7 Actionable Tips For Auto Shops During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Currently, with each passing minute, concerns about Coronavirus are growing exponentially in the United States just as the virus itself. Fear about recession and economic shut down is high in the minds of most business operators including auto shop operators. Many have questions and are concerned about what’s going to happen in the near and mid-term. During these uncertain times, Conceptual Minds wants to offer 7 actionable tips to our clients and friends in the auto service industry.
- Create a plan – Planning is critical to successful handling of any unexpected situation. It is important to answer several important questions such as how to prevent coronavirus from infecting your customers at your stores? What to do if one of your employees contracts the coronavirus? How to prepare for a possible supply chain disruption?, etc.
- Communicate with your customers – Consumers across the US are concerned about the virus. They are concerned about how the businesses they interact with are ensuring their safety. So, it could only help if you shared your efforts proactively with these customers. We know time is a premium right now especially while you are attempting so many things to get your business ready. So, our team has created an email template that you can download and use quickly. Download Now
- Communicate with your employees – Employees (just like your customers) want to know the plan. They want know if there are any process changes that they should be prepared for? They also want to know what would happen if the business has to close unexpectedly for some period of time – will they get paid or will they need to file for unemployment? Answers to many of these questions will help put their minds at ease.
- Pre-purchase parts – With large majority of the parts coming from China, Canada, and Mexico and many countries closing their borders (Canada just announced closing of borders today!), there’s likely to be a supply chain disruption. If your finances allow for it, it is our recommendation that you consider buying and stocking popular oil filters, tires, brake parts, etc. in your shop. Having 1-2 months of inventory on hand may ensure that you are able to service your customers as the supplies dwindle through the crisis. Of course, we don’t recommend going overboard!
- Remind your customers – As businesses tell employees to work from home for a few days and/or weeks, many people are going to be stuck at home. It maybe an ideal to remind your customers to take of their auto service needs before they have to hit the ground running s businesses come back full throttle after the virus related shutdown.
- Offer a free pick/up delivery service – If staff situation allows for it, consider offering a free/pick up delivery service for your customers. Before you do – consider looking into your current insurance policy requirements to ensure that you and your staff are fully covered.
- Continue to ramp up your marketing efforts – During this time of uncertainty, its very logical to consider reducing your marketing investment. However, the opposite may have the most positive impact on your business. Here’s why! TV viewing and internet surfing is likely to spike significantly during this period when a large majority of US population is being asked to stay at home. This means that remaining active on these channels could allow your business to capture eyeballs and build awareness that could be really beneficial for the remainder of 2020.
The list above is meant to help prepare tire & auto service businesses during these uncertain times.
However, we would be remiss if we didn’t share a possible silver lining for auto repair facilities. As the economic conditions change, more consumers are likely to delay new car purchases and instead invest in maintenance of their current cars. This change in consumer behavior should bode well for auto service businesses in 2020 and beyond!