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366 posts categorized "Car Care"

November 02, 2020

Adapting to Change: Being Female Friendly in the Service Department

By Jody DeVere

AdaptingToChangeBeing female friendly is a necessity these days in all industries, including automotive, because the American woman is one of the most powerful economic forces on the planet. With $7 trillion in purchasing power, women account for 85% of consumer spending and up to 70% of repair shop customers. Okay, this isn’t exactly new information, but 2020 has brought a whirlwind of changes, and you need to know what “female friendly” means now.

Due to COVID, women are contending with additional pressures related to remote learning, childcare issues, and new safety concerns, all adding up to more time constraints and increased stress. A trip to the repair shop does nothing to ease her anxiety; without her vehicle, she loses a large part of her ability to facilitate the daily tasks needed to keep her family running smoothly.

Female friendly shops help female customers feel comfortable and confident when bringing their vehicles in for maintenance or repair. To best support and serve your female customers, you must understand and address their needs, ensuring they feel understood and respected.

Make Her Feel Safe

Safety and health are on everyone’s minds in 2020, and for women, who tend to be caregivers, those concerns are amplified. Today’s female customer wants touch-less options, with minimal human contact.

Since time constraints are another concern, offering concierge services from her home or job allows her to continue her day with minimal interruptions, while you pick up, service and drop off her vehicle. Allowing her to pay by text reduces contact even more and helps position your shop as female friendly.

Don’t forget to reassure your female customer about the sanitizing methods you’re taking to ensure the health and safety of her family. Make sure that employees always wear gloves and masks, and supply masks to customers when needed.

Make Sure She Feels Heard

How a female customer views her repair experience is based on your success at establishing trust, demonstrating respect, and improving communication, thereby building a relationship with her. This begins with friendly, welcoming counter staff, whether the first contact is made in person or by phone. A rude or disrespectful employee is the fastest way to convince a female customer to take her business elsewhere.

Service advisors should also be friendly, patient and honest. Women are likely to ask more questions than your male customers, but educating her by thoroughly answering those questions goes a long way in establishing trust and building a female friendly relationship.

Women want to receive frequent updates on the progress of their vehicle repair, and they prefer to have options, such as email and texting. Offer multiple options for communication, and ask her preference to create a female friendly experience.

Providing a written estimate creates trust because she knows what’s being done and how much it will cost. When choosing the shop that will repair her vehicle, a female consumer typically places less importance on cost than on feeling respected and feeling she can trust the shop.

Make Her Feel Welcome

You don’t need to roll out the red carpet, but your customer will feel more welcome if your waiting area includes comfortable chairs, entertainment options, and free Wi-Fi, which allows her to multi-task and use her time efficiently. Refreshments, such as snacks, water bottles and coffee, shows that you care about her comfort as well. Including a play area for children is a nice addition that demonstrates how important her entire family is to your business.

Your facility should obviously be kept clean, but special attention needs to be given to your bathrooms. Clean them frequently, and ensure they’re well-stocked. Having a diaper changing station positions your business as family and female friendly and shows your efforts to anticipate the needs of your customers.

Creating a female friendly shop begins at the core of your organization, which means hiring female mechanics, technicians and service advisors. Women want to spend their money at places where other women are willing to work.

Make Her Feel Appreciated

Women who feel empowered and respected are happy customers, but going that extra step to address her needs and concerns beyond the repair process will inspire loyalty that’s well worth the effort. You appreciate her business, so why wouldn’t you let her know how you feel?

Keep your relationship fun by sending her home with pet treats or coloring books for the kids. Follow up after her visit with a handwritten note, thanking her for trusting you with her car. Offering a free six-month safety inspection appeals to her desire to increase her family’s safety and shows it’s important to you, too.

Host a Zoom car care clinic to educate and empower women on vehicle maintenance and repair, or support local women’s charities to demonstrate your dedication to women’s issues and help gain the trust of your female customers. Addressing her needs creates loyalty with your female customer and ensures your shop receives a reputation for being female friendly.

AskPatty.com has been at the forefront of training automotive retailers on the women’s market since our founding in 2006. How can getting AskPatty.com Certified Female Friendly help you? Complete a contact form and schedule a live demo with our staff. We'll cover the program with you in detail, educate you as to how you could benefit, and answer any questions you may have.

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Go here to schedule a demo to learn how to become AskPatty.com Certified Female Friendly

December 19, 2017

Stress Management Works for Holidays and Automobiles

Holiday_stressIn domino fashion, failing to plan for maintenance can turn small problems into larger ones, putting a serious dent in your automotive budget. The penalties of procrastinating on vehicle maintenance range from a heater that runs cold to a battery that won’t start the car.

