Tag Archive | "Workshops"

IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM THINK SMARTER

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IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM THINK SMARTER


David Massey explores using car forums and social media to work for him at little cost.

massey

I couldn’t count the amount of times I’ve heard a customer say, “I’ve been on a forum and I think it’s this…” It is extremely annoying and turns me into someone angry and not very approachable. I guess it’s typical of the male ego, ‘how dare you tell me what I’m doing’ irrespective of the truth. It is true that some customers spend a decent amount of time sifting through the web and come up with some good info, but others will seek out any explanation of why a dash light has come on, for example, and are not easily dissuaded from their theory when confronted with expert evidence.

So if customers that browse the internet and tell you how to fix cars make your blood boil and gets you angry… then good! Because that means you have the motivation to do something about it.

It struck me that if customers can search and find specific information about their cars then why can’t you find specific customers for your business? The cat becomes the mouse and you’re holding all the cheese.

SPECIFIC CUSTOMERS
This is a brilliant opportunity where you can target and reach very specific audiences and really focus on your selected customer base that maximises profit and cuts out the unwanted work and customers we all dread.

If you type in a common fault into Google – I don’t know, let’s say intermittent loss of power 1.9 diesel VW undoubtedly the first place you would stumble across is a forum with 100’s of posts about turbo vanes sticking or faulty AMM’s. Try it for yourself, go on stop reading this for a minute and try it.

Now what if you had the ability and knowledge to direct people to your website instead and read informative and interesting articles about their problem? In other words by having blog posts or Facebook articles pointing to your site.

In January we were pretty quiet in the workshop and feeling fed up, I decided I wanted to learn how to build and optimise my own website. With fairly basic computer IT skills the amount I learned to never ever rely on third parties to promote and grow your business because nobody in the world has either the same passion or more importantly the same unique knowledge as you do about your business.

Before this exercise my website looked great but was very poorly ranked on Google and I couldn’t be found unless you actually typed in my URL (full web address). Most of my page listings could be found between page 10-20 of which I honestly believe have never been visited since the dawn of the Internet.

I specifically targeted the customers and demographics I wanted to target with strategic and careful methods by using specific faults, vehicle specific info and DTC’s embedded behind and into my website.

TOP RANKING
My website is now ranked first for just about every VW/Audi/ seat/Skoda related search in the Preston area and further afield. If you don’t believe me try it for yourself now with your smart phone or laptop.

I have done this extremely successfully, in fact so successfully it caught me off guard and has completely redefined ADS as a business. Just humour me and try this for a minute, carry out a search for Audi RS4 inlet valve cleaning and see who’s website comes up.

The key is to think like a customer and not like a garage owner, who might type something entirely different to what our customers would.

All this data can be very easily analysed by using web analytics which gives us the opportunity to react accordingly and adjust our key words embedded within our websites or SEO (search engine optimisation).

You have to ask yourself why on earth would you pay a third party who knows very little about your business and cares even less be good at doing it for you? Simple when you think about it.

There’s nothing new in what I’ve discovered only the skills in order to implement the changes. Big companies do all this as a matter of routine, but most garages are literally decades behind in getting to grips with social media and an effective online marketing strategy.

The truth is change is happening and there’s nothing we can do to stop that. We must embrace the change instead.

If you’re curious to know a little more I have created and designed an in house web development program aimed at helping garage business emulate our success. Like the old saying: If I can do it, so can you.

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ARE YOU CREATING ‘THRESHOLD RESISTANCE’?

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ARE YOU CREATING ‘THRESHOLD RESISTANCE’?


Don’t entice customers into your premises or website only to have them walk out in disgust.

Andy Vickery is a consultant for the aftermarket

Andy Vickery is a consultant for the aftermarket

Marketing is a process that should be in operation from the creation of initial awareness through to the physical point of purchase.

Whether you are a garage business, accessory retailer or motor factor, your existing and potential customers are picking up signs and signals all the time and at different stages of the buying process.

You’d like to think that the purchasing process is as simple as running an advert, the customer sees what they want, then the customer comes to you to make a purchase – job done. If only it was that easy.

END GAME
The problem is many focus on the early stages of their marketing, for example creating initial awareness, but neglect other aspects closer to the point of sale; failing to realise that there is still the potential for what is known as ‘threshold resistance’.

Threshold Resistance is the title of a book written by retailing pioneer A. Alfred Taubman who states that ‘Threshold Resistance is the physical and psychological barrier that stands between a shopper and the inside of a store’. Of course, these days Threshold Resistance applies equally, if metaphorically, to online selling too (websites can give out the wrong selling signals).

