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By Joe Marconi
A few years ago, some friends and I were having dinner at a local restaurant. There were six of us enjoying the food and having a great time. A few minutes after our waiter served us our coffee and dessert, the owner of the restaurant walked over to us, introduced himself and said, “I have people waiting for this table; how much longer do you think you’ll be?” Shocked by his comment, I hesitated for a second, looked up at him and said, “No worries, we’re done.” With just a few simple words, the owner of the restaurant wiped out the pleasant experience we were all having.
As we were finishing up, we couldn’t help noticing the stares from our waiter and the owner. Their eyes were laser-focused on us. They made it obvious that they wanted our table. We didn’t say anything to our waiter, or the owner. But we told each other, “We’ll think twice about coming back to this restaurant.” None of us ever did go back to that restaurant. And I heard similar complaints from other friends about that restaurant. About a year later, that restaurant closed its doors for the last time.
As a business owner, I fully understand what each table means in terms of profit. The tables at a restaurant are no different than the service bays in our business. The more people you can process through the restaurant, the more profitable the restaurant is. The more cars we can process through our service bays, the more profitable we are.
While I don’t fault the owner of the restaurant for recognizing the need to be profitable, I do fault the owner for not understanding a basic rule in achieving success in business. And that is: You build a business one customer at a time and by developing strong, long-term relationships with those customers. And to maintain that success, a business must continuously cultivate those relationships.
The owner of this restaurant didn’t get it. All of us had dined at his establishment before. The owner didn’t see us as an opportunity to strengthen the relationships. He saw the opposite. By asking for our table, he put the emphasis on his next sale and eliminated any chance of us returning again. Losing customers, and not understanding why, is the kiss of death for any small business.
What the owner determined important was profit per table, per person. The process to get people fed and done became the primary objective, when it should have been ensuring its customers were enjoying a nice meal and having a great time. It was a mistake that eventually led to his failure. Never think that customer quantity ever outweighs the quality of the customer experience. Making a memorable experience is the essence of great customer service.
If we dig a little deeper, we find another mistake made by the restaurant owner: believing that the customer experience was over when the meal was over. The meal was prepared, it was served and we consumed it. Then, at some point during the end of that process, we became an obstacle to his next sale. He failed to comprehend that the sale is not over when the meal is over, and that everything that occurs right up to the moment when a customer drives away from his parking lot will have an influence on whether that customer will return in the future.
The lesson for us is simple: Never lose sight of the importance of creating a customer. Establish a culture in your company that cultivates long-term relationships. Build a process that always strives for world-class customer service during the entire customer experience—and especially at car delivery.
Never think that when the technician completes the repair, your job is done. The customer experience continues right up until the time the customer is picking up their car. The time you spend with the customer after the repair is done is as important as making the sale.
Value each customer. Work on those relationships. Don’t worry about short term profit gain. Remember: building long-term relationships, builds long-term profit.
By the way, that restaurant has recently opened up again. My friends and I went there for dinner last Friday night. We noticed that the new owner was walking around greeting everyone. He eventually made his way to our table, introduced himself and said, “Can I get anyone anything? It’s great to see you here tonight and hope to see you again soon. Thank you.”
Now, you tell me: Do you think we’ll go back?
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on February 1st, 2019
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Free webinar for all members hosted by @Ron Ipach from Captain Car Count!
As you already know, finding good, qualified technicians isn’t as easy as it was in years past. Gone are the days of simply placing a few ads online or in the newspaper help-wanted section.
When you combine the fact that more shops than ever are in the hunt for qualified applicants, with the ever-shrinking pool of technicians to draw from, it’s no wonder so many shop owners are frustrated with their search.
Attracting good technicians today requires a radically different approach, and on this highly informative online training event, Ron Ipach, president of Repair Shop Coach, will walk you through the same strategies that his clients are using to attract lots of highly qualified to their shops on a consistent basis.
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Time slots vary and are held weekly:
Please reach out to @Ron Ipach for additional information.
This is an exclusive invitation to all AutoShopOwner members!
You are invited to Elite's Employee Management Made Easy webinar on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM EST!
