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‘Just the facts, ma’am’

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‘Just the facts, ma’am’

Do you remember who made famous the saying, “Just the facts, ma’am”? It was Sgt. Joe Friday of the television show “Dragnet,” played by Jack Webb.

CARFAX put a spin on that famous phrase when they coined the words, “Just say, show me the CARFAX.” And they have been very busy lately with something you should pay attention to.

MyCARFAX.com has been launched

Have you heard about the new site launched by CARFAX, called www.myCARFAX.com? It’s something you need to be aware of because it will impact your business.

MyCARFAX.com is a website for consumers to create a user account and enter their vehicles for free in the CARFAX garage. There is a free app for your smartphone, as well. Consumers can view:

• personal vehicle service history,

• safety and vehicle recalls,

• recommended service schedules,

• repair costs for potential services in their geographic region, and

• recommended service shops in their area for their vehicles.

Did I mention this is free for consumers? According to the myCARFAX.com website:

“Owning a vehicle requires maintenance to keep it going. But it’s not always easy to know how to care for your car. That’s why we created myCARFAX — to help take the hassle out of servicing your car. There are many sites that offer similar car care services, but no one is able to provide instant service records upon entering your car in the myCARFAX garage.

With up to five cars able to be stored at once in your personalized garage, keeping track of service updates for multiple vehicles is easy! It’s a free way to track your service history and stay on schedule with recommended maintenance. With myCARFAX’s many car services, you can also get help with auto repair costs and finding service shops near you.”

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Both the smartphone app and website will alert consumers of recommended services based on time and mileage intervals. In addition, it will provide consumers with a list of recommended service shops in their geographic area.

Only service shops in the CARFAX service network will appear. The smartphone app shows me a graphical display of when my next oil change, tire rotation and state inspection/registration is due.

If I select one of the services, for example “Oil Change,” I get a detailed view of when my last service was performed, the mileage at that time and when my next oil service is due. I can even look further into the previous oil change to see where it was performed. In addition, I am able to search for a shop in my area without ever leaving the app. How cool is that?

When I tap on the “Repair Costs” icon and select a service, for example “Front Brake Pad Replacement,” it instantaneously displays a range of pricing in my zip code area, and the breakdown of parts and labor, with some valuable information about brake pads and how they work.

Right there, I can tap “Find a Shop” and bingo, up pops a map with the service shops (in the CARFAX network) in my area.

I tap on any map pin and I have detailed information including phone number, directions, etc., to that shop. I just became a very educated consumer.

What are you waiting for?

If your business is not registered with CARFAX to be in their service network, I recommend you do your research. CARFAX may have already contacted you to join their network. Check to see what your competition is doing, too.

Another way you can join is to contact your POS software provider. Some POS software providers have a relationship with CARFAX, whereby they are uploading your customers’ service history data.

If you agree to share your service history data, CARFAX will include your service shop in their service network. Don’t worry, no customer information is shared, just vehicle service-related information.

By joining the CARFAX network, you have lots to gain including new customers, access to customers’ vehicle information from CARFAX right in your POS system, reverse tag lookup, VIN decoding and more. What do you have to lose? I talk with dealers all the time about the benefits that CARFAX has to offer them.

Several dealers tell me they are not interested in participating. With the release of myCARFAX.com, can you afford to risk losing customers simply because you are not part of their service network? It is my recommendation that you take a very close look at this — now.    ■

As CEO and president of WECnology LLC (www.wecnology.com), Wayne Croswell is a “complimentary technology advisor” for independent tire dealers. Croswell can be reached via his website at wcroswell@wecnology.com or (603) 249-5530.

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