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Final Up Sell Opportunity

Saturday Service - Customer Service Insights Comments Off on Final Up Sell Opportunity

An often overlooked part of the sales process is the payment.   Recently, I made a purchase at an office supply store and just before quoting what I owed, the cashier asked if I would like to purchase any stamps.  I gave it a quick thought and said yes.  Let's take this back to the automotive world - when doing an oil change for a customer it is typical to performa a visual inspection and make recommendations for services based on this inspection.  In most cases, a customer who does not take any recommendations will not be provided with any further up sell.  This is a mistake - there is still an opportunity to provide this customer with a recommendation when they are being billed out.

The cashier has a great opportunity to review the invoice with the customer and upon requesting payment ask if they would like a specific item to compliment their oil change.  I believe this can be any item but the request has to be specific.  What I used to do before requesting payment from the customer I would say "Our fuel injection cleaner will help to improve your fuel economy between services for $3.99, can we add one to your vehicle?".  I have seen some shops do this but the request is usually "Would you like anything else?"  The key to this working is the request has to be specific.

The message here is simple, take the opportunity to provide a specific up sell to the customer prior to processing their transaction because there is a great opportunity to help them purchase something that they may have forgotten!

ADAS For Any Vehicle

Friday Gadgets Comments Off on ADAS For Any Vehicle

Image Courtesy of Mobileye

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is becoming the norm for OEM vehicles.  Although you might not be familiar with the term ADAS you will be familiar with some of the technology that are in todays vehicles.  Blind spot warning which can be both a visual and audible warning is used to warn a driver that a vehicle is in the blind spot and a lane change is not possible.  Rear detection sensors that can alert the driver to the presence of an object or person behind a vehicle is another common ADAS.  You don't need to own a new vehicle to take advantage of some of these features because companies like Mobileye are introducing products for the aftermarket.

The Mobileye is basically a camera that is mounted to the windshield that can send information to a display to warn the driver of a number of different things.  It uses and processes the inputs from the camera, measures the driving distance and calculates the time of probable collision with other vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.  Mobileye provides real-time alerts to the drivers in case of imminent danger of collision, enabling them to react.

Mobileye also makes the claim that it can help make you a better driver by providing you with information that you might not be typically paying attention to.  Imagine if all vehicles were equipped with this technology - I am sure the roads would have safer drivers!


Check Engine Light – Nuisance or Blessing?

Automotive Comments Off on Check Engine Light – Nuisance or Blessing?

Example of Check Engine Light

Over the past few weeks I have fielded inquiries regarding check engine lights and how to reset them.  The light its self is harmless but it does become a nuisance when its on all the time and especially at night when its reflection makes you glow.  The solution is usually not as simple as disconnecting the negative battery terminal or to reset the light with a scan tool.

The check engine light will come on for a number of reasons relating to sensors in the drivetrain or emissions system.  Along with the light, their is actually a code that is produced that can be read by a scan tool that will tell what the issue is.  In some cases, it can be as simple as a loose fuel cap.  It is  in the best interest of the car owner to investigate why the light is on rather than dismissing it as a nuisance.  Interestingly enough, clearing the code with a scan tool does not mean the problem has gone away or the code is permanently removed.  Actually, the light should come back on at some point and the code its self will be stored in the vehicle computer for retrieval at a later time.

My advice is simple, if and when this light comes on be aware that the vehicle computer has diagnosed a fault.  The proper course of action is to have the fault scanned by a qualified mechanic shop or dealer to understand what the risk is to your vehicle.  Ignoring the light, covering it up or resetting it will not make the issue go away so try to have it serviced sooner rather than later.  Although having to spend money to repair the cause of the check engine light may not be pleasant it could be a blessing to have a well performing vehicle when you most need it to perform.


2012 Honda CR-V Maintenance Light Reset & Fluids

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Image Courtesy of Honda

The reset procedure for the oil life index remains the same in 2012.  After changing the oil and filter the index can be reset to 100% by doing the following:

1. Turn the ignition switch to ON (one click before starting the engine)

2. Display the engine oil life % by repeatedly pressing the (SEL/RESET) knob

3. Press and hold the knob for ten seconds or more - the oil life index and the maintenance item codes begin to blink

4. Press the knob for five seconds or more until the index resets to 100%

Vehicles equipped with the multi information display will have to use the SOURCE and MENU buttons to complete the reset (details have been omitted from this post but you can email for the directions).When topping up the fluids on this vehicle it may help to know what Honda is recommending:

Engine Oil - 0W20 is recommended for year round use

Coolant - Honda Long Life Coolant/Anti-freeze Type 2

Automatic Transmission - Honda ATF DW-1

Brake Fluid - Honda Heavy Duty Dot 3

Differential - Honda Dual Pump Fluid II

With this information you should be well equipped to service the 2012 Honda CR-V and perform the maintenance light reset.

