Underwear Helmet

by Sean Whiffen

Few things are better than the rush of the wind against your bare skin as you cruise in nothing but underwear and socks.  Or so we imagined as we ran around the house with one pair of tighty-whities on our bodies, another pair on our heads – with one of the openings placed over our eyes so we could see, and a pair of white socks on our hands like sweet riding gloves.  The loud muffler sounds rippled off our lips as the spit flew in every direction. 

Yes, back in the days of early Saturday morning cartoons, when the TV set sat on the ground and was made of the same wood as the rest of your furniture, our pre-pubescent bodies cruised the house with thoughts of real asphalt rolling beneath our feet.  Imaginations seem so vivid and expansive when you’re young.  Thankfully, they don’t end as we age.  We adults still have dreams and goals, but the difference is often in the way we make them more personal – with emotional connections.  These are often the most powerful because they have deeper meaning.

Your customers also make personal connections with your business.  Some may tie into their dreams of affirmation for making smart decisions, others perhaps to an actual relationship with a professional who cares for them and simply gives good advice that protects them and saves them money.  Always consider the human element when implementing anything new in your business.  Of course things can and should make your business more efficient, saving time and money, and improving service for people. But a new “widget” can be a bad addition if it doesn’t have a positive emotional connection that helps people.

For example, a customer at a Los Angeles tire dealership cancelled his additional service order of over $400, work that he needed, because of the negative emotional impact of the cable TV news discussing a current downturn in the financial markets.  Alternatively, I observed a Grandmother reading the book she brought to a local tire dealer – eventually putting it down because our program had a video clip about glass cookware breaking.  She had no interest in other clips, but that one resonated with her and finally moved the book to her purse.  I see examples like this Grandmother often when I visit and observe at our customers’ locations.  We call and we talk with our customers.  We hold sessions with actual vehicle owners, show content, watch their behavior and ask them questions.  In the end, it’s all about the people.  There are personal connections made with you and your employees at your business.  The content and/or messages you promote inside of, and externally about, your business should also encourage personal connections – and emotional benefits to the customer. 

Imagining your customers in their underwear may help a new and nervous service advisor start the conversation.  But remembering the thrill of being a kid and developing experiences will help you look for better ways to establish a rapport and provide tools that connect your services with the emotional and logical needs of your customers.

Sean Whiffen is Co-Founder and Vice President of AutoNetTV.  AutoNetTV’s digital signage products deliver entertaining and educational TV programming to the lobbies of automotive service and repair businesses as well as digital menu boards and automotive website video content.