• August 10, 2017 at 11:36 am#65212

    Our shop has a 60% rate of 1 time customers . Something must be turning people off . Could it be too many recommendations ?  we recommend flushing all the fluids every 30,000 miles .  If you recommend every fluid be flushed and then add in a few other things like filters I can see how a customer could be overwhelmed and uncomfortable . Do you guys handle first time customers differently concerning the multi point inspection ?  On a first time customer do you do just a safety inspection or a full multi point inspection ?  Do you recommend fluid flushes based on mileage or when they appear dirty ?

    August 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm#74811

    We have decided to handle first time customers differently.

    First of all, we need to be sure to let them know that we’re going to check it over.
    Then, we ask if they’d like us to go over the findings of the inspection with them now, or just make notes off the recommendations.  Safety items get pointed out even if they don’t want to know.


    August 12, 2017 at 8:51 am#74814
    Tom Ham

    If recommendations are driving them away, then maybe the presentations could be better or they are not customers you want anyway. We moved to using owner’s manual for recommendations (unless something obviously has an issue). If you sell every maintenance service in the factory schedule you will have to hire more techs to handle it all. We do same inspection on all cars. Presentation is a bit softer with new customers until they get to know us.

    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    August 16, 2017 at 11:15 am#74818

    We do a full inspection and unless it’s a safety issue, at check out we let them know we found some things that need to be addressed . Then we let them know that if they would like an estimate we would gladly provide one . The people that don’t want an estimate usually wont take care of their vehicles and we aren’t wasting our time writing one up or trying to get them to buy something they wont anyways.

    August 22, 2017 at 10:01 am#74819

    I hear/feel your concern.  We do our best to treat all customers the same.  Inform of inspections, safety items first, repairs, then maintenance.  On maintenance we ask once, offer loaner car, explain lifetime valvoline warranty. If they can’t see we are trying to bring “real” value to them and help maintain car.  Probably best they did not come back. Sad, but true…

    August 24, 2017 at 9:30 am#74820

    I’m semi retired now after owning the shop for 38 years. The way we do things has probably changed to a certain point and since I’m only working as a technical consultant, I can’t speak to current actions.

    But, for the 38 years it took to build a 25 bay 13 tech facility, our position with old or new customers was to approach their concerns first. We always road test and do a quick overview of the car and report findings. We never flush anything as a principle. We handle all fluid serving in the manner prescribed by the manufacturer, with some modification to oil change intervals, but we won’t push the subject to a new customer.

    Our approach to service was always based on the concept that maintenance should be done to drive down the cost of ownership, not to improve average ticket size. With that said, our average ticket size currently is over $1200. That covers every ticket including over the counter parts sales. The ticket size has grown to that size through long term customer satisfaction and confidence, good inspections on services, salaried service people without sales bonus which promotes the confidence, and finally working on the upper 30% of the local market of luxury German cars.

    I will say that we regularly get new customers from the local dealers whose writers get paid sales bonus and work under quotas for selling flushes. Turning a $120 oil service into a $600 ticket through flushes will lose one a lot of customers.

    August 25, 2017 at 1:50 pm#74822

    Weather it is a first time and long time client need to understand their position with  their car. Do they care about maintenance. Do they lease , do they keep their car long.

    With that said – We lose clients everyday they do not want to hear the bad news or what the vehicle should have, but it is our responsibility as the expert to give it to them any way. I try to have the service advisor make sure they ask clients do you want our 31 point inspection today  this way the client is expecting information good or bad . they bought into it not you looking like your trying to up sell.

    We use electronic inspections / have folders and put information about us and what they need and why – with a printout of OEM recommended service schedule.Copy of Estimates if wanted . , with business card.


    August 29, 2017 at 9:41 am#74824

    Steve , you may be on to something . You said selling flushes off an oil change will lose you alot of customers . Does anyone agree with him ?  Do you not sell flushes on just an oil change ?   Do you do just a safety inspection on oil changes ?  If the customer is waiting do you use a different process so they can be on their way quickly ?

    August 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm#74825

    We handle them all pretty much the same. Fix their initial concern first, then bring up anything else we find.

    If they don’t want it, we note it on the ticket to CYA and move one.


    September 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm#74840


    We don’t sell any flushes that aren’t a part of manufacturer recommended service. We do them at the intervals that are recommended except for oil changes. We work only on euro cars and they have gone to extremely long oil change intervals. Our town has no freeways and as such most daily driving is stop and go. If one would look at what many manufacturers call extreme conditions, I believe we see a lot of it and as such cut those high intervals in half. As to other fluids they do not get affected the way engine oil does and as such we leave the intervals as the manufacturer recommends.

    What does make a huge difference in what could be called upsells is that our 13 tech shop is divided into 5 teams. Each team only works on as many as two manufacturers cars. We have one team that only does MB, one that only does VW/Audi, two work on BMW and another car, and one works one Jag and Land Rover. This matters in that the team leader is an experienced specialist in two car lines. All oil change services are overseen by the team leader who road tests and conducts the visual inspections. The lesser team members do the actual labors. This allows for honest helpful suggestions on system needs. A highly experienced master tech can find deficiencies that others would pass right over.

    We only allow waiters for oil changes and alignments and we have numerous loaners to allow that waiter to leave to finish that $1200 ticket.

    October 1, 2017 at 11:01 am#74842

    We soft sell all first time customers. Every car gets a complete inspection with bolt on technology tablets. Pictures and a complete evaluation of the vehicle is documented saved and given to the customer. All service needs are explained but we are careful with new customers and only emphasize safety issues and let them know of repairs needed and recommended services. Some will want everything done, and some nothing. We find that most that return use our inspection report as a reference for that service and get much of the work done. We sell close to 90 % of recommended repairs and service recommended just not always at once. When ever the customer returns they are reminded of needed services. We find that the digital reports are always readily available to the customer on their smart phones and they will refer to it during a service.  We update these reports every 6 months or 6000 miles and do a quick inspection if they are in between those services. We do sell Bg services and recommend fluid services every 30,000 for all fluids except oil of course which is twice a year or by mileage which ever comes first. Oil change mileage is determined by oil type and we do change oil more often then most manufacturers service schedules. Clean fluids less mechanical failure and seal failure. If a customer is keeping a car long term and want it to last they will do the services. I have only had one customer complain about the inspection just remember not everyone that comes in our shops do we want as a customer. The ideal customer will trust you and will work with you creating a care plan for their automobiles. Integrity, honesty, and trust are what we need in a customer relationship. If we give it and don’t receive it back we don’t want that customer.

    October 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm#74854

    It’s a tough one. We inspect the entire car and advise. My conversation is the same; we just report the news, you decide what you would like to do. I think it’s best to do just the basic services requested, and OUT of the bay explain the needed items. This way their is no intimidation. I am finding that it’s hard to keep any customer, things are changing fast.

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