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$20,000 FOR A LOCKOUT?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

There is no question that car opening has changed significantly over the years. More specifically, car opening procedures change each and every year. It is interesting to see how many companies have changed their business practices as a result of these changes. Many companies have decided to turn car opening calls down while others specialize in it. Like any other business, the services that you offer are not only important; they have significant impact on the future growth of your business.

It is important for you to make the most out of every call that you take. This holds true whether you are opening a car or rekeying a residential lock. Keep in mind that when someone locks the keys in their car it was unintentional. The customer’s attitude and emotions vary, depending on the circumstances. We have all seen embarrassed, angered, frustrated, and panicked customers. We have encountered many attitudes such as “I’m in a hurry” or my personal favorite “My spouse did it”.

What do these reactions to a lockout have in common? They all present the customer in an uncomfortable situation or state of mind. Your job, in most cases, soothes the customer’s emotions and eliminates an uncomfortable situation for them. If you think about it, that’s a pretty good job to have. We have all felt personal pride when we have witnessed the relief of a satisfied customer by performing a helpful service. Sometimes the customer looks at you as if you are a magician.

The smart technician and businessman will make the most and capitalize on this situation. Almost every car that you unlock is potential business down the road. The customer either owns a business or works somewhere. Take the extra couple of minutes and provide them with a business card. Let them know that you appreciate their business and that you would be happy to give them a free home security check for using your services. Ask them where they work and who would handle their locksmith services at the office. Call this person up (by name) and let them know that you just helped out their coworker (by name) and you would appreciate the opportunity to drop off a business card and brochure to them in case they ever need locksmith services. I prefer to drop off a business card versus mailing it. This puts you face to face with a person, and they are more likely to remember you. When you drop the card off, ask them if they need any duplicate keys made while you are there. It is amazing how many people will take you up on your offer or think of a door that sticks or a desk with lost keys, etc.

The bottom line is: people love EXCELLENT customer service and remember it. While you are there, ask the person if they currently use a locksmith on a regular basis. If the answer is no, let them know that you can help. If the answer is yes, ask them if they are happy with the service they are receiving. If the answer is yes, let them know how fortunate they are. I would always use the approach, at this point, to just leave my card and let them know that I would appreciate it if they would use me as a backup in the event that their regular locksmith is unavailable at some point of urgent need. This approach is VERY well received. The customer appreciates the non-force sales approach and the professional attitude. I picked up many new accounts and will guarantee that you will experience the same. Some of you may think this extra effort is not work the time. What an unfortunate mistake if you feel this way. If you dedicate yourself to this approach on all of your service calls (whatever the call may be), I am convinced that you will increase your business from 5% to 20% per year. Try it for a month and let me know how you did.

I have to disagree with those companies that have elected to turn car opening jobs down. The excuse is usually that they are too busy or that they prefer other types of work. Think about this. How much money in advertising do you spend to get a customer? I would suggest that you take your monthly advertising cost and divide it by NEW customers that you performed services for that month. This is a hard cost of obtaining or reaching that customer. Let me know which method pays off the most and the quickest.

I probably should have prefaced this article with some conditions on your part. Your professional attitude, appearance and quality of work are of utmost importance for success. If you are cranky or open a vehicle with barbaric techniques, don’t count on too much cooperation from the customer. BE PROFESSIONAL. Use the proper tools, lights and wedges. Have your car opening manual handy. I will probably get some laughs on this one, but bring some glass cleaner and paper towels and clean the window of your fingerprints when you are done. How long would this really take? People will notice and remember the extra little things that will set you apart from the rest. Your investment in PRO-LOK ® products will not only allow you to perform the job quicker and easier, it will also project a professional image.

Don’t make the mistake of viewing lockouts as a quick one-time call. You might be missing out on your next large commercial account and some free word of mouth advertising. I once picked up a major account that spend $20,000 per year by doing just this. I would say that was a pretty profitable lockout, wouldn’t you? Weather stripping is a bit difficult in some cases.
This is where the new AO65-VXL Extra Large Pump Wedge from PRO-LOK ® comes into play. Since this wedge is soft and flat when deflated, it is easier to inset than a traditional hard wedge and larger than the AO65 Pump Wedge. The AO65-VXL Extra Large Pump Wedge also allows for more versatility in the width of the opening created since the Pump Wedge may be inflated as much or as little as necessary.

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