by Mary Della Valle
In running a successful import service business today, you need loyal, repeat customers. Just as importantly, you also need reliable, reputable suppliers. Any way you look at it, your parts suppliers play an important role in the day-to-day operation of your shop. So choosing suppliers should be a well-thought-out decision.
In a recent survey of ImportCar readers, we asked the question: “What are the top qualities you look for in a parts supplier?”
While their responses can be grouped into a handful of different categories, the top-scoring attributes included quality, service and availability. It all makes sense.
Using quality parts not only provides a long-lasting, superior job, it also boosts the reputation of the shop, elevates trust, ensures customer safety and eliminates comebacks.
Similarly, respondents indicated that good service from their parts suppliers makes them more productive. Good communication helps with identifying and getting the right parts, promptness saves time and money, and efficiency equals less down time.
The parts availability factor also helps technicians service imports with efficiency. Suppliers that are in close proximity to their customers, and who have the right parts in stock, are more likely to be the technicians’ “first call.”
Quality is the minimum price of admission today for suppliers to the import aftermarket. Just as your customers expect a quality repair from you, you expect none other than quality parts from your suppliers.
Distinguishing factors that provide the most customer service (like loaner cars, extended service hours, a nice waiting room, etc.) help set you apart from your competition.
In the same way, availability, prompt delivery, and knowledgeable, friendly salespeople help determine which suppliers earn your business. Credibility is lost if the wrong part is delivered, the car is improperly serviced or the person on the other end of the phone is not very friendly or helpful.
So, in the end, whether you are the person who throws away the box, or the customer whose vehicle is on the lift, quality is the foundation of the sale. The closing of that sale and the repeat business depends on how you and your suppliers spell customer service.