Marketing in the New MilleniumPosted 8/18/2006
By George Witt
In our "instant" age, shops need to look for savvy ways to appeal to customers who are short on time.
It's official - all those "time-saving" devices that we use have now created a to-do list we can't get finished. In an effort to save time, we've used it all up. Ironic.
Internet, cell phones, voice mail, electronic day planners, e-mail, Wifi, Bluetooth - so why can't we ever reach our customers for authorization on car repairs?
All these new things bring with them tasks to perform and a whole new, time-intensive "to-do" list.
Think about grandma and grandpa. Their daily planner was a wall calendar with only a thing or two on it each day. If you called them and they weren't home, no one knew it; there was simply no answer. To correspond with them, you'd write a letter and mail it. A few days later, they'd get it and if they wrote back within a week, that was considered fairly prompt. If grandpa took off Saturday, and you needed to reach him, you had to wait until he got home.
Those days are over. The meticulous leather-bound day planner doesn't even get it anymore either. It has to be electronic and connect to the Internet! Every day, hour and minute is planned in advance, and there's little room for error. Seconds are crucial in today's world. How many times do you go to a sit-down place for lunch and all you do is eat and go back to work? Most lunches are spent running errands and performing other tasks. No wonder they're advertising blood pressure medication so heavily.
When someone sends you an e-mail, they expect an answer immediately. We all get lots of e-mails daily, each one demanding a new task to perform by answering it.
It's been said that the car service business is off because cars are built better, that "everyone's leasing a car" and other such nonsense.
I believe the real reason is that getting the car serviced is a task that keeps getting shuffled to tomorrow and finally drops off the to-do list in frustration. You can only carry unperformed tasks forward so many times before you drop them.
For our service operations to survive, we need to understand that today's society is out of time. We have to value our customers' time and let them know we can make it easy for them.
We have to set up our operations to take as little of our customers' time as possible and make it as easy as we can to get those cars to us.
Here's how this works. This is your "New Millennium" marketing list:
In the old days, hanging out a sign and waiting for things to break was good enough. Everyone had plenty of time and life was easy. Today, if your shop's out of money, it's because your customers are out of time. Make it easy for them to give you their money.
Understanding this concept will cause you to realize why fewer customers are responding to the discount offers - they don't need the savings as much as they need the time. Save them time. Send them things that make it easy for them to call you. Use less of their time and they'll gladly pay you for it.
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