Article published on Modern Tire Dealer March 2016 Issue
Dunn Tire LLC hasn't let a mild winter stand in the way of expanding its winter tire services. In November 2014 the Buffalo, N.Y.-based dealer experimented with a new overnight winter tire service at one store in the Syracuse, N.Y., area. This season, the service was expanded to five stores, three in the Buffalo area and two in the Syracuse area, including the store in Camillus that led the way a year earlier.
Consumers called to make an appointment and agreed to drop off their vehicle by 6 p.m., and the car was ready for pick up the next morning an hour before the store's regular opening. The overnight appointments were limited to tire changeovers and new tire installations.
Robert Clark, managing director of retail operations for Dunn Tire, says the goal of the program "was to expand our capacity during a time of year when capacity is at a premium."
During the first year at the Camillus store, when Mother Nature delivered plenty of winter weather, that one store was installing tires on 25 vehicles a night. Some nights the work wasn't done until midnight. Dunn Tire typically ramps up its staff before the busy changeover time of year, but it hasn't hired extra workers specifically for the overnight service. Technicians simply are scheduled differently.
This year, the weather didn't push as many customers in the door, but Clark says the overnight service still was a success, and likely will be expanded again next winter. "Instead of get-ting done at midnight, we got done around 9 p.m." He attributes some of the service's popularity to Dunn Tire providing winter tire storage. Clark says most of the dealership's competitors don't offer tire storage.
Some customers asked if they were paying a premium for the convenience. Clark says there's no price difference. "At the end of the day we're trying to get it so customers aren't sitting in our waiting room for hours."
But Clark says offering the service takes more than just keeping the lights on later into the night. "One of the real challenges is you don't have access to the customers like you do during the day."
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