Ask yourself if you’ve ever come across a retailer or business where you just couldn’t bring yourself to go in? There are times when threshold resistance occurs, when there’s no reason for it to be there. This is when there are physical aspects to a business that are repelling customers.

Tidy front-of-house boosts customer confidence

Tidy front-of-house boosts customer confidence

INVESTMENT
So, you’ve done all the heavy marketing lifting, you’ve invested a lot of money in attracting customers and you’ve brought them to the point of purchase. Unfortunately, the job isn’t finished here, you can’t yet guarantee the sale – you’ve got to get the customer through the door. If this doesn’t happen, you’ve blown all that investment in marketing so far, which is why businesses also have signage and point of sale displays – to help customers.

But the reality is often customers are getting as far as the business ‘threshold’, be it a physical retail outlet, garage or online website, but resisting because they’re receiving the wrong signals. One of the biggest signals people base their judgements on at this stage of the marketing process is how your business and the people within it look.

But there are still certain types of business that could do so much more to improve their perception, but have resisted making improvements to their physical environment. Unfortunately, many automotive outlets remain in this category. Many obviously consider that they fall outside of this customer judgment arena. Well they may have in the past, but in an area where the dealerships and chains are seeming to excel, the independents must follow or risk losing out.

INTIMIDATION
Customer intimidation is a term that could be swapped with threshold resistance. It’s another thing that will destroy a sale.

In areas where customers lack knowledge and expertise, it is natural for them to feel a little
uneasy when making a purchase. Not only do they not want to make bad decisions, they also don’t want to be laughed out of the shop either.

It is well known that some people, especially women, do feel intimidated by the garage environment. But I would say that garages, retailers and motor factors aren’t the only culprits. There are other trade counters such as plumbing, electrical and builder’s merchants that could make positive improvements through tidying up their appearance and coming across as less intimidating to customers.

To customers, little things do matter. Customers do notice when furniture is threadbare, when floors and walls are dirty, when an environment is just plain untidy and this does reflect on their judgement. I once read an article about an airline where the CEO remarked that if a customer found a coffee stain on their fold-down table in front of their seat, they would think that the airline didn’t take care when maintaining its engines.

The same could be said of delivery or company liveried vehicles – if these are dirty,
what sort of signals are they giving out to people who see them? And what about dress- sense and personal cleanliness?

Okay, garage environments can be dirty, but simple procedures can mitigate the customer having to see or witness this – we’re talking dirty overalls and hands here. You’ll notice that the likes of Halfords have tidy-looking staff.

A very simple example that I particularly notice is when an independent garage or retailer, provides their employees with liveried overalls or shirts – this is something that is expected in big retail, but to me, an independent that goes to the trouble of putting their logo on clothing is more likely to apply more attention to detail on larger issues.

In the grand scheme of all things marketing, the recommendation is don’t be deliberately putting people off buying from you. Improving your premises and how you look could be one of the most cost effective investments you could make to your business.

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BRAND NEW SERVICE TRANSMISSION MODULE

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BRAND NEW SERVICE TRANSMISSION MODULE


PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF AUTODATA

service-transmission

Autodata has launched an important time-saving Service Transmission module that makes it even easier for technicians to identify the service operations required in a simple and efficient way. The new module provides technicians with instant access to all the technical information needed to carry out servicing to manual, automatic, and auto-shift manual (ASM) transmissions, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

In addition to providing technicians with the relevant tightening torques for drain and filler plugs, as well as oil grades, and capacities in one easy to use module. The new module has step-by-step instructions and illustrations that guide technicians as they carry out model specific drain and refill procedures. Autodata’s service transmission module helps to protect workshops from making simple but costly mistakes by technicians with cautionary notes, that if ignored may cause damage to the vehicle during maintenance and repair procedures.

Transmissions are a time-consuming and awkward aspect of vehicle servicing. Get it wrong, and your workshop could end up with a hefty bill. Unlike standard manual transmissions which generally have straightforward fluid drain and refill procedures, automatic transmission systems can be more complicated.

When servicing automatic and ASM transmissions, it isn’t as simple as just removing the drain plug, draining the fluid, and then refilling the transmission. Various additional factors need to be considered, such as the special tools and diagnostic equipment required, the specific drain and refill procedures – set by vehicle manufacturers that need to be followed, and of course, the specific grade and capacities of transmission fluid required. With Autodata’s new service transmission module, technicians will have all this information at their fingertips to help them complete transmission servicing more efficiently.

