Helping Women Feel Confident Around Car Care with Patrice Banks

June 13, 2024
Dan Shine interviews Patrice Banks, founder of Girls Auto Clinic in Philadelphia
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In this ASOTU CON 2024 session, Dan Shine interviews Patrice Banks, founder of Girls Auto Clinic in Philadelphia. Patrice shares her journey of transforming the traditional auto shop experience by catering to the needs of women, while also welcoming male customers. Girls Auto Clinic stands out with its customer-centric approach that includes free car care workshops, a comfortable lounge, and even a nail salon, turning a routine car maintenance visit into a pleasant experience. Patrice emphasizes the importance of understanding customer pain points and building trust by educating and empowering them, especially women, to take control of their car care.

Patrice discusses the widespread success and demand for their monthly workshops, which attract women from across the country and even internationally. These workshops teach essential car care skills in a fun and relatable way, helping women feel confident and knowledgeable. She also touches on the potential for franchising Girls Auto Clinic and the need for funding to expand their unique service model. Additionally, Patrice highlights the significant interest from women wanting to become auto technicians and the importance of creating opportunities for them in the automotive industry.

0:00 Intro

1:10 Patrice shares her customer service approach and pain points.n.

3:34 Workshops teach car care in fun, relatable ways.

5:08 Building trust by addressing customer pain points.

5:49 Growing the Girls Auto Clinic brand and community.

6:50 Creating a supportive online community for women in auto care.

8:06 Plans for franchising and expanding services.

9:09 Women technicians find Girls Auto Clinic through media exposure.

Thanks to Effectv for making this episode of ASOTU CON Sessions possible! Learn more about Effect here:

Paul J Daly: 0:02

You're listening to the ASOTU CON sessions by Effectv live from ASOTU CON 2024

Dan Shine: 0:09

This is Dan shine I'm back again here with at ASOTU CON podcast age a collaboration with Effectv sitting across from me is the she Kanak herself. Patrice Banks founder at girls auto clinic in the fight and city of Philadelphia fan club with like I love you guys buying you're buying drinks tonight. Let's talk about customer service. Okay, a lot of these folks are dealership folks, and this one was a little bit different. You're an independent shop owners. Female run female owned, yes. Male and female customers,

Patrice Banks: 0:52

male and female customers. So a lot of people think we're just women. But I tell people, we love men, and we love their money. So absolutely, we'll take male customers. Yes.

Dan Shine: 1:02

Tell me how you approach customer service. I'm what, what? What makes what works for you? Yeah, that people keep coming back.

Patrice Banks: 1:10

Yeah. Um, for for me, and how I really approached customer service with girls auto clinic was I looked at my pain points and my automotive experiences. And what I would want as a woman as a young woman, and in the problems that I had taking my car, and I knew, I always felt shame for not taking care of the car, I felt like I was gonna be taken advantage of because I was a woman are told I needed stuff that I didn't need. And I hated my experiences. So I made sure when I opened a shop, what is my target customer one, knowing who my target customer is, which is women, and what are their pain points when it comes to bringing their car. And I know a lot of them feel like me. So I wanted to create a customer experience that was going to get rid of the shame, educate them make them feel smart and confident about the choices that they make with their cars. And so what we do is we do free car care workshops to teach them about their cars, we offer a beautiful lounge for them to come and feel, you know, safe and comfortable. I have a nail salon there to get your nails done while you wait for your car. And now instead of becoming a chore of I have to take my car and to get my oil change. And they're going to tell me I need all these things. They look forward to it. They're excited to come, we get still 10 to 15 new customers a week. And they'll call us because they're so excited to come in to see women working to get their nails done to have that experience that they've never really had taking their car in for an oil change. And so it's putting the power back in their hands saying listen, you this is your money, you should feel good about how you spend it. And we're going to help make sure that you feel smart about all the choices that you make.

Dan Shine: 2:37

Oh, how often do you have these little kind of clinics medical education? And what's the attendance like?

Patrice Banks: 2:43

Yeah, so our our clinics are actually worldfamous. I hold them every single month. And they're and they're limited because they're interactive, you learn on your car, we're going to teach you how to talk to mechanic what to do an emergency, right and how to take care of your car. And so we do about 10 to 15 per clinic and do them once a month and they fill up within like five minutes of us releasing the link. And we have women that try I'm in Philly, we have women that come from Atlanta, Indiana, I've had women fly from Texas from Toronto, because there's no other workshop out there like that that's teaching them. You know how to take care of their cars, how you want to talk to mechanic, but we also make it relatable and fun. Like when talking about oil changes think of your car like a vagina or does your car have rookies when we talk about air filters, or the biggest mistake we make with our cars ladies is we cheat on our mechanics or we shop hop. And so I make it ways that's fun and relatable where they can understand it and feel confident. This is where we get the name she Canik it's not a woman mechanic. It's a woman who now feels empowered with her car, she doesn't think she needs a guy to help her. She's a wonder her dad or her brother, she can learn her car, she knows that she can work on it or understand it just like a man she's not afraid to go to a mechanic or feel taken advantage of and she inspires other women to do the same. And that comes from finding this education. You know changing the story in your head cars that cars are just for guys. It's not I thought that story too. I'm an actual an engineer. And I call myself an auto airhead. I thought this is just for the men, I won't get it. I'm not going to understand it which is engineer. Exactly. Which is insane. So changing that identity for a lot of women where they become she can X is really important. And the clinics allow us to do that. And that's what gives us the trust, right? The trust that women will come in, they don't know anything about our business. They just know that we're women and we educate them and then get their nails done. Sign me up, I'm coming and I will they travel, we get customers and I always recommend this from Maryland, they'll travel to Maryland just to come get their oil changed or to get their car worked on because they're going to trust us.