Consumer Poll on Fuel Prices & New Vehicle Purchase

Automotive Comments Off on Consumer Poll on Fuel Prices & New Vehicle Purchase

I just read an interesting article on the AskPatty.com blog regarding a Kelley Blue Book consumer poll on fuel economy.  The premise of the poll was to gauge what impact the rising cost of motor fuels had on a consumer’s intent to purchase a new vehicle.  The poll also went on to ask consumers what types of alternative fuels they would consider when purchasing a new vehicle.

When it comes to a new vehicle purchase it’s very clear that based on this poll over 50% of consumers would consider a more fuel efficent vehicle on their next purchase!  While the remaining 50% are a mix of potential hybrid purchasers, those who are impartial to fuel prices or waiting for fuel prices to decrease.  The latter being out of the question as far as I am concerned.  The poll digs a bit deeper and asks those alternative fuel purchasers what types of fuel power would they consider and its quite a mixed bag of results.  The leaders in this poll are natural gas (23%) and hydrogen (14%) with electric garnering a mere 9% of confidence.  Mixed in with these alternate power sources are solar, ethanol, biodiesel, propane and some form of hybrid/hybrid plug-in.  I did find it interesting that low sulphur diesel did not make the list as an alternative fuel vehicle (or was not considered).

Based on this web poll conducted by Kelly Blue Book this year it’s clear that consumers who are looking to purchase are conscious of the cost of fuel but are unclear as to what the best alternative fuel choice is.  To me, this means that consumers are still very confident in gasoline and want manufacturers to continue to produce highly efficient gas engines - for now.

Image Courtesy of Kelley Blue Book

As of this posting, the most readily available alternative fuel vehicle is the gasoline/electric hybrid with electric just starting to make its way into the mainstream consumer market.

ClearMechanic – Cool Technology

Mondays Industry Innovations/Trends Comments Off on ClearMechanic – Cool Technology

About 8 months ago I came across a software called ClearMechanic (CM).  The software utilized smart phone technology to allow a technician to visually recommend a repair.  Here is how it would work: while doing an oil change the technician notices a leaking transmission gasket, he takes a picture with his iPhone or Android using the CM app, associates the picture with a description of the issue, presses send and the picture is emailed to the customer and stored on the technician's company website for viewing.  The idea is simple - the customer will now have a visual of what the issue is and will be able to make a decision on whether to perform the service or not.  If the customer wants a second opinion they can email it to a family member anywhere in the world for their opinion!

The impact to any repair shop is the ability to build further trust with customers but to also close more sales.  Even better, the software can integrate into any shop management system or customer relationship management system so following up with the customer down the road becomes even easier.  You could now remind a customer about the service they passed up last time with the picture that was taken.

Overall, it is an exciting piece of software that is only starting to gain traction out of the dealership world.  I will be providing continued updates on CM and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Take a look at this YouTube video showing the software in action when trying to visually recommend an air filter.

Unhappy Customer Presents an Opportunity for Great Service

Saturday Service - Customer Service Insights Comments Off on Unhappy Customer Presents an Opportunity for Great Service

Like many of you reading this posting, my passion for automotive is a result of turning wrenches and providing great service.  Over the years, I have learned how to turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one almost 100% of the time. When I first started out in automotive, an unhappy customer was an interaction I wanted no part of.  The reason, I am not a confrontational person and I found these types of interactions intimidating.  The solution, to educate myself by reading but also watching how others interacted with these types of situations.  The people who were very good with diffusing customer complaints always seemed to be very good at listening to the customer.

