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This is about training a service writer who has little to no experience.

 

 

I am working on training a new service writer. He was our shop helper at first, comming in half a day here and there to clean up and help with easy tasks, pick up drop off customers, ect. He was smart and had a good work ethic, so his days got longer and longer and he eventually became a full time assistant. He would do oil changes and tires, write some estimates and still keep things clean ect. He is not perfect, he does sometimes forget things. He is young, he is only 18. I feel like he has a lot of potential, and he enjoys the job. I like his work ethic and the majority of the customers like him.

 

I am looking for advice on how to get him fully trained up. I know that everyone has to start somewhere and I am taking on a big task, but I tried one experienced service writer in the past and did not like how set in his ways he was. My current guy is and open book, and absorbs my policies with out question.

 

What training do you guys suggest. Is there a class I should send him to? Online training courses? A book I can buy for him? Where do I start?

 

I have been training him on the RO software and he is picking that up. He knows how to build the estimates, research parts online, and has sold a few jobs when I was not around.

 

He mentioned that he wants to work on his confidence talking to the customers. When I sell to a customer, I know how to work on cars, and so when they throw me a curve ball I know the answers or know how to find them. How does a service writer with very little tech experience handle techy questions?

 

Thanks in advance for the help guys.

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I think the better question for your young employee is does he want to be a sales professional?

 

There is a big difference between a person who dabbles in working on cars and also does some front office work. In my experience you will only ever go so far without having a true service advisor. With that being said I believe training is a huge advantage. If you yourself are a sales professional meaning you have put yourself through sales psychology training, service advisor training, etc then you would the perfect first coach for your employee. The next step would be to find a suitable service adviser training program to take him further. Most training programs will not teach your employee about cars or how they work. They will teach him about COMMUNICATION. Communication is golden. You can be the best tech in the world however if you are one of those types that has a hard time communicating with people you will make the worst SA. On the flip side a lot of SA's I know that are killer at their jobs have never really turned a wrench before.

 

Learning how to operate within your business is something you will have to teach him (your management software, writing tickets, writing estimates, etc) however the sales part I think you should definitely find the right program for you. I am currently in the middle of training my own Service Advisor. I have had a lot of years behind the desk and have put myself through a good amount of training. I will be the first to say I don't know everything however I would like to think I have been a good first coach for my guy. With my help he has been holding margins. I recently enrolled him into Elite's Master Course which is Elites service advisor training course. I am sure you can google them to get more info. There are also several other programs out there you just have to interview them and see which one fits you best.

 

good luck!

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I picked up a book called Service Consultant: Working in an Automotive Facility by Ronald Garner on Amazon for $9 plus shipping.

That would be a good (and cheap) place to start. It's a hardcover textbook style.

Some parts are fairly dry, but if he wants to better himself, reading that would be a good place to start, before training.

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I just signed my wife up for a service advisor training course through RLO Training. It starts the first week of August. It's an online based training course, really excited about it. I'll be taking it with my wife as well and I'm sure I'll learn a ton myself. My wife has an incredible work ethic and hope to have her up to speed to take over the counter and the front end of the shop.

 

I'll keep you updated on how it goes. But may not be too late to sign up your helper if interested.

 

AJ

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Some people have expressed concern over his age but it's only a couple of customers that I don't even like to deal with. He has enjoyed the position and seems excited to do some training.

 

What are the cost of these programs you guys mention. I had a fellow named Elon contact me with training videos but he wants to get me on the phone before giving me the details. I don't have the time to spend on the phone listening to a script trying to find out cost and logistics.

 

Has anyone else heard of a fellow named Elon that does training?

 

I think I will grab that book it will be nice to hand him something he can take home.

 

I have been training him myself so far and he improves a bit each day. He knows the service writing software and can build estimates easily.

 

He talked to a woman from auto profit masters and said she hit all the things he feels he needs to work on.

 

I like what I have heard from Elon so far but am turned off by the fact that he needs me on the phone.

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Some people have expressed concern over his age but it's only a couple of customers that I don't even like to deal with. He has enjoyed the position and seems excited to do some training.

 

What are the cost of these programs you guys mention. I had a fellow named Elon contact me with training videos but he wants to get me on the phone before giving me the details. I don't have the time to spend on the phone listening to a script trying to find out cost and logistics.

 

Has anyone else heard of a fellow named Elon that does training?

 

I think I will grab that book it will be nice to hand him something he can take home.

