Shop Life Columnists

Winter is Coming

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When the winter months roll around many of us prepare for the slowdown, cutting hours or employees as we drop a little customer count from November to February.

We are preparing for snow and ice by purchasing shovels and ice melt and much more for the cars like winter mix windshield fluid. The employees receive jackets to wear and some of us go looking for hats and beanies to protect from the cold. These are all operational adjustments made to make sure that we can operate efficiently daily. There are still many other things that we can do to maximize the customer experience and knock out some sales at the same time.

When a customer comes into your lobby to await their service, our goal is to make them as comfortable as possible. A customer that is comfortable is not looking at the clock as often. We have nice, comfortable chairs, televisions with programming to attract their eyes and sometimes cameras to watch the services on their vehicle. We can take another step in the wintertime by adding amenities. Coffee in a waiting room is a given, but that cannot be the only hot beverage available. Spend a few dollars and pick up hot chocolate and apple cider for your options. In some cases, you can talk about this on your social media through thoughtful posts that garner attention. 


Change with the Seasons

In the lobby, you want a comfortable atmosphere. Keeping the heat at a standard temperature, like 70 degrees Fahrenheit, will keep the customers cozy like in their vehicles. With upcoming holidays, spend some dollars and decorate. We have four distinct holidays that you can use with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. This may seem a little trivial, but to a customer it may feel a lot less like a mechanic’s shop and more like a home. Put up a tree, set out valentines for customers or any of the many ideas floating in your head at this moment.   

Why are we spending so much time on making sure that the customer is comfortable? Well, that is simple. A comfortable customer is a happy customer, and a happy customer is a better customer to sell to! How many grumpy customers are going to drop their cash with you? If you can get a customer open to listen to what you have to say, you have won half the battle. Remember that customers do not wake up in the morning and say, “I’m going to spend a couple hundred today at the quick lube!” They would so much rather spend that on a steak dinner, a new pair of shoes and much more.


Service Focus

So now that your happy, comfortable customer is full of hot chocolate and laughing over the TikTok playing on your tv setup. Now, what are services that you can present to them that are vital to the winter months? 

Look at the fluids that are floating around in your engine.  The antifreeze exchange is the number one service that everyone thinks about during these times. It is simple, regardless of what machine or method that you use, to complete this service in a time efficient manner to keep those customers happy and comfortable. Another fluid to think about is blinker fluid. No, I am just kidding. Brake fluid is what I am really talking about. That’s a sealed system, so it should not get contaminated, but the fluid does wear out. As we move into the snowy, icy months of the year, stopping in a slide becomes particularly important. If you do not have this service on your checklist of options, get on it. There are simple machines that you can get that are quick and efficient and keep the system sealed from air. These two services are money makers for the right salesperson.

So, these next few months, look at what you can do at your locations to work on these amenities. May I suggest giving your store a budget and letting them get their own decorations or drinks. This gives your stores buy-in to the process and will make them more apt to look for other ways that you can make some changes to take it a step further. No matter what you do, think creatively, and try something!

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