This new module joins 34 other Autodata modules, more than 550,000 procedures, over 125,000 diagrams and illustrations, which cover over 32,000 models across 136 car and van manufacturers worldwide.
Subscribe to Autodata today.

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MARKETING YOUR GARAGE BUSINESS EFFECTIVELY

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MARKETING YOUR GARAGE BUSINESS EFFECTIVELY


Marketing is more than just a token social media page, writes Andy Vickery

Andy Vickery is a consultant for the aftermarket

Andy Vickery is a consultant for the aftermarket

Let’s cut to the chase, marketing to most garage owners and businesses is a can of worms. What works, what doesn’t? Are print, direct mail and advertising dead? Should we do more emails – should we do a video?

To most, marketing appears to be a smoke and mirrors art that is more about luck and being in the right place at the right time. After all, you’ve tried it and nothing appears to have worked before.

The problem is there are so many elements within marketing to attend to, but most only ever see the end results of what others are doing – an email, mailer or advert, and not what is going on behind it all. The best that most can come up with then is to copy what others are doing. But what if the garage down the road was just guessing at their marketing and you were to copy them?

Then there’s being drawn to the latest ‘shiny’ object. A media rep calls from an online technology company that promises your business will be in front of a gazillion customers visiting their website every day.

The media rep tells you that this is what you should be doing because everybody’s doing it and you’re going to miss out. The rep then goes on to say ‘you’re not still using old-fashioned methods of marketing are you?’ It’s enough to make your head explode.

When you first set up in business, nobody ever told you that you had to be a marketer as well. But marketing isn’t difficult, that is when you know how. If you can fix cars, you can certainly embrace a few concepts that will improve your marketing.

CHANGE YOUR THINKING
The problem is that many just don’t take marketing seriously enough to turn it into a business process. The first thing to do is to see marketing as part of the process of running your business, like you would with doing the accounts or any other admin’ system or procedures you might have in place.

Realise that marketing is something that requires investment, but that it’s also a process that will provide a return on investment. A problem that many have is they try to do marketing that is free or cheap,
which sadly ends up being ineffective for that very reason.

Marketing and sales are as important as the work you do. The main difference to any other business procedures is that your marketing process is what will bring customers to your door, pay the wages and overheads and hopefully make you a profit.

marketing

CLEAR ON YOUR MARKET
Who are your best customers? What is your best type of work? Determining your ‘target market’ can be a very technical subject, but these two basic questions are a great place to start. Taking a step back to consider these could provide the impetus for change in your business. Once you know the type of customers you want more of, you will be able to devise promotions that ‘talk their language’, promote the things that will resonate with them, and turn up in the right places to get you noticed.

YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE
Again, this is a subject that could fill a book or two and indeed has. But what you say to your customers is important. Too many rely on advertising that just contains a logo and a list what they do – which is actually
probably no different to the business down the road. Put yourself in the position of the customer; who should they choose when both garages appear to offer the same services? The cheapest?

Your ideal customers are likely to be those that have values above what you actually do. They see a value in your training, your honesty, the fact you are involved in community projects. How can you make yourself different from your competitors? These things do help customers make a discerning decision. So, going back to your ideal customer, what is it that appeals to them?

MEDIA – DELIVERING YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR MARKET
Do you start a Facebook Page? is Social Media what you should concentrate on? Let’s get one thing straight from the outset – when it comes to marketing, no one method should be utilised at the expense of others. And as far as Social Media is concerned, it won’t necessarily be the one thing that is going to bear the sort of fruit you require very quickly; certainly not on its own. Use Social Media, but in a measured way.

By spending a bit of time considering your market, your message and your media, you will be able to put together much more effective marketing; there will be more of a method and strategy behind it – it may not be perfect straight away, but it can be refined as you move forward.

ARE YOU COMMITTED?
The last part of the equation is commitment. Marketing is not something that should be seen as free or cheap, or indeed something that is done only once. It is a continual process. Your final thing to do is to set up a marketing calendar then stick to it, measure it, refine it and repeat it.

motorrepairmarketing.com

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ISSUES FACING INDEPENDENTS ‘MORE COMPLEX THAN EVER’


Andy Savva

Andy Savva, Managing Director of Savva Automotive, filled a seminar room at a recent trade show with his presentation, ‘A New Service Way: Effective and Efficient workshop’ aimed at boosting productivity, margins and morale within the independent garage.

“The issues facing us working in the independent sector are more complex and challenging than ever before”, he said. “From human resources to competition from fast-fits and dealers, your actual image, tooling, training and of course, technical advancements in vehicle design are all problems we as an industry are facing”.

