Whether or not you realize it, the tire and auto service business is uniqueunlike any other business.
Why? Because ours is a grudge purchase business. Our customers don't get up each day and go looking for our coupons that are posted on their refrigerator. They won't find any.
None of our customers get up and say to themselves, I think I feel like buying new tires today, or I want to buy new brakes for the car because I think it will look better.
No, the only time that our customers even think of the tire and automotive service business is when they have a problem. We need to understand that because it's what makes us different.
And being different means selling different.
When we completely understand that our business is not just sales, but also part psychologist whose patients are already upset when we greet them, we can then identify their needs, educate them on their options, and find a way to help them buy the products/services they need and that we want to provide. That's what makes us unique and, ultimately, successful.
What type of experience do your customers have when they are in your store? Is it one where they are told what they need?
How do your employees approach each customer? How your workers approach, talk and help each patron affects not only that sale, but also can affect your future sales.
The customer experience plays a big part of the customers' decision to either buy now or not. But in the bigger picture, it determines whether or not they will become repeat customers.
It's not just that sale, but it is the future of your business. We need to create repeat customers. Our businesses depend on that.
With every customer, we put the success or failure of our business in the hands of our employees. If we are lucky, we made a good hiring decision, but even so, we need to educate our employees regularly on that customer experience and their role in making it a success.
Richard Schneiderman is owner of Greenville, S.C.-based SCG Consulting Group L.L.C., which provides independent business consulting for business and franchise owners. He can be reached at 864-979-4383 or via email at [email protected] or [email protected] His website is http://scgconsultinggroup.com. Mr. Schneiderman is a former vice president of operations for DLS Tire Centers in Taylors, S.C.