There’s a bit of a trend emerging in parts stores throughout the country: They’re getting Internet access.
that might not seem like a big deal to people outside the aftermarket,
it certainly is inside. Internet access at the counter, up to this
point, has been somewhat of a luxury in some stores. Just about
everyone has it at home or on their cell or smartphone, but inside
parts stores, that hasn’t necessarily been the case.
The reasons for
not having access at the counter thus far range from not having the
technological infrastructure to accommodate it to not wanting
counterpros to waste time fiddling away on in the Web on things that
have nothing to do with their jobs.
In some stores, “green screen”
or CRT systems meant Web access simply wasn’t possible. But the fears
over what counterpros might do that are fueling this Internet
prohibition are overblown. There are many more pluses than minuses to
letting employees hop on the Web. For example, there are many training
opportunities available online that counterpros can and should take
advantage of. And if parts store management is concerned about
particular sites, they can always choose to block them inside the
store. Plenty of companies already do this. (A note: Don’t be too quick
to block YouTube.com. A number of companies take advantage of the free
hosting of their training videos on the site, and cutting off staff to
it can have an undesired effect.)
I’ve spent enough time in parts
stores to know that for the people working the counter, there’s very
little downtime, especially in heavily trafficked jobber stores, for
example. Once the phone handset goes down in the cradle from the last
call, another one comes in. You know the drill.
If a counterpro
constantly wastes time online, it’s going to show in their numbers
sooner or later, probably sooner. And most counterpros work in pretty
close proximity to each other, so flagrant Internet use for non-work
purposes would be pretty easy to spot.
Having Web access at the counter could only help counterpros do their jobs better.
are now ample catalog options that make Internet access at the counter
something that few can do without, which is what the Internet is in the
first place a tool. A hammer is a tool. You can beat someone on the
head with it. Or you can build a house with it.
Internet access is an indispensable tool that few businesses
including parts stores can afford to do without. Internet access at
the counter is quickly moving from a luxury to a necessity.