We were recently interviewed by Auto Inc. in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Automotive Service Association to discuss what it takes to be a successful automotive shop in today’s auto care industry. Here is a Q & A from our interview:
What does shop management look like in a 21st century automotive shop and how does it differ from the past? Is there an emphasis on training and continued education?
Technology has given shop managers freedom that could not have been imagined in the past. With the use of GotomyPC, we are able to access our shop computer from any location that has internet access. The downsize of portable computers such as the Dell Inspiron Mini Notebook and the Apple iPad have also provided convenience. Training and education have benefited immensely from technological advances. It is no longer a requirement that shop owners and employees take time away from work to attend training classes. Webinars have made training less costly and more efficient. We have invested in computers for training purposes and smart phones for our management and customer service employees. We strive to provide the best customer service and keeping up with technology and continued education is the key to our success.
How have you used social networking and the internet as a marketing tool for your business?
A number of years ago, we realized the importance of a presence on the internet and developed a website for Terry Wynter Auto Service Center. This marketing tool has proven to be invaluable as internet marketing has become an important source of referrals. We also created a blog to provide our customers with the latest auto care news and tips.
Most recently, we set up a Facebook page and Twitter account. These social networking sites have made it easy for us to connect with our customers while providing valuable automotive, service and maintenance tips. This inexpensive marketing tool has produced referrals and created an additional presence for Terry Wynter Auto Service Center on the internet.
Although it’s a challenge to stay current with technology considering social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter were not even in our vocabulary a few years ago, we have found this inexpensive form of marketing incredibly useful.
Do you provide specialized servicing in your automotive shop?
We have recognized that the female customer has become a major decision maker when it comes to automotive repairs. This is drastically different from years past. In an effort to appeal to this important customer, we offer free Knowledge is Power Women’s Car Care Seminars to assist women in becoming more informed consumers.
How has today’s automotive shop visually changed?
A focus on cleanliness and organization is of utmost importance in today’s shops as most customers do not have any understanding of what takes place in the shop. Cars have become much more complicated and most customers make their judgment of a shop’s competence by the shop’s appearance and the professionalism of the employees. This is especially true for the female customer.
What amenities play a role in today’s automotive repair shops?
Convenience is an important feature of our mission statement. We offer customer conveniences such as Wi-Fi, a coffee bar, shuttle service, and a comfortable waiting area.
Are tools different today, in a 21st century shop, than they were years ago?
The evolution of tools in our industry is happening at a rapid pace. We have gone from a tool box of primarily hand tools to some electronic tools in the 80’s when engine analyzers became available. Fast forward to today when we use scan tools that fit in the palm of your hand and data is being streamed over the internet for reprogramming.
We’re honored by the opportunity to share what we have done to make Terry Wynter Auto Service Center a successful 21st century automotive shop. We look forward to continue providing affordable and dependable auto service to the Southwest Florida community. Visit http://terrywynterauto.com/index.html to learn more.
As you know, we here at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center are committed to providing personalized care and quality service for our customers. That’s why we were so impressed with a farewell letter we recently received from one of our colleagues at the Automotive Service Association, an organization our shop has been affiliated with for many years. This letter provides some great insight into our profession and the standards of excellence we strive to attain for our customers. We are proud to be a member of an organization that continues to maintain the high standards noted below.
“It Must Be Said. . .
. . . that working with the ASA divisions family has made an impression on me that will last my lifetime. Coming into the ASA family and the automotive industry as an ill-advised consumer (though I didn’t know it at the time) and true layman of automotive service and repair, my eyes have been opened to a sector of American small businesses that has blown me away.
For example, I didn’t know:
- The quality of different shops varies so greatly.
- How much initial and continuous education and training is required of technicians and repairers.
- Ordering parts requires so much time and effort – had no idea that there were lesser quality parts choices, certainly not that there are several “levels of quality.” As a consumer, it never occurred to me that the highest quality parts were not already in your shops, ready for me to bring in my car and be installed in an instant.
- Government affairs could have such a serious affect on shops and consumers.
- About the huge positive impact that shops can have on their communities and it can translate into increased profits.
- There exists shop owners, managers, technicians, etc., who actually care enough about the motoring public and people as individuals to manage all of the above! On a daily basis!
- There exists individuals who go even further and volunteer their time, money, expertise and other resources to help improve commuter safety, shop productivity, industry awareness and image, just to name a few.
- It is possible to safely eat off of some shop floors!
Awed and enlightened are words that I would use to describe the experience I’ve had at ASA, particularly within divisions. I leave here with a better understanding of people as individuals and groups, a desire to strive for the same level of excellence that you have demonstrated, and much more respect for independent automotive shops everywhere.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful group. Thank you for holding the bar high for your shops, communities, industry and yourselves. Stay the course!”
- Cynthia Pruitt, Automotive Service Association
We wish Cynthia luck in her future endeavors and look forward to our continued partnership with the ASA.