May 4, 2018

Is the Quick Lube Industry Living Up to its Namesake?

The fast lube industry has been a hot topic in aftermarket circles as of late, and not always in a positive light. With customer expectations at an all-time high, has the quick lube industry been living up to its most prominent selling point?

All consumers want the same thing: to be taken care of with a smile, a firm handshake, and a job done right. If it’s done quickly, all the better. For oil change stores, however, customer service killers lurking in every corner. From poor customer service and antiquated systems to operational challenges and high employee turnover, the lube industry is at a turning point. So, what can be done?


Your customers will lead you in the right direction. They will tell you what they appreciate, and what they don’t. It’s always helpful to have some brief questions prepared regarding their service experience – you may be surprise at what you find. Do you have systems in place promote customer loyalty and engagement? If not, it’s time to evaluate your options. Remember, it’s easier to keep customers than draw in new ones.


Executing services quickly is important, but if you rush the job to churn bays, cut corners, or communicate poorly, you will lose your clients. Speed and excellent customer service are not mutually exclusive. With the right shop system, policies, and procedures in place you can have both.


Desks belong in a 1976 car dealership – doubly so if covered in Mahogany Di-Noc – and your shop driveway is not a parking lot, it’s designed to speed customers through service. If you have a mobile-enabled shop solution and companion customer app in place, you’re ahead of the game. The convenience of allowing customers to check themselves in and even pay for the service on their smartphones will thoroughly modernize their experience, and you’ll be ready as soon as they pull in. Some solutions even provide chains with the ability to seamlessly transfer customer records between shops, providing customers with a consistent experience regardless of location. Imagine the boost to overall customer satisfaction if their preferred quick lube shop worked just like everything else in their lives.


Communication issues can plague shops both large and small. Whether it’s finding the right part for the service, searching available inventory, writing up a customer, or checking service history and recommendations, steps get missed somewhere along the line from the initial greet to cash out. Often, these challenges arise because a shops terminals and devices are not in sync. Getting out from behind the desk is a good start, but all employees must be on the same page.

Take this classic example: your greeter grabs a client’s information and creates a service ticket. The vehicle is then driven into the bay, ready for service. After completing the inspection and hastily glancing through the service history, part numbers are called out for replacement. At this point, the hood technician realizes that the filter needed is out of stock. Not only have you lost a sale, but valuable time in an industry driven by it. That’s information that should have been known up front, and with the right solution your inventory would’ve been managing itself. If you can relate to this, it’s time to take a sober look at your current shop systems and evaluate if they’re helping you reach your potential or holding you back.


Josh Burwick

SHIFTMobility Inc.

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