Dynamic changes which take place in today's reality have huge impact on all areas of our life.  We are eyewitnessing the IT revolution, which consequences are changes in social behaviours. That in turn influences the economy as the whole.  Everything changes: the market conditions, customer profile, ways of communicating with the customer and his requirements.  Because of that, every company, mostly the ones which render services, and a garage is such one, must adapt to the new situation in order to not to get out of the game. Assuming that, Inter Cars started a series of initiatives, which are to help independent garages develop, and most of all understand the need for the changes.

Not with no reason, the first conference was prepared for garages from Warsaw market.  As in Warsaw the competition is the biggest from the side of Carmaker OE garages, which enforce some standards of customer service.  In Warsaw the customer has a bit thicker wallet and is used to different kinds of amenities.  Unquestioned is the fact that good independent garages are no worse then OE ones as regards technology and quality of offered services.  They make investments in diagnostic tools and train their employees.  Specialists from the independent market are no different from those working in Carmaker OE garages. But customer service level - this is not a strong point.  Starting from specious and comfortable waiting rooms, through availability of replacement cars, to such small details as plastic covers put on seats of the cars and the steering wheel.  All this influences the way our garage is seen.

3 decades, 3 different worlds

The conference was launched by Radosław Grześkowiak, Advertising and Marketing Director of Inter Cars SA, who welcomed gathered guests and asked Krzysztof Oleksowicz, founder and member of the board to deliver a speech. His speech was on the changes taht are taking place in the motorization industry and the role of an independent car garage within the past 25 years.  Krzysztof Oleksowicz started his story back in the 80s. The story presentad changes which took place within the quarter-century.

- „Generally speaking one needs to notice that in those days there was a huge demand and small supply” - said Krzysztof Oleksowicz. - „By this the customer was treated as an applicant. Sometimes body repairs lasted up to three months, and applying for a change of e.g. pump of brake pads could last even up to two weeks.  Because of this the prices were also very theoretical - what the garage said, the customer had to pay.”

The 90s were a big change, market was set free, Poland is reached by foreign cars, and lots of private companies are established on the market of spare parts distribution and repair services. Despite that, the market is still unsaturated and the demand is higher then the supply. This was totally different situation from today.  The supply came equal with the demand, and is now even higher.  The customer, thanks to access to the Internet has wider information and can reach and compare different offers in no time at all.  Current market is customer’s market and one needs to know how to look after the customer in order to draw him to oneself and retain him.

The need for development
The retrospection was needed to observe that changes are constantly being made.  Only those who were able to adapt stayed on the market.  That is why the rest of the conference was on current situation on the market as well as about the future of it.  First spoke Jacek Walkiewicz, one of the most prominent Polish trainers and motivation speakers.  During his passionate and witty speech he showed how important are the changes, creating brave vision and aim, top standard of customer care and customer relations, especially in the automotive industry.

Next spoke Alfred Franke, the President of SDCM (Association of Distributors and Manufacturers of Automotive Spare Parts), who presented a report „The future of the independent automotive garage in the perspective of changing market and customer expectations”. He focussed mainly on the topic “OE vs Aftermarket” He stressed that OE garages are more and more involved into the aftermarket, but they are better in terms of customer care standards. This shows that independent garages must develop in this respect, make customer satisfaction surveys and do everything, not only to get new customers, but to make them stay with them for a longer period of time.  That is why so important is to build customer relations and preparing all the amenities for him.

He also encouraged the participants of the conference to develop their range of services in garages.  We mean here such things as tyres, batteries or oil sale.  The garage must be looking for additional sources of income in complementary sale.

This part of the conference was closed by Erwin Wilczyński, E-Commerce Product Manager from Motointegrator.pl, whose presentation was on the presence of the automotive industry on-line. The presentation showed how the world was changing because of the Internet, and what influence it had on running a business.  Nowadays, being present on the Internet is not a matter of choice, but is obligatory.

Do not be afraid of changes
After a huge amount of data and market information there was time for a bit more relaxed presentation.  Krzysztof Hołowczyc appeared on the stage, telling about his turning points in his career and also answering questions from the public.  Though his speech had a rather leisure character, popular Hołek passed several important ideas which were associated with the idea of the conference. First and foremost, do not be afraid of changes and always chase your goals. In conclusion he shared a motto of all the racing drivers:  „If you don’t know what to do, push the accelerator pedal.” Such approach also fits running a business nowadays.

At the end of the conference, Filip Hryniewicki, Regional Director responsible for Warsaw market delivered his speech, announcing Inter Cars SA project, which is aimed at supporting the business of its customers, i.e. garages. After the conference, those of garage employees and owners who were willing to take part in the project had a chance to apply for it. Within the undertaking Inter Cars wants to deliver his customers a number of tools, which are to help them adapt their businesses to current needs and requirements of the market...

Conference took place on 16 January 2016.

Source: http://motofocus.pl/