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newport5 last won the day on December 2 2019

newport5 had the most liked content!

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About newport5

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    Occasional Poster

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  • Business Name
    Newport Motorsports
  • Business Address
    2991 Grace Lane, Costa Mesa, California, 92626
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Service Advisor
  • Automotive Franchise
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    Bosch Service Center

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  1. Briefly, I’m opposed to price matching. Even just the IDEA of pricing matching. That’s not to say that I’ve never done it. But … First, you just taught your customer how to get your price down next time. Second, since you did it this time, you’re somewhat ok with it and you’ll do it next time. Third, think of the time it took to get to the point of comparing “line by line.” The research, phone calls and the actual time going over the “line by line” comparison with explanation. All that to make less money ?? Think of it: your customer takes 15 minutes to a half hour to find and call three shops for quotes and saves $100 with you. That’s $200 to $400 an hour for them. Instead, build up such a relationship with your customers/clients/friends that they trust you are taking care of them (and yourself) at a fair price. If your customer is calling other shops for price comparisons, you are probably “selling” parts and labor. I’m close with Joe, but instead of “selling” Relationships and Trust, I’m Building Relationships and Trust. More later …
  2. This experience taught me a lessen on human nature. As I'm inspecting the paint on a first time customer with a Porsche Turbo, the customer says, "I see you found my 2 nicks." I said I found 4 and pointed them out to him. He was shocked and surprised. Point being: he came in believing he had 2 nicks when he had 4.
  3. I’m not just selling radiators. I’m diagnosing, repairing, inspecting and warranty-ing cars That is, Rock Auto can’t inspect the customer’s car. Nor diagnose their problem. Nor can they replace the part. I’ll bet those same people bitch about $7 for of a beer when hanging with friends. “I can get a whole six pack for that price!” But they don’t think about all they get for that $5 markup. They get the experience of hanging with their friends at a fun place, away from the distractions, worries, and commitments of home (no kids or dogs), with sports on the TV, music, the ability to laugh and joke out loud. No preparation (house cleaning) and no clean up after. Not bad for $5. For our markup, I read we’re supposed to deliver a great “the customer experience,” but most articles leave it at that, with few suggestions. Oh, a comfortable waiting room. If that’s all it took, I’d be calling an interior designer to increase my car count. Or, “exceed expectations,” again with few suggestions. How do you exceed them at the second and third visit? I talk life with my customers, because they know that their car is taken care of: I’m going to fix it, at a fair price for both of us, and check out the rest of their car – like I’ve always done. I ask: “So how are you? And the family? And life?” Which I think is a big part of the “experience.”
  4. I have 2 questions/comments; inspections and waiting customers. First, I don’t understand all the fuss over inspections. I recall an editorial a few years ago about what to do in the slow times: (better) inspections. I remember saying, “No, you do those to EVERY car, EVERY day.” How the heck is that news? That’s our job! I tell brand new customers who come in with a problem, “I’ll give your car a check over while it’s here.” No selling, not pushy. And it’s not thrown at them at the end. When I call them to explain the work needed to fix their car (again, not selling … this is what their car needs), I say, “Here’s what we found when we checked out your car; let’s come up with a plan.” Notice the “let’s” part of that. It’s a team thing. I advise, coach, and gently persuade; they decide. By now they trust me; I tell them what they need now, what can wait a few months and what can wait longer. It’s an easy decision for them. Besides, they usually say yes to the stuff due in a few months – the car is already here. It amazes me that there has to be an article on inspections in the first place, not to mention that it seems to appear every other month in some trade magazine. RE: “Thousands of customers have told us, in waiting areas and at the counters of shops all across the country...” “That they know these inspections are a way for the shop to sell them more services.” That’s because you are bringing up the additional work the old-school way. I recall a customer from around 1980 after we did an oil change on his Porsche. He said: “So everything else on my car is ok?” My first thought: hey jerk, you only wanted an oil change. Then I realized, everyone wants to know about their car, they just don’t care to hear the bad news. But too bad; that’s life. And like a customer told me: “That‘s part of owning a car.” Plus they want to know ahead time so there are no surprises. Personally, I don’t use the word “inspection.” That sounds like you are going over their car with a magnifying glass, trying to find EVERYTHING wrong. Inspection reminds people of a teacher going over a student’s homework/test with a red pen. --------------------- Second, I don’t understand all the effort put into waiting customers. How do you work in the additional work you find from the inspections? Do they stay another 2 or more hours? Reschedule? Maybe that‘s why I hear shops not doing inspections: they can’t be done in a reasonable amount of time, so they have to quote it. Then the customer can take that quote to another shop who will GLADLY do it for less to get a new customer. How do shops get their ARO (average repair order) up if the customer is waiting? Do they wait 4 hours?
  5. newport5