Dan Shine: 4:40

And I was gonna say when you first were talking about what kind of led you into this, it's kind of that that distrust that you had going into maybe a dealership service department? How how do you kind of build that trust? I mean, is it just that it's a female and female and they're gonna like reach So because we're the we're the same, is that simple? Or is it? You know, you still can be taken advantage of them? Yeah.

Patrice Banks: 5:09

It's It's understanding their pain points and saying, I get it, I've been there this is, this is a pain for you, and how can I help you solve it, and then solve that problem. That's how they trust you, you make their life easier, right? You make one less thing for them to worry about. You give them a convenience, you give them power, and they're going to trust you. And so now we've gotten enough people that just trust us that the brands now just speaks for itself. People are like, girls auto clinic, I'm going there. And

Dan Shine: 5:34

how do you know you've got this this brand? You're a trustworthy brand. Yes. And when you're off, getting around the country and coming to events like this, how do you make sure that that culture remains in effect when you're maybe not there? So

Patrice Banks: 5:49

I have what I call my mechanic community, and it's over 15,000 Women in it now. And they're women, drivers and women and experts in the industry. And they kind of run that community for me, I don't they we post questions about our cars. We don't get a response from one mechanic, we share funny memes. We share car, buyer beware stories, right? We share triumphs, and I don't even need to post I don't need to ask questions, they just are doing it themselves. And it's growing every day. And we've got like 15,000 members it's on. It's a Facebook group that's closed just for women. And so women want this and they need it. And if you create a platform for them, or you create this space for them, because I always believe in women, and they're awesome, they're going to be engaged, right, they're extremely engaged in this community, they want to do more, they want to learn more, they want to invite their friends in to get you know, more info. And so it kind of does run on itself, where I just provide that space, that platform that's a safe for women, and let them figure out what they need and how we can be in community and help each other.

Dan Shine: 6:51

When we franchising this clinic, we're going to franchise this, okay.

Patrice Banks: 6:58

I would love to franchises and I get a lot of requests. And, and what we know, and we talked about this a lot, because I'm a founding member of well, can, you know, so I'm a black woman, I'm a first generation not just an entrepreneur, but working in the automotive industry. And I'm bootstrapped, I have I built this business and brand with just my money and my staff, I don't have any founders. And so I need money. I need money to grow to hire the right people out there to help make this work. Anyone knows that owns a repair shop, or independent shop or even a dealership, you know, I'm, I'm doing everything. Sometimes I'm talking to customers and texting customers and answering the phone. Sometimes I'm still working on cars, I'm managing my staff. And you know, you're only one person. So as soon as I can bring, you know, get raised some money to help me open the next shop and get the right people on my team. And so I'd be able to provide more value. So I'm working on that now. So if anyone here is interested, talk to girls auto clinic, we're definitely looking to raise some funds to franchise to get we have an apprenticeship program to get young ladies in to be taxed. I know that's a big problem, not just for the industry. But for me, right? Where do you find your women texts? And how do you how do you train? And how she, you know? Yeah,

Dan Shine: 8:07

keep rolling here. Yeah, answering all my questions before he was asking, you

Patrice Banks: 8:10

know how I find women texts, they find me. I've never once had to find one of my women texts. I get emails every day from women around the world, that car brand on TV or see us on social media. Somebody shared it, we went viral. And they say I want to be a tech or I was a tech. I was in this industry and I dropped out. Or I was discouraged from doing it. And here's why. And they're like, I see you doing it and I want to work for you. I want to own a shop. How do I do workshops? What do I do? And I'm a small three bay shop and Philly right? I can't hire all these girls. But I also have a franchise you can I could Yeah, so here we go franchise. But I also get I get phone calls and emails from Jim Farley is the CEO of Ford, right executives at at, you know, automotive groups and these large companies and countries. Well, where are the women? How do we find women, I'm like, they're in my DMs. They're out there and they're looking for an opportunity. And we can build this opportunity for them. So apprenticeship program, we have my workshops that I do to teach women how to take care of their cars. If you're looking for customers, that's how you get women customers and is you teach them how you're going to take care of their car and how they take care of their car. And it's not like oh, you don't need a mechanic. It's like no, you these are the things that you need every year for your car. And this is what you have to do to maintain it for the longevity. And they trust that so they're coming in for their oil changes. They're not skipping their filters. They're not skipping their wipers. They're not skipping their flushes because we talked about how important that stuff is. Education is important. It's not about we don't want them to know what we're doing. And we don't want them to know how often they're supposed to get their fluid flushes. Like we tell them exactly when they're supposed to do it. So that's gonna be you know, that's the important part for women and finding women and when I educate them and give them a little bit of knowledge about cars, it sparks a lot of women to say I want to learn more. I want to be a tech maybe how can I get more information? So it's making it available and you can't be what you can't see. Right? Beyonce says that so as soon as I get out there and um, you know, people see what I'm doing. I just get a ton of emails from girls that want to try it. And you know, hey Ford, you guys have the resources that I don't have. Let's work together. Let's capture these girls, right? Give them an opportunity train them to work on cars and fill some of these gaps that you have with finding technicians. It makes total

Dan Shine: 10:21

sense. Yeah, the truth during the conversation. Thanks so much.

Paul J Daly: 10:29

Thank you for listening to this ASOTU CON session by Effectv if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday, here and podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto Collabs Auto Collabs. And if you just want to go a little different in this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to a We'll see you next time.

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