Time to take stock of your tire business
By Joel Miller
Customer car counts start to dwindle and once productive employees can sit idle or find themselves engaged with busywork.
After allowing a brief moment to congratulate yourself and your staff on another season well done, prepare to take stock, both literally and figuratively, for 2011. This is your opportunity to spend some time thinking strategically about your tire business and how you can improve it for the year ahead.
The relatively low number of customers during these months puts a major premium on making sure that the correct maintenance is performed on every vehicle. A maintenance checklist is essential to providing a consistent level of service. Customers will appreciate your diligence and a completed checklist will add to their perceived value of your services. Your staff may already be doing these checks, but a physical copy with each item uniquely checked makes sure that nothing is missed, and that your customer leaves happy. Spending slightly more time on each vehicle will also allow you to find some of the over $60 Billion(!) in unperformed maintenance we’ll see this year worldwide.
Take a moment to completely follow through a standard sales transaction and search for any inefficiency that can be eliminated. Listen to your front line employees and determine what changes can be made to speed things along. By streamlining the sales process, you’ll free up more time for your staff to look after customer concerns.
Re-evaluate standards and policies you’ve introduced in the past year. We trust that these standards are maintained, but we should always verify. This enables us to find out if the new policies are having the desired effect; if they are also producing a negative effect; or, and most importantly, if they’re not being done at all.
Focus on training during the slow period. Most major manufacturers have easily accessible training sites for their products as well as perks for course completion; take advantage of them. Everyone in your company should have a firm grasp of the features and benefits of each tire you sell. Employees that understand the difference between your products will be much better suited to make proper suggestions beyond matching a tire size.
During the slow period it is easy for us to rest on our laurels and then complain about the lack of time to focus on anything but the here and now. By not falling into this trap and utilizing this time wisely, we ensure consistent service while looking for any and all opportunities to improve. Loyalty comes from customers who have had an exceptional experience. If you can guarantee consistency, you’ll have more opportunity to be exceptional. If you’re consistently exceptional, you might be lucky enough to never have a slow period at all.
Much, much more in the print addition of Auto Atlantic.
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