ARTICLES

What Sets Apart the Best From the Rest?

Jim Collins, author of the bestsellers “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” once said that the two greatest leaders of the last 100 years were Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs. Those familiar with Steve Jobs and Apple know that his career was a story with many lessons. One of these was his uncompromising conviction that the customer experience was pre-eminent in importance. Jobs was an innovator and visionary in the technology sector. This central pillar in his cathedral of ideas even has an acronym now: UX, which stands for User eXperience. For auto service operators, this idea translates
Read More

Customer Service: What Strengthens Your Relationships?

No matter what business you are in, customer service is more important now than ever. As society becomes increasingly impersonal, the value of personal relationships, the need for personal attention and adapting to customers’ needs matter. Add to this the ever-changing social media variable, and you will be quickly made aware of one of the dangers of poor customer service.


Read More

Servant Leadership: A Win for Everyone

Are you a servant leader? If you are a servant leader, then you will “serve first.” According to polls, two-thirds of all workers are disengaged. Half of all employees would leave their jobs today, if they had something else to go to. The problem is not that people don’t like to work. All my life I have been around people who love their work and who get invigorated by what they do. The problem, then, is something else, and I believe it is often the company culture. What is Your Culture? Michael Jordan once noted, “Talent wins games, but
Read More

Hands-On Training Makes a Difference

People who know me know that I’m a big believer in the importance of training. That is why this stat I came across recently caught my eye. It was in a blog called “When I Work,” “Forty percent of employees who receive poor (or no) on-the-job training leave within the first year of employment. And when employees leave, it costs you.” That’s a pretty sobering number. When I analyze that statement the word that jumps out at me though, is “poor.” In other words, not all training is created equal. There is training that is useful, training that is
Read More

Protect Your Customers’ Investments and Help Prevent Breakdowns

Are you helping prevent breakdowns? An automobile is essentially a collection of systems. These various systems each need to be in good running condition. At the heart of it is the engine with its exhaust system. Then there is the drivetrain, the cooling system (including heating and air conditioning), brake system, steering and suspension and, like the human nervous system, the electrical system with all its connectors — sensors. All of the above must be in good condition. Not everyone is interested in how cars work any more than they want to know how email works. Most people know,
Read More

New Technology: How Does It Affect You?

It's a truism we know all too well: Nothing stays the same. Life is change, and change challenges us. Those who learn how to adapt, succeed. One of the biggest challenges regarding change today is the pace at which technology is changing. It's not just operating systems and computer technology that pushes our buttons and often leaves us confused. Automotive advances have pushed us in a multitude of directions we never expected. Who would have ever imagined 50 years ago that cars would have hundreds of electronic sensors mashing millions of data bits to help your car make decisions
Read More

The Opportunity in 2018: Keep Your Customers Safe

“When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” –John Wooden Coach Wooden knew his basketball players needed to be prepared for the game, or they wouldn’t be able to capitalize on its opportunities. Is your shop ready to capitalize on your opportunities in 2018? One opportunity you should be looking at is keeping your customer safe — by inspecting (and restoring) their vehicles’ headlights. Why headlight restoration? Depending on your greeting process, one of the first things that is very noticeable during the basic inspection process is your customer’s headlights. According to the 2017 NOLN operator survey, headlight restoration
Read More

Are You Prepared?

Are you prepared to deal with any situation? Most are not. We do our best to think of everything, but time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all. We can prepare emotionally, physically and financially, but then, the unexpected happens. There is a great saying, “Look back to learn; look forward to succeed.” If we look at our circumstance as the glass is half empty, then it will be exactly that, half empty. We can take something that happens to us in life, whether it is positive or negative, and create something magnificent, but that is up to us. “It’s
Read More

Unintended Consequences Drive GDI Engines To Your Shops

“The Law of Unintended Consequences” indicates that actions of people — especially of government — often produce unintended, unanticipated, unforeseen and consumer-costly effects. In the case of Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines, “unintended consequences” of federal mandates drive aging vehicles into service provider shops for costly repairs potentially avoided with preventive maintenance.Federal mandates? Today’s engine manufacturers turn to complex GDI engine technologies in attempts to meet federal mandates for emissions and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements including 54.5 mpg average for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025.Unintended consequences? While direct injection (DI) functioned well in diesel engines since
Read More

