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A few weeks back I had a problem with my refrigerator. I got a referral and called an appliance repair company. I called three times and each time I called this is what happened: "C and E appliance, please hold." I was put on hold three times for about 5 minutes. After being put on hold each time, a women would say, "What's the problem?" No engagement, no sign of interest for me the customer, no signs of caring. I gave the women a brief description of the problem and each time she told me someone would call me back. Well, no one did. So, I called for the 4th time, and as the person answered the phone I said, "DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD." There was silence, so I continued. I explained to her that she has spoken to me three times, I left messages three times and three times you told me that someone would call me back. She replied, "You are talking to the wrong person, if you have any complaints, write a letter to my boss, after all he won't listen to me anyway." I hung up the phone and called another company. The lesson and takeaway here is simple: Who's answering your phone? The wrong people on the phone in your shop can kill your business. Have meetings with your people. Make sure you review your phone skills policy. If you don't have one, create one. Empower your people to people to handle issues. And make sure you log every phone call. If you feel you have a problem, start recording phone calls. Your phone is your lifeline to future business. So, please ask yourself....Who's answering your phone?
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How do shops handle the use of cellular phones by their technicians during work hours?
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Each year at this time I advise shop owners to set aside time to look back at the current year and start planning for the year ahead. The more due diligence you perform, the more successful you will be. Below is a short list of things you need to do. Remember, the time you spend now, will pay off next year. Review all your numbers, year to date - Did you hit your goals? Arrange a meeting with your accountant and review your projected sales and determine any tax implications Speak to your accountant about investing in any end-of-year equipment purchases or any other large purchases in order to save on taxes. Please do not listen to your tool truck guy or equipment reps. Sometimes having cash reserve is much more important that reducing taxes Have a meeting with your key employees; determine what you will need in the coming year and begin to create a budget Set your new goals for 2018 and beyond, both personal and business Create a Wish List, those things your would like to accomplish, both in business and personal - This will help keep you focused Consider needed future training for all employees Review all insurances: Life insurance, liability, etc. Perform a facility inspection: Identify any needed work, upgrades, OSHA concerns, etc Create an emergency crisis plan in case something happens to you or a key employee; and make sure your loved ones and family have a copy of the plan
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3 things you didn't know about Vegas: It would take 288 years for one person to spend one night in every hotel room in Las Vegas. The shrimp consumption in Las Vegas is over 60,000 pounds per day, higher then the rest of the nation combined. We're buying drinks for shop owners attending the APPEX and SEMA shows at the Venetian on Wednesday. #3 is the most important fact, of course. And it's the only one that requires your immediate action.
So, if you are going to be in Vegas on November 1...
...want to enjoy a free drink at a great restaurant in a hotel that looks like Venice...
...and talk with repair shop owners and the RepairPal Team about what's working in the automotive repair industry these days... Click here to get on the VIP list now. See you there! The RepairPal Team - (Jill, Shirley, and Randall)
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Repairing by the Numbers Now and then, I’ll get a car in the shop that you can clearly tell some amateur has been fiddling around under the hood. Things are out of place, harnesses and lines are not strapped down, or they’ve come up with some concoction to seal an oil leak. Nothing surprises me these days, especially after all the years I’ve been at this. Whether it’s a homemade battery clamp or gobs of pepper poured into the radiator to seal a leak, I’ve probably seen it before… and then some. Once in a while, some of these in-the-ditch repairs truly are a road side emergency, but I tend to believe with proper maintenance even those repairs could be avoided. I’m not saying you won’t break down on the side of the road, I know I have, but we aren’t driving around with points and condensers or 2 ply tires anymore. Cars have far more reliability built into them than the cars back then. Even though the number of repairs has dropped considerably, the number on the bottom of the repair invoice rises with every new technology added. Like everything else in the modern world, it still comes down to the numbers. The dollar number that is. Car repair can be expensive, especially considering the amount of training, tools and equipment needed to perform the various diagnostics and repairs. However, there are still a number of people who take car repair and maintenance as something that can be taken care of with cheap off shore parts and a shade tree, no matter what the problem is. That number is soon to change. The number of sensors, cameras, and multiple layers of high speed computer data in the modern car changes the way a lot of repairs that once were simple, like a cracked windshield, or a piece of trim falling off into a calibrated control system service. A consumer, or for that matter a repair shop, who is unaware of the complexities of these new systems and tries to penny pinch a seemingly minor problem, may inadvertently be putting themselves, their passengers and the other motorist at risk. The days of bailing wire and homemade repairs has reached the end of the road. Cars are far too sophisticated and complex for shoddy repair work from either the unaware motorist or those repair shops with antiquated repair methods. This is where training the consumer about their car is just as important as training the technicians. Things like replacing an outside mirror after Junior clobbers it backing out of the garage, aren’t as simple as before. Now, they’ll need to be calibrated and realigned because of the cameras and sensors in them. Even minor fender benders can’t be taken as lightly as before. A few stray piece of duct tape might hold the bumper on, but cover up a radar sensor. However, with these systems in working order, the likelihood of getting in a fender bender or getting too close to the garage door has been diminished by those very same cameras. Cars aren’t built like the solid tanks of yesteryear either, and why should they be? The technology and the way the vehicles are built goes hand in hand, and it’s not just about fuel economy or creature comforts, it’s about the safety of the occupants as well. In short, the modern mechanic is going to have their hands full programming, calibrating, and setting up the modern car for those minor mishaps that the average motorist gets involved in. Even now, insurance companies offer better rates if your car is equipped with some of the latest radar and protective systems, such as crash avoidance and lane departure awareness systems. Keeping these rolling computers in working order isn’t going to get any cheaper, either. Someday you might even count the number of times the technology in your car made a difference to you and your family’s safety, and for those reasons the numbers don’t matter. Saving a dollar is a smart thing to do, cutting corners on repairs isn’t. Repairing the car by the numbers just doesn’t add up when it comes safety and reliability.
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