Is Your Waiting Room a "Selling Environment?"
-BY MIKE HUDGINS/Mighty Auto Parts

The next time you walk into your customer waiting room, stop a minute and take a look around. Really study what is there, and ask yourself, is this a selling environment? Is the area clean, with comfortable chairs? Are there marketing materials to inform the customer of the services you offer and why they should have them performed? Is there a television/DVD player available to show videos of preventive maintenance services and the advantages of having these services done to ensure proper operation of their vehicle's vital systems? Is it an inviting area for moms, dads and kids?

If your answer to any of these is "NO", then it may be time to consider a "face lift". Believe me, your competition has raised the bar on customer service. Now I'm not just talking about other quick lubes here, I'm talking about the new car dealership with quick service bays, the local tire shop with large waiting areas that are state of the art, and the big chain shops that are focusing on maintenance services, informing the customer with professional marketing materials and displays.

When is the last time you went into a new car dealership's service department? I suggest you visit one and take a look around. Wow! I have seen beautiful waiting rooms with wireless connection available, huge plasma televisions informing the customers of proper vehicle maintenance, shops, mall delivery, gourmet coffee machines, bagels, muffins and soft drinks, and yes, even a workout facility on-site!

These areas are geared for sales. They are clean, comfortable and create a pleasant environment for the customer. The people that deal with the customers are well-trained, informative, and professional. The marketing materials such as posters, flyers, menu boards and displays are up-to-date, clear, clean and precise. They totally inform the customer of services offered and the reason these services are critical to the continued proper operation of the vehicle.

Now, I'm not saying that you have to completely renovate your waiting room. But be honest, does it need some updating? There is a plethora of marketing materials available, and some suppliers, like Mighty, even offer maintenance DVDs to educate your customer on proper vehicle maintenance. Several suppliers offer hands-on training and some even offer computer-based training for your employees to keep them up to date with the ever-changing automotive world.

Make sure your facility is up-to-date. It may be time to get rid of those old issues of Hot Rod magazine and replace them with informative consumer education materials for your customer. Turn off Jerry Springer from the television and replace it with an up-to-date DVD explaining maintenance services. Replace those hard, uncomfortable, grade-school chairs, and maybe even consider adding wireless connection ability to keep the customers you have and attract new ones!

Why not stroll into your waiting room right now and do an honest evaluation?