Good Service vs. Upselling
Our industry began to change when the question became, “Which is more important, car counts or ticket averages?” Both are important, but what happened has caused a split in the industry. With ticket averages becoming the more prominent statistic for most in the industry, many training programs teach how to improve ticket averages. Most employee bonus incentives are structured with larger bonuses for increased ticket averages. If the ticket average is going to be increased then, naturally, the shop will to have to offer more services. Many of these additional services take longer to perform. The next obstacle that has immerged is the line between up-selling and offering good service. Can a shop still offer a quality service and do so in 10 minutes or less? What if your shop is a traditional quick lube where car count is more important than ticket average?
If you have decided that you want to be a quick oil change, stay with tradition and try to perform your services in less than 10 minutes. If you have decided that car count is king and ticket average is a barometer of measuring service quality and not the primary statistic for the health of the business, the next thought that comes to mind is, can you grow as a quick lube and be profitable? Making a profit and performing only oil changes could be a little tricky. There are products designed to complement oil changes, so it is a good idea to offer these products. Many professionals would tell you that it would be poor service not to offer these products at the appropriate time. With the competition advertising discounted oil changes, or in the case of car dealerships that are offering free oil changes with the purchase of a new car, how can the shop grow? To paraphrase what many successful business people already know, your customers want you to be in business! The reason the customer has chosen you to begin with is that they prefer to do business with you. So, don’t give away your profit. Charge what you need to charge to make a reasonable profit.
After more than 20 years in business, I discovered one of the best things that could happen is for one of my customers to do business with my competitors. It was only then that my customer knew why I charged what I did, why I performed the services that I did and, most importantly, why my service was still a better deal. The customer, learned the adage, “You get what you pay for,” without me having to say anything.
Before training the staff on the difference between up-selling versus good service, remind them that what they are really selling people is time. What is that worth? A lot. I would suggest the price of your products and services should reflect that. A quick oil change — 10 minutes or less — is in a different category than an oil change-plus and should set the price accordingly.
The traditional quick oil change model was never just an oil change. From the beginning of the industry, there has always been additional products and services that could be offered, while still remaining true to the standards of a 10-minute oil change. Couple that with the fact most consumers understand that everything wears out over time and needs to be replaced, and it may be time to train on how to give good service.