Join Elite at this powerful course and you’ll see just how easy it is to improve employee morale, drive up productivity, and increase your profits. During this webinar you will learn…
the key fundamentals of employee management proven tips on how you can improve employee morale how to deal with the most difficult employees
By Joe Marconi
I recently made a call to my Internet provider to discuss and issue I was having. After multiple attempts at trying to explain my problem, the customer service rep on the other end of the phone had no clue how to solve my problem. She was nice, extremely polite, and had the voice of an angel. She was well-trained, but not in the art of problem solving.
Great customer service is not about being nice to people, it’s all about understanding the customer’s needs and coming up with solutions to their problems. Train your service personnel in the art of proper etiquette, but also in the art of problem solving. Empower your people to also make decisions. Set limits, but give them the authority to solve issues without every problem reaching your desk.
By Ron Ipach
Dear Shop Owner,
Ron Ipach (a.k.a. Captain Car Count) would like to finally share with you his proven 4-step process that he's secretly been teaching to his private auto repair shop clients for the past 21 years, that’ll practically guarantee 2018 to be a blow-out success for you.
It’s January and that means the new year has kicked off in a big way. Even though we're only a few weeks in, hopefully you’re well on your way to having another fantastic year.
Now, as an Auto Repair Shop Owner, it’s time to start thinking about how to make 2018 an EVEN BETTER year than last. (Heck, let’s go ahead and plan on making it your best year ever! Right?)
Ipach, often referred to as the industry's expert when it comes to Car Count, is now accepting registrants to...
NEW WEBINAR ANNOUNCEMENT
MAKE 2018 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER:
1. Magnetically attract more (and even better!) customers to your shop
2. Easily sell your services at higher prices than your competitors
3. Increase your take-home pay by 30%, 50%, or more
4. Find, hire, and keep that elusive tech you’ve been searching for
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By Ron Ipach
December spells the end of 2018, and hopefully you're wrapping up what was a fantastic year for your auto repair shop and business.
Now… it’s time to start thinking about how to make 2019 an EVEN BETTER year. (Heck, let’s go ahead and plan on making it your best year ever! Right?)
By attending for this special Live Online Webinar, you're going to get the proven 4-step process that will practically GUARANTEE 2019 to be a blow-out success for you.
With these four steps, you’ll be able to…
👉 ==> DOUBLE your take-home pay (Yes, that’s not a misprint. I’ll show you how.)
👉 ==> Magnetically attract more (and even better!) customers to your shop
👉 ==> Easily sell your services at higher prices than your competitors
👉 ==> Find, hire, and keep that elusive tech you’ve been searching for
👉 ==> Put the fun back into running your shop!
If you're interested... there is absolutely ZERO cost to attend this training.
All you'll need is 45 minutes of your day set aside in order to watch this webinar live.
For the dates, times, and registration details, CLICK HERE
By Joe Marconi
As a young tech, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. I diagnosed every car with the accuracy and skill of a Greek god. My efficiency week after week was over 150 percent, and with no comebacks. As a shop owner, I sold every job, and at a profit. Each new day was better than the day before. Boy, when I look back, I was amazing. Those were days.
OK, OK, perhaps I am stretching the truth a bit. The fact is my past was not a smoothly paved road to success, but rather an obstacle course riddled with emotional and financial potholes, with more ups and downs than the biggest rollercoaster. Was it amazing? Oh, yes. Amazing because of all the mistakes I made along the way.
As the years have piled up in my life, I often find myself thinking back to the “old days” and judge people by how “perfect” I thought I was back then. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was a good technician and somehow evolved into an accomplished businessman. But was I really as good as I remember?
I was outside the bays talking with my manager when Nick, one of my techs, began his road test on a Chevy Tahoe. As he passed us I could hear that unique “squeaky” sound a seized, worn out u-joint makes. I yelled to him, “Hey, check the u-joints.” He nodded his head and drove off.
About 30 minutes later, I walked over to Nick and asked him what he found on his multipoint inspection. He told me that the wiper blades were torn, there’s a little play in the right side outer tie road and he recommends a four-wheel balance with a wheel alignment. I asked him, “What about the u-joints?” Nick replied, “They’re fine; nice and tight.”
I could feel the tension begin to rise when I continued with, “Nick, I asked you to check the u-joints because I could hear that something was wrong. How did you check the u-joints? Do you know how to check u-joints?” Nick was visibly upset, so I suggested another road test—this time with me.
