Most of you reading are in the oil change business. And if you're taking these stories to heart, you're likely providing pretty darn good service at a decent price and in a timely manner.
So if almost everyone is meeting that standard of service, what's going to bring the customer to Jane's Quick Lube instead of Joe's Quick Lube? That is a question you've likely asked yourself. Many shop owners might think about this in terms of curb appeal: Your shop has a flashy sign, a nice visual promotion, or a new shop build. Those are certainly points in your favor, but I'd encourage you to think about this challenge in another way. While your customer's vehicle is being serviced, what is the customer doing? How can they spend that time?
Consider this answer from Peel's Pit Stop in Celina, Ohio:
“A lot of people...bring the car in and say, ‘I’m going go out to the greenhouse real quick,’ and they’re looking for a pepper plant or a tomato plant. So they go out there while they’re waiting for their car.”
How many shops can offer that to their customers? If great service is assumed from Peel's then it's the tomato plant shopping that's going to stick in customers' memories and keep them coming back.
That little tomato plant comment comes from this month's profile story, which explores the growth of this small-town shop and how the owners run a greenhouse out back. The photos alone are worth checking out this story.
If you're wanting even more ideas for making your shop stand out in a crowd, this month's feature article dovetails nicely. Two shop owners explain how their businesses appeal to customers, and it's not always from a service standpoint. It's all about the extra effort that shop owners go through to make the customer experience smooth and memorable.
Of course, our intention is not to stray from the importance of maintaining a standard of service. This is where the majority of training and management effort is placed so that techs work on vehicles consistently and treat customers with care. That's always going to be job No. 1. I suppose that's where the "extra" effort comes in to give your operation that extra panache.
If you find that customers are commenting on something unique about your shop or your team members, don't be afraid to play it up. Make it fun, and I think you'll find that everyone around your shop will want to get in on it.