It does not matter whether you are selling PB&E products to body shops or in the parts store selling products to shops that service vehicles — we are all in the service business. Our goal in these businesses is to make money, but our primary function is to acquire and maintain customers. Hopefully, we do that by providing a level of service that satisfies them and keeps them coming back for more. A common notion is that the person on the other side of the transaction is there because they have an issue that needs to be solved. It is either a driver with a crashed vehicle or a shop that needs the correct part to fix that car. In both cases, the person in front of you needs help. I think that over the years, we can get hardened to this fact.
In the case of the wrecked car, the customer hates the fact that it’s smashed. It’s an inconvenience and a constant reminder of either a mistake or bad luck. Either way, they need it fixed and they themselves probably need some fixing, too. The person buying the repair items probably needs help, too. They need the right part or product to get the repair done correctly, cost effectively and as quickly as possible. This all sounds so easy, but beware of what time has done to each one of us in our jobs.
It is so easy to become knowledgeable and a bit pompous at the same time. They say knowledge is power and it can go to our heads. Warning: this is dangerous to our goal of acquiring and maintaining customers. Don’t be a know-it-all, be a teacher. Pass your wisdom on as a gift. Recently, I was working on a project with my daughter. Her car had an aluminum hood on it and was suffering from the typical white flaking that comes with a 15-year-old aluminum hood. We decided to do it backyard style and do it ourselves, which meant off to the auto parts store for materials. Remember, the last paint I shot consistently was lacquer with no catalyst.
We arrived at Mason Auto parts where Dave, Rich and Ron joined in the project. Steering us along the way, they pointed out the right products we needed and kept cost in mind. Never once did I feel like the old guy who had lost touch with today’s product offerings. They acquired us as a customer and maintained us with knowledge. The car looks great and we feel good about our adventure.
Be sure you use your knowledge carefully. It is not a weapon but is a great customer satisfaction tool.
Thanks, Rich, Dave and Ron!