Schnepper: Try something new, ASA can help

When we talk about change in the automotive service and collision repair industries, we generally focus on the technology advances in vehicles and the tools, equipment and information necessary to service and repair them.

But change means many things.

It’s not just the vehicles that are changing. It’s the people who drive them as well. Much has been said and written about the differences between the generations in our society. Those differences extend to the service desk as much as they do the service bay.

If you take advantage of the management training available through ASA and the Automotive Management Institute (AMi), you’ll hear a lot about what you need to do to keep up with the times. If you haven’t taken advantage of this management training, I strongly encourage you to do so. Running a successful business requires one to be good at doing a great many things. But in the end, it’s all about customer service. You have to have great customer service just to get into the game these days. If you don’t, you’ll probably read all about it on social media.

Do you know what to do if you run into this situation?

Many potential customers use social media reviews to make buying decisions when looking for service for their vehicles. Being good at customer service involves a long checklist, which goes far beyond having hot coffee, clean restrooms and an attractive, professional-looking facility with a kid-friendly waiting area.

Today, it’s all about communication. Your regular customers rely on you to keep them informed about what their vehicle needs and when it needs it. You’ve built up trust with them over time about the value your business provides, and often benefit from recommendations made by those who were happy with the service.

New customers are just at the beginning of the relationship-building process and may be walking through the door with some apprehension. Each situation calls for a different approach to the communication process.

Do you know how to build a message for both?

If you’re not sure about the answers to the two questions I’ve posed, the best advice I can offer is to try something new. The best news I can offer is that ASA can help you find the answers in the management training offered by the Automotive Management Institute (AMi).

There’s also much more that’s widely available through both regional and national events. ASA Affiliates offer such events, and ASA National has NACE Automechanika that offers dozens of technical and management training classes each year.

If you haven’t been to one of the training events in your area, or to any of the national exhibitions, try something new and experience how it can make you a better business owner.

Some call this thinking outside the box. I call it paying attention to what’s going on around you, not just locally, but nationally. Learning how to better communicate with customers both old and new is the key to success. Learning what works best for each generation may surprise you, and ASA can help.