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Customer Education - Do THEY Want It?
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 4/27/2015 4 Replies


This is a take-off from Don's post/thread on tune-ups. Don posted an excellent narrative explaining the ins and outs and the whys and why nots of tune-ups. I read through most of the replies, and it strikes me that some may not see the forest for the trees. If you'll allow me to explain:

Several responses were critical that Don's explanation was too long, went too in depth, and was too technical. They went on to say that consumers in general aren't interested in all that stuff, and not only that, but they don't have the patience or the attention span or are in too much of a hurry to listen anyway. Is this really true? Or is this what we've come to believe?

We live in a culture today where everything has been reduced to 30-second sound bites. This has not always been the case. Recently I read "Team of Rivals" -- a book about Lincoln (excellent by the way). One thing that caught my attention was how engaged people were back then. Oh, I'm sure there were (as there always are) those who didn't engage. But consider how people turned out by the hundreds to the town square to listen to political candidates speak; and not just for 15-minutes, but for hours. Newspapers would print and people would read entire speeches. People wrote letters, often lengthy ones. I was astounded at the number of letters and memos written by Lincoln and others.

Now this, of course, is a bygone era. There's no turning back the hands of time. We have, and are used to, information on demand, from the comfort of our living rooms and offices, while driving in the car, while waiting for a flight, etc. There's nary a place you can go where there isn't a TV broadcasting headline news from around the world, let alone smartphone technology that puts the world at our fingertips. We want and expect information that's fast and concise. But just because folks want it fast and concise doesn't mean that they're not interested and aren't willing to engage.

Heck, if you're reading this sentence you've permitted yourself to be engaged for more than one minute.

In terms of interest… Is there a motorist out there who DOESN'T want to stay on the road and never stranded alongside of it? Is there a motorist out there who DOESN'T want to save money? Of course not!

Folks may not always have the time or be in the right state of mind to hear you out at the point of sale, but from the comfort of their favorite easy chair many will gladly spend 5 to 10-minutes reading your newsletter. Others will appreciate the helpful car care tips you post on your FB page that take 20-senconds to read in the morning before heading out to work. Some will find it interesting and even fun to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday attending a car care clinic. Others will appreciate the videos on your YouTube channel.

I think we're all in agreement that today's vehicles are complex and that maintaining and repairing them can sometimes be complex. I think most would also agree that it's in the best interest of the consumer to be 'educated.'

I guess what I'm suggesting is to quit believing that nobody is interested and that everyone is always in a hurry. Even at the point of sale where you think you have to be fast, you might be surprised how willing people will be to slow down a bit and listen IF you'll just ask and you demonstrate that you genuinely care.


Mark Hambaum
MDH Automotive Services
Richville, Michigan, USA

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