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Trust your ears; listen and write exactly what the customer says


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Have to agree with ya Joe, listening is a very important part of diagnosing. I tend to correct them when they say things like, "I have a shortage in my car." When what they really meant to say is, "I have a battery drain." For those "listening" occurences at the front counter I want to make sure that both of us are thinking on the same lines well before I get the car in the shop.

 

Too many times the lack of info becomes the issue in the repair. Other times it's too much information. Once I start to investigate a problem I generally can put their story together in an orderly pattern. That's when I go back and ask them something like, "So... when do you install the radio? Or, "Have you been hauling your lawnmower in the trunk? Sure looks like that is what caused the brake light wires to short rather than what you told me about your Uncle borrowing the car."

 

Yep, listening is the best way... it can be entertaining and informative at the same time. Gotta love it... it's part of our job. :D

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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