The 21st Century Automotive Shop

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.

15th Anniversary Reflections

As we celebrate our 15th anniversary at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center we’ve been reflecting on our journey, and we concluded that while many things have changed, some things never will.

Over the last 15 years in business, the biggest change we’ve seen is in technology. Advancements in technology have changed every aspect of operating Terry Wynter Auto Service Center, from tools and diagnostics, to marketing and administration. When the shop opened in 1996, it was a big decision to purchase a computer and operating software for the customer service department. That was at a time when many shops were still using handwritten work orders. Our first computer was a wise investment, and over the years we have continued our commitment to staying current with computer technology. We now have a network of computers that are used for customer service, accounting, parts ordering, technical information, training and many other uses that could not have been imagined when the shop first opened.

15th Anniversary Employees

Employees that were with us during our first year in business: Jimmy Epps, Danny Sanchez, Pixie Toggweiler & Troy Cummings

Pixie Toggweiler, who has been with us since 1996, recalls manually producing monthly billing statements and posting payments by hand. She also recalls collecting documents that needed to be copied and making trips to a copy center. In those days, a copier was considered a cost-prohibitive piece of office equipment. Today, we work much more efficiently with the use of a computer, up-to-date software and a multi-function printer.

Communication with our customers has always been a priority with Terry Wynter Auto Service Center. That is something that has remained a constant since we opened our doors. However, as Jimmy Epps, our service manager, who has been with us from the beginning, has noted, communication methods have changed drastically. Originally, we contacted customers by phone and through the mail. In those days, the pagers we gave customers to alert them when their car was ready for pick-up were considered innovative. We now regularly utilize fax, e-mail, text messages and our website to provide customer conveniences.

As the owner and general manager, Terry has always stressed training and ASE certifications for our staff. He says the delivery of training is much more efficient today with the use of webinars, which is classroom training over the Internet. The Internet has reduced the need for travel time and expense. Our customers benefit from the assurance that our technicians remain current with the best training available.

Our shop has always been located on Fowler Street as noted by Troy Cummings, ASE Master Technician, and this continuity has been a positive for our loyal clientele.  Fowler Street has seen changes through the years, but our customers enjoy this convenient location near the heart of Lee County. 

Our talented team of professionals is a great source of pride to us. As Pixie put it, “One thing that has not changed over the past 15 years is that this is a group of great people to work with.” It has been amazing to watch everyone’s families expand and to see children grow up. We have also been saddened by the loss of some team members. 

Danny Sanchez, ASE Certified Technician recalls how “simple” things were in 1996 when the shop opened. One diagnostic tool was used for all makes and models. This was at the very beginning of the automotive “computer age.” Today’s cars have complicated electronics, some of them with up to 20 computers. To stay current, we invest in the latest equipment and subscribe to manufacturers’ programming and diagnostic information. All of this means that our customers can experience dealership level of service from an independent service provider.

In the very beginning, when Terry Wynter Auto Service Center was an idea and not yet a reality, we (Terry & Kay Wynter) developed the slogan “Service so dependable, I stand behind it with my name.” Today, the message and commitment remains the same, even if the delivery has changed with the times.

To say “Thank You” to our customers, we are giving away 15 $100 gift certificates for auto service. Customers can register in our shop or on our website at www.TerryWynterAuto.com. Sweepstakes winners will be announced on June 15, 2011. Rules and details available on our website.  

Join us for a free Women’s Car Care Seminar!

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center will host two free car care seminars for women. Titled “Knowledge is Power,” the seminars will take place at the Fort Myers shop, located at 3811 Fowler St. on Saturday, March 26 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and Wednesday, March 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The seminar is designed to enhance women’s understanding of vehicle maintenance requirements such as checking oil levels and tire pressure. Wynter and a master technician will teach attendees how to troubleshoot common problems, enhance road safety and manage their vehicle service needs. The seminar will cover everything from how to sense potential problems under the hood to tips on how to communicate with service advisors. For more information or to register for the seminar, call 239-939-2500, ext 10. Reservations are required as seating is limited.

“We want to empower women with the automotive knowledge they need to feel comfortable and confident when maintaining their vehicle,” says Wynter. “I am personally proud to have worked closely with A/C Delco as an advisor to develop new materials that will be used on a national level for Women’s Car Care Seminars. We are excited to offer this educational program to our customers and the community, in a fun atmosphere.”

Established in 1996, Terry Wynter Auto Service Center is an independent, family-owned automobile service provider specializing in vehicle maintenance and repair services for individual car owners and commercial fleets. The 11-bay shop is located at 3811 Fowler St., just north of the intersection of Winkler Avenue and Fowler Street. The center’s comprehensive website, http://www.terrywynterauto.com/, offers detailed information about the center’s award-winning history, services, staff, accreditations and affiliations, as well as convenient online ability for making appointments and communicating with technicians via e-mail. For more information, call 239-939-2500 or e-mail info@terrywynterauto.com.

Automotive Industry Involvement, from Capitol Hill to Las Vegas

Posted November 15th, 2010 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

As the owners of Terry Wynter Auto Service Center, we made two important trips in recent months, one to Washington D.C. and one to Las Vegas.

Terry & Kay Wynter in DCThe April trip to the Capitol Hill Fly In event, sponsored by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), allowed the us to join together with other ASA members in addressing U.S. Senators and Congressman about a number of issues that affect us and our customers. The ASA group of small business owners and concerned citizens presented facts concerning federal incentives to establish state vehicle inspection programs, requirements for consumers to be notified about what types of crash parts are used to repair their vehicles, and repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act that allows insurance companies to have a “limited” exemption from some federal antitrust laws.

For Automotive Service Repair Week (ARSW) in October, we attended the annual ARSW Convention in Las Vegas, also sponsored by the ASA. We’ve already started putting the training we received there to work at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center. By attending this convention, we are able to stay abreast of the latest in technology and education. We are proud to continue to serve our customers and industry through active involvement in education and policy-making within the automotive industry.

Farewell letter from colleague says it all

Posted August 13th, 2010 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

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.

Happy New Year!

Posted January 1st, 2010 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

Best of luck in 2010!

MotorAge magazine recognizes Terry Wynter Auto Service Center with ‘Top Shop’ award

Posted November 30th, 2009 by admin and filed in News, Uncategorized

MotorAge magazine has named Terry Wynter Auto Service Center among the top ten in the nation for its prestigious Top Shop Awards for 2009. Terry Wynter Auto Service Center was the only Florida shop to qualify for the national recognition and will be featured in the December issue of the magazine. 

“I am extremely honored to be named a Top Shop finalist,” says owner Terry Wynter. “We would not be celebrating this incredible honor if it weren’t for my amazing staff and their great team work and commitment to the industry.” 

Each year, MotorAge judges auto repair centers throughout the country on the merits of community service, industry participation, customer service, marketing, philosophy and commitment to technology. MotorAge is a monthly trade journal reaching more than 130,000 industry professionals. 

Established in 1996, Terry Wynter Auto Service Center is an independent, family-owned automobile service provider specializing in vehicle maintenance and repair services for individual car owners and commercial fleets. The 11-bay shop is located at 3811 Fowler St., just north of the intersection of Winkler Avenue and Fowler Street. The center’s comprehensive Web site, http://www.terrywynterauto.com/, offers detailed information about the center’s award-winning history, services, staff, accreditations and affiliations, as well as convenient online ability for making appointments and communicating with technicians via e-mail. For more information, call 239-939-2500 or e-mail info@terrywynterauto.com. Also, keep up with Terry Wynter Auto Service Center online on Facebook and on Twitter, twitter.com/terrywynterauto.