A large flatscreen, a Keurig in the corner, ah the luxuries of the quick lube waiting area, right? While most quick lubes only include the bare minimum for some comfort for their patrons, the waiting area is actually a very important part of the customer experience. In most cases, oil changes only take about 30 minutes depending on the line of cars waiting for servicing. There is a good chance that your customers will opt to hang around the office waiting for their car, leaving them to their own devices in your waiting area.
Hard, dirty chairs, magazines from the early 2000's and soggy Styrofoam coffee cups are not going to bring a pleasant experience for most customers; however, here are five ways you can take your quick lube waiting area from dreadful to delightful!
- Invest in comfortable, easy to clean chairs. Your customers will be sitting on them for almost an hour; make sure they don't throw out their back in doing so! Comfy chairs also hinder impatience and an agitated demeanor from the customer, as they are not sitting miserably in an uncomfortable chair.
- Spruce up the coffee corner. Most everyone can enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee, especially if it doesn't cost $5 at Starbucks. Offer real coffee mugs, or at least sturdy paper cups as an alternative to Styrofoam. Keep sugars and creamers available for customers who enjoy those additions. It's hard to be grumpy with a delicious cup of coffee - a fact sure to benefit your exchanges with customers!
- Pay attention to the thermostat. Though you may be sweating from running back and forth from the bay to the counter, your customers are not! Many quick lubes have glass exteriors, enabling a cold draft and an undesirable temperature. Don't let your customers sit and shiver! Keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature for those sitting and waiting.
- Keep the TV remote in the waiting area. Doing so allows your customers to choose the channel they wish to watch during their wait. Being engrossed in a TV show is a lot more likely to pass the time quickly for a customer over watching the midday weather report over and over!
- Consider switching out posters and magazines quarterly. Generally, each of your loyal customers will be coming to your shop for car maintenance once every three months or so. If you change out the reading material and poster advertisements and entertainment in the same rotation, your customers will see something new every time they come. This is just one more way to keep your customers occupied and not impatient during their car maintenance wait time.
While these suggestions are minor, they stand to create much value for you, differentiating you from the next quick lube down the street. A plushy waiting area is bound to influence your customer's quick lube of choice, especially after they've experienced a poor waiting environment. Customers generally expect you to be the expert on their motor oil; why not be an expert on their comfort too?