ALLEN & ALLAN: There Are Many Different Types of Customers

ALLEN & ALLAN: There Are Many Different Types of Customers

By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber

So here we are, week after week telling the counter professionals to watch how they answer the phone, always be aware of their sometimes imperfect attitude and always try to make the company a fair profit on the sale. Has anyone ever stopped to think about what today’s counter professional actually deals with during their day? As former business owners with five auto parts stores and some 50 employees, we decided to give this topic some thought. We deal with a myriad of different types of customers, all with their own personalities, attitudes and bad days being pushed on to us. Let’s take a look at the various types of customers we as counter professionals encounter every day.

The Retail Customer
They walk into our stores all day long. Most of these customers are looking for advice and some technical know-how to save money. This do-it-yourself type of customer is an asset to any business because they are high-profit, pay-as-they-go, usually have no returns and do not require any deliveries. Many times these customers actually say, “Thank You” to the counter professional waiting on them.

Our Best Technician Customer
We love dealing with these people; they are our friends. We sometimes socialize with them, they support our store, participate in our marketing programs, pay their bills on time and I have actually seen a few holiday bottles being handed out to the counterpros and drivers over the years. Make no mistake — this is no walk in the park. These customers require a high level of delivery service, substantial knowledge of the products we sell and no mistakes.

The Customer Who Splits Their Business
This customer is an ongoing challenge since they may split their business between two or three parts stores. The “I do not want to put all of my eggs in one basket” concept is usually at work here. These customers are generally cordial and we strive to do our best on every call to get more of their business. Many times, we are simply waiting for one of our competitors to make a cardinal mistake so we can turn this account into a better customer.

The Sometimes Customer
The sometimes customer is someone who calls on a limited basis and is always in a hurry. Usually, we will hear from this customer on Friday at 4:30 with a car on the lift. While we are never happy about this scenario, it is reality, so we deal with it and hope that the customer remembers we bailed him out and throws us some more business.

The Last-Call Customer
This is the customer we love to hate. Every store has a few of these. We are the last call when no one else has the part needed; usually we do not have it either. I have often wondered why these customers think we would drop everything to take care of them, even if we had the part? This is where the counter professional has to really take that deep breath and hold his tongue. What a diverse group of customer’s we service.

As former business owners, we’re sure that we got in the way of our counter professionals many a time. Thankfully, they realized that we would eventually go away and let them continue to masterfully do their job.

Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.
For more information, go to: or e-mail [email protected].

You May Also Like

What Will the ‘COVID-Era Consumer’ Do in 2022?

The beauty of the automotive aftermarket is that the economic conditions always seem to work in the industry’s favor.

Online Shopping

Remember the tariffs? Nathan Shipley does. Back in 2019, “that’s all we were talking about as an industry,” Shipley recalled, during his “Aftermarket Outlook 2022” presentation this past November at AAPEX.

Looking back at the “Distribution Preview” in the January 2019 issue of AMN/Counterman, aftermarket leaders consistently expressed concerns that former President Trump’s tariffs – and China’s retaliatory tariffs – could disrupt aftermarket supply chains, leading to higher prices and even production interruptions. Tariffs remained on their radar in January 2020, although it looked like the aftermarket was weathering the storm.

Right To Repair, Trade Associations And You

In the fight for Right to Repair legislation, aftermarket trade groups can’t do it alone.

Veterans Can Be Heroes Off the Battlefield Too

Veterans bring an incredible amount of value to the civilian workplace, in terms of nontechnical and technical skills.

Veterans and Vehicles
What’s Really Driving The Automotive Aftermarket’s Growth?

NPD’s Nathan Shipley looks at the many moving pieces contributing to the industry’s recent spike in demand.

aftermarket growth
Strength In Numbers

The automotive aftermarket is filled with great people. In fact, many say it’s our strong suit.

Teamwork automotive aftermarket

Other Posts

Never Stop Learning

With so much internet-based training content available, it’s never been easier to expand your knowledge base.

Continuing Education
Welcome To 2035 – What Things Might Look Like

The future is what we make it. We need to start addressing technology now so 2035 becomes a bright future.

Future of Transportation
Seems Like Everybody’s Talkin’ About Electric Vehicles

Not only are people talking about EVs, but according to the latest U.S. sales figures, they’re also buying them.

Tesla Electric Vehicle
Still Time To Nominate Someone For Counter Pro Of The Year

We’ll be accepting nominations through Aug. 1.