Hot Products to Update Your Shop
In the majority of the U.S., the fast lube industry is a competitive one. Whether you’re competing with the 30 other lube shops in your area or with yourself to outdo last year’s car count, there’s always something extra you can do to gain that competitive advantage. To stand out amongst the crowd, there are some nifty upgrades you can make to your shop to obtain your goal of outshining the rest.
Integrate Free Wi-Fi
With the fast paced nature of today’s society, almost everyone is connected. Whether through a smartphone, laptop, tablet or any other Wi-Fi enabled device, people are con- stantly checking email, updating their status or tweeting whatever is on their minds. This level of connectivity creates an opportunity for your business.
Unless you’re stuck in the ‘90s, your shop more than likely uses wireless Internet. You’re already paying for it, so why not make it work for you? You might think that enabling Wi-Fi access wouldn’t be a wise decision. However, to your customers, a 10 minute wait time can sometimes seem like an eternity. What better way to help them pass the time quickly than being able to play on their phone or catch up on their overflowing inbox with no data charges?
If you consider your store a one-stop shop and you have customers sit in your waiting room for more than 20 minutes for a service to be completed, a Wi-Fi connection is the best gift you can give them. If you’ve decided to take your customer service up a notch and provide Wi-Fi, you need to make sure that your business stays safe and secure. If your shop is already set up with an existing private Wi-Fi network, make certain it is encrypted with WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) personal security to keep non-customers (and potential criminals) from connecting to, and eaves dropping on, your network traffic.
You may already have the capability to set up public or guest access to your current network without having to buy another router. If you do have to buy another router, check with your Internet provider about discounts or other options that will help lower the cost.
To bump up the security even further, consider buying wireless hardware designed to offer Wi-Fi hotspot access. Doing this gives you more options and safety features. You can have your customers agree to a Terms of Service (ToS) before they can connect to the Internet, or you can have them enter an access code that gives them a set amount of time to surf the Web.
Another simple way to make sure your network is protected is to hide your router from the public. You can store it in a locked management office, or you can put it up high in a false ceiling tile. It may seem a bit paranoid, but like the saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Provide Tablets to Entertain Waiting Customers
If you decided that incorporating a free Wi-Fi connection was in the best interest of your business (and your customers), why not up the ante even more?
The tablet market has boomed since the introduction of these devices. Now that more brands are offering their own tablet, competition has driven down prices. Today, there is a wide variety of tablets to choose from.
To keep customers entertained in your waiting room, set up a small section where some tablets are mounted to a countertop. Having the tablets mounted prevents theft and encourages your customers to stay in the waiting area.