Quantcast
Jump to content
    • You can post now and register later. Already registered? sign in now to post with your account.
    • ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

        Only 75 emoji are allowed.

      ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

      ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

      ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


      Once you submit your question, a new topic will be created for you in our forums. Our moderators may move your topic to a more suitable forum category if one exists. Members will see your topic and be able to respond to your question.

    • This will not be shown to other users.
Gonzo

Article: The Man Behind the Curtain - - - Even in the land of OZ, somebody has to keep the wizard in check.

Recommended Posts

The Man Behind the Curtain

 

 

Here in my fantasy land, my daughter Katie is the gate keeper to the Emerald City. One of her main tasks is sorting out the cars for repair by type, length of time needed, or condition. My job is to play the part of the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-understanding wizard. I try to keep the flying monkey wrenches from pulling the stuffing out of everything, while still maintaining an even temperament throughout my busy day. But then there are those travelers on that yellow brick road that leave me puzzled, sometimes shocked at what they are telling me. These are the ones I let her handle; especially on those days when I’m already in a bad mood because my crystal ball isn’t working.

 

“Yes, I’m having a problem with my car,” The customer tells Katie at the front desk, “the last mechanic said my air filter caused my radio and door locks to short out.”

 

Sitting at my desk just out of sight, I’m listening to this fable. By now Katie can hear my pen rhythmically start clicking; which she already knows is a sign we have another traveler from the yellow brick road. As the story unfolds I’ll start to grumble or throw in a few timely grunts or coughs all while maintaining my position behind the curtain. My daughters (and my wife) have been around my wizardry far too long. If I’m having one of those days, and somebody comes in with a fable like this one… the best thing to do is take care of it in the front office without getting me involved. They’ll all agree, “Just leave him be, he’ll be fine back there behind the curtain fixing the cars, pulling those levers and stuff. Just leave him be, he’ll make some fire, flame, and smoke belch out from around the corner, but he’s actually harmless.”

 

 

Katie answers the customers concerns, “Honestly, I may not be the technician here… but, I think I can answer this one for you… I seriously doubt that could happen. However, if you can give me some more details on what the actual problem is, I can relay that message to him.”

 

“Can I just talk to him myself?” the customer will ask.

 

“Let me do you a big favor,” Katie pleads with them, “I don’t think you want to bother him with that kind of question. He’s already in a grouchy mood today, and I think you better leave the asking part to me. He’ll fix it, but believe me when I tell you… pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. He can be a little on the grouchy side sometimes, and if you ask him a question like that you may not like his answer.”

 

Yea, that’s right, I might just be in a grouchy mood, or… it could be that stupid sounding question that set me off… whatever it is, I would take Katie’s advice and let her handle it.

 

I know I’m not the only shop owner/technician who deals with this kind of thing. Whether your mood starts off from a bad cup of morning coffee or the hundreds other things on your mind, or the half dozen car problems you need to sort out with only a certain amount of time to do them all in. Sooner or later your patience can start to wear thin.

 

Even on those days I try to accommodate as many people as I can, as quickly as I can, but it never fails someone is going to come in and ask some question that you don’t need to be a wizard of the automotive world to answer.

 

“I need all my spark plugs removed. I read somewhere that spark plugs burn gasoline, so leaving them out will get me better gas mileage,” this genius from the land of OZ tells me.

 

Cars must really be some sort of fantasy for some people. That or they’re a few bricks shy a full load. On days like this, seriously, just let me deal with the cars, and let the front office deal with these fantasy land questions. It just boggles my mind how many people are out there flying around on their brooms without a clue how they actually work.

 

My wife calls running the front office; “Damage control”, she’s pretty sure if it was left up to me the only work I would have is the ones that were dropped off at the gates to the city or the front door with a note and a spare key.

 

If they manage to get past the gate keeper, they now have to be ready to deal with the smoke and flames spewing from that big head I seem to have (according to my wife). They’ll try to reword the same questions they just tried in the front office (that didn’t get anywhere) in different ways, just in case I might change the answer. By the time I’ve heard these fables in their third or fourth variation, I’ve had about all I can stand. (More flames and more smoke start emanating from that big fat head again.)

