Why Tire Stores Are Well Positioned to Earn More Business
Owners’ relationship with customers turns us into ‘The Team You Trust’ for more than just tires
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: The auto service industry has a bad reputation. Whether customers have received poor service, been stuck waiting in a dirty and unprofessional atmosphere, or had the experience of having a mechanic walk over with a budget-busting checklist of recommended repairs, most people have had at least one terrible experience.
Listen to Big O’s COO talk about the importance of trust
Customers often don’t know a lot about the cars they drive, which makes them feel vulnerable. That’s why, when they find an auto service company they trust, they stick with it.
For example, below is a quote from a Big O customer named Janet, one of the nearly 1,000 people interviewed last year by marketing firm Barkley: “My opinion of the auto service industry is that many places are dishonest. Since I don’t know a lot about cars, it’s important for me to choose a place I can completely trust. I definitely trust the place I go to now, so it would take a lot for me to change places…Overall, I’d say I’ve had more negative experiences with the auto service industry than other industries.”
Big O stands out in the auto services industry. Its Net Promoter Score, which takes the percentage of people who are enthusiastic about a brand and then subtracts people who could be considered detractors, is 70. That score that puts Big O among elite companies. In fact, when Barkley benchmarked our score against other companies, they found that we outperform companies large luxury retail and hotel brands that have come to be synonymous with customer service. Within the auto services industry, an NPS of 70 is unheard of.
Why do customers love Big O, and how does the company win their trust?
Big O has a several big advantages over competitors in the auto service industry.
The first advantage is simple: people don’t like having to pay big bills for auto repair, and since most people head to the auto shop only once something is broken, large car repair bills often come as a sudden shock to the wallet. Tires are different. As you put mileage on your tires, the tread inevitably starts to wear. The change is visible, so the need for new tires isn’t a surprise. People plan for the expense, and when they head into a Big O, they have already made the decision that they are going to spend money to keep their vehicle safe and in good operating condition. They’re coming to us from a happier mindset.
Big O’s second advantage is its long-term focus. Big O Tires stores are locally owned by franchisees eager to earn customer loyalty. Big O is not a corporate-owned auto service chain that rewards managers for maximizing revenue by looking for ways to drive up each and every invoice. Too many auto shops focus on upselling to the point of generating sticker shock. They may get one big sale from a frazzled customer, but that customer won’t be coming back. Big O takes a different approach.
Each time a customer comes in to have their tires rotated or for other service, we provide a free inspection to check for issues like burned out taillights, test the condition of the vehicle’s fluids, as well as look for safety and maintenance issues the customer may need to have on their radar. If we notice that their brake pads are nearing the end of their life, we’ll let customers know that they will probably want to think about having them replaced the next time they come in. If we notice that their brakes are on the verge of failure, we’ll recommend immediate action.
Big O’s main goal is to check that customers’ vehicles are safe, and to help customers stay on top of routine maintenance that will help them get the most life out of their vehicle and their tires. Big O’s focus is on the customer, not the invoice.
“I’ve had a lot of guys who have been shopping here since it opened in 1978,” Bill Walker says of his store in New Albany, Indiana. “You don’t get that if you haven’t treated them well. If I caught my employees selling customers something they didn’t need, they’d last 15 seconds — and 10 of that would be me kicking them out the door.”