During the road test, I told Nick to roll down the windows and listen. I said, “Do you hear that squeaky sound? That’s a seized u-joint.” Nick listened closely and then said, “I never heard that noise before.” To myself, I said, “You must be kidding me! How in the world can this tech not know it’s a seized u-joint?” But, thankfully I paused, and replied with, “Nick, how old are you? He responded proudly, “Twenty-one, boss.”
Nick is a recent graduate of a well known tech school. He comes to work on time, works hard, and learns every day. His production improves each month. He has a lot of raw talent and a great attitude. At 21, how in the world could he know what I know at 63?
I often forget how young some of my employees are. I also need to remember that people will make mistakes and they need the time to hone their skills through years of experience. They don’t have the gray hair of knowledge that often comes with decades of experience.
Allowing people to grow will mean making mistakes. A tech will make the wrong diagnosis. A service advisor will lose a sale or forget to sell the tire rotation. But, did you or I diagnosis every car correctly? Did we make every sale? Were we absolutely perfect in everything we did? Of course not. So let’s be a little more understanding. I am not suggesting we settle for mediocrity. People need to strive for excellence. But even the best home run hitter will strike out at times.
As business owners, especially those from my generation, it’s our job to pass the baton, to teach others, to be a mentor and a coach. Don’t be too judgmental. If we are honest with ourselves when we look back on our lives, we will see triumphs mixed with a lot tough days.
When you feel yourself losing your temper or getting upset over the mistakes or lack of knowledge from one of your employees, just think back and view your own past. Don’t look back with a skewed memory of your greatness, but with an honest recollection of your struggles and mistakes. And you never know, you just might help others avoid some of the mistakes you made.
Oh, by the way, my approach with the way I handled the situation with Nick and the seized u-joint? Another mistake on my part. So even at 63, I am still making mistakes. Kind of humbling, right?
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on July 6, 2018
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By Stevens Automotive Service
If you have ever thought about shop management and training for your business now is the time. Make 2018 profitable and with a lot less stress.
For ASO members that are serious about business and becoming the shop of choice in your area then lets get started.
Business coaching and training for your auto repair business. Real world one on one training for your business as all shops are different with different needs and markets.
Cost is 100.00 a week for a 1 year program for serious owners only that want to build a business.
Contact me for details and make 2018 all it can be.
Email [email protected]
By Ron Ipach
We all know as local business owners how important it is to get those online reviews because most potential customers read those things before they make a decision whether they want to do business with you. As a matter of fact, 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business. Because of this, auto repair shops should want to collect as many positive reviews as possible to stay ahead.
In the automotive industry, for getting new customers in the door, there might not be a more essential tool than positive online reviews. It can make or break a business plan. From a consumer's point of view, Google will almost always be the resource used to find an auto repair shop in each area. Not only this, some potential customers will view online reviews for the sole purpose of ranking shops, or choosing one over the other.
The auto repair shop with the most positive reviews and best Google ranking is most often going to be the one the consumer decides to go to for their car repair needs. The same goes for reviews on both Facebook and Yelp.
Some shop owners may be asking clients: "Hey, if you liked our service, please give us a review." And this is a proven strategy as 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they're asked to.
However, if they're not giving reviews, how can they expect to get reviews back? There's something maybe a little karmic about that, right? If you're not doing it, how can you expect other people to do it for you. Aside from that, if you're not writing reviews, how can you tell them how to do the review?
In other words, if you've never given a Google review, or a Yelp review or a Facebook review, and you've never physically done it yourself it's going to be hard when you ask somebody to give your a shop a review. A shop owner may say - "Sure, I'll give you a review, just show me how to do it," now you're scratching your head and saying, "I have no idea how to do it. I've never given one myself." What are the chances that they're actually going to give you a review? Get in the habit of writing as many reviews as possible using all of the local review sites, so you know how to navigate the waters, and you know how to actually write the review.
Secondarily, sitting down to write a review is not easy. If you get in a habit of sitting down trying to figure out what you're going to say in your review, chances are when you do it more often, you'll get better and better at it. It will start to flow a little better. When you're asking a client to write you a good review, not only are you going to be able to show them how to do this, but you're going to give them some suggestions on how to write a good review for you because, after all, that's what we want to do. We want to get as many good, positive reviews from our happy customers as we possibly can.
Getting in the habit of writing two reviews per week, will ultimately attract more online reviews for your shop.
-- Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count)
President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.