In this space, as well as in our sister newsletter, The Greensheet, we explore the many shortcomings of this industry, poking at our soft spots in hopes of making us all better in how we serve the North American vehicle owner. We don’t shy away, though, from pointing out our successes as well, noting where we have made progress, where the consumer is better served.
Fundamentally, one area that has always been of the most serious concern — at least for this writer — is how we are perceived by our service customers, how those who pay the bills feel about the work we do, the service given. Like it or not, our shops are not held in the highest esteem in the minds of most consumers — and I believe this is the one area we need to focus on, the area where improvement can pay dividends throughout all levels of the industry, the place where we can do the most good across the board.
And, for my taste, the work that has been done over the last few years by those associated with the Car Care Council and the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign has made monumental progress in educating the driving public about the value of preventative maintenance, as well as representing what is good about the service sector of the independent aftermarket — the interface where the consumer comes in intimate contact with our industry.
With very limited resources, some of the best and brightest in our industry have come together through the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign and have put together programs and material that positively promote our industry through consumer education and the value of regular vehicle care. Starting with the “Car Care Guide,” this group of industry volunteers crafted a 60-page vehicle maintenance reference guide that is an owner’s manual for service and repair that helps any consumer understand the various vehicle systems and what is needed to keep that car or light truck on the road, efficiently and safely carrying Americans to work or play. The guide comes in English, Spanish and French, plus a metric version, and can be easily obtained by aftermarket parts and service facilities to present to consumers as a guide toward maintaining their vehicles. It is also available at the BCCA website at www.carcare.org.
Also at that website are other resources that can help consumers, including car care tips, resources for finding a repair facility, information to help the consumer communicate effectively with the service provider, and, of course, information for both shop owners and consumers concerning the value of car care events. With National Car Care Month in April and Fall Car Care Month in October, consumers have the opportunity to become even more educated about what their prized vehicle needs while our industry, as a whole, has the chance to educate consumers about who we are and what we can do: the long-term solution to the negative perception that this industry has carried for way too long.
As well, the site has several videos that are well-produced and that educate car owners about the service needed to keep their vehicles on the road. One video in particular, “Auto Service & Repair: What to Expect” does an excellent job of leading any consumer through the steps of choosing the right shop, and then receiving the level of service and professionalism they should expect from our industry. In my mind, this should be required watching for any car owner, young or old, and should be playing in every service center waiting room for vehicle owners to see.
Yes, we have many things to work on in making this a better industry, and much left to accomplish to make this the kind of business we all wish it could be. But, while we focus on the work to be done, let’s make sure we note what we have accomplished and support the work being done by those associated with the Car Care Council and the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign.
Gary A. Molinaro, Editor/Publisher