The Week's Features
Tow Expo Dallas' winning trucks are highlighted
Towman Scott Shover is being called "a guardian angel"
Redi-Letters' lighted signs easily mount on wreckers
Suspending auto repos of clients impacted by Hurricane Harvey
Or, do government controls actually work?
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August 17-19, 2017
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May 9-11, 2018
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In his seminar, "Dispatching, GPS and Mapping Innovations," Todd Althouse of Beacon Software will take a look at how a dispatch office has changed in the last 20 years. He'll review modern tools available to dispatchers, such as GPS locations, PTO activity, computer-assisted dispatch for driver recommendations and much more to improve efficiencies. This Management Conference seminar will take place at the American Towman Exposition, November 17-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland–register today!
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingSeptember 13 - September 19, 2017

City, State
Waterford, MI
(Pop. 72,166)
Auburn, AL
(Pop. 56,908)
Terre Haute, IN
(Pop. 60,785)
Loveland, CO
(Pop. 72,651)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

How Do They Feel?

angelou.quote 24d3fBy DON ARCHER

You work hard to get people out of bad situations. You're a problem solver. But you also work in a service business, which means you must deal effectively with people who find themselves in situations they'd rather not be in.

Add to that the fact that you're in competition with other towing companies who would love to take your place, and you can begin to understand just how important it is to provide the best service possible and continuously work to improve every aspect of the services you provide.

People say that they make buying decisions based on cost alone, but the facts don't bear that out. Think about the businesses you steer clear of because of ill treatment you've received.

We think customers should make buying decisions based on the work we do. Our expertise at removing a vehicle from a retaining wall without damage should be enough to thoroughly impress our customers—gaining their loyalty and repeat business. But it just isn't enough.

Don't be discouraged; there is some good news.

Maya Angelou, the recently deceased former U.S. Poet Laureate, once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Likewise, you have the ability to make customers feel good about the services they receive. If you can do your job while treating each customer with the same courtesy and respect you would like to be treated with, you've gone a long way toward achieving that goal.

The good news is that with only a few tweaks to the way you do business, you can positively affect how your customers feel about the services you provide.

Using a checklist, culled from motor club surveys, can help you create a better customer experience. Consider these points before you go on a call, and afterwards, until it has become ingrained in your mind. Think about how your customer would rate your performance in these areas.

• Truck appearance. (Would you want to get into a dirty cab?)

• Driver appearance. (Your neat appearance tells a customer that you care about them.)

• Courteous. (Treat them the way you'd want your son/daughter/mother/etc. treated if they were stranded.)

• Ability. (Confidence demonstrates ability even when things go wrong.)

• Greeting. (Use the three-name method: their name, your name, your business name. If you don't know their name, ask.)

• ID visible.

• Calm/reassuring. (This goes a long way toward assuring good feelings.)

• Explains effectively. (What needs to be done and how long it will take.)

• Prompt service.

• Went out of way to help.

You're never going to make a customer happy who needs your services. If you are courteous and go out of your way to help, they'll remember how you made them feel.

Don Archer lives and works in Jefferson City, Mo., where he and his wife, Brenda, own and operate Broadway Wrecker, a 12-truck operation that's been in business since the 1950s. Email him at

Retaining Customers

building customer loyalty 22cf7By Don G. Archer

Retaining customers isn't rocket science, but it does take a little work. First things first, you must provide great service and value ... no brainer. Secondly, you must stay in touch.

Towing customers only need you when they need you. The quickest way to lose a customer is when you no longer are top-of-mind. A couple of ways to avoid this is through the use of email and social media.

Many companies today are going paperless, which means providing customers with paid receipts via email. With a database of email addresses, you could send out friendly reminders, alerting them to heat advisories, snow emergencies and helpful hints on checking tire pressure. The emails shouldn't be intrusive; just friendly once-a-month reminders to let them know you're still around to help whenever they may need.

As far as social media goes, you could use a Facebook "Like" campaign or provide a perk like 10 percent off their next tow to get people to like your page. This can help bring more people to your page and keep you top-of-mind, as long as you are actively engaged (meaning regular posts).

A warning: If you stumble and stop posting for an extended length of time, say a week, Facebook's updated algorithm may cause your posts, once you start up again, to not show up in the feed of many who've liked your page. Sorry, FB wants more of your advertising dollars, so stay engaged.

Online reviews are amazing in how they can increase the lifetime value of your customers. They work on a multi-faceted level.

The first being that the more and better reviews you receive the more Google and the other search engines love you and want to present you when a search is performed. This means it's much easier for an existing customer to find you again.

The second is the fact that potential customers use reviews when making decisions. If you have 160 five-star reviews on Google, it can greatly increase your number of calls.

The third benefit towing companies derive from soliciting reviews has to do with the fact that people want to remain congruent with what they've said. It's built into our DNA.

Irrespective of the logic involved, when people say or write something they want to remain consistent. If a customer leaves your company a glowing review, the chances of that customer using your services in the future increase immensely.

To many tow company owners, marketing may seem like a waste of money. It can be if you're doing it wrong. However, when you incorporate a way to accurately measure results then concentrate on turning what were previously one-off customers into die-hard advocates who keep coming back, you have the ability to grow your business tremendously.

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. Email him direct at
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