Customer-Centric Focus Heightens Success
ALLDATA held a media day event at its headquarters in Elk Grove, CA, on Apr. 3, to celebrate its latest accomplishment — 70,000 customers — and to spotlight how ALLDATA is helping automotive service professionals boost their business success.
ALLDATA President Jeff Lagges and other company executives discussed how ALLDATA is reinventing itself for a changing market. Their presentations addressed ALLDATA’s commitment to providing high-quality OEM repair information and business solutions for automotive service professionals to help them increase their competitiveness in the marketplace, elevate their productivity and profitability, and forge stronger relationships with their customers.
ALLDATA executives also discussed today’s market challenges, how ALLDATA’s product suite can turn those challenges into opportunities, and the company’s vision for the future.
Lagges opened the event with a video presentation he produced that took the audience on a walk down ALLDATA memory lane, from its humble beginnings in 1986 as the pioneer of auto repair data, to a full-fledged provider of service and diagnostic information, shop management software and customer relations tools for the automotive repair and collision industries.
Lagges pointed out that one of the major components in the company’s success, an impressive 90% customer retention rate, has been to always maintain direct contact with customers, primarily through a direct sales force. “We measure our success by our customers’ satisfaction,” he said.
As the company looks forward, its goals are to continue to build more awareness in the marketplace, focus on the health of the industry in general (ALLDATA is growing, while its market is shrinking), continue to help improve productivity at the fender and the counter so that shops are growing and not just surviving, and to continue its mantra of focusing on customer service and support.
Steve Gill, vice president of program development, echoed similar remarks in talking about industry issues and the need for best practices for shops to remain competitive and survive. He emphasized that the most pressing issues facing shops are vehicle reliability (which can be offset with proactive maintenance), diagnostics representing an increasing portion of repairs, the continued need for tech experience and training, and new vehicle technologies where integrated system repairs will require OEM data.
Gill offered “best practices” advice that encompassed profit margins and ways to increase net profit, shop work mix, productivity, aggressive marketing programs and insurance relationships.
For more information on ALLDATA, visit www.ALLDATA.com.
ATE ROLLS OUT PremiumOne ‘Brake Points’ Promotion
ATE, part of the Interior Division of Continental Corporation, is offering aftermarket professional technicians the opportunity to earn VISA gift cards during its “Brake Points” PremiumOne Brake Promotion.
To participate, professional technicians must purchase ATE PremiumOne brake rotors and pads between April 1 and Aug. 31, 2008. Each rotor or pad set purchased earns one brake point. Once eight points have been earned, participants are eligible to redeem them for a $25 VISA gift card. There is no limit to the dollar amount of gift cards that can be earned.
To learn more about ATE and this promotion, visit www.ate-na.com.
Jasper Names Preferred Partners For 2007
Jasper Engines & Transmissions of Jasper, IN, has named its Preferred Partners of 2007. The recipients of the award are Raytech-Allomatic Products, Elgin Industries, Grant Iron and Motors, Melling Automotive Products – Dura-Bond, MAHLE-Clevite and Sonnax Industries. The awards were presented during the Jasper Engines & Transmissions 21st Annual Preferred Partners Banquet in March.
The Jasper Engines & Transmissions Preferred Partner Award is presented annually to recognize the company’s Partners in Success. Recipients are nominated by an individual within the Purchasing, Quality, Manufacturing or Payables divisions of the JASPER organization and are judged on quality, service, fill-rate, response time to a problem, and billing/credit procedures, among other criteria.
Raybestos Named Preferred Competition Brake Friction
Indy Racing League officials announced a two-year promotional partnership with the Affinia Under Vehicle Group, manufacturers of Raybestos brand brakes. The partnership designates Raybestos as the preferred competition brake friction of the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights at all road and street course races through 2009. The announcement renews a relationship between Raybestos brand brakes and Indy-style open-wheel racing that dates back decades.
Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Presents Elliott’s Neighborhood BBQ Sweepstakes
Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper and NASCAR driver and Gillett Evernham Motorsports team member, Elliott Sadler, have come up with a once-in-a-lifetime experience for race fans — Elliott’s Neighborhood BBQ Sweepstakes.
On Aug. 22, 2008, Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will invade the neighborhood of one lucky customer, setting up a BBQ block party for the winner and 30 of their closest friends to watch Sadler take the wheel of the #9 Bumper to Bumper Dodge from Bristol Motor Speedway. The grand prize will include a Weber gas grill and all the trimmings for a #1 fan party with food and beverages, plus a new home entertainment system including a Samsung 52” Flat-Panel LCD HDTV.
The Elliott Neighborhood BBQ Sweepstakes concludes July 15, 2008. Entries are being accepted online at www.elliottsbbq.com or by going into any Auto Value/ Bumper to Bumper parts store in the U.S. or Canada. For more information and to sign-up, go to www.elliottsbbq.com or www.800autotalk.com.
WORLDPAC Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary of Speeddial
WORLDPAC is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of speedDIAL, its online catalog and fulfillment ordering software program. The program was first introduced to the trade the same year Google was founded — 1998, and was developed exclusively for the independent automotive service center. In 1998, it was called DIAL (Direct Information Access Link) and could only be installed using a CD-ROM that was also required for upgrades.
The next generation was introduced as speedDIAL, which included automated updates and more robust features such as SMS integration, digital images, invoice inquiry/printing, VIN decoder, self-service returns and a message e-mail center.
Today, WORLDPAC conducts more than 75% of its North American business through speedDIAL, with a goal to increase it by listening to its customers and constantly striving to improve customers’ time efficiency.
WIX Filters Partners with Servicio Automotriz To Teach TechS About Light-Duty Filtration
Beginning with the April issue of Servicio Automotriz and continuing throughout 2008, WIX Filters has partnered with the publication to raise awareness and educate technicians on light-duty filtration technical issues. “With our industry-leading WIX Institute of Filtration Technology and our innovative Filtration eLearning Center, WIX has been on the front line of technician education for years,” said Jeff Blocher, brand manager for WIX Filters. “Our partnership with Servicio Automotriz is a great extension of WIX’s educational programs.” The first WIX Filters filtration quiz appeared in the April 2008 issue of Servicio Automotriz, a bi-monthly publication written for Hispanic automotive aftermarket professionals in the U.S. Published by Babcox Publications, the mission of Servicio Automotriz is to provide Hispanic readers with high-quality technical information in Spanish in order to help them advance in their automotive careers and stay current with the latest automotive technology.
Technicians who study the material and send in completed quizzes, or complete the quiz online at servicioautomotriz.com, will be awarded with a WIX t-shirt and hat. Technicians who answer more than 80% of the questions correctly will receive a certificate lauding their achievement.
“When Servicio Automotriz was launched in 2004, the goal was to breakdown barriers to learning,” said Andrew Markel, editor of Servicio Automotriz. “The WIX Filters quiz program complements this mission and gives real value to our readers.”
T2/Chicago Pneumatic ‘School of the Year’ Winner Announced
Chicago Pneumatic and Tomorrow’s Technician (T2) awarded the inaugural T2 “School of Year Award” presented by Chicago Pneumatic to Waubonese Community College in Sugar Grove, IL, on April 16.
Waubonese Community College received a plaque, $7,000 worth of Chicago Pneumatic tools, and shirts, hats, pens and other items commemorating their achievement, from Chicago Pneumatic and Babcox Publications, whose T2 trade magazine is dedicated to the education of future technicians.
“We’re extremely proud to be involved in honoring schools across the nation that display a great sense of leadership and excellence in the development of young automotive technicians,” said Jay Lewis, general manager Charlotte Operations & Vehicle Service Americas for Chicago Pneumatic.
The partnership between Chicago Pneumatic and Babcox was built from a mutual desire to assist in the education of young technicians and to recognize the efforts of teachers, students and schools nationwide.
