Auto Service World
News   April 21, 2022   by Adam Malik

If this is your competitive advantage, you’re doing it wrong

If your strategy of differentiating your shop from the one across the street is to tell customers that you fix cars really, really well and better than the other guy, you’re setting the bar far too low.

Customers already expect that you can fix their vehicle. They figure that you’re competent. The fact that you tell them you can do so is merely setting a basic expectation, shop coaches said at a recent conference.

“If everybody in your area really sucks that bad, that’s a great competitive advantage,” said Chris Cloutier, founder of and co-owner of multi-shop operation Golden Rule Auto Care.

However, “most of the time, other shops don’t suck that bad. They don’t.”

At worst, maybe the competitor’s shop is mismanaged. Maybe the shop owner has their head buried in the sand. “But they’ve got two or three really good techs. So most shops are good at fixing cars. But customers assume this,” he said during the Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo in Kansas City.

His presentation was called Managing Change in Your Shop.

At the same event, Bryan Stasch, vice president of product and content development at the Automotive Training Institute, agreed. Never tell customers you fix cars better than anyone else, he said.

“We all get it. I get it. But to a consumer? Low-level expectation. Do not hang your hat on low-level expectations,” he observed during his presentation Master the Chaos — Art and Science of a Successful Service Advisor.

“We got to highlight those things that are different and better.”

Saying your quality of work speaks for itself is just lazy marketing, noted David Avrin, a customer experience and marketing consultant, at the same conference. That’s what everyone else is saying — except for those who are marketing themselves better than you.

“We got to highlight those things that are different and better,” he said, adding that when everything is equal people shop based on price and proximity.

Even promoting that you have the right tools to do the job is considered elementary to consumers, noted Craig O’Neill, vice president of training at

“Customers always assume that you have the tools that you need to do the job right every single time. No customer out there thinks, ‘I bet this shop has really good equipment to accurately diagnose my car on this one problem,’” he said alongside Cloutier.

Again, some shops may seem disorganized. But customers aren’t going to squeal in excitement that you have a particular tool in your bays.

“It’s not going to delight the customer that we have the latest and greatest General Motors OE we scan tool to do the reprogramming calibration,” O’Neill said.


Image credit: Depositphotos

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