Improve Sales through Communications!
The simpler the business, the more often business owners assume
that their customers know everything they need to know about the
products or services they offer. Big mistake!
Car washing is a relatively simple business - according to your
customers. They bring their cars in dirty and they leave with cars
that are clean. It's not rocket science. Heck, they could do a better
job at home in their driveway, if they had the time...right?
Well, you and I know that most customers cannot do a better job
washing their car at home and although the concept of washing a
car is really very simple, it requires a basic understanding of
chemicals. The complications and technology challenges come not
from the soap-on/soap-off process, but from the many finishes that
are used on cars today.
Most customers know very little about the proper care of their
vehicles. In fact, most customers know more about how to set the
radio in the car than about the proper care of the car's exterior
finish. The clear coat on paint -and on many of the fancier wheels
- requires special care to remove dirt and still maintain the protective
coatings. Thousands of cars on the road today have finishes that
are irreparably damaged because of inappropriate product application.
The more your customers understand about proper vehicle maintenance,
the better prepared they are to make the right decisions about the
products and services they may need. A very successful retailer
I know says it best, "Our best customer is an educated consumer."
Educating our customers is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects
of many service businesses. One of the reasons may be that we assume
customers know and understand the manufacturer's recommendations
for proper vehicle care. However, many studies, as well as hundreds
of personal interviews with customers, indicate the majority of
customers know very little about the proper maintenance processes
and schedules with regard to their vehicles... and those who have
some information are typically misinformed.
So, where are your customers getting their information? If customers
know very little about their cars or if the little they do know
could even be wrong, where can they easily get relevant and reliable
information? Sounds like an opportunity to educate your customers
about proper vehicle care!
Obviously, one of the most effective methods for sharing information
with customers is to simply talk about additional services or products
they may need. Make sure everyone who greets and presents information
to customers truly understands the recommended services and can
effectively communicate the information in an easy-to-understand,
This requires more than just asking if they want tire dressing
or wax today, although that's certainly a good start and definitely
better than not asking at all. It does, however, require that your
people be observant and engage a customer in conversation regarding
certain existing car conditions. If the tires look dull, make mention
of it and suggest tire dressing. If the finish looks dull, make
mention of it and suggest a solution. Most customers will appreciate
you looking out for their best interests. Of course, those who don't
appreciate your expertise and help are the ones who will not be
pleased by anything you do.
Two other very important aspects of communication at your facility
deserve attention - in-store signage and displays. In-store signage
will typically include wall signage, brochures, banners and posters.
These valuable communications tools, placed in a waiting room and
areas of heavy traffic will capture the attention of your customers
and help you in your endeavors to educate and promote. Your staff
can even refer to this signage to help in explaining the need for
specific products and services.
Product displays can be powerful and attention getting. An attractive
display will draw customers to read the message. Literature and
promotional support at these displays will drive home your message
and educate your customers. In addition to product displays, we
are seeing more custom-produced videotapes used to educate customers.
Professionally produced videos can be a powerful tool as well. Customers
who are waiting for their vehicles are a captive audience for a
video that educates about your newest or most popular products or
services. A well-made video may not necessarily "sell"
the customer on the spot, but could very well plant the seed for
buying a product or service on the next visit.
Remember, the more you communicate with your customers and the
more information you provide that helps them make educated buying
decisions, the more they will appreciate what you offer. This investment
in learning the proper presentations and installing effective signs,
posters, or videos will not only make your shop more attractive
to customers, but will educate and give your customers peace of
mind. Ultimately, these communications tools will better inform
your customers and help you sell more product and services.
Joseph Rosales is the founder and president of Performance Resources
Inc., a full-service consulting and training company. If you would
like more information about PRI or about its new customer communication
tools, call 800-268-9899 or visit the company's web site at www.performancepros.com,
where you can also view a unique line of attractive posters and
signage, and customized video capability.
Educating our customers is perhaps one of the most overlooked
aspects of many service businesses.