 

I have been training him myself so far and he improves a bit each day. He knows the service writing software and can build estimates easily.

 

He talked to a woman from auto profit masters and said she hit all the things he feels he needs to work on.

 

I like what I have heard from Elon so far but am turned off by the fact that he needs me on the phone.

Let me jump in here and answer your question about the phone call. Here is the

email I had written to you:

 

We have a number of training and coaching programs available. A sampling

can be found here:

http://sellmoreautoservice.com/programs/

 

There are a number of things that set us apart. What we are most known for

is our approach to helping you build a business built on systems and processes.

 

In other words, every time you add a process/system to your business, you

add profit margin. It also helps the business run smoother and eliminates stress.

Our programs are customized, based on what your needs are and where
you are in your business. In order to find out what your needs are, we can

schedule a no-pressure, no-obligation consultation. It will allow you and me

to take a look at where your business is now, what you want your business

to look like...
And what training and coaching you need in order to build that business.

It usually takes about 30 minutes.

Would you like to set up a time to talk? Just let me know and we'll match

up schedules.

 

Just like you or any good shop can't diagnose a check engine light using email,

I can't diagnose what your business needs using email either.

 

I know there are many coaching and training companies that use their

live weekend workshops and the phone to get you to buy their programs,

even going so far as to use the shop's Profit & Loss statement to intimidate

and pressure the shop owner into making a decision.

 

The reason I know that is we receive an average of two calls a week

from shop owners that have experienced that, first hand.

 

We do not believe in any of that nonsense.

 

However, I do believe that for a coaching/training program to work,

we do need to see if we're a match when it comes to philosophy

and how you want to run your business.

 

For example, if you want your service advisor to use high-pressure

scare tactics or laundry lists (customers now call those "wish lists"),

we are not a match.

If you want training from a company that has spent countless hours

talking with customers to find out why they buy and why they don't.

And analyzing why service advisors sell and why they don't make

the sale...

 

And then, reverse-engineering a proven, effective sales program...

that is customer-friendly AND your employee can see himself/herself using it...

 

Even if they're not a natural born sales person...

 

We may have something to talk about.

 

We also don't take everybody unless we feel we are a match

to work together. There are many reasons for this but one of

them is we have a 100% no questions asked, money-back

guarantee. No one else in the industry has this.

 

What that means to you is: If we are going to offer you a

coaching and training program that has absolutely no risk

to you meaning all the risk is on our end with our guarantee...

 

We want to make pretty sure upfront that it can be successful.

 

Hope this clears up your question about the phone call.

 

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You mentioned in another post if I am not able to set aside time to work on the business instead of in it we may not be a good fit. Do you know of any programs that would help get me out of the business so I do have this time?

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You don't have to get out of this business to set aside 30 mins bro. That's on you. Weather your running an auto shop or a plumber, if you can't step away for a bit to take a call, you gotta look at the reason.

 

 

I don't know Elon or his company, but I can understand where he is coming from. You read horror stories of people burdened with their shops and can't make time for family or improvement because the shop can't run on its own.

 

There's more to life than working. It's about getting help to figure that out. There's people that have systems and figured out how to do things the better way.

 

I've looked into management companies, and the ones I've seen FOR THE MOST PART do have a good basis. I've also seen the dreaded " sell more flushes, raise your labor rates, charge for everything, pay your techs less but then dangle the carriot so they feel like they can make more if they work harder" companies as well

 

 

At this point, what's 30 mins going to hurt? Like I said, it doesn't matter what business your in, you gotta get help when needed.

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We went through this last year. After a detailed assement we discoverd that he was not mature enough. When folks are handing over thousands of dollars we need to get it right. Elite has really helped us turn our business around. I have one advisor who has been through some great Elite training. He's way better than me on the front.

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We went through this last year. After a detailed assement we discoverd that he was not mature enough. When folks are handing over thousands of dollars we need to get it right. Elite has really helped us turn our business around. I have one advisor who has been through some great Elite training. He's way better than me on the front.

 

 

Hey Alan, nice to hear Elite is working for you. I remember you had mentioned about an service advisor that you were contemplating on sending to the masters course. How did that pan out? I am sending my guy in September.

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++++1 For reading eMyth. It is well worth the time investment.

 

In June of 2012, I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in a program taught by Michael

Gerber himself. My conversations with him about systemizing an auto repair shop drives

every single conversation I have with shop owners today.

 

If you look at any of my posts in this forum, any of my articles, videos, etc., the

information I share is always based on systems and processes...

