ROE: Return on education
It’s common sense to auto repair technicians. Regular vehicle maintenance keeps cars running efficiently and extends vehicle life. And it saves the consumer a lot of money in the long run.
Tire dealers can help keep customers in the know when it comes to getting the best return on investment for their vehicle. And that consumer investment is a business opportunity for dealers.
The Car Care Council wants your customers to be in the know, too. That’s why the organization conducts National Car Care Month every April. What can a tire dealership do to get involved with Car Care Month?
“Getting involved with National Car Care Month can be as simple or as elaborate as a shop would like to make it,” says Car Care Council executive director Rich White. “Shops can participate in many ways — whatever level they are comfortable with. For example, a shop could get a banner from the council to celebrate Car Care Month, hang it over a bay and invite customers to come by for a free tire inspection and pick up a free Car Care Guide from the council.”
Shops can partner with other shops or retailers to host a larger community car care event with free vehicle inspections. White says tire dealer businesses that get involved in National Car Care Month at any level will make their organization more visible to the vehicle owners in their community.
To help shops and other aftermarket organizations hop onto the National Car Care Month bandwagon, the Car Care Council has produced a variety of resources, marketing and promotional materials that can be found in the Car Care Month Tool Kit, available at www.carcareindustry.com. The site also offers ideas for good, better and best levels of involvement. A video shows how to host a community car care event.
One resource the Car Care Council offers is a mirror dangler with a list of gas-saving driving tips on one side and gas-saving maintenance tips on the other.
The number-two item on the list is “Keep tires properly inflated.” The danglers can be hung on each customer’s rearview mirror when they bring their car in for service.
There are many other quick and easy ways to participate in National Car Care Month:
Print car care articles and leave them out for customers to read while they are in a waiting room or standing at the counter.
Tailor your company’s on-hold message to remind customers that April is National Car Care Month.
Send customers to the Car Care Council’s website (www.CarCare.org) to view the free digital Car Care Guide, available in English and Spanish.
And if you want to get more involved, there are many ways to do that too.
“Central to National Car Care Month are community car care events that feature free vehicle checkups or inspections,” says White. “While consumers don’t like mandatory state safety and emissions inspections, they love these free check-ups. Research from focus groups, surveys, Facebook comments and interviews at events reinforce the popularity of the events.”
White says the free events are valuable opportunities for consumers and techs, shop and store owners and managers to interact.
“They are educational, promote good will in the community and are a great way for tire dealerships to identify additional repair opportunities,” he says.
According to White, the businesses that host events see an immediate spike in business.
“Not only are you reinforcing the loyalty of your current customers, but also attracting new customers,” he explains. “If a consumer could talk to a doctor for 15 minutes free of charge, who is that consumer likely to call when they need to make an appointment?
“Plus, with eight out of 10 cars on the road today in need of some sort of repair, offering vehicle checkups beyond tire inspections can help shops grow their businesses.”
Weathering national exposure
The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC) features vehicle care and maintenance content from the Car Care Council on weather.com, its online weather news and information site.
A top-20 website, weather.com and the digital properties of The Weather Channel reach 62 million web consumers each month.
The Car Care Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating consumers about the benefits of vehicle care, maintenance and repair, has partnered with weather.com to provide selected tips and advice for motorists with links back to the new council website, www.carcare.org. With 15 million unique web consumers daily, TWCC has the sixth largest website in the United States.
“We continue to look at how to improve the user experience on weather.com, and that includes offering the best content about how weather affects daily life,” says Michael Finnerty, vice president, weather.com for The Weather Channel Companies. “This content gives our consumers valuable information as part of our WeatherReady section to encourage safety preparation for a wide variety of severe weather conditions.”
The weather.com site includes both videos and articles about auto safety from the Car Care Council, available from weather.com/safety. Consumers will find information and advice regarding topics such as car maintenance, safe driving and the effects different seasonal weather has on your car.
Event planning, courtesy of the Car Care Council
April is National Car Care Month, so to give you plenty of time to prepare, the Car Care Council (CCC) has put together some tips to help tire dealers plan vehicle check-up events.
View the CCC’s new “Community Car Care Events” video online. This 10-minute video is designed to help businesses host their own consumer vehicle checkup events.
Download a free car care month planner. This free PDF planner provides a step-by-step guide on how to set up and organize a vehicle checkup event. It can be downloaded online at www.carcare.org.
Decide the size of the event. Any event — small, medium or large — takes time to plan. Allow plenty of time to prepare. An in-house checkup lane is ideal if you want to participate in National Car Care Month on a small scale. A medium-sized event is generally conducted by several businesses and takes place in a parking lot to allow ample space to have several checkup lanes. A large car care awareness event may take many months to organize and plan. These events are usually held in parking lots and involve several businesses and several checkup lanes. You may opt to secure sponsors to help defray the costs.
Set a date and time for the event. Technicians and volunteers are the keys to making your event a success. So consult with those who you plan to involve about their schedules, and determine a date based on when most are available. If there is a shortage of technicians available, consider bringing in students from your local automotive training facility.
Check for any potential conflicts — or opportunities — within the community. Most communities have an online “Calendar of Events” that will tell you what you need to know. The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.