No matter how long you have been running your business, you are far more likely to succeed taking that next big step if you are armed with hard data instead of relying on guesswork. Just ask Chris Goode, General Manager of U-Pull-It Auto Recyclers.
U-Pull-It started trading in 1998. It is a self-service automobile dismantling business and auto recycler. At its three sites in Adelaide, it dismantles cars to sell second-hand parts. Eventually the cars are stripped into different metal components to be sold as scrap metal. Staff are predominantly retired car mechanics.
It’s a volume business. At any given time the yards hold more than 2,000 cars and 1.2 million parts. “You need to be systematic and efficient,” says Chris. “We try to handle everything as few times as possible.”
Data analytics for medium-sized businesses
The retail component of selling second-hand parts to individuals and car repair companies represents around 50% of U-Pull-It’s business.
Chris explains, “We had been trying to understand the retail demographics but the data required a lot of human input.” U-Pull-It’s company director firmly believes in making decisions based on accurate information and has always collected data. So when we invited U-Pull-It to join a trial of our new business insights toolkit, Daily IQ. Chris welcomed the opportunity to learn more about their retail customers.
Within weeks of using Daily IQ’s data analytics, U-Pull-It discovered that more than 10% of its customers were females, mostly aged 18 to 35. “The female skew is growing 10 to 15% compared to the same month a year earlier,” says Chris. “It is now our fastest growing market.”
Changed marketing, recruiting and training
They coupled that insight with recognition that the internet gives customers vast information at their fingertips. This means U-Pull-It’s counter staff must sharpen their customer service skills to provide higher levels of customer service. Chris is mindful that a bad customer experience can be shared on social media before customers even leave the car yard.
The marketing department is working to change the perception that U-Pull-It customers are only men. This year they ran promotions around Mothers’ Day. Meanwhile the HR department will be recruiting flexible and adaptable people who understand their customer base is changing by gender, ethnicity and age.
Very soon, 20 to 25% of customers are likely to be female. Chris’ challenge is convincing employees of the true customer demographics. To help retrain them, U-Pull-It has commissioned a training program around customer experience.
Chris is using Daily IQ to collect a lot of data. “It is another source of information that we can cross-reference against.”
For example, he can compare how the sites are performing against each other. Using Daily IQ, he found that one site had a much higher proportion of card transactions than the other two. On investigation Chris found that the outlier site used our smart Albert terminal. All three sites now have Albert terminals.