  6. Here is a scene that hasn’t been mentioned yet. A potential customer calls to find out what you charge for a water pump or radiator. They were told it was bad. You convince them to bring it in to confirm. You check it out and charge them. And then quote the job. But, it’s higher that the other quotes they got (or they don’t like you or the shop) so now they’re sort of stuck. Because when they go to another shop, they will get charged again to check it (no shop is going to fix a car on another shop’s diagnosis). You’ve now created an uncomfortable situation, just ripe for a bad online review, because you didn’t quote a simple radiator with the warning that it may need something else. I don’t see these callers as price shoppers. They are researching a new shop to take their broken car to. And probably just want a fair deal at a fair price, not the cheapest and not the most expensive. (disclaimer: we work on German cars Someone or some repair shop told them they need a water pump. So they call 3, 4 or 5 shops and figure they will eliminate the highest and the lowest and pick from what’s in the middle. And probably eliminate the shop that won’t give a price. It seems you want them to arrange to drop off their car, get a ride or Uber, then maybe pick up their car – all because you won’t quote a water pump? Of course you inform them it may not be the water pump or may need something else. I understand the concern, but in no way am I diagnosing the car to need a water pump. I make that totally clear on the phone (then say it again when they come in). If it’s not the water pump, a simple explanation should take care of that I don’t just give a quote, I will sneak in some shop promotion as I’m looking up the quote and building rapport. People buy from who they know, like and trust. If you don’t give them a quote, but simply tell them to bring their car in for an real inspection, they are wondering why. I say give them a quote: others have. Personally, if I call 4 shops and get water pump quotes, and one shop that doesn’t, why would I go there? What if they are the highest? Do I grind them down and be one of “Those Customers?” I have to waste unnecessary time because I didn’t get a simple quote. UNLESS I get a GREAT reason why they are the best shop to go to. Side note: If you quote list on labor and parts, you probably won’t get the job. But what I think is more important, you won’t get the new customer – who has friends and co-workers, who is not a price shopper, who is looking for another shop, for whatever reason. If you don’t want to quote, at least get them in the ballpark by saying you are either in the middle price-wise, a little below or a little above. Check out my article in Shop Owner magazine on the maligned Price Shopper: https://www.shopownermag.com/converting-price-shoppers-using-a-different-approach-can-win-them-over/
  7. Re “say thank you once in a while,” I think you should say it way more than once in a while. The staff is who make it all work. If a tech is ever within earshot of a customer, they should get praised. If the tech fixes a particularly tough problem, have the customer meet the “magical” technician. In a recent article about the Superbowl-bound LA Ram’s, head coach Sean McVay complimented the players with a unique comment to each one, not some general, “He’s a great player.” I suggest you aim for that. The stand-up shop owner takes the blame for the stuff that didn’t go right, but credits the team for the successes – “I” messed up, “we” did great. You MAY be thinking that with all this praise, you will be hit up for raises. That’s your call. But you will have one heck of a ready-to-please, stellar team. Additional morale tips: A team lunch every once in a while. Team donuts at surprise, random days. More: If a car develops a new problem or a part breaks while you are working on it, stay positive. Display, “I got this!” It’s your turn to shine. Your built-up trust with the customer should pull you through.
  8. Let's take it one step further: do the same thing at your shop. When a technician fixes a tough car problem, walk out in to the shop and compliment the guy loud enough for everyone to hear. You will make his/her day. And the crew will know you are comfortable enough with yourself to not have to be the smartest diagnostician in the shop. Side note: I think the worst thing for an owner to say is: "Ya, that's what I thought it was." You just downplayed their 3 or 4 hours worth of work. Resist the urge to say that, even if you guessed that was the problem. Side/side note: I worked for a guy who would shout out the three typical solutions to a certain car problem and when it turned out to be one of those, would gloat around about how smart he was. Again, deflating to your hardworking technician. Now off my soapbox.
  9. One more tip: if your main parts guy takes good care of you, tell his boss how good he or she is. Everybody benefits! The same for the driver. Tell his boss and your parts contact how good he is. My last compliment said how cheerful he is EVERY time and that he takes care of me AND his company.
