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Auto Shop Tips / Management / How To Adapt Your Shop To “The New Normal” As Your State Opens Up For Business

June 22, 2020

How To Adapt Your Shop To “The New Normal” As Your State Opens Up For Business

We are not the same society that we were before the COVID-19 outbreak. This public healthcare crisis has forced us to change the way we live our lives. Many of these changes will be with us for a long time to come, so we must adapt to the needs of “the new normal.”

The only certainty is that there will be ongoing uncertainty

When will things get back to normal? There’s simply no way to know:

  • 3 months?
  • 6 months?
  • 12 months or longer

The answer to this question will also vary by geographic area, whether any flareups occur during reopening, and how long it takes to develop a vaccine. In the meantime, stay focused on your day-to-day operations. We really do have to take this one day at a time.

You will be called on to adapt to changing conditions and regulations in your shop’s market area. Testing may become widely available to all. Some places may achieve herd immunity. A vaccine will eventually be developed and administered to the population.

Strategies for adaptation as business comes back

Your customers’ willingness to do business with you will be driven by their perceptions of your cleanliness and preventive practices. This includes:

  • Staff protection (temperature checks/PPE usage/frequent shop cleaning/social distancing in shop)
  • Customer protection (“touchless” vehicle handling processes/cars cleaned before being returned/ plexiglass partitions and social distancing if shop layout permits)

Until your previous levels of business return, use these tactics to protect your bottom line:

  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce costs (fewer staff hours/lower parts costs/lower service provider costs)
  • Add new revenue sources (additional brands if you are a specialist/detailing shop-level deep cleaning services, etc.)

Don’t forget to adapt your marketing to the COVID-19 age:

  • Avoid price increases and offer discounts to keep your customers coming back
  • Upgrade your online presence to strengthen your customer communications and relationships

Don’t overlook the mental health aspect of this crisis

This is and will continue to be a very stressful time for everyone, so keep an eye out for stress-related problems that may appear in your staff members:

  • Communicate with your staff and keep them close
  • Be on the lookout for signs of burnout
  • Emphasize to staff the importance of proper nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep
  • Make sure everyone has time off to recharge and relax, proper self-care is essential for getting through this
  • Focus on your customers and their needs
  • Don’t overdose on news coverage to minimize anxiety
  • Support any staff members who are sick or quarantined
  • Be aware of your own mental state and follow this guide yourself

Adapting your shop to “the new normal” will require all the skills you have developed to this point. The shops that can roll with the punches and stay on top of these pandemic-driven changes will be serving their customers’ needs better, and they will prosper as a result.