Educate Your Customers!

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Matt White, Director of Tire Services, Tire Industry Association (TIA). PHOTO Matt White

Just because times are slow is no reason to slack off! There may not be as many cars in the bays but you can still make the most of the slow season.

If your techs are idle, put them to work updating their skills and knowledge. These otherwise empty days and weeks are perfect for training and education. There are many resources for everyone to refresh their safety training, as well as get up to speed on new trends and technology.

But don’t limit the education to yourself and staff. This is another time to think outside your comfort zone, get outside your box. What about your customers?

Share your knowledge

You may already be planning to do some marketing and advertising to get cars in the shop. While offering discounts and coupons is always a good choice, why not take it a step further? Share your knowledge with your customers, and let them know you’re thinking about their safety – not just their money.

You’ll do better with your customer if you educate them about their tires, instead of just telling them what they need. For example, you can explain all that writing on the sidewall of the tire, and how it applies to them.

How many will know that the tire pressure rating on the sidewall is the maximum psi – not the actual pressure recommended by the manufacturer for the tire? That important information is on the door jamb. It should be adjusted according to the amount of weight they’re carrying.

Then there’s the Uniform Tire Quality Grading system (UTQG). Do customers know their tires are graded by tread wear, traction and temperature? And that there are four levels of traction – AA, A, B and C. In Canada, most retailers should be selling AA or A tires. Use your common sense, if someone who’s traveling the roads in northern Ontario, they’ll need a good tire with a high treadwear rating, and good traction.

Explain TPMS benefits

You can explain the Tire Identification Number, or TIN. Many consumers have no idea what that means. They’ll appreciate knowing how to decipher where and when their tire was made.

Many consumers have TPMS, but don’t understand the benefit, or how it works. When the TPMS light comes on, one or more of their tires is 25 percent below the recommended tire pressure. If the light is flashing – the law states it must flash a minimum of 60 seconds and no more than 90 seconds. That means there’s a malfunction in the system. Either way, drivers should take this seriously and come into your shop to have the TPMS checked.

The crash data in the U.S. shows how dramatically TPMS has saved lives, helped with fuel economy and reduced premature tire wear.

Educating customers is a great way to get them in your stores. They’ll come to you when you share your tire know-how, and increase their trust in you. It’s a marketing technique that can make a big difference, especially at this time of year. You have to realize that you’re responsible for the people in the cars when you put tires on their car. The ultimate goal is safety.

Matt White is the Director of Tire Services for the Tire Industry Association (TIA). He has over 34 years of experience training technicians from all over the globe on how to stay safe on the job.


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