  10. I neglected to mention my most hated term, upselling. That should be banned from ANY auto repair use – ever! It sounds as if all the shop cares about is a better ARO, not a better repair or better customer relationship You said: “We have a running joke at the shop, roughly 1 out of 3 times we tell a customer to not fix a car... they actually will.” I’ve seen the same thing! I believe it’s because we/you are so darn honest. And you are looking after their budget, while still making a profit for you You said: “But using this approach, we have more of them returning and with positive attitudes about how we handle things here. Which in turn has positive effects when it comes to referrals.” And positive effects for the shop because there is no fear of calling the customer about their additional work, because you are taking care of them, not selling them. And they’re your “friends.” What you said here is beautiful !!! “In short, we don't sell anything. People pay us for a service and we take it seriously. Using our software we educate and inform our customers, using our people skills we teach them how to make better decisions. The combination has lead to a great shop attitude overall, better customer relationships and a reputation that starts to break the mold that society has given this industry for generations.” Re relationships, you are now dealing with friends, not customers. And they know you have to make a profit – they have to make a profit for the company they work for.
  11. What a great series of insightful posts. SO forward looking! Maybe a bit off topic … but … Can you please elaborate on: “by year 7 I started to adapt my selling to advising.” I never liked the idea of “selling” the customer (on value and safety) re a recommended repair or maintenance item. It either needs it or it doesn’t. I take the “advising” one step further. I TELL them what they need – what they need now, what they need in the future and “advise” them on things they could do now or in a month or 2 or more. Nobody likes to be sold. And they don’t want to make more decisions in their lives. If you give them 2 or 3 reasons to encourage them to say yes to 5 items, that’s 10 to 15 things to think about. I believe the trusted service advisor/friend practically makes that decision for them.
  12. Two observations. First: There is a shop near us, in a GREAT location, that often sends us customers with hard-to-diagnose problems. I used to feel arrogant that we were the “go to guys,” but then I started to rethink that. I think they put in a minimal effort and if it leads nowhere, they refer them to us (or sometimes call for advice. I guess they think the advice a fair trade for sending us the (tough) cars.) My best guess re their thinking: why waste time on a potential losing car when the next new customer will be easier, more profitable. Second: Back in the day, I thought the dealer HAD to fix the car – they are the dealer, they made the car! And they had a reputation to maintain. And had access to a national database. But more and more I hear of the dealer not doing heroics to fix a car. Thoughts?
  13. You’ve made me rethink this. I used to think I would take 5 minutes and hope to change their mind to the regular way to repair their car (versus them supplying the part) and get a new customer. As I look back, my success rate is very low. And I’d get a very frugal/cheap customer. Darn. And they probably just call shops until they find one who’ll put on their part. Maybe I’ll aim for 2 minutes next time. 😉 I recall one caller who bought his parts at the Porsche dealer !
  14. This is a touchy and delicate situation. When I get that call asking how much to put on their part, I groan a bit and say, “You know, most shops don’t like putting on customer’s parts. We have to guarantee the part even if we didn’t sell it to you. And the markup on that part is part of the normal profit margin.” Notice I haven’t said no yet. I made it sound like an industry standard, not just me. Then I ask how they know it needs that part. Is it their diagnosis, the car-guy in the neighborhood or another shop? And then the infamous: “Do you want me to just put that part on or fix your car?” (They hate that!). The truly cheap car owners don’t want to hear any more so the call ends soon. But I haven’t been an arrogant jerk and probably won’t get a bad review. If they are still with me, they will ask for a quote. I think you have to quote a price. Here’s why: if they call 5 shops and 3 give a quote, now they have something to work with. Why would they go to a shop where you have no idea how much it will cost? Now we get to the part where you recommend determining the actual problem, where you diagnose it. The delicate part is when you come up with the same diagnosis. How can you charge them for something they think they already knew? You MAY have to eat that to get the job and the new customer – who has car-owner friends. Luckily we don’t get those calls too often.
  15. I see two sides to the trust issue and video. If you show a video of the problem (part) to the customer, they now trust that it (really) needs it. My thinking is that if they REALLY trusted you , they wouldn’t need the video! I only occasionally use pictures and seldom use video. I think trust is huge ! Victor

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