Adapting To Enduring Expectations 

Adapting To Enduring Expectations 

Where we once provided business and technical information in a monthly print magazine, we now have daily newsletters and on-call websites to help spread the message of quality service.

My last name isn’t Ford, Diesel, Kettering or Watt, so my contributions to the automotive industry may never be covered in the automotive classes of tomorrow (or even remembered past today).

Yet, I do take credit for one industry first, at least within the storied history of Babcox Media – I ushered the era of electronic communication into the pages of our magazines.

In March of 1995, when I was editor of Brake & Front End, my email address was the first “dot com” item published in our publications. I posted my America Online “internet address” alongside my column and waited excitedly to get the conversation about people, profits and productivity going.

And waited. And waited. And waited…

Looking back at that March issue of Brake & Front End, my AOL.com address wasn’t just the first thing published, it was the ONLY thing. There wasn’t a single www. or https:// anywhere else in those pages, nor for many months after. It looked like the Information Superhighway might be a dead-end street.

Maybe I’d only ever be opening letters or reading faxes. Maybe those pink “While You Were Out” slips from the receptionist would be the only way I’d ever hear from readers. 

“I  heard those magic words: ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ Someone was looking to communicate!”

Eventually though, I heard those familiar electronic beeps, chirps and buzzes, then the magic words: “You’ve Got Mail.” Someone else was out there and was looking to communicate!

I still clearly remember that first email message from nearly 30 years ago. It was from a shop manager praising his owner for setting an example of excellence that everyone could get behind. 

“I’ve never seen such amazing ‘business smarts’ displayed as I’ve seen Bill Watts display them,” said Bob Devereaux, general manager at Gerald’s Tires and Brakes in Charleston, SC. The attitudes of the men are always in high gear. The turnover rate is almost nil. We have people in the company who are 15-, 20- even 25-year vets.” 

Okay, that was nearly 30 years ago, so many of those veterans have likely retired – but both Bill and Bob are still going strong, continuing to reach their customers in creative, successful ways.

They, like you, have reacted to the inevitable changes in this business. We’re doing more and more, faster and faster – and, frankly, better and better.  

Our methods of communication reflect that. None of us knew what to expect when we first opened that Pandora’s Box so long ago, and let me apologize for any influence I may have had on the overflowing inbox you now experience on a daily basis.

Where we once provided business and technical information in a monthly print magazine, we now have daily newsletters and on-call websites to help spread the message of quality service. You have the ability to do the same thing at your shop.

Opportunities to reach your customers are more accessible, easier to use and more effective than ever. Online reviews, near instantaneous texting and digital payment opportunities make communications with your customers easier than ever.

What hasn’t changed, of course, is the loyalty to your team

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If a brand of parts has a great reputation and hasn’t caused a comeback, stick with that brand.

Last month, I was trying to diagnose a P2096 for the downstream oxygen sensor reading too lean. The cure was a new downstream oxygen sensor. But, when the new sensor was installed, I started to get a P0141 for the oxygen sensor heater circuit. It ended up being a defective part and the heater circuit having less resistance than the original. 

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