Take care of your car’s seasonal services immediately and make plans to get ahead of the game next year. An early visit to your repair facility provides the opportunity to budget for unanticipated repairs. The Car Care Council offers the following checklist:

Engine performance
A poorly maintained engine is hard to start in cold weather, if it starts at all. It may run rough and lose power. Have fuel, ignition and emission control systems checked, necessary components replaced and adjustments made.

Battery and electrical system
How old is your battery? If it’s three or more years old, it should be tested and replaced if necessary. Even a strong battery that can deliver full power at 80 degrees F. will have dropped to 65 percent of its output at freezing temperature and only 40 percent at zero degrees.

Clean and tighten battery terminals, as loose or corroded connections can cause symptoms of a weak or dead battery.

Oil and filter
Change both as recommended in the owner’s manual, generally at 3,000-mile intervals for severe conditions and cold weather operation, especially when most driving is stop-and-go traffic. Check the owner’s manual for more information on severe service or refer to Car Care Council’s Service Interval Schedule.

Visibility
Replace old wiper blades and be sure your washers are working. Carry spare washer solvent in your vehicle.

Cooling system
A vehicle’s antifreeze should be changed annually, or as recommended in the owner’s manual. Flush the cooling system every 24 months. The recommended mixture is 50/50 antifreeze and distilled water. Have the system pressure tested for leaks and check hoses and drive belt(s) for tension and condition.

Tires
Inspect, balance, check inflation and rotate tires. Check inflation on the spare and make sure the jack is in place.

Lights
Check all lights and replace burned out bulbs

Exhaust System
Have the vehicle put on a lift for an inspection of the exhaust system. Leaking exhaust fumes can be deadly.

August 27, 2017

Tips to Help Get Your Car Ready to Go Back to School

The fall can be a very busy time for students and parents, with everyone rushing to get things done for the back to school season.  One item which can fall off the to-do list easily is vehicle maintenance.  Whether you're  parent of a student in high school or you're heading off to college yourself, there is no better time than the back to school season to to do a thorough maintenance review on your car, or your teen's car to make sure it's ready for a great school year, too.

Under the Hood

In order to avoid costly repairs or issues, go ahead and take a look under the hood of your vehicle and perform some basic checks:

  • Check your fluids.  Engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant are all easily checked.  Check your owner's manual if you're not sure where some of these are.
  • Are you leaking a fluid?  Brown or black fluid is usually oil.  Reddish fluid is either transmission or power steering fluid - power steering fluid will leak from near the front of the vehicle, transmission from the center.  A clear to brown, very slick fluid that isn't oil could be brake fluid.  Any other brightly colored fluid is almost certainly coolant.
  • If you're dripping something that looks like water, it probably is - condensation builds up on the AC compressor and drips off.  Totally harmless.
  • Check your battery.  Make sure the connections are cleaned and have it tested if you don't have a tester yourself.

Check the Tires

It's good to check your tire pressure once a month.  Use the pressures in your owner's manual or inside the driver's side door, not the ones on the tire's sidewall itself.  Also check for tread wear using the old tried-and-true penny method (if Abe Lincoln's head clears your tire, you don't have enough tread), and check for signs of uneven wear, caused by alignment issues or over- or under-inflation.  Check your spare while you're at it, and make sure it has plenty of air, and that you have a jack, a lug wrench, and booster cables on hand.

Hit the Lights

Finally, make sure to check your headlights (high and low beams), taillights, brake lights, and all turn signals.  If any of them are out, replace the bulbs.

July 18, 2017

Meet YouTube Personality Jessica Chou "Jessicann" AskPatty Car DIY Expert

ASK ME YOUR CAR MAINTENANCE QUESTIONS! I'm excited to announce that I'm partnering with AskPatty.com to answer all of your car maintenance questions! Head over to AskPatty.com, click 'ASK THE EXPERTS' and fire away with your questions! As you all know, I'm just starting out on my own car journey, so let's learn together! I'll try my best to research and answer your questions the best I can.

March 01, 2017

Gas Prices are Going Up - Here are Some Tips to Save Gas

Pumping_gasI don’t know about where you live, but gas prices are definitely going up where I live. My vehicle uses premium gas and right now it’s around 1.25/litre meaning close to $80.00 a fill up and the prices are supposed to keep going up! A few years ago I remember paying 1.50/lt and it’s supposed to go higher this time around. So here are some tips to saving gas while you drive:

