Phone ad is annoying but rings true

Jan. 1, 2020
"Can you hear me now?" commercial paints a clear picture.

I don’t watch a lot of television. In fact, with the exception of an occasional Pay-Per-View movie and the first few minutes of Leno’s monologue, I am probably in front of a television set less than three hours a week.

It’s not like I’m missing a lot. I hate the so-called reality shows that choke the airwaves. I don’t like the current generation of TV ads that assault you every time you turn your set on either. The majority of ads are so stupid and insulting, and the few ads that actually are clever are generally so busy being clever that they forget to tell you what it is they want you to do.

There is one ad I find particularly annoying. I’m sure you’ve seen it. It’s for a wireless service that I would love to tell you I would never support, but unfortunately it’s the one I subscribe to — so I can’t. It has this really annoying guy wandering around with a cell phone glued to his ear asking, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” over and over again.

As much as I dislike the ad, I can relate. I’ve been serving this industry for almost 40 years and writing about it for 20 of them. I’ve been trying to tell anyone who will listen about the many challenges confronting us on both sides of the parts counter, but after all this time I’m not really sure anyone can hear me either. As challenging as the issues that confront us are, and as often as I’ve challenged the aftermarket to attack them or, at the very least, recognize they exist, it would be safe to say that I haven’t gotten as far as I would have liked by now.

I started my second career addressing the acute shortage of trained and qualified technicians 20 years ago this September. Attracting young people to the aftermarket at all levels is one of the most critical challenges we face, and yet the nature of the shortage we faced 20 years ago pales in comparison to the crisis we stare at today. We haven’t gotten very far, have we? Can you hear me now?

Dealerships are doing more than just coveting service dealer business; they’re working hard to capture it just as their parts departments are becoming increasingly more aggressive in their attempt to seduce your traditional service dealer customers. Do you realize this? What are you doing about it? Can you hear me now?

The service many service dealers experience from the aftermarket is bland and/or indifferent — a reality that makes it all too easy to move your business elsewhere and that includes to a local dealership. What have you done to hold your customers close to you? Can you hear me now?

Service dealers — at least the ones I know — are more interested in product quality and world-class service than they are in price. Have you checked your customer base to see where you are focusing your energy and attention lately? Can you hear me now? 

Can you hear me when I tell you that your service dealers really do prefer to buy from you — when and if you let them?

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