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The Time Machine (Your Workshop)

17 Aug 2010 Workshop Mate

Time... it's a non renewable resource. Once you’ve spent it, it’s gone forever. Your senses can’t see, smell, taste, touch or hear time.

Your Workshop through its team have the responsibility of controlling and selling time. Time… an intangible commodity that cannot be stored and discounted for sale tomorrow nor can it be sent back to the manufacturer in the next parts return. It can also be one of the most expensive resources for the Workshop to acquire and maintain.

50 % of the available selling hours for 2010 have already gone. Your service manager and his/her team’s ability to plan, measure, control and market the remaining 50% of hours available for sale in 2010 can have a dramatic effect on the success or failure and profitability of your Workshop.

To meet the challenges and to take advantage of the many opportunities in 2010 and beyond, there needs be a change in the culture in Workshops.

Owners spend large amounts of money building new premises and branding their businesses to attract customers and to instil the perception that they are customer orientated and that they are a professional business to deal with.
So why is it that after investing huge amounts of money to promote the business, the Workshop area is still referred to as the “back end” of the business? The perception of being the back end of anything is not an inspiring or a pleasant one for the service staff or the customers.

First impressions, perception and relationships are the tools the Workshop use to sell time – what sort of first impression or perception do you create when introducing the customer to the back end of your business? Do 5 star restaurants refer to the kitchens as the back end of their business? The successful ones don’t !

Perhaps a more accurate description of the Workshop should be the “back bone” of the business.

The following are some strategies you may want to consider:

  • Customer retention strategies – make use of the “kiss” system.
  • “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.´ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” Mary Kay Ash.
  • You can create loyalty programs much more cheaply than you may expect. Simply by using your customer’s name when they come into your Workshop is a great place to start.
  • The only time that the workshop has 100 % customer retention is at the time of the service. Introduce the service team and the many services they provide at the time of delivery.
  • Implement consistent and innovative service marketing programs together with increased training for all front line service counter staff.
  • Offer appointment times that are most convenient for the customer and confirm appointments.
  • Prioritise the customer’s needs; attend to the “primary” concern first. Ensure the vehicle is fixed right – the first time – on time.
  • How many of your current employees use your Workshop for recommended vehicle servicing or repairs?

“People tend to live up to what’s expected of them and they tend to do better when treated as if they are capable of success.”

Important: This is not advice. Clients should not act solely on the basis of the material contained in this bulletin. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice per se. Also changes in legislation may occur quickly. We therefore recommend that our formal advice be sought before acting in any of the areas. This bulletin is issued as a helpful guide to clients and for their private information. Therefore it should be regarded as confidential and not be made available to any person without prior approval.