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By Joe Marconi
In my opinion, competition is actually good for the industry, and good for your repair shop too. It keeps us focused and forces us to maintain pace with other repair shops. It drives us to take a look at our own business to see where and how we can make improvements.
Don't worry about the competition. And never compete on your competition's features. Find what sets you apart; your differentiation factor. Deliver world class service and promote your culture to your employees.
So, how do we handle the competition? Learn from them, but don't copy them. Become the best you can be. Promote a culture of customer caring with your employees. The rest will take care of itself.
By Joe Marconi
We sell service, not products. Yes, we sell water pumps, brake pads and air filters. And yes, those are products. But it’s the service we sell, the customer experience, which lives on well beyond the customer leaves your shop.
Think of it this way; when you buy a watch, or a new cell phone, the experience of what you purchase continues after the sale. When we replace a customer’s water pump or air filter, there is very little about those items that lives on beyond the sale.
But, what does live on is the customer experience. The better the experience, the more likely the customer will return to you. So focus on the customer experience, not the products you install.
By [email protected]
I'm hoping some experts can help me out. I'm buying an existing full-service shop and need to polish a transition business plan not only for my lender and partners, but also to help give us some focus and direction. I'm certainly not coming into this empty handed, but would love to see what others might have used so I can be as successful as possible. HELP!
I was talking a few months ago to an old-timer who has been building race engines for 50 plus years and he mentioned something about never turning his radio off in the shop. I am wondering if anyone has ever heard the significance or reason behind this? You could bearly hear the radio was on but thought it was interesting.
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By Joe Marconi
Shop production is a hot topic these days. High production results in higher sales and profits. But there seems to be so many obstacles to overcome to achieve high production levels.
I was discussing production with a few shop owners, and one shop owner mentioned that he recently hired a shop foreman; an “A” tech in his early 50’s. The foreman uses his knowledge and skills to organize the work flow. For younger techs, it’s even more important that they know how to work and keep productive.
What are your thoughts? Does anyone else have a foreman or similar position? And how does this role affect production?
By Elon Block
New blog post on this very important topic here:
All major pricing changes like this one, affects everyone in the auto repair industry.
By Oova At Autovitals
A Candid Analysis of Today's Workflow Management Tools
Lets summarize the tools and processes available to the independent shop owner, service advisor and technician to manage workflow.
the service advisor's ability to memorize what is going on the technician's ability to recall what the service advisor said 10 minutes ago or earlier the service advisor'a ability to decipher the tech's scribble The tech's ability to put clear explanations on a piece of paper (work order) the WIP screen in your point of sale software (POS) the printer printing work orders the paper rack holding printed paper sheets the bags keeping the key to the vehicle and the paperwork together the scheduler in your POS a white board or spreadsheet managing the vehicles going through the shop a time punching system or flag sheet The sad part:
Not one of these 11 pieces can be skipped. Service advisors are super heros juggling 11 disjointed "management tools" at any time during the day.
How do they do this? Super hero ability, you knew it already.
Now the even sadder part:
In order for the service advisor to juggle all this successfully, they often skip or at least minimize the engagement with the motorist.
Lets repeat that with different words:"Service advisors skip advising service because they are too busy doing busy work because the tools available are inadequate."
Do you agree, or am I smoking something here?
Last but not least, the saddest part:
You as owner can't measure behavior today, only results from the POS reports.
What does that mean?
you don't know what tech is pencil whipping or over recommending you don't know how many recs from the tech uncovered during the inspection make it to estimate (our research revealed 56% of all recommended actions from the tech are not sold. Fifty-six. Do you smell opportunity here as well?) you don't know why the vehicles are in the shop for way too long. Is it the waiting for parts or the service advisor or the dog ate the home work? you don't know why the tech efficiency of tech A is at 95% but of tech B at 53% you can't change behavior if you can't measure it
How to we turn 11 disjointed tools into 3 integrated ones?
You add a tablet(1) to the techs toolbox, replace the paper rack with a second screen(2) and download SmartFlow(3) to the tablet from the App Store or Google Play and add it to the browser bookmarks on the second screen.
Then get rid of
paper time punching system laptops in the back shop paper rack running back and forth (you might have to buy the service advisor a gym membership) white board spreadsheets bags flustered service advisors Done.
Now your service advisor counter might look like this
The photo credit goes to Matt Purselle, he turned a typical two screen setup into a four screen setup. One screen for the POS, one for SmartFlow, one for email, one for everything else. Two are enough for the beginning, some of our clients use only one and it works too, thanks to built-in alerts.
Matt's counter looks like this seen with the eyes of the service advisor(s).
How do the techs know what is going on? they clock in on the tablet, EVERYTHING is on the tablet now, Identifix, Alldata or Mitchell, work order, inspection sheet, any info they need. They stay at the vehicle and smart-chat with the service advisor and get alerted about new info and new assignments for them.
Have you introduced a daily huddle with the techs? Great, do it like Matt and use a 55 inch screen with touch overlay to manage the day.
How does that sound to you?
Service Advisors are freed up, and can focus on the customer. All recommended actions by the tech are on the estimate now. You can measure and correct tech and service advisor behavior. Pencil whipping, over recommedning, time on the vehicle, tech efficiency and productivity, shop proficiency, anything you want really, since you are digital now.
One of our franchise clients just send this over to me
Sound to good to be true?
Ask SmartFlow users in your area or us.