What kind of shifts in consumer buying behavior have you seen this year?
Customers appear to be more concerned about keeping their cars serviced and ready for whatever the next step is. We have also seen vehicles that needed heavy repair being traded in on new. Cars were neglected through COVID and now they are paying the price. Fleet business has improved.
What types of product shortages have you experienced this year? What do you expect for the rest of the year?
Both auto parts and tires have been an issue. We are finding auto parts manufacturers are discontinuing products and creating some obsolescence sooner than ever before. Tire manufacturers just need to catch up on production. We expect this will continue through 2021 and into the first quarter of 2022.
What kind of trends are you seeing in the marketplace? How is your company reacting to them?
Some customers are still embracing touchless service, with pick-up and delivery, which became somewhat normal through the pandemic. We will continue to support this as long as our customers continue to request it.
What were some of the procedures/changes your company implemented to tackle the challenges brought on by the pandemic?
We started in-house with the mask mandate, taking employees temperature daily as well as oxygen concentration to be sure we kept a healthy staff to service our customers. We sanitized our waiting rooms and separated seating to keep our customers safe. We also sanitized vehicles after service before returning to customers.
The mask mandate has been lifted in Arizona so we have asked our teams to mirror our customers — if they have a mask, we should have a mask. We have also encouraged and supported our teams being vaccinated.
Which, if any, of these changes do you expect to keep going forward?
We will monitor our customers and respond to their comfort level as needed in reference to COVID. Touchless pay options remain popular.
What do you see as your biggest challenge for the second half?
People, People, People.
What do you plan to do to tackle that challenge?
Training in-house, be persistent in locating qualified candidates and continue to reward the great people we have.