  • Combine your trips - sounds so simple but if you live in town sometimes it’s easy to just run out and get things as you think of them. A warmed up engine is more fuel-efficient. When you first start your engine even if you live in a warm climate it is cold and it burns more gas.
  • Don’t waste gas by idling - how many times have you gone through the drive through lately or are waiting for someone. If you are going to be stopped for more than 30 seconds, shut your car off and restart it when it’s time to move.
  • Change your spark plugs - seems that nowadays spark plugs last forever, but a fouled spark plug can reduce your fuel efficiency by as much as 30%.
  • Drive with windows open if you are going less then 60km/hr. Obviously I wouldn’t suggest this in the winter but in the summer time for sure. If you are going over 60 km/hr. then close your windows, as your car will be more aerodynamically efficient.
  • Check your tire pressure - Most people have at least one under inflated tire on their vehicle. When your tires are low it creates a greater rolling resistance and the engine has to work harder to get through the air. Kind of like riding a bike with low air. You have to work a lot of harder to pedal the bike!
  • Don’t use cruise control in hilly areas - If you are using cruise control and going up and down hills what happens is the engine holds you back as you are going down the hill to try and maintain the speed you’ve set the cruise control at and as you go up the hill the transmission will have to downshift to give you the necessary power to get up the hill. Keep your momentum up as you go down the hill to help you get up the hill.
  • Get rid of the extra weight - are you driving around with your kids hockey equipment and your gym equipment and water softener salt in the back of your car? If so, you are going to burn more gas
  • Take off your roof rack - if you don’t use it, take it off.
  • Keep your car clean - believe it or not a clean car will glide through the air more efficiently than a really dirty one.

Kelly_Williams_with_tireRace car driver, educator, safety advocate, TV personality, Kelly Williams started racing cars at 17 years old and continued to race for 15 years. Now she works in the automotive industry, teaching women about taking care of their vehicles. She also teaches performance driver training with BMW as well as other manufacturers, keeps busy as a spokesperson for Be Car Care Aware, hosts ladies' Car Care clinics across Canada, and has recently launched a new consumer website www.KellysGarage.ca

#KellyWilliams #AskPatty #Canada

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February 01, 2017

How Often Do I Need to Change My Oil?

Woman_checking_oil-iStock_46051112-kasto80Most drivers have grown up with the traditionally advertised oil change recommendation of 3,000 miles, but if you've bought a new car within the last ten years that interval may no longer be necessary.

In fact, if you’re driving a car that’s less than five years old, you may only need to change your oil every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. Some models don't require an oil change more frequently than every 15,000 miles; synthetic oil can help your engine last longer, and may even allow car owners to go up to 20,000 miles between changes. If you're changing your oil too frequently you’re simply wasting money and oil.

Continue reading "How Often Do I Need to Change My Oil?" »

October 21, 2016

Are You Getting Ready for Winter?

Woman_with_snowy_car-winter_driving-iStock_000018495162-omgimagesHave you thought about buying a new winter jacket, new winter gloves, or even new boots? If you have, then you are thinking about getting yourself ready for winter, but have you thought about getting your car ready for winter? Hmmm… probably not.

Why not, I wonder? Our cars are very important to us and we need to take care of them so they don’t let us down in the cold winter months.

Below are a number of items that you should be having checked when you take your vehicle in for service in the next month.

Continue reading "Are You Getting Ready for Winter?" »

October Doesn't Have to be Scary: Squeaky Brakes and Creepy Car Noises

AskPatty-07-Squeaky_Brakes_and_Creepy_Car_Noises_Are_Scary-07

While wary ears may be scanning for the spooky sounds of Halloween this time of year, the sounds coming from beneath your hood should be taken just as seriously.

While it's not likely that your car is possessed, investigating these sounds right away can keep a truly terrifying maintenance bill out of your future. Whether its squeaking, grinding, whirring or screeching, read this guide to understanding the sounds your car makes, so you won't be spooked by creepy car noises.

Continue reading "October Doesn't Have to be Scary: Squeaky Brakes and Creepy Car Noises" »

October 20, 2016

Is It Bad For Your Car If You Drive Until You Run Out Of Fuel?

Empty_gas_tank-iStock_76575303So I did this the other day.

Well, I didn't actually run out of gas, but after sitting in rush-hour traffic for two hours, my "Miles to Empty" indicator dropped in one step from 14 miles left on the tank to alternating between zero and one mile left.

I pulled off the freeway immediately to find a gas station and along the way, watched it creep back up to three miles to empty and breathed a sigh of relief.

Continue reading "Is It Bad For Your Car If You Drive Until You Run Out Of Fuel?" »

October 19, 2016

October Doesn't Have to be Scary: Headlight Out

AskPatty-06-Headlight_Out_Is_Scary-06

Did you know? October is Headlight Safety Month! The seasons are changing and days are growing shorter so it's especially important that we all ensure our cars are safe and visible before setting our clocks back on Sunday, November 6.

This is particularly relevant because according to statistics from the Motor Vehicle Lighting Council, limited visibility is a factor in 2.8 million accidents, 23,000 fatal crashes, and 2,300 pedestrian deaths!

Continue reading "October Doesn't Have to be Scary: Headlight Out" »




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