Greenwood On Management: Resolution for 2003: “Educate Our Clients” Part 1 of 2
The most important relationships that a shop owner must achieve today is the one with the shop's clientele. In this two-part series, I want to discuss the client education issue and cover a couple of ...
The most important relationships that a shop owner must achieve today is the one with the shop’s clientele. In this two-part series, I want to discuss the client education issue and cover a couple of examples of information that we, as professionals, must pass on. As you know, in examining the relationships you have now with your best customer/clients, a properly informed client is a joy to do business with.
Too many shop owners want to ignore this task assuming the client doesn’t want to know, and the only thing the client really wants to do is leave the shop happy after the work has been completed. Well, these shop owners are right, and they are wrong. They are right in that the client should leave the shop happy, but to say the client doesn’t want to know, or understand, what makes up the costs to properly maintain his/her vehicle today, is very naive on behalf of the shop owner, considering the client pays for his/her services in “after-tax”dollars.
The client, the consumer, is not stupid, but they are very uninformed as to “what” is going on within our industry, and all of us have done a great job keeping the real issues a secret from them. We all missed our life calling in this industry. We should have all been secret agents, because we are so good at keeping information to ourselves and not allowing it to leak out.
Consider making up professional “flyers”and/or “pamphlets” and/or wall mounted “menu style” boards in a format that informs the client of issues affecting them, such as the following:
Cut out newspaper articles where they talk about the shortage of a skilled workforce in the automotive industry (supply and demand in basic economics means that with a high demand in skills required, and an acute shortage in supply, the price goes up).
List the type (pictures) and costs of standard equipment required today to maintain the vehicle properly, and point out the fact that, in many cases, specific equipment is required for specific vehicle model.
Break down, in percentage terms, the makeup of a dollar that a client pays to the shop including cost of goods sold, wages, legislated taxes, shop operating costs, and of course, a profit so the shop can continue to serve them well.
When you start to educate your customer/client, you are truly communicating. When you communicate clearly, trust begins to build as understanding starts to take place.
In part two of this two part series we will continue with another piece of important information that the public and your clients must understand and that is the breakdown of how a dollar is spent in today’s modern shop. We’ll also describe how a shop can communicate what is included in the automotive maintenance and service rate.
Consider a wall mounted board, professionally designed with your business logo customized to what is applicable to your business, but perhaps containing some of the following information:
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN YOUR AUTOMOTIVE MAINTENANCE & SERVICE RATE
To meet increased competitive salaries as there is a tremendous shortage of competent Maintenance and Diagnostic Technicians within this industry.
To provide competitive compensation packages including comprehensive Group Insurance, Registered Pension Plans, and proper vacation packages.
To provide tool allowance assistance packages as all competent Technicians own their own tools and tool boxes but they can not deduct these costs on their personal income tax return in Canada. The average individual competent Technician owns in excess of $40,000 worth of tools that must be upgraded on a continuous basis.
To meet increased government legislated employer payroll taxes which are a minimum of an additional 18.7% this year of the basic hourly wage of the technician.
To ensure all environmentally friendly policies for disposal of shop material are embraced and adhered to.
To meet increased high technology equipment requirements to service your vehicle properly including hand held scanners and other comprehensive diagnostic equipment, and on-going computer equipment with continuous software upgrades.
To ensure comprehensive, on-going, employee and management training is maintained year round to serve you efficiently and professionally.
To allow for the on-going process of modernizing the shop facilities in order to hold all the high-tech equipment required today to service a modern vehicle.
To provide a professional and safe work environment for our staff including proper air ex-changers to eliminate poisonous fumes, effective shop lighting, and proper climate control.
This is a simple example of what can be done internally at your shop. You are starting the process of educating your clientele. This is one of the most important investments you can make in business today, and it must be on-going.
Slow down and clearly examine your processes of how you communicate to your customer/client base on these real issues.
In part two of this two part series we will continue with another piece of important information that the public and your clients must understand and that is the breakdown of how a dollar is spent in today’s modern shop.
Consider that to be successful in this business today, you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like. Let’s get on with the process of educating all shop customers and clientele.
Robert (Bob) Greenwood is President and CEO of E. K. Williams & Co. (Ontario) Ltd. and Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. Bob has over 27 years of Business Management experience within the automotive industry, counseling individual shops in Ontario. E. K. Williams & Co. (Ontario) Ltd. offices specialize in the independent sector of the automotive industry, preparing analytical operating statements for Management purposes, personal and corporate tax return completion, Business Management consultation and Business Management and Employee Development Courses. Visit E. K. Williams & Co. on the Internet at www.ekw.ca and sign up for their FREE monthly management letter sent to you by E-mail. Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. is a company devoted to developing Automotive Shop Business Management skills through the E-Learning environment over the inter-net. Students learn at their own speed, and at a time, and place, that best suits their needs; available 7 days a week 24 hours a day. Visit Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. on the Internet at www.aaec.ca
Bob can be reached at (613) 836-5130, 1-800-267-5497, FAX (613) 836-4637 or by E-mail; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org