No Customers Allowed

by Lauren Henderson

You wouldn’t put a marquee that read, “No Customers Allowed” outside your quick lube, but you may inadvertently be saying it anyway. There are a few common mistakes that can drive customers away from your shop instead of inviting them to stop. If you’ve been wondering why you can’t get anyone to pull in your bays, read the following list and make sure you’re not accidentally telling them to “keep out.”

garage

Do you keep your bay doors down?
After the winter most of the country had, it’s understandable your staff wants to stay warm and dry inside instead of having to deal with the outside elements. But, vehicles still need their oil changed, no matter the weather. Closing your bay doors when you’re open is a surefire way to decrease traffic. Customers assume you’re closed or not able to service their car when your bay doors are down. As a result, they’ll drive right past your business.

Unless there is a situation where you must shut your doors completely in order to keep the elements out of your bays, encourage your employees to prepare for them and only shut the doors two thirds of the way when absolutely necessary.

Do your customers know what time it is?
Not having a clock in your waiting room or in the customers’ sight line can make five minutes feel like 15. Let a clock do the bragging for you by making sure one is visible, whether your customer is browsing through a magazine in your waiting room or waiting in their car. You want them to know how fast you are, not wonder how long it’s been.

Do you start cleaning up before the end of the day?
I get it. At the end of the day, everyone is ready to clean up, close up and get home — including you! But don’t allow your eagerness to end the day unintentionally drive customers away. If you or your employees begin to end the day in front of a customer, it can make them feel unwanted and guilty for being there. If that is the feeling they have when they drive away — no matter how good of a job you did — they probably won’t return.

Do you post a lot of shop signs?
Too many shop signs can make a customer feel like you’re hard to do business with and make them leery of bringing their vehicle to you for service. Avoid posting multiple signs saying things like, “No Checks,” “Don’t lean on the counter,” and “No customers allowed in the shop.” If something becomes a problem with a specific customer, you can address them professionally and individually instead of potentially turning off everyone who comes to you for service.

Do your employees have side conversations in front of the customer?
Camaraderie among employees should be encouraged. It instills a healthy work environment and is an incentive for them to show up on time and ready to work. However, remind them to keep side conversations to a minimum when they are in front of a customer. Talking about “drinks last night” or “March Madness” could make certain customers feel uncomfortable. Customers who relate your shop with feeling uncomfortable won’t return.

Are you guilty of any of these things? If you are, don’t worry. The good news is they are all easy to fix! Keep in mind, the customer is king, and you will attract more than you know what to do with! And that’s a very good thing!

About National Oil & Lube News

National Oil & Lube News is the fast oil change industry's oldest and largest trade publication. Started in 1986 by Steve Hurt (a former fast lube owner) and David Arrington, NOLN has grown and evolved right alongside the fast lube industry. Here at NOLN, our aim is to help fast lube operators with every facet of their business, from operations to technical issues. Our monthly magazine and this regularly updated website contain everything from technical tips, recall announcements and service guides to articles on handling customer complaints, building your brand and making your business the best it can be. With tips and advice from experts both inside and outside the industry, you're sure to learn something that can help your fast lube business grow and prosper.
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