Thursday, April 9, 2015

Keeping the Game Fresh and Maintaining a High Level of Excellence by Robert Spitz

Robert Spitz
Snr VP Business Dev
Management Success!

Business is dynamic – as technology progresses, businesses must keep up with the latest innovations in order to appeal to their current customers. This is especially true in the automotive industry, in which vehicles have dramatically advanced in the last 20 years. One of the newest developments is the autonomous Mercedes-Benz, which was displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 and recently seen cruising around San Francisco.

In the automotive industry, the demographics, as well as the needs, wants, and attitudes of customers have changed. It is important to take all these changes into account when moving your business forward because what appealed to your past customers may not appeal to your current customers.

Recently, I conducted a sample survey of the next generation of auto repair buyers, and it validated that we are in a major transitional period in how we communicate with customers. When asked how they would like a shop to communicate specials or deals, the majority said by email. When asked how they would go about finding a shop if they needed one, the top responses were to ask a friend or to use social media sites such as Facebook or Yelp.

The lowest response in the survey was flyers in the mail. It seems the younger the person, the more this applies. One young adult told me she checks her mail once a week; another does not check the mail at all. In their mind, if something is important, they will be reached online, through email, or by text. Those are the most convenient and efficient forms of communication. It is clear that the majority of today’s networking is through technology. It is imperative to have a strong online presence – otherwise, you do not exist in the minds of the next generation of customers.

Moving back to the traditional side, word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways for businesses to get their name known and acquire new customers. Networking groups such as BNI and LeTip, along with Chamber of Commerce groups, are vital and necessary in a marketing plan.

Many business owners sigh in relief when they realize they no longer have to shell out large amounts of money for print advertising, like in the Yellow Pages. This may be true, but that money must be allocated in other methods of advertisement.

Conducting surveys once in a while or hosting a customer focus group are great ways to learn more about customers’ viewpoints on your product or business, so you can find out what the best way to market your business is. It helps you know what you should keep doing or what you should change so you can stay relevant in consumers’ minds and continue to provide the service they desire.

Online reviews are also critical in molding and strengthening your business into a company that attracts modern customers. A business should always respond positively to both positive and negative reviews. Listen to what customers are saying, and consider it when developing the business.

There is a saying dating back to the ancient Olympic Games: “Don’t rest on your laurels.” This means that, instead of depending on your past successes, it is important to focus on your present goals to continue your success. Keeping abreast of changes in business is paramount to the success of business. Until you have completely turned over the control of your business to a management team, keep this advice in mind and keep your head in the game!

At Management Success! we work hard to stay on top of these changes in the industry. This is reflected in our exceptional services and training material.  I invite you to take a fresh look at your business, and do our free on-line Shop Business Analysis. This tool will show you what you are doing right and point out areas that need to be strengthened to help you achieve your goals.

Wishing you Success!