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.