I once had a first time customer have an oil change performed and leave happily only to return later in the afternoon not very satisfied.  The customer found drops of oil on their driveway where they had parked that were not there previously.  I listened attentively and told the customer I will come out to their home personally to take a look and clean the oil.  In the meantime, I asked them to bring the car into the service bay so we could ensure the "run down" was wiped up and the oil and filter were snug - check.  A few hours later, I showed up at the customers house with a small bristle brush and a commercial grade oil cleaner we used in the shop to remove oil stains from the shop floor.  After determining the oil was from the oil change I went ahead and cleaned the oil stain from the driveway.  I took the opportunity to share with the customer the oil had been removed and in the future we would take the extra time to clean the "run down" on the vehicle prior to them leaving.  The customer smiled and said "I can't believe you came to my home to clean the oil!"

In this case, I simply listened to the customer and acknowledged what they said.  I later went to their home to verify it was in fact true and remedied the situation with a bit of elbow grease.  Even though these types of mishaps were rare, I welcomed them as an opportunity to reinforce to customers why we were the best at what we did.


HUD – Heads Up Displays

Friday Gadgets Comments Off on HUD – Heads Up Displays

There are some cool add on devices you can put on your car or offer to your customers.  One of these devices is the heads up display (HUD).  Those of us who have serviced cars are very familiar with GM models that had them in the past such as the Grand Prix.  The concept is really cool, project the current speed and any other valuable data onto the windshield in the driver's field of view.  This way, you don't have to take your eyes off the road to know what your cars vitals are.   Newer factory installed HUD systems like BMW's can even provide your navigation instructions.

What if you don't have a factory installed HUD?  Well, you're not left out in the cold because you can simply add one.   The better devices on the market will plug into the OBD port, receive power from the cigarette lighter and require a special film to be attached to a small portion of the windshield.  Voila!  The units can work in daylight but look best at night.  The reviews on these units is mixed with all of them (at the time of this posting) being produced overseas with little to no technical support.  With this said, it appears that Pioneer, the electronics company will be launching some type of HUD system for the masses at some point in 2012.

If you are in the market for one of these devices take a look at Amazon.com and search for "Heads up display".

Figuring Out Dexos

Automotive Comments Off on Figuring Out Dexos

There seems to be a lot of information circulating about Dexos, so I wanted to cut through it to summarize what it is and what the impact will be.  The term Dexos was created by GM as a classification for the oils required to be used exclusively in their vehicles.  The Dexos classed oils are formulated from high grade base stock oil which would typically be used in a semi or full synthetic oil.  The oil is designed to increase drain intervals and improve fuel economy.  At this time there are two options: Dexos 1 or 2.  Dexos 1 is formulated for gasoline engines and 2 is for diesel engines.

The impact to car owners is a more costly oil change and you will need to verify with the service centre that they carry a Dexos approved oil.  Service centres will have to create more room for Dexos approved oils in usually limited spaces already.  The major impact will be on refiners who will have to obtain licenses and pay royalties to GM for the production of the product.  Dexos 1 and 2 oils have rolled out and are readily available from a number of different brands.  Follow this link to a list of companies carrying Dexos http://www.gmdexos.com/licensedbrands/dexos1licensedbrands.html.

The lube industry from manufacturers to service centres are still weighing in on whether Dexos will be here for the long term.  For the time being, it is here and GM vehicles recommending Dexos approved oils will require the use of them to avoid voiding the engine warranty.

2012 Honda Accord Maintenance Light Reset & Fluids

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2012 Honda Accord Coupe, Image Courtesy of Honda

When the maintenance wrench comes on or the vehicle has received an oil and filter change the maintenance minder system will need to be reset.  It looks like not much has changed in 2012.  Here are the instructions:

1) Turn the ignition to run (one click before starting the engine).

2) Press the SELECT/RESET knob repeatedly until the engine oil life indicator % is shown.

3) Press and hold the SELECT/RESET knob for more than 10 seconds.  The oil life % will begin to blink.  Release the SELECT/RESET knob.

4) Press and hold the SELECT/RESET knob for for more than 5 seconds.  The oil life indicator % will change to 100%.

When servicing this vehicle it might be a good idea to understand the types of fluids Honda recommends:

  1. Engine Oil - 0W20 is recommended for year round use

  2. Engine Coolant - Honda Long Life Anti-Freeze/Coolant Type 2

  3. Automatic Transmission - Honda ATF DW-1

  4. Manual Transmission - Honda MTF

  5. Brake /Clutch Fluid - Honda Heavy Duty Dot 3

  6. Power Steering - Honda PSF

With this information you should be well equipped to service the 2012 Honda Accord!

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