During his presentation at Mechanex Sandown, the garage entrepreneur displayed images, comparing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ garages in 2016 that he worked with; explaining that employers should be maintaining a healthy and safe working environment, with tools labelled and placed in an appropriate area to utilise workshop capacity effectively.

Savva also provided guidance to help garages calculate the correct labour rate instead of charging the ‘going rate in the area’ for individual businesses while attempting to bridge the gap between independent and franchised garages. He said: “Generally, independent garages see franchised garages as competitors and franchised garages historically, put us down as independents” he continued: “I believe we both should be a collective progressive, professional sector where a consumer has the choice to go and have their car repaired properly in an honest fashion. I don’t believe we should have this culture of ‘them and us’ because that’s what’s keeping us segregated and our industry unprofessional”.

Other industry talks included: ‘DPF Diagnosis, Recovery and Repair’ orchestrated by ADS Director Frank Massey and ‘The Future of MOT training’ hosted by representatives from the RMI.

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ECP LAUNCHES ‘EURO ACADEMY’ FOR TECHNICIANS


A hybrid training vehicle

A hybrid training vehicle

Euro Car Parts has become the latest factor to introduce a training programme for independent workshops. Boasting IMI-certified training, the initiative also includes a technical helpline and an online diagnostics database that includes a library of previous faults.

The initiative is supported by training firm Grup Eina and covers all areas of vehicle maintenance. This includes electrical, electronic, mechanical and diagnostic fault-finding and offers assessment and training for every level of workshop employee. For the master technician, courses take place at one of the factor’s IMI-approved training centres, which have a number of vehicles with various simulated faults that replicate real-life vehicle issues.

The programme covers three levels of membership. Level one offers unlimited use of helpline time, as well as access to troubleshooting and online assessments for technicians. Level two adds to that with one, two-day training course, while level three offers three, two-day training courses every year.

ECP says that the first 200 garages to sign up will receive a weekend package to attend AutoInform Live, including hotel accommodation and dinner with the Euro Car Parts team. AutoInform Live takes place the weekend of 19 and 20 November and provides a great opportunity to gain aftermarket insight and training while mixing with like-minded businesses.

Martin Gray, CEO at ECP, noted: “We’re delighted to further build on our commitment to the independent garage by unveiling our new training initiative. Technology continues to evolve at pace, with vehicles that are now more fuel efficient, computationally complex and diverse than ever before. With alternatively-fuelled vehicles and connected technology all making their way into the garage, it is important that the industry is in a position to respond.”

Gray continued: “Euro Car Parts is passionate about the UK’s independent garage network and, by investing in programmes such as the Euro Academy, we want to make sure our trade customers are well- placed to further build on their far-reaching levels of quality and service. Working in partnership with our members, we will continue to invest in and develop the Euro Academy to ensure that the independent garage sector is robustly positioned for the transport infrastructure of the future.”

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PAGID SURVEY TO DISCUSS WORKSHOP CHALLENGES IN 2016


PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF PAGID

pagidPagid are on a mission to understand the challenges facing workshops in the realms of the automotive aftermarket in 2016.

They are conducting an extensive survey that will also seek to gain perceptions of what technicians look for when choosing brake parts, their opinions on brands, and more.

By sharing your views in Pagid’s survey, you will also enter a competition, with the opportunity to win a ‘Fully Loaded Pagid Kit’, worth over £500.

Sadie Parker, Business Development Manager at Pagid comments: “At Pagid, we are continually developing products, tools and training courses for you, our valued customers, so it’s vital for us to listen to you to see what your issues are, what you look for in braking, and how we can make your workdays more efficient”.

Workshops, mechanics and technicians, can have their say at: www.pagid.com/survey. Entries are open until the end of October 2016 and results will be published later this year.

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Workshops are safer, faster and more efficient with Induction Heat


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF INDUCTION INNOVATIONS

Flames can be the cause of many accidents in the workshop; but what are the realistic alternatives to using a naked flame? With health and safety such a key part of workshop life, the use of inductive heating tools, such as the Mini-Ductor range, is one alternative that can provide peace of mind.

Using Oxy-Acetylene is risky Oxy-Acetylene welders have been under scrutiny for some time. The risks of fire and explosion hazards from using Oxy-Acetylene for welding, cutting are well documented by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Acetylene is an extremely flammable gas, is unstable and has a tendency to pollute by emitting toxic fumes. Gas cylinders are a convenient way to transport and store gases under pressure but there are risks, including: blast of a gas cylinder explosion or rapid release of  compressed gas; impact from parts of gas cylinders or valves that fail, or any flying debris; manual handling injuries.

