September '19

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30 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2019 A re you a product-based company or a service-based company? At first you may think of the great products or solutions you offer that help your customers with their vehicles. Or, if you are mainly B2B, then you may think of the ways those products or solutions help your customers make money and keep their clients happy. However, all of us who offer products as the core of our business need to think seriously about how much of our company could or should be service-minded. SERVICE FIRST For instance, at our business we offer restyling products to car dealerships. These can be anything from remote starts, window tint or graphics to power moonroofs, leather interiors or suspension lift kits. These are all great products that we love to sell and promote to help our dealers make money. But, a few years back, when I was trying to figure out how to grow our business, I realized that the products themselves can only do so much. Yes, they have to be high-quality and we have to install them correctly, but when we made an effort to put extra emphasis on the service side of the sale, our business grew. We thought of ways that we could help either our direct customers (car dealers) or the vehicle owners make their interactions with us as a company a better experience. We looked at why so many new-car dealerships have changed the way their showrooms and buildings are built and put together. Instead of simply having sales, service and parts areas and a small waiting area, dealerships now have customer expe- rience areas that may include interactive displays, full coffee and barista bars or quiet areas with soft music and massage chairs. Of course, we don't always have the ability to go to these extremes, but, ulti- mately, taking a view of how you can make the experience better starts with the service side of doing business. A REAL EXPERIENCE We decided to put some processes in place to help our customers. We came up with what we deemed a turnkey approach where our customers at the dealerships could simply sell one of our products like they always had, but then we became more service-minded in the way they placed their orders with us, scheduled customers and ultimately received the products. We started by offering to provide more sales support, which could come through phone, printed materials, email or text. We then created channels to make ordering The Service Solution Streamlining your customer interactions allows you to make more profits on the products you already offer. By Josh Poulson Being service-mind- ed means making it easier to do business with your company. (Photo courtesy Classic Motorsports) "SEMA must focus on the business of selling parts and services" Are there processes your company can streamline to make customer interactions more effi- cient? (Photo courtesy Terry's Toppers)

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