The Week's Features
“If it’s not old, it’s not any good!”
Texas towman assists two troopers, then collapses
There’s something very calming about a crisp uniform
Forks come in three versions: short, medium, tall
Drives off from tow yard in repossessed Hyundai Elantra
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJanuary 16 - January 22, 2019

City, State
RATES
St. Louis, MO
$140
(Pop. 317,419)
Raleigh, NC
$185
(Pop. 439,896)
Cincinnati
$130
(Pop. 296,945)
Boise, ID
$125
(Pop. 214,237)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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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 TheTowAcademy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. Email him direct at don@thetowacademy.com.
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Uniforms, Professionalism and Appearance

NC 07f81(Image – Tom Toby, Thomas Towing & Transport; Wilmington, NC)

By Randall C. Resch

Picture this: a middle-aged tow operator arrives to tow your car. His jeans are faded, torn and filthy. His body odor is so foul it's melted the tint on the tow truck's windows. He's wearing a greasy, untucked and stained T-shirt that says, "Go Ask Rocky." He's unshaven and wearing his hat backwards. His T-shirt's neck area bears a yellow, crud-crusted stain, and, as he reaches into your car to shift the car's tranny to neutral, his butt crack smiles back at you.

Can ya picture it?

If you think back to some of the past media blitzes characterizing tow truck drivers as greasy, stinky, unshaven, junkyard performers ... that's probably a descriptive stereotype of what the motoring public thinks about the towing and recovery industry.

To me, there's something very business-like and calming that comes with uniformed drivers wearing a clean, crisp, company uniform. When that first impression is a direct reflection of company management, I believe that looking professional tends to invite the motoring public to think their vehicle and service needs are going to be well cared for. Call it, "Psychological Profiling."

For the towing and recovery industry there are many different styles of uniforms that run the gamut from jeans and T-shirts, shorts, polo shirts with tennis shoes, to long sleeves and matching pants. No matter what style uniform your company selects for day-to-day wear, cleanliness is the key to lasting appeal.

Keeping it Clean

Our industry attracts dirt, grease and grime. Because even the simplest tasks have potential of turning a clean towman into a proverbial grease-ball, trying to stay out of dirt and grease by itself is a full-time job. Having been in and around this industry all my life, I fully understand that it's a dirty environment and towers get grimy.

However, I believe it's just as easy to stay clean as it is to get dirty. Personally, I won't drop to the pavement and crawl under a vehicle to hook it up without first dropping an old blanket, drop cloth or square chunk of old carpet as a surface protector. If I'm working a recovery, driveshaft removal, or doing something that's really greasy, I'll put on a pair of long-sleeved coveralls as my outermost garment.

Doing so helps to keep my uniform as clean as possible. More importantly, keeping one's uniform clean also helps prevent from bringing unnecessary oil, grease and dirt into the tow truck's interior or the customer's car.

The Contract

For tow companies serving law enforcement as rotation towers, most formal contracts stipulate that responding tow operators wear a uniform bearing the company's and driver's names. For example, uniform requirements stipulated by the California Highway Patrol calls for tow truck drivers to wear an identifiable uniform displaying the company and the driver's name while engaged in CHP rotation tow operations.

It also states that CHP towers shall present a professional image. An unacceptable representation would include unbathed, excessively dirty/torn uniform, inappropriate visible body art, visible body piercings, etc.

Because we towmen respond to service, accident and impound requests for law enforcement, our companies arrive as a representative for their agencies. You won't see the police running around in dirty, unkempt uniforms; so, our appearances should be in line with theirs: clean, neat and professional.

Cleanliness is a daily, ongoing personal obligation that goes beyond wearing the same uniform or clothes for days. While management shouldn't have to remind employees to look sharp and presentable, a little self-awareness (and, phew, some deodorant!) might be in order.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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