The use of a naked flame/torch in a confined space vastly increases the consequential fire risk – plastics, wiring, trim etc. around the part to be removed can catch fire, causing potentially costly damage. Replacing damaged wiring can be very expensive, for example, and if unnoticed could potentially put the driver at risk too.

Higher Costs

The cost of using Oxy-Acetylene is rising too. On average, insurance premiums are 10-30% higher (depending on use and insurance company) when using Oxy-Acetylene, compared to those who do not. Added to the average cost of £150 a year to rent a gas bottle, the overheads start to mount up.

Keep your employees safe with a safer reliable and efficient heating solution

A viable alternative is induction heating, which uses invisible heat created by high frequency magnetic fields to heat metal parts in seconds. Ferrous metal parts heat up very quickly, with less collateral damage, because the heat is localized on the part and not the surrounding area.

The market leading Inductor product range, from US company Induction International, is a high performance inductive heating solution, ideal for use by automotive mechanics. The range includes the user-friendly Mini-Ductor handheld unit (available in 240V, 110V and 12V battery powered versions) and the Pro-Max™ 2kw trolley or work bench mounted inverter.

These CE marked, easy-to- use tools can cope with a variety of heating needs. Different types of bendable coils can be attached to the unit to fit the problem part and these can be usefully shaped to fit into hard to reach crevices and tight spots. lncrease in operator safety and lower costs Inductive heating tools are safer, with a heavily reduced risk from fire, explosions or toxic fumes (the Inductor does not heat rubber, plastic or glass). And the tools can increase a garage & productivity by around 50% because downtime is minimized, parts can be re-used and insurance premiums are reduced if gas bottles are not used on site.

Here’s a summary:

table

 

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PETRONAS OPEN BRANDED CV WORKSHOP


Branded workshop opens

Branded workshop opens

Oil Company Petronas Lubricants International (PLI) has opened a branded workshop for CVs. The new branch is in partnership with contract hire and fleet maintenance company Alltruck.

Since CAT reported on the opening of the first branch in Hamburg last year, the lubricant firm has been busy signing up 1,200 workshops of different types across the continent. However, the venture with Alltruck marks the first branded CV workshop in the UK.
Petronas has set itself a target of 3,500 workshops across Europe within five years. Each workshop is autonomous and works on a ‘soft franchise’ basis with the firm.

Alessandro Orsini, PLI Regional Head of Europe said: “We continue to grow our network of branded workshops and this time, with Alltruck plc, we have established another first, especially for commercial vehicles. As part of the Petronas branded workshops network, independent garages such as Alltruck plc will benefit from stronger brand recognition as an affiliate”.

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SOLVING DIAGNOSTIC AND REPAIR CHALLENGES WITH ALLDATA REPAIR


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF ALLDATA

Independent garages are increasingly facing the same challenges; lack of complete and accurate service and repair information, complex automotive technology, cost and time to get information from the manufacturer, acquiring and paying for technical skills, competing with authorised dealerships, and low revenue and profits.

ALLDATA Repair meets automotive business needs

More than 300,000 technicians worldwide use ALLDATA Repair on a daily basis. As the only source of original OE diagnostic repair information, ALLDATA Repair provides garages with access to the most comprehensive and in-depth level of repair information saving time and money, and improving profitability.

ALLDATA Repair is a single-source of OE licensed information containing 22 vehicle brands and more than 23 million articles, wiring diagrams, and dynamic service intervals. With an easy-to-use common navigation structure and search function, technicians can quickly find trouble codes or search for any vehicle part or diagnostic test chart. By using ALLDATA Repair,garages and their technicians can fix vehicles faster, increase productivity, meet manufacturer quality repair standards, and improve customer service.

Getting results

A garage recently spent six hours to strip a vehicle and trace wires to an anti-theft system fault.After contacting ALLDATA, the solution was identified in 10 minutes, and the repair was completed in less than two hours. ALLDATA has 30 years’ experience in helping the automotive aftermarket complete heavy diagnostic work required to stay competitive, improve customer satisfaction, and increase revenue.

With over 85,000 customers worldwide, ALLDATA understands the independent workshops’ needs, and provides solutions to everyday automotive business challenges.

To learn more or to request a free trial, visit us at www.alldataeurope.com/CAT, or call 01216982068

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Featured Sidebar, Garage News, Industry Insight, NewsComments (0)

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