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So the sky is falling – What lands on your head is up to you.

The economic realities of today are brutal and greatly affect the service and repair industry.  When you’re out of work or underemployed, you may simply not have the cash to perform needed maintenance and repairs.  Those of us fortunate enough to have enough work all know someone who does not, and that affects our spending habits because, at some level, we’re a little worried that we could be next.

Savings levels in the U.S.  have increased in recent years as people put off vacations, eat out less and pass on those little luxuries.  The housing market remains depressed.  People are holding on to their vehicles longer, which has historically been a boon to the aftermarket and sent dealerships scrambling for more fixed ops business.  The challenge of our time is that when things get bad enough, people start to defer maintenance and repairs while the national fleet is aging.  We saw that in 2008 and it looks like we may be on the cusp of another period of deferral.

So how does a service center combat this?  How do we educate and motivate our customers to choose to take appropriate care of their vehicles?  I think the answer lies in our ability to convey the VALUE of what we do. 

“Value Priced” too often translates into “cheap and inferior”.  People can be lured down that road, but studies have shown that they are consistently willing to pay more for quality that lasts.  That is the definition of value we need to share with our customers.

People tend to be value-oriented thinkers.  Take shoes for example:  I pay a bit more than average, but am getting a shoe that really does the job better and for longer than a bargain brand.   Do you have value preferences?  For what products are you willing to pay a bit more for the additional quality you receive?  Tools?  TVs? Bread? Toilet paper? 

I would be very surprised if your philosophy were not something like: “We strive to fix your vehicle right the first time, using quality replacement parts at a fair price.  We stand by our work.”  I would not, however, be surprised to learn that your customers have never been told this because I‘ve never had a service advisor or technician tell me anything like this.

How do you work your Value Proposition into the sales process?  How about starting with the appearance of your shop – your attention to detail, customer comfort and cleanliness go a long way towards telling me about the work you do.  When I’m explaining my problem, how easy would it be to say something like “We really want to take care of this for you, let me ask you a few questions.”  When you’re writing up the order: “We’ll only install quality parts on your vehicle that are as good as or better than the original parts.”  When cashing out, “We stand by our work.  Let me explain our warranty.”

When it comes to service/repair options how well do you explain the value?  I’ve never had a service advisor tell me why synthetic oil is $30 better than conventional. 

Think VALUE in all of your communications with your customers.  A big percentage of your potential customers will start at your website.  Does it clearly and immediately state your value proposition?  Do you have content that educates and motivates prospects/customers to do business with you?

Economically speaking, the sky is falling.  Your ability to communicate your Value Proposition may mean the difference between pennies from heaven and getting soaked.


Lance Boldt is V.P. and Co-Founder of AutoNetTV Media, Inc., creators of videos that educate and motivate people to take better care of their vehicles.  Their programs can be viewed in thousands of service center lobbies and automotive websites.  AutoNetTV specializes in digital signage applications for Lobby TV and Digital Menu Boards to lift sales and increase CSI.