Latest Insight

Ep 3. Frequently Asked Questions


the pit stop podcast, oem interactive, auto parts marketing

In This Episode, We Discuss: 

  • How can we be different? (1:12)
    • Video marketing for parts and accessories (1:58)
      • Keep It Simple and make a 15-30 sec video of everything being shipping out when there is time.
      • Take an image of the part while you are doing this as well!
  • Annual promotions calendar (3:10)
    • Plan holiday promotions ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to create materials and notify customer base.
  • Engage with customers (5:50)
    • Pick up the phone and make a call rather than emailing over complex questions.
    • Offer installation manuals online when service has them available in PDF.


Aaron: In this week’s episode of In The Pit Stop, we are joined by Ashley Robertson, our head of customer success, where she gives us some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in the parts department.

Aaron: All right, we are back again with another edition of In The Pit Stop here, and with me today is our head of customer success, Miss Ashley Robertson. Ashley, how are you today?

Ashley R: Awesome, doing good. Glad to be here.

Aaron: Yeah, glad to have you. On today’s episode, we wanted to pick and get in the brain of you, Ashley, and talk to you … Since you’re on the front lines with our customers on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, what are some of the most common questions that you’re being asked on a daily basis? And what are some of those answers, some feedback we can give to everybody?

Ashley R: Yeah, sure. Probably one of the biggest questions that I get fairly regularly is, how can we be different? How, as a dealership wanting to sell parts nationwide, how can we differentiate ourselves and stand out from the crowd?

Aaron: Yeah, that’s a great question, and especially now with more and more competition getting into the space.

Ashley R: Right.

Aaron: It’s so important to figure out-

Ashley R: Tight margins, more competition. You have to differentiate yourself.

Aaron: Yeah. I think the biggest thing is probably staying ahead of the curve.

Ashley R: Right. Right.

Aaron: And with more and more competition coming in, what are we doing? What are you doing to stay ahead of the curve?

Video marketing for parts and accessories

Ashley R: Yeah. One of the big things that Google’s been stressing lately, and that I think is a big deal, is video. Don’t overthink it. But get video on your site.

Aaron: Totally. Totally. And working with parts managers, to your point, keep it simple. And to try to create a video, you don’t have to have this commercial grade-

Ashley R: No.

Aaron: … video, and that’s what these things are for. 

Ashley R: Little bit of branding in the background, part number, what the part fits, year, make, model. Keep it simple.

Aaron: Take videos, 15 second, 30 second videos of a part or accessory that you’re trying to promote. Things that are hot selling or things that have been sitting on your shelf-

Ashley R: Sure.

Aaron: … and trying to push those, because consumers really … They want to look at it, and they want more information.

Ashley R: Absolutely.

Aaron: They want to see it, and-

Ashley R: People are visual buyers.

Aaron: Totally. So video is huge. What else?

Annual Promotions Calendar

Ashley R: That’s the big one. Having a plan, right? Having a calendar of promotions that you have set up, so that you can hit seasonality, so that you can prepare for your next promotion. Obviously just saying, “Oh, well, tomorrow we’re going to run this promotion.” You didn’t give yourself time to tell your past customer base, or to put that out there anywhere on the web. You didn’t have any time to talk to your marketing company about how to best promote that.

Aaron: Absolutely. Take a page out of the front end of your dealership, out of their book, right?

Ashley R: Yeah, sales does it. Exactly.

Aaron: Sales has it planned for the entire yeah, right?

Ashley R: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron: They know what their budget or their estimated budget is going to be for the year. In most cases, they’ve got their promotions plotted. President’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Christmas. All of these holidays and piggybacking off of those, but they know what and how they’re going to approach it, and what they’re going to allocate towards a budget for all of those. Right?

Ashley R: Exactly, yeah.

Aaron: So, why shouldn’t you take the same kind of strategy and implore that on the parts department?

Engage with Customers

Ashley R: You absolutely should. It gives you time, too, to third point actively engage with people.

Aaron: Yeah, and that’s so important when you’ve got this database of customers that you’ve acquired over the years, and you want to create a marketing plan to engage with them and communicate with them. Hey, we’ve got these Weathertech floor mats, and we’re going to be running this special from this date to this date, and this is how we’re going to attack it. Most importantly, having that conversation with your marketing team and going, “What are you going to do to help me move more floor mats?”

Ashley R: Right. Getting them involved.

Aaron: And getting them involved. What are we going to allocate for a budget for moving more floor mats? How are you going to measure the success of that particular campaign?

