A close look at the J. D. Power and Associates study reveals that while the world economy may be taking a beating because of credit problems in the U. S., the aftermarket is showing surprising strengt...
A close look at the J. D. Power and Associates study reveals that while the world economy may be taking a beating because of credit problems in the U. S., the aftermarket is showing surprising strength and continued signs of profitability.
OKthis has been a rather rough month with the the ongoing credit crisis, Lehman Brothers failing, AIG needing to go to the government cap-in-hand and now the U. S. government having to bail out the banks from their troubles by buying out their mortgages. You might be thinking that things can only get worse. While I can’t guarantee that things won’t (and I’m betting things will continue to be rough for a while longer), there is one bit of good news I’d like to extend to the industry. In this issue you will see our annual look at the J. D. Power and Associates’ Canadian Customer Commitment survey. A close look at the study reveals while the world economy may be taking a beating because of credit problems in the U. S., the aftermarket is showing surprising strength and profitability. Canadians are spending some $850 a year of service and repairs for their vehicles and more Canadians are taking their vehicles to the independents for work. This year showed a nearly one per cent increase in owners taking their cars to independents as opposed to dealers, with more owners of two-three year old cars taking their vehicles to the independents as opposed to dealers. And as cars get older this trend only gets stronger; and people are spending more money as well. On average, older vehicle owners will be spending $1,126 on service and the key beneficiaries are the independent repair shops.
This trend is something others are seeing. The Atlanta-based Genuine Parts Company said recently that because of economic uncertainty people will likely hold onto their current vehicles longer, foregoing the purchase of a new one. This will mean an increase in the sales of aftermarket replacement parts which will mean an increase in service work for the independents as the J. D. Power and Associates report shows older vehicle owners are more likely to take their cars to an independent service shop than a dealer operation.
What is important to remember is what is driving this move to the independents is quality of service and customer experience. The J. D. Power and Associates study finds independents rank highly in consumer’s minds on customer service and quality of work, which then drives customer loyalty. Do good quality work and treat your customers as people and value their business, and they will bring their business back to you, along with others.
This year’s 2008 Garage of the Year finalists showcase this, with a true focus on quality of work and customer service. They have invested in not only updating and maintaining their equipment and technologies, but also invested in the training of their technicians and the professionalism of their front-line service writers and managers. They have set a bar that everyone should strive for.
I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate the many other shops that were also in the running for a finalist’s spot this year, shops such as Advance Automotive and Transmission, Ronny’s Performance Automotive and even the wonderfully named Auto Smarto. All had excellent qualities and the many nominations sent to us testified to the loyalty of their customers who praised the quality of their work and customer service. So stay with and in December we will be announcing the winner of the 2008 Garage of the Year.
Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Have your say: