Your Way to More Business This Summer
As the weather gets warmer and the school year comes to a close, many of your customers are beginning to plan their summer trips. Whether a weekend getaway, driving to a summer vacation destination or simply visiting friends or family, the number of miles driven this summer is almost certain to be higher than it has been in many years. The increase in miles driven also means more service opportunities, especially oil changes and related maintenance, for fast lube operators coast to coast. Having a proper plan in place to capitalize on this potential business could make for a very hot summer for your bottom line.
If you have not taken advantage of the potential business opportunities summer vehicle travel provides, now is the time to start. Consumers have more money in their pockets these days, spending about $400 less on fuel compared to the same time last year. Even though gas prices have risen slightly recently, it is expected the price at the pump this summer could be its lowest in five years. Why not get your customers to spend some of those dollars on preventive vehicle maintenance?
A free vehicle inspection focusing on summer travel is an ideal way to generate business as well as create goodwill with current customers. The inspections can be simple and straightforward, focusing on oil levels, filters, proper lighting, wiper blades and fluid levels. These inspections do not take much time or manpower, but will generate positive feelings with motorists and can lead to increased business once their vehicle service needs are determined.
Implementing a proactive marketing program will not only benefit your business, but it will also help sustain it throughout the year. The Car Care Council’s “Be Car Care Aware” campaign offers a wide variety of free tools at www.carcare.org/industry-tool-box/ to help engage your customers, attract new prospects and grow your business. From marketing ideas to promotional materials, the Car Care Council is your one-stop source for a variety of business-building activities that can help improve and enhance your customer relationships.
Communication is key to any successful program, so be sure to visit the “Communicate With Your Customers” section of the Industry Tool Box. Whether sharing on social media, signing up for the council’s e-brief newsletter or downloading tips for your website or videos for your waiting room, there are all kinds of ways to inform and educate your customers and keep you up-to-date on the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign happenings.
The “Tune Up Your Website” section of the Industry Tool Box has even more ways to incorporate Car Care Council information on your shop’s website. From logos and digital banners to a service interval schedule, articles and Car Care Clips videos, there is plenty of useful information to link to and download.
A popular resource on the Car Care Council’s website is the free personalized schedule and email reminder service at www.carcare.org/car-care-service-schedules/custom-service-schedule. Why not link to this free service from your shop’s own website? It’s a quick and simple way to provide more value to your customers and make sure they receive friendly reminders from the Car Care Council that it’s time to take care of their vehicles.
In addition to making sure your customers’ vehicles are road ready, you can provide them with fuel savings tips to help them keep even more money in their pockets. Fuel saving tips from the Car Care Council can be found at http://www.carcare.org/2015/02/invest-gas-savings-vehicle/ and include service tips that make a difference, such as replacing dirty or clogged filters, using the proper grade of motor oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer and making sure tires are properly inflated. By sharing these tips with your customers, they will be reminded you are looking out for their best interests.
The Car Care Council recently updated its 80-page Car Care Guide with new information to help motorists better understand the when, why and how of caring for their vehicles. You can share the digital version of the guide free of charge by using the www.carcare.org/car-care-guide link. Rather have printed copies to personally hand out to each customer following service? Available in English and Spanish, printed copies can be ordered online. Custom printing with a company logo on the back cover is also available in bulk quantities. Also available for order are newly updated “Be Car Care Aware” and “Car Care Month” point-of- sale materials, such as posters, banners, brochures and mirror hangers.
Why not consider hosting a car care event to reach out to your community and attract more customers this summer? It doesn’t have to be National Car Care Month in April or Fall Car Care Month in October. Every month is Car Care Month. Hosting an event can be as simple as offering free inspections at your shop, or it can be more encompassing by involving other local businesses and conducting a large community car care event. Visit www.carcare.org/host-an-event to learn how an event can be an exciting addition to your marketing program.
Summer travel means opportunity for you. By making a plan and leveraging the free tools from the Car Care Council, you can capture a share of this potential increased business while, at the same time, building long-term and lasting customer connections.
RICH WHITE is the executive director of the Car Care Council. For more information about the Car Care Council and the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign, visit www.carcare.org