“Babcox and Tomorrow’s Technician share Chicago Pneumatic’s dedication to technical training and safety,” said Beth Skove, associate publisher at Babcox. “Through this process we’ve had the chance to learn about the great programs at more than 170 schools across the country, strengthening our already robust belief in the quality of technician education.”
New Version of Car Care Guide Covers Saving Gas and Driving Green New sections on Fuel Economy and Environmental Awareness have been added to the Car Care Guide to show consumers how to get better gas mileage and make their vehicle environmentally friendly. Published by the Car Care Council, the guide is a popular consumer giveaway at repair shops and retail stores.
The Fuel Economy section covers the parts of the car that need proper maintenance in order to maximize efficiency and save money at the pump. It recommends typical service intervals and includes questions to ask the automotive repair technician.
The section on Environmental Awareness explains how motorists can do their part to protect the environment in terms of driving habits and vehicle maintenance. This section has tips on driving green and lists the components of a vehicle that should be routinely checked to make sure a car’s performance is as environmentally friendly as possible.
“The new sections are designed to help people better understand that the amount of gas they use is directly related to how they maintain and drive their vehicle,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. For more information, visit www.carcare.org.
The Autolite Brand Rewards Professional Technicians With 2008 Promotion
To thank professional technicians who use Autolite products, the brand is launching a year-long promotional calendar that offers six different programs and a range of prizes.
Created for professional technicians, the Autolite Professional Technician Kit and Cabinet programs run through December 2008. The Technician Kit Program rewards professional technician accounts that have a minimum Autolite spark plug purchase of $400 with an Autolite-branded shop clock, bay banner, door decal, Autolite catalog and two Autolite hats. The Cabinet Program rewards professional technicians who purchase Autolite Xtreme Performance, Autolite Double Platinum and/or Autolite Platinum Spark Plugs with an Autolite cabinet that can be used to display spark plugs and other shop products.
Professional technicians also have a chance to save at the gas pump with the Gas Card promotion. Now until September, the Gas Card program gives participants a $25 gas card from Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell or Chevron when they sell 25 Autolite Professional Series Wires and/or Autolite Professional Series Coil-on-Plug insulator boots.
For more details on any of the 2008 sales promotions, technicians should contact their sales representative or visit www.autolite.com.
Mitchell 1’s New eCRM Boosts Service Traffic and Improves Customer Loyalty
Mitchell 1 has introduced eCRM with eConnect, a comprehensive marketing service designed to increase small-to-medium sized automotive repair shops’ profitable maintenance business through highly effective e-mail marketing. The new program is designed to boost service traffic through repeat business.
With eCRM, Mitchell 1’s marketing support center creates professionally designed, customizable e-mails that are automatically sent to remind customers when they are due for scheduled maintenance. Shops choose which offers they’d like to run, and Mitchell 1 measures the results and provides comprehensive reports, including ROI monthly measurements, response rates and retention metrics.
Mitchell 1’s eConnect is a service that acquires e-mail addresses for eCRM shops to use as part of their eCRM reminder program. Mitchell 1 uses an automated service to match e-mail addresses to the shop’s customer database. eConnect delivers an estimated 20-30% e-mail match rate.
Permatex Launches 2008 Training Program
Permatex Inc. introduced the 2008 edition of its new training initiative for student technicians during the 2008 National Automotive Technology Competition finals held in March at the New York International Automobile Show in New York City.
Permatex’s NATEF program consists of a 60-minute in-class, hands-on training session, and is designed to fit classroom sizes from 30 to 50 students. It includes an instructor’s kit with lesson plan and training DVD, as well as product samples, application charts and product information literature for the student technicians.
Permatex will show future technicians how to save time, money, and prevent comebacks by choosing the right product for the job and applying it properly. The gasketing segment covers the basics of form-in-place gasketing and gasket sealing, while the threadlockers and retaining compounds portion shows technicians how to prevent parts loosening caused by vibration, leakage and corrosion.