The best shops, like several of the Garage of the Year nominees, have incorporated into their business operations the Internet and online communications to more effectively reach vehicle owners; they ...
The best shops, like several of the Garage of the Year nominees, have incorporated into their business operations the Internet and online communications to more effectively reach vehicle owners; they have not, however, forsaken quality and honesty.
One thing that always puzzles me is the endless letter designations for existing and upcoming generations. It can be safely said that it began when Douglas Coupland created the term Generation X to identify a set of persons–usually in their twenties–and their values and beliefs. They were soon followed by an even different species of animal ‘Generation Y.’ Soon there will be ‘Generation Z’ and then we have to begin with the start of the alphabet, I suppose. This labeling has proven useful to marketers. No matter what letter designation each generation has each is so unique that marketers, businesses and persons have to communicate with them differently in order to reach them effectively.
In the recent SEMA News, Alysha Webb argues because Generation Y is ever connected to the Internet, addicted to Facebook and iPods, and Tweeting every moment of their lives, aftermarket businesses need to grab onto these technologies and adjust their communications and marketing strategies to accommodate this new culture of instant information and communication.
I don’t disagree with the need for independents to begin using many of these technologies to communicate with their customers. Many people today do the majority of their communications with friends, family and businesses through various online means, from email to online video chats with sales persons. What I do have problems with is the sentiment that because of these new technologies companies of all sorts must market themselves differently.
The reality is no matter how people communicate, what finally attracts someone to a particular set of products or to a company is quality and honesty. For service providers this is something to keep in mind when embracing new technologies. The best shops, like several of the Garage of the Year nominees, have incorporated into their business operations online communications technologies to more effectively reach vehicle owners; they have not, however, forsaken quality and honesty. What the best independents do is use new technologies to reinforce those two core ideals. When people come to your Web site, what are they seeing? Is it what hours you are open and the services you offer; or are you emphasizing the quality of the repair and maintenance work you offer, the expertise of your technicians and comments from satisfied customers who appreciated the efforts you took to give them an honest appraisal of the work to be recommended? When the customer finally arrives, are they offered different ways of being communicated with? Some people want to be phoned, others would like an email to tell them the work is finished or even a text message. And if the customer wishes to communicate with the shop to approve of the work proposed, to solicit advice about a problem they may be having with their vehicle, what means are given to them?
What has to be kept top-of-mind is that new communications technologies are no substitute for honesty and quality of work. It is those two things which attract people and have to be communicated, whether you decide to use Web page or to have your technicians and service writers Twitter. If you can’t provide either of them, no matter how slick of an online campaign you conduct for your shop, how many Tweets you send out or Facebook friends you have, you are not going to succeed.
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