Transparency In Pricing: It's Now A Mandate, Not An Option
There was a time in our industry when shop owners were the only ones who knew the cost of their parts. Additionally, the amount they charged for their services was typically not public knowledge. If customers wanted to know how much it would cost to perform a specific repair, they had limited options; they would have to either call for an estimate, or visit a shop.
By Bob Cooper
As we all know, times have changed, and after decades of confidentiality
in pricing, technology has now done more than just change how we
diagnose and fix automobiles; it’s actually made pricing transparent.
The days of holding your prices close to your vest are not only gone,
but if you continue to follow that age-old policy, you’ll more than
likely struggle in the coming years.
As we all know, the Web has dramatically changed how you operate your
business. It’s changed how you market, how you communicate with your
customers, how you order parts, and how you diagnose and fix vehicles.
Yet the one thing most shop owners are reluctant to accept is
that, unlike in the past, pricing on every conceivable repair and
service is now available within moments online.
Now we all know that
those prices found online can be as incorrect as often as they are
correct, but the reality is this: as we move forward, more people are
going to be turning to the Web, not just for finding the right engine building
facility, but for a range in pricing, as well. It’s currently happening
in every other industry, so there is no reason to believe that it won’t
become even more commonplace in our industry as well. Here are the
things I encourage you to consider.
First of all, you should accept the fact that an increasing number of
your first-time visitors will have either already searched the Web for a
range in pricing, or they will do so within minutes after you provide
them with an estimate. In many cases, they will do their price
comparisons with their smartphones.
This brings me to the second point that I hope you consider, which I
refer to as integrity in pricing. With the ease of access that
consumers now have to pricing information, in the coming years the top
shops will be competitive in pricing, and they will be proud of the
value they deliver.
Now before I go any further, I’m not suggesting that a shop can’t charge
more than its competitors do, but if the prices they charge are viewed
as out of line with other well-run facilities, there is no question:
they’ll lose their customers, and their reputation, at the same time.
The proof is evident in every other industry, because history has shown
us that no matter how good the hotel, airline or restaurant may be, if
their customers don’t feel that the pricing is comparable to similar
service providers, those companies never survive.
So, here are my recommendations for those of you who want to grow more
profitable, successful businesses in the coming years. You should start
doing what your potential customers are already doing, and survey your
legitimate competitors. I’m referring to facilities that offer services
and benefits that are comparable to yours.
Secondly, ensure you are competitive with your prices. This doesn’t
mean you can’t charge more, but you have to be comparable, and you have
to believe in the value delivered.
Finally, I am not suggesting that you should quickly provide a price to
every price shopper, or that you should provide a price before you have
built value in the service. What I am suggesting is that you need to
embrace the fact that your customers are no different than you and me.
They have access to pricing info 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they
not only expect transparency, but they demand it. There is no question:
transparency in pricing is now a mandate, not an option, for every shop
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite Worldwide Inc. (www.EliteWorldwideStore.com),
an ethics-based company that helps both struggling and successful shop
owners take their businesses to new levels through one-on-one coaching
from the industry’s top experts. The company also offers shop owners
sales, marketing and management seminars, along with service advisor
training. You can contact Bob at email@example.com, or at 800-204-3548.