 

Needless to say, I’m probably my own worst enemy when it comes to things like this. Although, my wife and my daughters will tell you, “He might strike you at first, like a mean old grizzly bear, especially if you ask him something stupid. But deep down he’s just a big old teddy bear. He’s got a heart of gold, the courage of a lion, and pretty darn smart to top it off. Ya just don’t want to rile him up when he is in one of those moods.”

 

I got to admit, there’s no lollypop tree in my backyard. There’s no sugar coating my answers around here, and clicking your heels three times isn’t going to fix the car at all. Magic only works in fairy tales, good diagnostics starts with the proper information.

 

So for all those shop owners, technician, bodyman, etc… out there who have a tendency to roll your eyes when somebody asks that ultra-dumb question… you’re not alone.

 

Fantasy or not, there’s a whole lot of us wizards out there who probably should stay behind the curtain a little more often and let the front office sort out those horses of a different color ……………………………… including me.

 

 

 

I know I'm not the only shop owner or tech out there that runs into these type of customers. Luckily, my gals in the front office help soften the wackiness by the time I get the work order. But... there are those days... oh man... I really just want to get in my big hot air balloon and leaves these idiots deal with their own strange problems. (just kiddin' of course)

Nothing like sharing our good and bad days with each other... we all have them.

 

 

 

Click here to view the article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To read this post, please login or register for a membership. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To read this post, please login or register for a membership. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Topics

    • By AutoShopOwner
      Massachusetts voters are deciding in this year’s election on whether they---and not the vehicle manufacturers---have control over the repair data generated by the vehicle they purchased.
      The Auto Care Association and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) have supported efforts by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee to obtain public support for ballot Question 1, which would give the consumer choice in vehicle repair. 

      “While the battle has been hard fought and expensive, the Auto Care Association is pleased that the most influential publications in the state have seen through the negative advertising campaign being funded by the vehicle manufacturers and have unanimously urged their readers to vote ‘yes’ on Question 1,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “We trust that voters in the state will agree with these publication that the right to repair is important and that advances in vehicle technology should not be used to limit the ability for owners to have their vehicle repaired by the shop of their choice."

      These “‘Yes’ on Question 1” endorsements include: 

      The Boston Globe on Oct. 13 declared, “The reason the new Right to Repair measure should pass is simple: It is inherently unfair for car manufacturers to have sole access to a vehicle’s mechanical data, because it gives their dealerships an advantage over independent auto-repair shops. That ultimately hurts consumers, because with limited options come higher prices.”

      The Boston Business Journal on Oct. 15 maintained, “Without the ability to repair cars equipped with wireless electronics, repair shops will see declines in business in coming years as car owners are forced to get repairs done at more expensive dealerships. In the end, more of the millions of dollars that Bay State residents spend every year to fix their cars would go to out-of-state manufacturers. More neighborhood car-repair shops will go out of business."

      The Sun Chronicle on Oct. 21 stated, “…we think the opponents of the law have done themselves no favors by overhyping the risks it poses. For example, the ‘No’ campaigners lean heavily on a statement from ‘Jane Doe Inc.,’ a Massachusetts advocacy group against domestic violence and abuse. But, on its website, that group now says its position on the referendum has ‘evolved’ and, while saying it’s staying neutral, complains that it’s wrong to use the fears of abuse survivors to promote a political position. For that alone, we think the opponents of Question 1 deserve to get their comeuppance at the ballot box.”
      The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 21 stated, “Question 1’s opponents had ample opportunity to explain why this lobby should keep a monopolistic grip on your car’s telematics. They instead spent their campaign dishonestly fear-mongering in an attempt to distract consumers from asking why carmakers should be able to flout the spirit of the extant Right to Repair law to drive more repair jobs to their dealership garages. Hopefully voters will see through this charade.”
       