 

Because a shop owner's paycheck is hiding in areas that aren't systemized. It doesn't

matter whether we're talking about working with "price shoppers", selling alignments

or managing your schedule.

 

I am a fanatic about it because once you set up processes - it makes your business

run smoother and way more profitable. It also eliminates almost all your stress.

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In June of 2012, I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in a program taught by Michael

Gerber himself. My conversations with him about systemizing an auto repair shop drives

every single conversation I have with shop owners today.

 

If you look at any of my posts in this forum, any of my articles, videos, etc., the

information I share is always based on systems and processes...

 

Because a shop owner's paycheck is hiding in areas that aren't systemized. It doesn't

matter whether we're talking about working with "price shoppers", selling alignments

or managing your schedule.

 

I am a fanatic about it because once you set up processes - it makes your business

run smoother and way more profitable. It also eliminates almost all your stress.

Systems are where I struggle the most. As a small shop it seems like the whole system falls on my shoulders!

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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Systems are where I struggle the most. As a small shop it seems like the whole system falls on my shoulders!

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

What do you mean when you say the whole system falls on your shoulders? Can you

give me an example of what that looks like?

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What do you mean when you say the whole system falls on your shoulders? Can you

give me an example of what that looks like?

It's only three of us, my wife, a helper and myself. (we're looking for additional employees but trying to find good help isn't easy).

Neither my wife or my helper seem to be able to stick to systems - it's good for a week and then they go in every other direction and I'm left trying to get us back on the right road. I guess we just can't find a set of procedures that fit us well!

 

 

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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It's only three of us, my wife, a helper and myself. (we're looking for additional employees but trying to find good help isn't easy).

Neither my wife or my helper seem to be able to stick to systems - it's good for a week and then they go in every other direction and I'm left trying to get us back on the right road. I guess we just can't find a set of procedures that fit us well!

 

Here are a couple of questions for you. What is your wife's role in the business? What are the systems

you want them using that they are struggling with? What procedures are you using that don't seem to fit

you well?

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Here are a couple of questions for you. What is your wife's role in the business? What are the systems

you want them using that they are struggling with? What procedures are you using that don't seem to fit

you well?

I'll pm you asap

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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The e myth is like intro to business 101, definitely a prerequisite but won't really give you any real help. Six tires no plan and Les Schwab are also great books to emphasize that systems and people are what makes great businesses. I'm still stuck in the "do it myself" mentality so I really focus on giving myself a good job with pay raises and paid vacation time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's only three of us, my wife, a helper and myself. (we're looking for additional employees but trying to find good help isn't easy).

Neither my wife or my helper seem to be able to stick to systems - it's good for a week and then they go in every other direction and I'm left trying to get us back on the right road. I guess we just can't find a set of procedures that fit us well!

 

 

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

You have to do a dry run with the systems over and over till they function flawlessly with no variables. By dry run, I mean, just you, your wife, and your helper working in sync with the systems you created. Systems must be written up, easily understandable and known and easily accessible if there is any question.

 

Systems fall apart when too many variables exist. The only variable that may exist is the customer since they can be unpredictable by either presence or behavior. But they must be controlled well by good communication.

 

If not, receptionist and service writer are not controlling the front and cause overwhelm throughout the shop. Everything else should be easily controllable. Your environment should be easy to navigate and manage. With a glance you should be able to know and predict what's happening.

 

If you want the system to work properly and flawless every time it must be consistent.

 

For example:

 

Customer walks in:

 

First: a friendly greeting

 

Next: how can I help you

 

Next: acknowledge what the customer said. Do not get into a diagnosis. Just listen and be sure it is something you can do or handle and/or be sure it is a customer you want to do business with. This is the time to evaluate your customer and predict his/her sanity.

This is the time you should realize if the remainder of the customer relationship will be an asset or liability to your business.

 

Next: Get a name, address, phone number, email address

 

Next: Vehicle info - Year, make, model, color, mileage, etc.

 

Next: Write up customers exact needs, wants, issues, concerns, etc. and repeat it back to customer clearly and at the speed of his/her comprehension and then ask if there is anything else that he would like to add to that.

 

Next: With the customer, look the car over for damage before customer leaves, or take pictures of damage and make customer aware of previous damage. Look for check engine lights, tire lights, coolant light, etc that are on. This is the part of the system where you make yourself aware of the vehicle and reduce your liabilities.

 

Next: Road test vehicle and duplicate customer concern. Typically, we do this with the customer if it's a noise or performance issue.

 

Next write up an easily understandable technician's work order. Where the technician can see it, read it, understand it and check it off easily. We use an electronic system through tablets, but that is not necessary, it's just faster and more fancy and there's alot less chance of error or disorganization and lost paperwork.

 

Ok, so that's just one basic system for reception.

 

Next system would be Technician Workflow system. Write it out step by step, the exact procedure and asily understandable.

 

Most importantly do not vary the system ever. Never deviate, no matter how crazy things are or get. If you need more people, then get more people to increase efficiency.

 

If you have people and no systems you have chaos. If you have systems an no people you have overwhelm. So be a good manager of people and systems.

 

PS : If you cannot demonstrate the system on a dry run, either you don't understand your system or it is not workable. Non-compliance is its own monster and then you need a better system for evaluating "help".

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Andres nailed it, if the system doesn't work for everyone without exception its not a good system. Don't feel bad if you don't have a perfect system, not many do. National chains spend millions on systems that require excess employees, excess training, middle managers everywhere, but they work and can be duplicated easily over and over again. Only you can decide if its right for you. I go with half systems that are much cheaper, but half the time I'm running in circles.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alfred I think that is part of the problem is that we are all working in a world where corporate auto shops can throw unlimited money and people into a system and make money due to volume. We need to be more efficient and yet have to compete with a 4 bay shop that has two service writers and a manager and is open 7 days a week 12 hours a day. I believe there are systems that can get us put of the shop for short periods but until I find another clone of myself I know numbers will always suffer when I am not here.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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      If you would like to join their private Facebook group go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/autorepairmarketingmastermind
      In this podcast episode, Coach Chris Cotton from Auto Fix Auto Shop Coaching delves into the multifaceted benefits of adopting a four-day workweek within the auto repair industry. He underscores significant enhancements in employee morale, work-life balance, and overall productivity, while also noting the potential to attract and retain top-tier talent. Chris provides an in-depth analysis of various structural approaches for implementing a four-day workweek, including staggered shifts and rotating schedules, ensuring that operations run smoothly without compromising service quality.
       
      The episode, sponsored by Shop Marketing Pros, is a treasure trove of practical tips for auto repair shop owners contemplating this transition. Chris emphasizes the importance of developing a customized plan that meticulously balances employee satisfaction with operational efficiency. He discusses the nuances of different implementation strategies, such as ensuring adequate coverage during peak hours and maintaining customer service standards. Additionally, Chris shares real-world examples and success stories from shops that have successfully made the switch, providing listeners with a comprehensive understanding of the potential challenges and rewards.
       
      Listeners will also gain insights into the financial implications of a four-day workweek, including potential cost savings from reduced overhead and increased employee retention. Chris highlights the importance of clear communication with staff throughout the transition process and offers advice on how to gather and incorporate employee feedback to fine-tune the new schedule. By the end of the episode, auto repair shop owners will be equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to make an informed decision about whether a four-day workweek is the right fit for their business.
       
      Boosted Employee Morale and Productivity (00:02:19) Shorter workweek leads to increased productivity and higher job satisfaction, improving employee morale and focus. Improved Work-Life Balance (00:03:28) A four-day workweek allows for more family time, hobbies, and rest, reducing burnout and maintaining mental and physical health. Attracting Top Talent (00:04:23) Offering a four-day workweek can attract top talent valuing flexibility and work-life balance, setting the employer apart. Operational Efficiency and Financial Benefits (00:05:32) Streamlining operations, reducing turnover rates, and potential cost savings with a condensed workweek. Structural Approaches to Transitioning to a Four-Day Workweek (00:06:34) Staggered shifts, extended hours, rotating schedules, and seasonal adjustments to implement a four-day workweek.  
       
       
      Connect with Chris:
      [email protected]
      Phone: 940.400.1008
      www.autoshopcoaching.com
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
      AutoFixAutoShopCoachingYoutube: https://bit.ly/3ClX0ae
       
      #autofixautoshopcoaching #autofixbeautofixing #autoshopprofits #autoshopprofit #autoshopprofitsfirst #autoshopleadership #autoshopmanagement #autorepairshopcoaching #autorepairshopconsulting #autorepairshoptraining #autorepairshop #autorepair #serviceadvisor #serviceadvisorefficiency #autorepairshopmarketing #theweeklyblitz #autofix #shopmarketingpros #autofixautoshopcoachingbook
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


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