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Business Operations

Software sells: Using technology to upsell

October 11, 2010
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Quick lube software can and should be a big part of your business.

Implementing the right lube software can help you earn your customer’s trust, maintain your target ticket average and keep your costs down.

Trust me
Information is the key factor to earning your customers’ trust. Educating your customers on the proper way to maintain their car is step one.

How is an average consumer supposed to know how often to change their air filter unless someone educates them?

The proper quick lube system should have the ability to print a work order that gives your technicians the information they need to educate the customer.

Not only should you see all of the check points, it should also show the manufacturers service recommendations; this way the customer can see for themselves what needs to be done to their car and when.

The checklist should also show:

  • A list of filters;
  • The retail price; and
  • On-hand inventory.

What is the first question a customer will ask you if you suggest a new air filter? How much, right?

The next important thing the salesperson needs to know: Do I have the proper air filter in stock?

If the answer is no and he or she does not have time to go and pick one up, they might not want to suggest it.

Another important factor in earning your customers’ trust is knowing the vehicle’s service history.

How embarrassing is it to offer an engine flush to a customer who just had it done in your shop three months before?

You are guaranteed to lose your customer’s trust in this case. The vehicle’s history should be readily available in the computer system.

Increase ticket average
Real time statistics are the only way to monitor your ticket average. If you don’t know what the score is, how do you know if you are winning or not?

So the first step is to know what your ticket average is at anytime. Once you know what the ticket average is, you can respond accordingly.

The second most important thing is to have the information you need to be able to intelligently upsell the customer.

By tracking the history of the vehicle and entering comments, the software keeps an accurate record of what service was done to the car and what services were recommended.

This way the next time the vehicle comes in, your techs will have the information they need to get the upsell.

Offering commission is another way to motivate your lube greeters to keep the ticket average up. However, without a computer system, calculating the commissions can become a nightmare.

The computer system will be able to calculate commission automatically, no matter how complicated you make them. Since the computer system can calculate your commission instantly, your lube greeters have the ability to see how much commission they earned at anytime throughout the day.

Keeping costs down
Controlling labor and inventory will dramatically reduce cost. Controlling labor starts with real time stats.

Having up-to-the-minute stats on labor to sales is critical so that you can make the right decisions when it matters most. The end of the day is too late.

Having your employees clock in and out of the computer not only saves you time when processing payroll, but also gives you the ability to see real time labor stats.

Inventory control is another key to keeping costs down. Inventories should be done monthly and the variance report should be reviewed thoroughly.

All inventory receipts and returns should be tracked in the computer. This is the only way to control shrinkage and to identify any possible theft of services.

Your computer system can also help with the reordering process. A min/max level ensures that you are ordering the right amount of inventory when needed.

Keeping the cost of your inventory current will also ensure that your cost-of-goods reports are accurate.

It is important to understand that when implementing a computer system, you need to devote time to learning and using all of the features in the system.

Installing a computer system at your quick lube could dramatically improve your operations and profitability.


Jim Rowland is a regional sales rep for Innovative Control System. He can be reached by email at RowlandJ@washnet.com.

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