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Customer Satisfaction Survey – Customer Service Insights

Saturday Service - Customer Service Insights Comments Off on Customer Satisfaction Survey – Customer Service Insights

For the most part, many retailers are participating in some sort of customer feedback program.  This can range from a dedicated website for a customer to answer questions related to their purchase to a suggestion box on the checkout counter at a fast lube.  Although the range of soliciting customer feedback is wide; it's very clear that information relating to a customers purchase and thoughts about the retailer can help to improve the overall business operation.  What happens when the feedback is forced and in a manner in which the only answer provided is the highest ranking answer?  Here is a real example of what my wife and I experienced when we purchased a new vehicle less than 1 year ago.

The process for purchasing the vehicle was no different than past experiences - we did our research, contacted a few dealerships, negotiated a price and signed the deal. When we picked up the vehicle and were walked through the features we were reminded by the customer experience manager and the sales person to fill out the customer satisfaction survey.  The key to this request was "Make sure you give us perfect and if you are unable to please let us know how we can fix your concern prior to the survey".  Hang on a second, this dealership also claimed the highest overall satisfaction scores nationally within their brand.  Does this mean, that  the #1 score they attained was a result of "fixing"?  In the end, I filled out the customer satisfaction score honestly and gave the dealership good scores but not a perfect.

This experience is not uncommon since I have heard similar stories from other new car purchasers.  In the end, as a consumer this has left me feeling that a #1 customer satisfaction ranking by any retailer needs to be scrutinized to truly understand what metics were being rated and what influence the retailer had on the outcome.  If you want to increase customer satisfaction levels and do it consistently it begins with talking with your customers and having an overall strategy on what great customer service will look like.  I also believe that a customer satisfaction survey has its place in understanding satisfaction levels but it should not be the only one.

Written by Ronald Rameshnauth

TPMS Tool a Necessity – Friday Gadget

Friday Gadgets Comments Off on TPMS Tool a Necessity – Friday Gadget


Tire pressure monitoring system's (TPMS) are no longer a luxury vehicle item but a mandatory requirement on new vehicles.  The individual wheel sensors collect information on the tire pressures and record fault codes that will activate a TPMS light on the dashboard of the vehicle.  These sensors help to warn drivers of low tire pressures and sudden changes to tire pressures.  The result of this type of monitoring and information is drivers will have the ability to be proactive rather than reactive when a blowout occurs.  One other note, tire pressures typically decrease by 3 p.s.i. every 3 months so drivers will be able to correct the tire pressures before the warning light comes on.

When a warning light comes on, it is indicating an issue with the TPMS and a fault code will be generated to help diagnosis the issue.  To read these fault codes and possibly reset them shops will need to have access to a TPMS tool.  These tools will have a database of all manufacturers and vehicles and will either work wirelessly with the TPMS or plug into the OBD harness.  My preference is for any tool that plugs directly into the OBD because this guarantees an interruption free signal.  Secondly, plugging into the OBD will require less input from the user and is a fail safe way to diagnose issues.  However, not all TPMS tools are created equal - by this, most universal tools will be able to read fault codes but not all will be able to reset the codes.  When shopping for a TPMS tool it might be a good idea to find one that can reset the codes on the widest range of vehicles.  In this article you will find a picture of the ATEQ TPMS VT55 OBDII unit which is universal and offers fault code information on a wide range of vehicles but can not reset codes on all the vehicles (take a close look at the car compatibility information when purchasing a tool).

To continue to offer information and services geared to drivers and customers I feel it is important that shops make an investment in a TPMS tool to help customers understand why the light has come on even if you are not equipped to service the light.

Written by Ronald Rameshnauth

No Oil Changes for i-MiEV

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Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle (i-MiEV) made its North American debut in late 2011.  This electrically operated vehicle boasts a driving range of 155km on a full charge and uses no fuel or engine oil.  Yes, no engine oil.  If this is the future trend of vehicles then this means there will be no need for this vehicle to be serviced at a fast lube - for an oil change.  This vehicle will never require an oil change, oil filter or even an air filter.

