Thursday, September 19, 2013

“MyGuy”: Not Just For Service Customers

If you’re a Carlisle Spare Thoughts follower (and if you’re not, you should be!), you’re probably familiar with “MyGuy”—a term and concept we use to capture what service customers need and want. We talk a lot about “MyGuy” and how dealerships can do better with service customers. But what about parts, or wholesale, customers?

OEMs historically haven’t prioritized the wholesale parts business; worse, some have rejected it entirely. Wouldn’t that just be helping the enemy? Wrong.

The idea behind “MyGuy” is to capture as many service customers as possible, but there will always be some who go to the independent repair shops. The worst thing we can possibly do is lose out on service and parts sales to customers by stomping our feet and calling the independent repair shops the enemy. The best thing we can do is get the independents to use our genuine parts for their repairs.

So, do our parts managers need a “MyGuy” training and best practices program too? I’ll go ahead and answer that with a resounding yes.

Parts managers are often more technical and less customer service and sales-oriented. They’re incredibly smart people, but they’re not used to selling. With wholesale, this is the key—parts managers need to become salespeople, too.

The idea with “MyGuy” on the service side is that the growing segment of digital service customers (DSCs) will look online and find alternate service providers if dealers don’t seem trustworthy, honest, and reasonably priced—dealers need to be their “guy”.

While parts customers are practically light years behind service customers when it comes to technology and online activity, their internet use is beginning to grow and they’re getting into online ordering. There aren’t many digital parts customers yet, but there will be.

Plus, these guys don’t have to look far for other suppliers; suppliers like WorldPac are knocking on their doors, dropping in for visits, and running impressive promotions and incentives.

Plain and simple, our dealers aren’t doing this. In some recent research conducted by Carlisle, wholesale customers said that they see their dealer on average once a year. Once a year?! That just won’t cut it. Joe’s Repair Shop has a car on the lift and is going to buy from Mike, the WorldPac rep who just happened to drop by with a brand new free headlamp he thought Joe might want.

But it’s not just getting our foot in the door; it’s maintaining visibility and creating a loyal customer. IRFs are, without question, different than service customers. They value delivery speed, parts availability, and parts quality, but they, too, need a trustworthy go-to “guy”. They’re old school and they want that rapport.

Maybe Joe’s Repair Shop wouldn’t buy from WorldPac if he could call up his buddy at the dealership and get the part from him in a few hours. But why would he do that when “every time I call, the phone just rings and rings” or “every time I call, it’s a different guy—they don’t know who I am and I don’t know who they are”? We should know these guys by name, and we’re not even picking up the phone?

The competition is tough, and the independents aren’t going to come looking for dealers. We need to be out there building and sustaining the business.

Bottom Line: Capturing wholesale customers is a whole new ball game for parts managers. They aren’t used to being in a sales role, but that’s what they need to do to grow the wholesale business. There’s a long way to go and maybe a parts “MyGuy” is our next endeavor. For now, one step at a time…!

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