OEC Blog

Embracing parts technology can help strengthen your customer relationships

Embracing parts technology can help strengthen your customer relationships

Are you talking to your shops about your technology?  Your aftermarket competition is — every day. If you’re not, you’re essentially sending business to your competition. Independent repair shops are using technology to search for and buy parts – including after hours, when your dealership is closed. Aftermarket sites offer shops the convenience of 24/7 ordering. Do your shops even think of your dealership as a buying option after 5:00?

What can technology do for you, you ask? It can help build relationships, build business and improve customer service, just to name a few.

Building Relationships

You may be facing resistance from counter staff or that “old school” mentality that fears that technology is going to replace them and they will lose their job.  It’s simply not true. At the end of the day, your parts business is all about relationship building, and technology is never going to replace that piece of your business. Technology improves current customer relationships and makes it easier to build new relationships. It will not create relationships for you, though – you will still need to maintain and cultivate your relationships with your customers.

Having an e-commerce parts ordering site creates another channel for shops to communicate with you.  They will still call you with questions and other issues — and that is good.  But when they call, you already know what they need and have the order in progress, thus reducing the amount of time needed on the phone.  Which gives you time to look for new business (or do the other thousand things on your to-do list)!

By introducing parts procurement technology into your parts business, you create a win-win for you and your customers. With the use of technology in your parts department, you will have reduced returns, faster inventory turns and improved customer service. And that’s just on your side of things!  Your shop customers get quality OE parts, more cars through their bays and ultimately, their customers are happier because of the efficiencies and quality parts they are receiving.

Building Business

Shops are interested in availability just as much as the price.  With an online parts ordering solution, the part availability can be displayed to a shop – which is crucial, especially if the shop is looking for parts after hours. Without that key piece of information, your shop customer could be overlooking your dealership and going straight to the aftermarket sites to order parts. Or, perhaps they’re just too busy during the day to stop what they’re doing, pick up the phone and call you to see if you have the part they need. Having an online resource for shops brings your dealership into the mix and allows you to compete.

Some online parts sourcing solutions provide access to illustrations. This is what will set you apart from your competition and give you the opportunity to upsell. If you don’t have time to try to upsell a customer, let the illustration do the work for you.  Not only can they click and order off the illustration, but they can see any associated parts they may need in the process.

Building Customer Service

Parts sourcing technology helps you better serve your customers. It lets them know you understand their time issues by making it easier to find the parts they need, from you, on their schedule.  It does not stop the phone calls, but it does reduce the time of each phone call and makes the conversation more productive.  Technology is powerful, but it does not eliminate the people element.  It just makes it easier for your shops to access what they need, when they need it, to service their customers and make them happy.  Happy customers are contagious: you make your shop customers happy by helping them make their customers happy and so on.  All through technology – who knew!