Recently, I attended an industry event and much of the dialogue centered on, “Where is the market going? Would the market lean toward brands or private label? How would the white box products affect the landscape? Would the DIYer ever return?”
Please do not misunderstand me. These are all pertinent topics and should have their time on the agendas, but dominating the day’s events? I think not.
All too often in today’s environment, industry has become price-focused or margin blind and everyone forgets why we are here in the first place. The U.S. automotive aftermarket exists because we are able to give the customer something that others cannot. It is not just price. It is all the other things you provide on a daily basis that make up the automotive aftermarket. Surely, price is very sensitive today but other things matter.
Everyone needs to be sure that it is your customer that you’re focusing on. Wherever you are in this industry, it is important that you ask yourself, “What does the customer want and expect?” Our ability to meet and exceed those expectations is what will drive our success. Far too often, we get caught up in the industry issues and forget about what the end-user of our goods and service wants.
If you are on the supply side, they want good coverage, excellent quality, technical support and timely delivery, all at a competitive price. Fail to deliver any one of those and your competitor will win.
If you are at the store level, please listen carefully. The fate of this supply channel rests in your hands. You are the final link in the chain and it is up to you to get the right part to the end-user and be sure they are satisfied. You are the industry’s eyes and ears on the street. You and your customers are living the trends that the rest of the industry is hoping to hear about. Your customers need daily support. In fact, they want 15-minute support. If you lose sight of your customers’ needs and expectations, we all lose.
Your customers need technical support as well as a host of other things to do their daily jobs. Each of the manufacturers is working diligently to create and support tools that you can offer to them to assist them in getting the vehicles repaired. They know that it needs to be done in a timely manner and done right the first time. Everything you can do to help them with this allows the aftermarket to grow.
Here at Counterman we are constantly looking for ways to bring you more pertinent information. We work to have relevant editorial and new products for you to read about each month or daily on the web. We never lose sight of the fact that the more successful you are, the better it is for all of us.
While everyone else is scurrying around trying to fix who knows what about our business, be sure you are focused on the right thing — your customer.
Keep up the good work!