Auto Service World
News   April 26, 2024   by Zakari Krieger

From the Magazine: Developing business strategies

Here’s what jobber stores can look to implement to separate themselves from the competition


One of the core challenges facing jobbers today is how to enhance the business using strategies and tactics that improve their value proposition and set them apart from the competition in their market.

Over a lifetime of being around a family business and a group of large jobber stores, I came to see that the business, as many others like ours, had the right vision in terms of building relationships and offering great customer service. However, it needed to go through a complete digital transformation to really be able to use data and digital systems to drive actionable insights within the business.

Some key examples of this included setting up IP phone systems with advanced analytics and reporting to monitor customer service metrics when calling our jobber stores.

While online and parts ordering integrations are increasingly utilized within the value chain of the jobber store, a significant aspect of the business, particularly for non-application parts, still involves shops calling the store and speaking to the parts counter staff to source parts and supplies.

In my experience, leveraging an IP phone system with advanced reporting and monitoring capabilities enabled us to establish KPIs and operate at a high level of service. We regularly monitored metrics such as dropped calls, average answer times, calls handled by each counter person, inbound and outbound calls and so on. This enabled us to distinguish our service from the competition and uphold high levels of accountability and transparency within the business.

Another example was the implementation of SMS to CRM interfacing, allowing clients to text counter staff pictures and ask questions regarding service. One major complaint we identified was that when we experienced late deliveries, our dispatch would call the shops, which often aggravated them. Upon surveying our clients for service improvement ideas, the feedback overwhelmingly favoured text messaging as a better communication option. As a result, we built a system to streamline the process and enhance the customer experience.

For many jobbers, this dilemma arises: Should they wait for the warehouse distributor or their banner to provide support, corporate innovation or resources, or should they rely on their own entrepreneurial spirit to find solutions and drive these types of changes?

The dilemma

For many jobbers, this dilemma arises: Should they wait for the warehouse distributor or their banner to provide support, corporate innovation or resources, or should they rely on their own entrepreneurial spirit to find solutions and drive these types of changes?

At the shop level, there are many resources, including 20-groups — a group of shops that generally don’t operate in the same geographical region but work in the same industry — banners and franchise networks that provide these types of support mechanisms. At the jobber level, however, these types of support mechanisms are much more limited.

There are generic CEO groups that jobbers can join to network with other professionals. The jobber business, like many others, is complex. My advice is to find these support resources as it’s crucial to gain insights into the best business practices employed by other professionals within their respective industries.

Opportunities

I had the opportunity to spend close to a decade with UAP-NAPA as an associate member with my stores and can attest to the transformational shift and resources that NAPA provides jobbers, including accounting services, digital systems, and retail services.

While the banner and business system support were critical in helping us modernize our business, I still believe in the power of a 20-group for jobbers to address the isolationism that many face. Many operators spend the majority of their time managing from within the walls of the business.

This type of support mechanism can bring progressive ideas on various business topics, including human resources, insurance, tax, and succession planning from outside the confines of their business.


This piece originally appeared in the March/April issue of Jobber News


Print this page

Related


Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*