Thinking outside the box has created an outstanding service reputation.
OK Tire Owen Sound, located at 1280 2nd Avenue East, boasts a five-star Google customer service rating with more than 200 reviews. Since Dave Booy and his team took over the business in 2013 the emphasis has been on building long-lasting relationships with clients by going the extra mile.
Friendly, knowledgeable staff, a spacious waiting room, onsite courtesy cars, and active local community participation are just some aspects of the business that have made it a go-to location in the area for tire and car care needs.
Originally established as Bridgestone/Firestone location in the early-1980s, when Booy acquired it, the shop was largely focused on just wheels and tires. “Coming from a more mechanical-oriented background, we could see there was an opportunity to expand the range of services on offer. To make it work, however, required significant investments in staffing, training, equipment, and expansion of the premises. As acquired, the facility fe
atured a long showroom at one end, with seven service bays and storage behind them. “Our business grew so much that we found that we needed that additional real estate used for storage,” explains Booy. “We moved the storage out to another location onsite and we added additional service bays to increase capacity by 40%.”
The massive showroom, which features complimentary beverages and WiFi for customers, is also home to one of Paul Tracy’s former Indycars and guests are also treated to complimentary shuttle service and if they need them, one of OK Tire Owen Sound’s fleet of fully liveried seven courtesy vehicles. “We believe this is unique in our area,” says Booy, “and having onsite courtesy cars gives us a real competitive advantage.” Not only do the vehicles provide customers with added convenience and peace of mind while their vehicle is being serviced, but they also serve as a great marketing tool for the business on the road.
Booy, who also worked in Hamilton and Woodstock, Ontario, says Owen Sound is quite unique. “We’re essentially a reverse-bedroom community,” he notes. “Most of our customers live outside of town and choose to come here for business. The town itself only has a population of around 22,000 but we have around 100,000 that come to do their shopping, get their car fixed, visit the dentist, doctor, etc. That’s where the courtesy car strategy really works for us, as it keeps people mobile and enables them to get on with their day-to-day tasks.”
Always looking to the future, Booy and his team at OK Tire Owen Sound continue to invest in equipment and training, both at a technical and managerial level. “Training is embedded in our culture,” he says “and beyond that, we provide for our technicians and service staff, I also belong to an accountability group called Shop Pros. Booy explains that not only does the group hold its members to high operational standards, but it also enables them to continue raising the bar across every aspect of the business. In Booy’s case, this has included investments in ongoing online training for the shop’s technicians and also a strong emphasis on digital marketing and customer interaction. “A big part of our strategy is driving authentic reviews and we’ve found having texting software like Kimoby has been a big benefit for us. There’s also been a big emphasis on improving workflow since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This really proved to be a catalyst for us, enabling better scheduling and allowing us to take more time and deliver better quality work for our customers. And the results, reflected in the shop’s five-star customer satisfaction scores, clearly speak for themselves.
Recognition of Service
Back in March 2022, Janet Brown, Auto Expert, and Service Advisor, was recognized for her outstanding customer service skills as part of OK Tire celebrating International Women’s month.
Brown, who had no prior automotive industry experience before joining OK Tire Owen Sound, says she really enjoys interacting with customers and notes that a real key to success, is being able to explain complex automotive terms in a way in which her clients can relate to them.
“I’ve learned a lot in the last four years. Every vehicle is different, but as you get to know the same customers, you get to know them by their first name, and they become your friends. If you can build trust with them, they’re with you for the long haul and recognize you for the work you do helping them, as well as recommending you to other people they know. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that.”