Numbers Don't Lie
Car counts have been a topic of interest in the fast lube industry for quite some time. However, in 2008, when most operators saw declines in their counts because of a crashing economy, the topic of interest switched to a topic of concern. Business models, strategies and conventions are centered on improving car counts.
On the other hand, there are some businesses in the industry that are garnering great numbers in car counts, despite the economy. We polled these operators to determine reasons behind their success, and why they have the highest car counts in the nation.
(Note: Information was collected from the operators survey to determine the highest car counts in the nation. Because our survey is confidential, these individual numbers will not be published. Car counts for these operators range between 60 and 90 cars per day.)
It’s All About the Customer
“I believe we have high car counts, because of our customer service,” said Bobby Gipson, manager of Superfast Lube in Russellville, Arkansas. “Of course, everyone can say it, but customer service truly defines our culture. We make sure we treat the customer right, as soon as they walk in the door, with courtesy and respect.”
Gipson said another reason customers enjoy his service, is because they stand behind their fast lube name.
“We strive to be super fast in our service, as the name implies,” he said. “We do not take 10-12 minutes on a car, if the processes don’t require it. We do the processes and make sure all of our checks are done, but once everything is done, we get them out. I think some operators feel they have to give customers a 10-minute oil change so customers feel they get their money’s worth, even if the oil change could be done faster. People view time as a precious commodity, and my customers like to know that I will get them out as quickly as possible. Sometimes I’ll have cars in and out of bays in five to six minutes. We don’t try to rush the service, though. We have a lot of four-wheel-drive vehicles that take longer to service; so if a vehicle requires a 10-minute oil change that’s what we do to ensure the service is done properly. The speedy service is worth my customers’ money, not whether I actually took all 10 minutes to service their car. They pay for convenience, not minutes.”
Gipson had another reason for his high car counts: sales presentation.
“We do not push sales on our customers,” he said. “I pride myself in providing a hassle-free service to my customers. We do what the customer wants done and do not try to push them into other services. It’s important to me to let the customers ask the questions. It empowers them to make the decisions regarding their vehicle maintenance, which makes them more satisfied with my business, seeing as the decision was theirs to make.