Build Trust, Build Value

What is trust? Is trust something that can be built with others? Is it something that can be broken? Can trust be rebuilt once it has been broken?You have a choice. You can choose to build trust and value with your customers. If you hold on to what is of value, you will hold on to your customers. The ultimate goal is to build a lifelong friendship with your customers. For example, a person walks through the door and the first words out of the employee’s mouth are, “Hey, it’s the black sedan.” What just happened here? Ask yourself,
Read More

Our Best Customer is An Educated Buyer

We have had this as our motto for years, “Our best customer, is an educated buyer”! Training, service, values, knowledge, learning and skills all play a role in how we help educate or how we are educated. Think about it, if you are making a decision wouldn’t you want to make an educated decision?Customers should trust and believe in you, they should not feel they are being told what to do or given one-word explanations. A customer deserves to understand the value of your services. Picture this, “Ma’am, uh, I have your air filter here and it is dirty.
Read More

Listen and Understand

“Listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply.” Steven R. CoveyHow important is it to listen? Listening to someone and understanding their point of view can sometimes be difficult; however, to sell, educate and build trust, listening plays a major roll. Being approachable is definitely one way to build on this foundation. When you are approachable, your customers and associates will find you to be likable, pleasant and friendly. When someone is approachable, they will most likely be humble. Many may think humility is a quality of weakness. However, it is quite the opposite. Humility
Read More

Listen and Understand

“Listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply.” Steven R. CoveyHow important is it to listen? Listening to someone and understanding their point of view can sometimes be difficult; however, to sell, educate and build trust, listening plays a major roll. Being approachable is definitely one way to build on this foundation. When you are approachable, your customers and associates will find you to be likable, pleasant and friendly. When someone is approachable, they will most likely be humble. Many may think humility is a quality of weakness. However, it is quite the opposite. Humility
Read More

Be Prepared

Have you prepared for your first impression? Being prepared will help you stay on top of your appearance, confidence, communication and what is the best value-added service to offer. If you hesitate, you may lose out on a second opportunity.We are human. We draw conclusions from what we see with our eyes. Personal appearance can say a lot about us. When we are clean and well groomed, others will more likely be drawn to us. Not only does our personal appearance matter, the entire store’s appearance matters when we are dealing with customers. If we take pride in caring
Read More

Fuel System Cleaning

How important is fuel system cleaning? It is important to know what your competition is providing. Are the dealers performing an actual fuel system cleaning?  There are so many things to think about, especially when it comes to what is best for your customers. You want your customers returning because you separate yourself with the level of services and benefits you offer and the education you provide. You want your customers to trust you!With that said, today’s engines must meet the conflicting demands for power and performance, while also providing improved fuel economy and meeting reduced emission requirements. In
Read More

Customer Service - What Separates You?

When I started writing articles last year, I had this article printed. I feel this material is even more valuable today than it was last year. Not only is it about the value of customer service, but it’s also about the value of quality versus quantity. We all would like more customers, but how we treat them is more important than how many we have.More customers mean more revenue; however if you treat a customer as if they were not important or maybe not as good as the person down the street, there is a good chance you will
Read More

Positive Attitude, Positive Results

There are many changes happening today: Regulations, customer and employee needs, and quick lubes changing into service centers. Dealers are performing quick lube services and much more. How the industry responds to these changes will define us as people and business owners. Will we be professional? Will we be positive or will we react negatively?Negative reactions affect our customers, employees and businesses one way or another. Have you ever observed someone who, no matter what happens, turns everything into a negative situation? Attitudes are powerful. Others can feel them, and they are reflected in your behavior. Whether you smile and
Read More

Build Trust, Build Value

Trust. What is trust? Can we build trust? Can we break trust? Can we rebuild it once it is broken?In life, we have friendships we believe amount to something. We build trust equaling the value of these relationships. The same goes with our customers. Build trust and build value. If you hold on to what is valuable, you will hold on to your customer. Build a friendship with your customer. Don’t have them be the next person who walks through the door or who calls the store. “Hey, it’s the black sedan needing an oil change.” Stop! Make sure
Read More