You know the old expression “Good things come to those who wait?” When it comes to your customers’ cars today, following that advice is a bad idea.
We’re living in the new normal, and changes that have come over the past year will leave an enduring mark on how consumers behave and do business. Shop owners, too, need to adapt, because the old way of providing service, engaging with customers, and nurturing loyalty is going the way of the wheel bubble balancer.
Remember when your customers used to come in on their own for oil changes and routine maintenance? Even if they came in kicking and screaming over a squeaking noise or mush brake pedal, yet acted as if the car just starting acting that way, they tended to recognize when their car needed attention.
Lately though, you’re faced with a driving community that’s no longer driving as much (let’s be honest – they’re now getting three weeks to the gallon ), whose priorities have been supplanted by other more pressing concerns, and whose budget-tightening in the wake of record unemployment has lengthened the time between even regular service visits. To continue to thrive, your business can no longer be reactive; it has to be proactive. How? Never miss an opportunity to bring in a vehicle. Give vehicle owners a heads-up to things going on with their cars that don’t necessarily make a noise or give and odd vibration. Remind them that their ride might be getting up there in age and needs more tender loving care as a result. You may already be doing some of this – after all, what’s an oil-change window sticker if not an in-your-face reminder for a future appointment? But by digging down into how drivers’ behavior is changing, you can take charge of the customer experience and do more to keep your service bays full.
We’ve heard from many shops that they are proactively reaching out to their customers just to check in on them – especially the older ones – as well as recommending a vehicle check-up. Make them aware of the dangers of letting a car sit idle for too long, offer a complimentary inspection)
Many shops are happy to report the positives of using social media to connect with and maintain a relationship with their customers and the overall community at large. Sometimes, that’s simply offering helpful tips and creating reasons to engage with the shop.
You’ll likely have your work cut out for you – some vehicle owners see that oil change sticker which says “next change due in 5,000 mile” and think – “I haven’t driven that far all year. I’m good!” As their trusted service provider, it’s up to you to educate them that time is as much a driving factor as miles driven. You should let them know that if they’re driving light miles, oil can absorb moisture, and chemical additives can start to break down.
What better time to alert regular customers to the potential damage, wear, and system failures that arise from not driving much? We know full well that idled vehicles can result in a myriad of issues. However, the average driver may not, so it’s our job to tell them. Putting off an easy thing makes it hard – putting off a hard thing makes it impossible. These days, your customers are looking for easy.
This video is sponsored by BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY.