By Elite Worldwide Inc.
By Bob Cooper
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, some CEO’s are starting to understand the price they have to pay for quick profits, and many of them are now taking a different approach. Although all companies should consider their long-term growth and financial stability, there has been an ongoing challenge that today’s CEO’s face; the relentless demand for immediate profits that is put on them by their stockholders.
Look at it like this. Publicly traded companies (i.e., Delta Airlines, General Motors, etc.) are owned by stockholders just like you and me. Although small investors like us don’t have a voice with such large companies, there are Wall Street fund managers that do have their ear. These are the people that buy and sell stock in staggering lump sums, and in order to entice those fund managers to invest in their companies, and to then keep that money invested in their companies, the CEO’s need to show strong profits not just for the year, but for quarter after quarter. The CEO’s know that if they miss their earnings (profit) mark, then there is a strong probability the fund manager will consider pulling their investment, and investing their money elsewhere.
In summary, investors like you and me put pressure on our stockbrokers to generate good profits for us, and in order to do so they put pressure on the fund managers, who then put pressure on the CEO’s. The end result? The CEO’s know if they don’t deliver, they may very well be out of a job, which is why so many of them are far more focused on short-term profits than long-term success.
Are their exceptions? You bet, and the late Steve Jobs is a classic example of someone who had a long-term vision and who invested his profits back into Apple. Of course there are others who do so, such as Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway and Bill Gates of Microsoft, but they are few in numbers compared to the CEO’s that are driven by short-term success.
So now that the Wall Street Journal is reporting a shift in how CEO’s think about squeezing the golden goose, you may want to revisit your shop’s business strategy as well. Since Steve Jobs is considered by many to have been the greatest CEO of all time, you and I should certainly feel comfortable following his lead.
How you view and operate your shop is certainly a personal decision, and I understand everyone is going to have different goals in mind, yet I feel there are some principles in business that are too good to be new. As Steve Jobs showed us, one of these principles is that we can’t let short-term interest or a quest for immediate rewards overcome our better judgement. Let your competitors make that mistake. Instead, just as Steve did, you need to set long-term goals that you believe in, you need to create a plan for reaching those goals, and then you need to constantly invest in your future. Some examples would be investing in training programs that address the newest vehicle technology, or taking the time now to implement an apprenticeship program that will help you develop your own superstar advisors and technicians in the coming years. I’d also recommend launching marketing campaigns that build your brand and focus on your principles, rather than campaigns focused on discounts that are designed to generate immediate sales. These are all surefire ways of investing in your future, and keeping you well ahead of your competitors.
If you follow the example that Steve jobs set for us by reinvesting in your company, and if you live by the principle of never putting money ahead of people, you will see what your competitors will more than likely never see; a more profitable, successful business that is good for you, your employees, your customers and the industry. I am sure you will agree that beyond the great products, Steve Jobs gave us quite the gift; a lesson in how to build an incredible business.
“Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite (www.EliteWorldwide.com), a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with online and in-class sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can contact Elite at [email protected], or by calling 800-204-3548."
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By Elite Worldwide Inc.
By Chris Monroe of Elite
We have all felt that empty feeling in our gut when a client walks back in the door with the “look” shortly after installing that new set of tires on their BMW. As they uncomfortably begin to describe some rim damage that didn’t exist when the car was dropped off…yuck.
Yes, you have policies in place to address such situations, but for whatever reason, the training on quality control has failed and now you are left to deal with the fallout. What next?
It is obvious there is a quality control issue that must be addressed, but how you take the next steps are very critical to the image of your business, as well as the credibility of your team.
The first step is to remain calm while reviewing with the client their concerns. Walk out to the vehicle and allow them to express what they feel is of issue. Once you have listened and observed with sincerity, start the process of restoration.
In our case, we had an incorrect set up on the tire machine with a low profile run-flat that ultimately allowed contact with the rim. This scratched the lip in multiple places. In addition, the technician continued with the installation without stopping to involve the advisor so we could get in front of the issue with the client. The technician did tell the advisor, but the timing was such that the client looked at the assembly on the car prior to checking out. Imagine how much easier this would have been had the advisor gotten to the client immediately to make them aware and assure them that we would professionally restore or replace the wheel.
Needless to say, I spent the next day with each and every technician reviewing the situation and the importance of why we have policy and process in place. Our technicians are now well aware of what to do (stop immediately and report the issue to the advising team) if damage occurs or could occur to a client’s vehicle, and understand the importance of getting in “front” of these concerns.
A better example this week where a technician wisely notated worn lug nuts and a partially damaged center cap “before” we began work. He gave the advisor a quick heads up that enabled a client visit to the vehicle to see in person and discuss the concerns. Not only did we replace the brakes on the car, but also replaced 20 lug-nuts and 4 center caps! The service concluded with the client scheduling another vehicle for service and thanking our team for being honest and helping resolve the issues. (This ain’t rocket science folks)
If you are in the automotive service business, incidents can and will happen. Coach and train your team on how to handle these situations, and demonstrate how important timing is with advising your client. Your shop's reputation and credibility ride on it.
This article was provided by Chris Monroe, an industry leading shop owner who recently won the 2018 Tire Dealer of the Year Award, and a Business Development Coach who helps other shop owners reach their goals through the Elite Coaching Program.
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My successful dealing with a difficult customer- "I'm going to give you the best damn customer service you have ever seen!"By Jay Huh
Been reading a lot of books lately and one of the things I learned is that there are 4 different personality types. Assertive personalities respond best to assertive people which is why I answered the way I did. But yea long story short, customer comes in for brake diag, gets brakes done, we had to jump the car to get it started bc we kept trans in neutral to diag brakes to see if they're locking up. Anyway we let him know that and tell him that battery should charge by the time he gets home, which it should've.
Service advisor picks up phone call, angry customer, car wont start. He accuses us with "sabotaging the vehicle and doing something to his alternator. Goes on to say that he is calling the police, has friends at the police, contacting attorney general, coming to my shop and stopping people from coming to my shop, leaving bad reviews everywhere... drops a few f bombs here and there... anyway I try and explain the situation but he wont let me. Finally I say "John! (made up for sake of customer) If you want to call the police and the attorney, I'm not going to stop you, but if you want a SOLUTION to your PROBLEM which is getting your car started as soon as possible, I am your best bet. I'll see you in 20 min and I'm going to give you the best damn customer service you've ever seen! What's your address." more or less how it went.... gave him a jump, he said battery was only a year old.. sticker said 02/13 which made it 4 years old and corroded. Showed him, explained, and suggested he go to the nearest Autozone for a new battery and he did. He told me thanbks like 3x and apologized. I do understand the customers frustration tho, no starts are never fun
Anyone who uses all data manage online has seen the new "recommended jobs" which is associated with canned jobs. I'm curious how canned/pre-priced jobs effect your margins. For instance, we primarily work on pickups so my concern would be if I price a brake job for a 3500 Dodge it would leave the canned price to high for smaller vehicles. This does seem like a nice way to speed up the write up, I'd like hear how everyone else does this.
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