However, it's not all doom and gloom - there still lies the opportunity to check tire pressures, replace a cabin filter, top up washer fluid,brake fluid, coolant and do a transmission fluid change.  Education will be key for customers who purchase these types of vehicles that periodic inspections are still required to ensure the vehicle is up to standard.  It's not unimaginable to think that a i-MiEV vehicle owner may believe they only need their vehicle serviced every 6 months based on their owners manual.  However, real world driving conditions will require any vehicle to be inspected at least every 3 months to ensure vital fluids and tire pressures are adequate.

It's still quite some time before electric vehicles become the norm but it's also important to realize that this is one less vehicle visiting your service bays for an oil filter change.

Written by Ronald Rameshnauth

2012 Honda Pilot Maintenance Light Reset & Fluids

How To Fridays 7 Comments »

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.  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%.

*Touring models will have to follow the reset procedures by using the SEL/RESET button on the steering wheel to bring up the Oil Life menu

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. Brake /Clutch Fluid - Honda Heavy Duty Dot 3

  5. Power Steering - Honda PSF

  6. Rear Differential - Honda VTM -4 Differential Fluid

  7. Transfer Case - SAE 90 or SAE 80W90 (GL4 or GL5)

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

Written by Ronald Rameshnauth

Benefits of Oil Analysis

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When performing an oil change, I often take note of the colour/smell of the oil being drained.  Paying attention to these two attributes helps me understand what is happening to the engine.  With todays modern engines and their tighter tolerances its becoming more and more important to get a better understanding of the impact of motor oil.  In a previous article, I discussed how some customers choose to ignore the manufacturers recommended drain intervals or preferred oil based on what they believe to be correct.  One can now put their theories to test and have their engine oil or any other automotive lubricant tested.  A standard oil test will be able to determine oil breakdown, engine wear, additive breakdown, viscosity, particles and the presence of fuel or coolant.  Doing one simple oil test could help a vehicle owner understand the impact of extended drain intervals and whether their engine is showing preliminary signs of an even greater issue.

It would be nice to see this value add for customers in the fast lube industry since it will help them protect their investment and even help shops sell better oils.  A simple oil testing program could help customers understand how to better protect their vehicle and in turn help set a shop apart from the competition.  At this point, there are no in-house testing kits but their are quite a few companies that will allow you to send the results away for further analysis.  This is definitely an area worth further exploration even if its just to understand how certain oils perform in your own vehicle.

Fuel Economy Targets

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Anyone in the automotive repair/fast lube industry will be able to recognize that motor oils are changing to benefit fuel economy targets.  In the U.S., it is mandated by the year 2016 all vehicles produced for sale in the U.S. will have an average fuel economy of 35.5 mpg.  Manufacturers will be able to reach these targets by combining the fuel economies of their entire fleet to get to that number.  For example, a hybrid could have a fuel economy of 50 mpg and a SUV could have 21 mpg but when these two are averaged together it equals the target of 35.5 mpg.  The quickest way to get vehicles to this target is through lighter weight and more viscous oils.  In the last few years, I have seen Honda go from using 5W20 to using 0W20 in an effort to continue to improve fuel economy.  In a recent article I wrote about Ford beginning the use of a 0W10 in Europe.

For customers who continue to insist on using 5W30 or 10W30 oils when their vehicle recommends a lighter weight oil they need to be educated that lighter oils will help the vehicle achieve its desired fuel economy and benefit the performance of the engine in the long run.  We all have a role to play in ensuring vehicles get the best performance and it can be as simple as using the correct motor oil.

Synthetic Oil – Royal Purple

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Royal Purple Oil Filter

Most car enthusiasts are familiar with brands that are not the "typical" off the shelf product.  It just seems that there are certain products that are not meant for the mainstream consumer but those of us who are passionate about cars and their performance will know about them.  An example of a not so typical product is the line of automotive oils produced by Royal Purple (RP).  In recent years, RP is showing up on more automotive retail shelves but in my opinion its still regarded as a performance enthusiasts oil.   However, to address this perception RP has a line of API licensed motor oils geared to the consumer market.  These would be the types of oils that a fast lube could potentially carry.   To the consumer, these oils would have an advantage over conventional oils by providing better engine protection, longevity and potentially improved fuel economy.  RP has also begun to offer a line of extended drain interval filters to compliment this line of oils.  I don't foresee consumers asking for these products on their own but it is a worthwhile oil to take a look at carrying.

