Educate, Inform, Advise… and Succeed
This article was inspired by a reminder sticker I saw on a new client’s window.
Instead of showing the date/odometer reading of the next scheduled service, the sticker read, “Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended service interval.” It could have said, “We don’t have the time or knowledge needed to advise you on the best way to maintain your vehicle, so figure it out and call us when you decide to have us perform maintenance for you!” Most car owners don’t consult their owner’s manual for maintenance suggestions. How many clients even have the owner’s manual still in the vehicle?
The average vehicle owner doesn’t know how the transmission, power steering system or brake system works. The goal of any professional service advisor should be to educate their clients on how performing preventive maintenance can prevent the systems that make their vehicle start, stop and run properly—not break or wear out prematurely.
50 percent less
Consider this example: The cost of changing the transmission fluid properly could cost about $250. If the client flushes the transmission fluid every 75,000 kilometres, the total cost of maintenance would be $750. Compare this to the cost of replacing or rebuilding a transmission due to lack of proper and timely maintenance—about $3,000. The cost of 10 tire rotations is only a fraction of the cost of replacing tires prematurely due to lack of maintenance. Compare any maintenance service (proper brake maintenance, brake fluid flush, power steering fluid flush, etc.) to the cost of a major repair needed in any major system and the math becomes clear. Clients who maintain their vehicles will spend almost 50 percent less than clients who don’t maintain their vehicles—just fix it when it breaks down.
Shops that understand and believe in the value of maintenance benefit greatly. Maintenance-minded shops are booked days ahead. They can plan their days around all clients that are pre-booked for maintenance needs based on previous inspections and paying attention to the vehicle’s service history. The great majority of maintenance-minded shops’ clients feel a strong connection to the shop and their staff and owners because clients feel that the shop is looking after them and doing what’s in their best interest. Performing proper and timely maintenance will save the client money, help keep their schedule organized, ensure a safe and reliable vehicle, and preserve the value and long life of their vehicle.
Shops not buying into being a maintenance shop tend to spend a lot of time and money attracting new clients offering discounted services and hoping to find other work the client may need while they’re performing the service. This marketing plan tends to be costly, puts pressure on technicians to find other work, and may not build client relationship trust. Scheduling and pre-booking the client’s next visit based on their maintenance needs and making the appointment around their schedule and driving patterns is a much better way to build relationships and guarantee future business.
Being a maintenance shop has too many benefits to cover in one article. Shop owners, service advisors, parts suppliers and technicians all enjoy a more organized and productive work environment when clients are properly educated and consulted on the many benefits of proper and timely maintenance. Please contact me at the email address below if you have any questions or comments about being a maintenance shop.