These days going to the movie theater can be very expensive. Theater owners have come to realize that former patrons now get their films online from services like Netflix. To compensate for the loss of these customers, they have begun to add luxury amenities like select seating and personalized service in the auditorium. And of course the price of a ticket has skyrocketed, in my area to around $14.00 for a ticket.
It’s no secret that large numbers of recent immigrants now live in many areas in the United States. Most gather themselves into close-knit communities where their native language predominates. Fortunately, for quality collision shop owners, few of these immigrant communities have a quality body shop in their own ethnic area. If there is a shop, chances are it’s rather primitive and not up to insurance claim quality. This opens the door for an astute shop owner nearby who will put someone on the payroll who speaks their language and can help market the shop to that community.
In my neighborhood, several shops are saying they’re having a “summer slump.” Maybe it’s the economy. Maybe people have gone on vacation ignoring needed repairs. With gas prices sky high people are driving less and having less accidents. Whatever the case, it can come down to less business for the moment. What can a shop owner do to survive this down time?
Many years ago I went through a training program offered by a company called Expansion Consultants, Inc. One of my instructors offered the hypothesis that “any unwanted situation can be resolved with sufficient communication.” He used the expression “universal solvent” to describe how communication can dissolve problems.
As we get rolling in this New Year, we see a multitude of new ways to market the shop: A website, e-mail, Facebook and other social media sites, like Twitter. Should we ignore these new ways to reach potential customers? Certainly not, but there can be a tendency to discard tried and true ways when we jump on the bandwagon for the new ones. And that can be a serious mistake.
I was recently surprised when a local handyman referred to the people he does property repairs for as “clients.” It sounded kind of grandiose. Would that same designation be out of place in a collision repair shop where repair prospects are generally referred to as “customers?”
It’s likely you have tried to tune into a radio station in your area, only to find a lot of interference from other stations not staying within the parameters of their frequency. Electronic reception is often subject to “noise” from other broadcasting devices. Even a cell phone being used in your area may make noise on your radio or create interference on your TV set. These are just some of the nuisances we have to endure in our ever-growing electronic world.
Recently a shop owner in my area converted a 12-by-14 foot space in his shop into a conference room to host meetings for insurance managers and agents, dealership principals, and other group sources of business. He also put in a computerized projection system and screen. The cost of creating this space wasn't cheap. Was it really worth it?
A while back I made a sales call at a high-quality body shop in my area. There was no one at the front desk so I took a seat to wait. I didn't mind waiting since I had something to gain from being there. A few minutes after I arrived, a potential customer pulled up out front and came up to the front desk. Ten minutes passed and no one came out. The customer began to pace around. Ten more minutes passed and still no one appeared to take his information. He turned around, walked out and drove away.
A reporter in Washington D.C. recently reported that Illinois Republican Congressman Timothy V. Johnson makes one hundred or more phone calls to his constituents every day. He calls from home, the office and the airport. He calls while waiting in traffic in his car, while working out on his treadmill, and while walking through the Capitol. He says, “I think a good many of my colleagues spend too much time talking to each other and not enough time talking to the people they represent.”