the Great Recession of 2008-09, dealers have been focused on fixed operations and they are looking at getting more and more service business. When a customer comes in to the dealer to purchase a vehicle, the dealership wants to keep them for all their repair, maintenance and warranty work. Dealers have cleverly marketed the aspect of having factory trained technicians and OEM parts, all designed to convince consumers they are most qualified to work on the vehicle.
It isn’t uncommon to hear from a customer “I purchase a new vehicle and only the dealer can do the regular maintenance on the vehicle or my warranty is voided, so I have to take the car back to the dealer”.
It is important to know that in many cases, dealers are use scare tactics to make consumers believe that if they don’t take their vehicle to a dealer to get serviced, it will void the warranty. The truth of the matter is that as long as the vehicle is being maintained to OEM specifications and by using the proper parts and fluids according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, the warranty will not be voided, no matter if it is serviced by a dealer or an aftermarket facility.
For the customer, the most important factor is choosing an automotive repair shop that they know and trust. And in many cases, studies, such as J.D. Power’s Canadian Service Satisfaction index indicate that independent aftermarket shops often perform better than many dealers do when it comes to customer service.
Most automotive repair shops are investing in specialized equipment, tools and training for their licensed technicians to repair newer vehicles. We know that the changes are happening and we need to keep on top of the advancements in our automotive industry.
The question is, how will your business adapt to these changes taking place? How will you keep your customers coming back to you? What changes to your business plan will you have to implement? And if you don’t have a solid business plan in place, now is the time to make one.
Making time for training
As an association, AARO is regular keeping our members informed of changes, equipment and tools they will need to repair tomorrow’s vehicles. And the importance of making time for training to properly diagnosis and fix the vehicles of the future cannot be stressed enough.
Neither can communication. Feedback from your customers, both good and bad. It allows you to see where you are performing well and where improvements can be made. It also creates a sense of trust which creates loyalty. Make sure you talk to your customers. Let them know what their vehicle needs and why it needs it. Educate and empower them to understand the importance of preventative maintenance and show them that you are a professional automotive service organization that that they can trust and count on both now and into the future.