Pep Boys, the auto parts and service chain where your 17-year-old self got those hideous clear taillights for your first car, is set for a massive rebranding effort that will see it focus even more heavily on personal service.

Called "Road Ahead," the new program has kicked off in 70 of the company's 800 locations. The service areas in those outlets feature leather chairs and free wireless internet, while service personnel have been instructed to greet each customer with a handshake and be willing and able to explain every repair a vehicle needs.

Part of this service-minded push is, naturally, money. In particular, Pep Boys is aiming for a slice of the estimated $300 billion that women spend on auto repairs each year. That said, the ladies aren't too fond of service facilities.

According to Chief Marketing Officer Ron Stoupa, one woman called repair shops like Pep Boys "a valley of liars and thieves," during a focus group session. "This is a tough industry to gain trust in," Stoupa told Ad Week.

In the past, "this industry didn't cater to the female side because they weren't seen as do-it-yourselfers," Stoupa, told Ad Week. "What we see now is that because gender roles have changed, women are taking the responsibility" of getting a car fixed, and troublingly for the industry, women don't seem to trust repair places, like Pep Boys.

To be fair, Pep Boys service facilities, which are forced to compete with dealership service and independent garages, have a lot to gain with this new, more personal approach. The fact that it is also willing to make the worst part of auto repairs – the waiting – better, is an even more promising sign. Here's hoping this new approach sees a more wide-spread adoption at the company's other locations.


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  • 36 Comments
      ghetto2315
      • 8 Months Ago
      Get out of here? Women don't like being lied to????? lol Not a fan of the title of this article...
      flammablewater
      • 8 Months Ago
      I genuinely doubt that it's only women who don't trust these places.
      Jake
      • 8 Months Ago
      It is amazing to me that so many businesses need a study or consultant to explain to them that treating customers like crap is bad for business.
      throwback
      • 8 Months Ago
      Most men don't like to be lied to either. Unless it is by a beautiful woman telling them how hot they are.
      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 8 Months Ago
      "The ladies aren't too fond of service facilities." And men are? I usually have a newer car so I don't go there but my son has and was not happy himself with treatment there as he is not car savvy so Pep Boys might consider their image to everyone.
      ack154
      • 8 Months Ago
      "be willing and able to explain every repair a vehicle needs" This is where the lying usually comes in. It would be nice to have a place that isn't purposely looking for things they can replace and do to be able to charge you money. I don't care if they do their 5000 pt inspection on a car, but be straightforward about what things actually NEED to be done and what is not actually a real concern but "hey, you might want to check this again in a few thousand miles."
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 8 Months Ago
      Speaking from experience, many big chains like this tie bonuses to meeting monthly sales quotes for certain items. For example, when you show up for work at XYZABC oil change place, the manager will bring out a sheet and say something like "we're looking good on air filters this month but we're behind on wiper blades. Everybody gets sold a new set of wiper blades today, got it?" And then you were expected to try to get every customer who came in for an oil change to buy a new set of wiper blades. The employees are incentivized to lie because meeting that quota meant real money in somebody's pocket.
      W. Gregory
      • 8 Months Ago
      "find [Women] don't like to be lied to"....how many corporate deep-thinkers did that conclusion take? "service personnel have been instructed to greet each customer with a handshake"...maybe it's just me, but I'm actually uncomfortable with the near-stalking levels of Customer Service that is given to customers these days. Recently my wife and I were at the mall (it was a boring snowy Saturday and nothing was on TV...don't judge me). First, we stopped at The Lego Store (wanted to look at the new Simpson's set), and as soon as we crossed the threshold, we were set upon by by an Employee "Welcome to the Lego store, who's the lucky person getting Legos today" "We're just looking" "Is there any set in particular you're interested in?" "We're just looking" "My name is blah-blah, and I'm more than happy to help you answer any questions you might have" "Thank you, we're just looking" Next, Da Wife wanted to go into Yankee Candle...same thing....thought I was going to have to use a pry-bar to get the Employee off of us. Just...enough. Retailers....if you want to make ME happy, a simple "Hello" when I walk in the door is more than enough. Trust me, if there is a particular good or service I want to exchange my money for, I'm going to come talk to you. And when conducting the transaction, I don't want to give you my E-mail address, I don't want to sign up for your savings card, punch card, frequent shopper card, or credit card (seriously, Sears tried to get me to open a Credit Account when I went in there to buy a $10 spool of Trimmer Line). I don't want to take your Customer Service Survey online when I get home...just let me give you my money in exchange for a product and we'll call it a day.
      Bernard
      • 8 Months Ago
      All the WiFi in the world wouldn't make me want to sit at PepBoys and wait.
      Wm
      • 8 Months Ago
      I doubt many men like to be lied to either, but maybe men are accustom to it and even expect it. My 1st car, even before my driver's license, was for sale by owner on a mechanics lot. The ad said it needed a new engine. I went to look at it and the mechanic came out and told me it needed to valves and rings. I ask if he had done a compression test, and he said he had. Having a friend with a junk yard I figured I could get a replacement engine cheap and replace it myself. When I did a compression test it was above the factory spec. I replace the points, condenser (remember those?) and plug, the car ran just fine. That wasn't even my first lesson in dishonest mechanics.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 8 Months Ago
      "a valley of liars and thieves" Amen! I have to say though- their store is not bad. But yeah- stay away from the valley of doom.
        Gorgenapper
        • 8 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        How about the valley of good intentions? It's right next to the mountain of righteousness.
      Joey Franklin
      • 8 Months Ago
      We only have 1 Pep Boys in my area but the tech's and "service" advisors are mainly people that can't make it on the dealership level. They don't pay well enough to get good techs and i would never recommend somebody take their car to them.
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