      For more information about the Right to Repair ballot initiative in Massachusetts, visit massrighttorepair.org.
      Source: https://www.autobodynews.com/index.php/northeastern/item/21245-right-to-repair-ballot-initiative-endorsed-by-major-massachusetts-news-publications.html?start=1
    • By Joe Marconi
      We, automotive shop owners of America,  must take the opportunity of a lifetime and turn it into a bunch of success stories. What opportunity?  Look around you. The world is in turmoil. COVID-19, social unrest, uncertainty about the presidential election, the economy, how are we going to get out kids back to school, on and on and on.
      While the world is spiraling out of control, we have the power to make big changes to our auto repair shops.  And it can all be positive! 
      The Opportunity...
      First, the average age of a car in the U.S. is about 12 years old, attaining well over 200k on the clock. 
      Second, Uber, taxis and limo companies are suffering.  Guess why?  
      Third, the motoring public in the foreseeable future will be traveling by car, taking road trips like they have never did before.
      Fourth, the roads are packed with motor vehicles, as more and more people prefer their own car as their primary means of transportation. 
      Fifth, as the cars get older and older, more of them will be out of factory warranty.
      Sixth, independent auto repair shops have a vast amount of training, resources and replacement parts.
      Seventh,  the overwhelming majority of cars being build and sold today are still internal combustion engine powered cars. If you factor in the expected average age of car these days, we can safely bet that those gas engine cars being sold today will still be on the road in 2033 and beyond! 
      Eight, You need more?  That's not enough! 
      Get your plan in place.  Get your prices in line with making a profit. Don't give anything away anymore (I am mostly referring to checking, testing, diags of any sort!) Offer world class customer service. Be a leader of your employees.  Show the world what you are made of! 
    • By Joe Marconi
      In my 40 years as a shop owner, I have battled the age old dilemma: Is it my car count, my customer count or some other reason why some weeks I find it hard to hit my sales goal.  
      It always comes down to production.  Now that's really simplifying it, I know.   But, when you look at the numbers, with the right jobs and a balanced schedule, the ARO goes way up and car counts become not as important as we thought. 
      Another thing to consider, this is not 1995. Cars do not come in 5 to 6 times a year for an Oil Change Service.   You are lucky to see some customers every 10,000 miles as they wait for that Oil Change Percentage light on their dashboard to tell them...NOW IT"S OK TO GO TO YOUR REPAIR SHOP. Isn't it funny how so many people will listen to the dash board light, and not you!
      Anyway, what are your thoughts.  How do you reach your weekly sales goals and what KPI's are important to you? 
    • By Joe Marconi
      Due to COVID-19, many repair shops experienced a severe economic downturn, some with a drop in sales over 50%.  Without a strong cash reserve and/or SBA funding help, many shops would have gone under. 
      My 40 years as a shop owner has taught me to always have a cash reserve.  However, never would I have ever imagined a downturn like the one with COVID-19.
      So, how do we plan for the next financial crisis.  And, it will happen. Perhaps not as bad as the the virus crisis, but it will happen.
      Here are a few things to consider: Have a separate, and hard to access, cash reserve bank account that has least two months of expenses. Also, secure a line of credit for at least one to two months of expenses.  Also, know your numbers, keep payroll in line, and make sure your prices are fair to you too, not just your customers.  Keep in good standing with all your vendors and keep your credit score high! 
      The bottom line here, is truly the bottom line.  To weather the next financial downturn, you need a strong balance sheet and net profit to the bottom line.
      What other strategies are you considering or implementing? 
    • By Joe Marconi
      As part of our debt reduction, I revamped all of our usual marketing and advertising and put those dollars into customer service and social media. For example, we ramped up our shuttle pickup and delivery service, extended our hours of service, made sure we spend a lot of time with each customer and made sure we called as many customers as possible.  We also stepped up our meet and greet process and made sure will followed up with customer after the repair. Lastly, we increased our social media posts and increases ads and boosting. This has made a huge impact on our customer and already starting to pay dividends.
      What changes have you made to your marketing strategy since the Virus Crisis hit?


  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...