Ashley R: Right,

Aaron: Having those questions so that everybody’s on the same page, and everybody knows the definition of success, to see if, hey, floor mats moved really well during this period, and let’s replicate that next year. Or it didn’t-

Ashley R: Having a plan will help it be much more successful-

Aaron: Exactly.

Ashley R: … than just flying by the seat.

Aaron: You mentioned something, being actively engaged.

Pick up the Phone and Make a Call Over Emailing

Ashley R: Yes. Yep. And it’s something I see all the time, where parts counter people or parts manager is talking to a customer, and it’s been nine emails back and forth. And the phone number is right there. You are missing an opportunity to engage with that customer and make a customer for life by giving them great customer service. That’s what the front of the house stresses, is that sales approach, forming that relationship. It’s no different in parts. Pick up the phone. Contact the customer. Answer their questions. Sometimes, people just need VIN check or some installation advice, and talking to a live person seals the deal.

Aaron: Yeah. You’re building that communication, and to your point, nine emails going back and forth? How long did that take?

Ashley R: Yeah, exactly, yeah.

Aaron: Those nine emails, you just get on the phone, call them. You build a rapport with that person. You’re building brand affinity with that person, with that potential new customer. Able to answer all the questions. You’re rolling out that red carpet experience for them. You also have the opportunity to upsell them while you’re on the phone with them-

Ashley R: Exactly.

Aaron: … and saying, “Okay, you need this? Have you-“

Ashley R: Find out what their other needs are.

Aaron: “Have you thought about this, this, or this?” Because that actually … You’re probably going to need that. If you’re doing this all via email, you’re missing out on that opportunity-

Ashley R: Absolutely.

Aaron: … and that’s where you’re growing your profitability, you’re growing your bottom line. And you get to see if they’re kind of maybe on the fence, you can offer them a promo, too.

Ashley R: Exactly. Yeah, let them know what’s coming down the pipeline.

Aaron: Yeah. I mean, that’s really, really huge. Don’t be afraid to get on the phone with them and start that dialogue.

Ashley R: Well, and even more recently, we’ve been talking more and more about having the chat availability. If you have counter people that are helping customers, but they’re in the general vicinity where they can be available on a chat, why not?

Aaron: Well, you have the chat dashboard open all day, and you can actually see in realtime-

Ashley R: Customers coming to the site, what they’re looking at …

Aaron: Coming onto the site, what they’re looking at, and you say, “Hey. How can I help you? Do you have questions about product XYZ?” And start that dialogue with them. Maybe they’re on the fence and they need questions answered. You’re able to answer that through chat, or you’re able to get their phone number, their contact information, and then what do you do?

Ashley R: Reach out, form a relationship.

Aaron: You get them back on the phone, and you start to answer those questions. People love that human interaction, especially when it’s your car. It’s your car. You’re not buying a shirt. This is your livelihood. Right?

Ashley R: Right.

Aaron: This is your vehicle. This is what gets you from point A to point B to earn your money, earn your income, put food on the table. Right? So-

Ashley R: Definitely. And it can be a confidence builder. Some people feel like, “Well, maybe I can do this, but I’m not sure. How complicated is it?” If you can take that element out of the equation by offering them some quick installation advice or reassurance that this is either, “No, this isn’t for you, if you’ve never done XYZ,” or, “Yes, this could be for you.” It’s a simple process. So it can make all the difference. And people like, even if you’re honest with them and you say, “You know what? You’ve never done this before? Might not be a good idea to attempt this,” they’ll appreciate that level of honesty.

Aaron: Yeah. I love it. It’s building, once again, building that and focusing on that customer experience. If you’re able to communicate to them and say … you know, to your point. “Hey, you might not be comfortable with this. And you may be better off taking it in, or going and having it done here, or trying XYZ, or taking a look at this video that we did about the installation. Please refer to that first.”

Ashley R: We’re living in a time of instant gratification, so all of the chat feature. The phone calls, having video interaction, it all feeds into that immediate gratification prompt response time, having something that’s available for them to look at, or to engage with.

Aaron: Totally.

Ashley R: And that’s really how you’re going to differentiate in the end.

Aaron: Definitely. Definitely. What can we do to be different? Staying ahead of the curve. Being actively engaged. Focusing on the customer experience. One of the most frequently asked questions by our head of customer success, Ashley Robertson. Thanks for joining us, Ashley.

Ashley R: Thank you. Anytime, yeah.

Aaron: And check us out next time.

auto parts marketing

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