By Bob Greenwood

This article is purposely written to discuss the Corona Virus outbreak and how it can dramatically affect your business with not only your clients but also your staff. Please review these points and make sure they are being addressed in your business.

There could be a lot of concern with the staff as to how they are “potentially” being exposed to this virus as they could take it home. Their wife or girlfriend, husband or boyfriend “may” be mentioning a concern to them that would play on their mind.

We all acknowledge that having 1 or 2 members of the team get sick could close the entire operation for 2 weeks minimum.

Let’s make sure we are doing the following:

1. Make sure all staff are wearing gloves and change them with every new vehicle and every new client (front counter) entering the building. 

2. – IF — IF — they feel more comfortable wearing a mask – provide it. Also consider “allergy” season and you don’t need staff sneezing around the shop so a mask can help there. 

3. Clean thoroughly every vehicle before it enters the building and before it is delivered to the client – don’t skimp here, cover every main exposed feature of the vehicle inside and of course the handles on the outside.

4. Wash the vehicle and deliver a clean vehicle to the client – that could go a long way — and let them know it has been “sanitised”. 

5. Keep plenty of cleaning supplies (Purell / Clorox wipes etc.) all over your building.

6. Clean / wipe down the building multiple times each day and don’t forget the pens clients sign the RO with and all flat surfaces where clients have been as well as interact machines and keyboards. 

7. Keep clients limited in terms of space to make sure they are a minimum of 6 feet apart from each other and the staff.  Re-examine the waiting area for clients and rearrange the furniture where necessary to make sure it meets the new standards.

This virus can play on the minds of your team. The psychological results can be tremendous so take the time to do your part as the owner to instill procedures that calm the staff down and they feel / know the business is truly taking the steps to protect them. 

As I said before, these are trying times but it is creating the “new normal” that we must learn to embrace.  

Look after your team and your clients will be looked after also.

As far as the client is concerned, I recommend the following immediate strategies be implemented if you are not already doing them:

1. Offer free pick-up and delivery of your client’s vehicle.

2. Offer free vehicle sanitization service on all vehicles coming in for a service.

3. Communicate clearly with all clients as to procedures you are putting in place.

4. Find out each client’s situation and see how you can adapt for them. This can be a tremendous value for the client, talk it out.

5. Ensure entire shop is sanitized frequently during the day.

6. All employees (including the front counter) wear protective gloves and change those gloves for each client being served.

7. All staff space yourself between clients and other staff members a minimum of 6 feet. 

8. No handshaking – most use elbows now.

Review this with your team

These are trying times for everyone. Let’s not panic. Keep the communication going with your team and make sure they participate to keep the shop sanitized and executing properly with the client and their vehicles.  

We will get through this and these new habits will surely become the standard part of the aftermarket shop business moving forward.

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