If you’re thinking it’s the local jobber or John Q. Public, please allow me to humbly suggest that you give your head a shake.
It is repair shop owners and auto technicians who decide what brands they trust and will ultimately purchase. They are the key buyers of your products, and they purchase a lot of them! Nearly 80% of all replacement parts are sold to independent repair shops.
It is repair technicians, not jobbers, who can give you feedback on your new products. It is repair shops that can best promote your brands. It is the repair and service industry that can reach all corners of this country, even the smallest and most remote markets.
And, just as they can help you, you can help them. They really need your support. Yes, we all know it is impractical for you to have hundreds of field reps to satisfy every market or region. But that’s not what they’re asking for.
They need training to keep them abreast of the latest developments in the industry, technical guidance to help when they get stuck, warranty support when things go wrong, and ongoing customer service to make their jobs easier.
Remember the term “brand loyalty?” Offering these things is how you earn it. When you drop the ball on these responsibilities, your customers get the impression that you really don’t care about their business or their well-being.
Maybe this is what explains the proliferation of cheap offshore parts. You opened the door for that to happen when you cut back on customer service. When you stopped offering product training and support, we lost the ability to tell cheap parts from quality parts. The only differentiator we were left with was price, and that’s not good for anyone.
Here’s a scenario that happens all the time: a vehicle owner comes into a repair shop and says, “My car needs struts. What brand should I buy and why?” There’s a good chance the service advisor can’t answer that question. Without knowing the features of each brand, the shop cannot even start to match a product to the customer’s needs. Availability and price are the only options left.
Or let’s say a particular brand of part repeatedly fails and is repeatedly sent back to the jobber. If you want to keep that customer, an explanation had better be forthcoming. It is not enough to simply replace the part and compensate for labour. We need some follow-up, some kind of accounting, or our trust level will just plummet. We won’t want to install that brand anymore. In fact, all of your brands will become suspect in our eyes.
Repair shops are the finish line for most of your parts… and yet you seem to be out of touch with us.
Want to regain our trust, confidence and patronage? Make a commitment to not just to supplying quality parts, but to helping us do our jobs better, quicker, and more profitably.
Let’s find a way to bring manufacturers and their customers together again. We need you and you need us. Let’s work together!