Federated Auto Parts has developed a new training program designed to help repair shops target younger and female customers. The program, called Connecting With the New Generation of Auto Repair Customers, focuses on the effective use of social media.
The seminar covers everything from texting, email blasts, Yelp and Facebook and suggests ways to produce not just happy customers, but customers who become grass roots promoters, Mike Allen, vice president of Federated, said. “The most effective form of advertising we still have today is word of mouth, and it is magnified with social media,” Allen said. “The progressive shops totally get it.”
“Sites such as Yelp and Facebook have a tremendous force multiplying effect that can have either a positive or negative impact on business, and we need for those who attend to fully comprehend and prepare to react to this concept,” Allen said.
The program is not software driven. Instructors encourage interaction and share examples of ways to communicate most effectively with different demographics and “wow” customers through examples from various companies, Allen said.
Federated developed the program in collaboration with the Essential Action Design Group. The two companies also worked together on a round of classes meant to generate more profits through small changes in everything from average repair orders, productivity and vehicle count. Those classes, offered over the past two years, generated better audience engagement than expected and requests for follow up classes, Allen said.
The new program focuses on customer complaint avoidance, customer appreciation and customer experience enhancements.
Cliff Hovis, president of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, scheduled a 90-minute seminar this spring at the company’s technical training center. The training complemented other training programs the company already uses, Hovis said in an email. “Attendees were very interested in how social media can help them enhance customer service and attract and retain customers.” — Sarah Hollander
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