2012 Honda Fit Maintenance Light Reset & Fluids

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2012 Honda Fit

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.  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 - OW20 (3.6L including oil filter)

  2. Coolant - Honda Long Life Antifreeze/ Coolant Type 2

  3. Automatic Transmission - Honda ATF - DW1

  4. Manual Transmission - Honda Manual Transmission Fluid (MTF)

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

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

Scrubblade – A Better Wiper Blade

Mondays Industry Innovations/Trends Comments Off on Scrubblade – A Better Wiper Blade

Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to connect with the founder of Scrubblade, Billy Westbrook, and his innovative scrubbing wiper blade. The unique part about this wiper blade is it goes beyond helping to improve driver visibility during precipitation because it also helps to improve driver visibility through debris. To put it in perspective - bird droppings and bug splatter on a windshield are usually next to impossible to remove by using normal wiper blades. Scrubblade's patented, "scrubber" technology utilizes hundreds of tiny triangular "scrubbers" on the leading edge of the two outer blades. The scrubber blade pierces debris as it passes through and widens to the base, literally "scrubbing" your windshield clean. The second "smooth blade" squeegees away any remaining debris or water left behind. It's pretty neat to see this wiper blade in action.

The Scrubblade is gaining recognition pretty quickly for its innovative technology. In late 2011 the product received the Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award for its outstanding achievement in new product design, functionality, simplicity and innovation edging out the likes of industry wiper giants Bosch, Rain-X, Trico and PEAK. This is an extraordinary feat considering Scrubblade has only been on the market since 2006 and even more amazing when this was done by one man. As Billy puts it "I thought of Scrubblade out of necessity" while he was driving down the highway in 2002. He took note of the bug splatter on the windshield and how it affected his field of vision since his conventional wipers could not clean them off properly - the idea was born. It was not until 2005 that Billy perfected the blade and later brought it to market in 2006. It has been an uphill climb building a company and fending off imitations while staying focused on his family life but Scrubblade continues to grow and its only a matter of time before they take their place among the industry giants.

This product receives a recommendation from OilReset as a must have product to enhance driver visibility and safety. Not only does it meet the basic requirements of a conventional wiper blade but it can further enhance the safety of the driver by removing hardened debris. For further information on Scubblade and where to purchase you can visit http://scrubblade.com.

Is There Anyone Else Who Can Help?

Saturday Service - Customer Service Insights Comments Off on Is There Anyone Else Who Can Help?

The weather is milder than usual in Canada for this time of year and we have decided to get ready  for the biking season a littler earlier as well.  My wife and I have spent the past few weekends discussing what type of equipment we will need for our 18 month old to enjoy biking as much as our 4 year old.  With questions in mind, we headed over to large retail chain on a Saturday afternoon and headed right for the bike section.  We paroused the isles looking at equipment but also looking for a salesperson to help.  We found an infant carrier for our bike but we had not found anyone to help us with our questions.  I decided we would split up and see who could find help quicker - my wife would stay where she was and I would go to another department in search of help.  I found a salesperson in another department who was kind of enough to explain there was only one person working in sporting goods and he kindly walked me back to the section and got the attention of the sporting goods guy who acknowledged me and said he would be a few minutes.

It turns out, I was not the only person waiting for his help - there was also a grandmother and her grandson.  I decided that the 15 minutes it had taken so far was far too long and decided to go with my gut and purchase the item I had found and return it if it didn't meet my requirements.

There is a valuable lesson here for this store (which I will share with them) and for shops and businesses in general.  As a customer I really don't care about what the staffing issues are , inventory issues or any other issue - I just care about getting the product I came in for or possibly an equivalent.  If your staff are not trained to provide assistance across all aspects of your business then what good are they putting up pricing labels in their department when a customer needs help in another?   In this situation, the gentlemen who walked me over from the other department would have been able to help his co-worker out by trying to facilitate my questions.  In the end, this lack of help has led me to believe this is not a store I want to return to in the future.

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