Few drivers see a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light on their dash and immediately understand what it means. Even fewer understand that a solid light indicates low tire pressure, while a flashing light means that there is a malfunction in the system.
So when a customer brings their car into your shop, they are likely to be not only inconvenienced, in a hurry and worrying about the cost of repairs, but there is a good chance that they don’t even understand the reason why they are there. That means your team has the tough job of delivering a smooth, painless repair process, while also convincing them that fixing a TPMS sensor is a job that needs to be done.
In order to offer a painless service, we need to put ourselves in the driver’s shoes. A TPMS service can be met with some resistance from a driver for a number of reasons. Here are three key situations where teaching the customer can help ease their pain.
1. Customers Might Not Understand TPMS
If shops do not take the time to educate their customers, TPMS service can quickly become an inconvenient and frustrating experience. Many times, they are being offered a service for a safety feature they didn’t even know they had on their vehicle. However, if the driver understands the importance of the system, how it works and what the service entails, they will be much more willing to invest in keeping the system functional.
Start by explaining the benefits to them. A functioning TPMS system helps improve vehicle maneuvering with shorter braking distance and more responsive handling. It will save them money at the gas pump and help reduce CO2 emissions. Keeping the system functioning will also help keep their family safe by alerting them when a tire is low, avoiding a blowout. Then explain what you will do to turn off the light.
It is important though that when the driver does bring in their car for a TPMS service, that the service is completed thoroughly and no corners are cut.
Some of the most common reasons for comebacks can be avoided. Important details like using OE quality sensors, replacing service kits and changing all sensors in a battery failure situation, should all be considered with every service. A complete TPMS service is crucial and will help avoid unnecessary frustration for the driver and for your shop.
2. Customers Might Not View TPMS as a Necessity
Have you ever heard: “Why can’t I just manually check my tire pressure?” You never want your customer to feel pressured into purchasing a service but again, it comes down to education. If they honestly understand the importance of the system, it should really sell itself.
Testing their own tires every so often is not comparable to a properly functioning TPMS system. TPMS is a live system and continuously monitors the tires, even when driving. For example, if a driver hits a nail, the system can alert them before the tire is completely out of air. Keeping properly inflated tires also extends the life of tires in the long run, ensuring your customers are getting the most out of their investment in a set.
You can also try comparing it to other safety features on the vehicle, like seatbelts or air bags. You don’t feel like they are necessary until they save your life. TPMS is a government mandated safety feature for a good reason. It saves lives!
Giving these kinds of examples to help the driver understand how impactful TPMS can be in times of need should be a crucial step in the complete TPMS service.
More TPMS Talk
3. TPMS Is an Unexpected Cost That Is Not Routine
TPMS probably isn’t something your customer thinks about until they have to. A TPMS service is not like a brake service. Of course everyone understands the importance of stopping and it is every driver’s desire to do so. TPMS service is not like a flat tire that needs to be fixed in order for the vehicle to perform. TPMS service is not like an oil change that people will do multiple times per year because they want to keep their engine running smooth. TPMS service is a different animal altogether.
The best thing you can do is to always stay positive about TPMS. Explain the benefits of the system and how great it is that they have the feature on their vehicle. Explain why it is mandated and focus on the positives. An educated customer will have more faith in the system, and in you as a service provider, than one that is feeling pressured into buying something that they don’t understand.
It comes down to education and proper service. It’s simple; if your customers understand the service being completed on their vehicle and how the service works, they will feel a relief when the system is working properly. This will result in fewer comebacks and happier customers. Educate your customer and take the proper steps for TPMS service to provide the best customer experience possible.
Jacki Lutz is head of global marketing and communications for Schrader Performance Sensors, the automotive aftermarket brand of Sensata Technologies. In addition to being a Certified TIA ATS Instructor, she is also vice president of the Automotive Communications Council and an active Member of the AASA Market Executive Council.