With corporate scandals mounting, lube operators need to shower customers with honesty and trust.

As corporate scandals mount and consumer trust wavers, the Golden Rule is the silver bullet for fast lubes.

Almost every day, headlines are full of companies whose actions are under investigation and they are all linked with a common problem – a lack of integrity.

The automotive fields have had their own scandals, too. There were national reports of Sears doing unnecessary repairs and overcharging for real repairs, and there often are local exposes on oil-change facilities and repair shops.

News shows donʼt just make up stories to investigate – they are usually tipped off by customers who felt they have been misled or lied to.

The whole truth?

Obviously there is some truth to these news reports and headlines.

There are fast lubes out there that do take advantage of a trusting customer. Their businesses are driven by profit, rather than by customer service.

There are others, however, that get media attention and have no idea why.

While some operators are conscientious of their actions, the majority of operators who have unhappy customers are oblivious to what they are doing wrong.

These shops are simply not spending enough time educating their customers.

Most lubes either ignore the customer or go to the opposite end of the spectrum and use pressure sales techniques.

Why they come

People wait in line to get their vehicles serviced at your oil-change facility. Your customers range from the husband who wants the mini-van serviced correctly so his wife and children wonʼt be stuck on the freeway, to a single parent or college student who need their cars to last a long time.

A good lube shop will serve customers correctly by educating them on the needs of their vehicles every time they return.

Have you ever left a store where you just purchased a service or an item and felt great about the transaction?

Conversely, have you left a store feeling cheated with the purchase and vowed to never patronize that establishment again?

How you present extra services and achieve ticket averages has a direct impact on the customerʼs feelings and where they decide to have their cars serviced next time.

If we educate customers adequately about the services we offer, they wonʼt feel buyerʼs remorse or like they were “taken to the cleaners” at your facility.

Customer satisfaction

We are not in the oil change business; we are in the customer satisfaction business.

Within three miles of your facility there is likely a tire or brake shop that does an “oil change” for $12.99.

If your customers really only wanted an oil change, why would they come to your facility — especially if you charge more for your full-service oil change than $12.99?

Your customers care more about comfort and integrity than they do about price.

They are comfortable at your shop because they know your personnel are professional and will treat them right.

Our surveys indicate price is #5 on the list of a typical lube customerʼs most significant concerns.

Remember, the higher the integrity, the higher the trust level.

The higher the trust level, the higher the ticket average. Go out of your way to make your customers comfortable and you will be rewarded.

Reprinted with permission from the December 2002 edition of Professional Carwashing & Detailing magazine.