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newport5 last won the day on June 20

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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  • Certifications
    Bosch Service Center

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  1. I believe we all WISH there was a system that worked! My suggestions: Schedule Mondays and Fridays light, for the breakage over the weekend and the need for their cars for the weekend. When making appointment, look into recommendations: such as, pads at __ % or __ mm. Check mileage for spark plug replacement. Get tentative approval for the above when they drop off their car to keep your tech busy. Include extra time for check engine lights for diagnosis and parts replacement time. Try to get some cars for 2 days so you can juggle.
  2. Is your business down 40 or 50% like many on this forum? If so, I have an idea to help a bit now, but especially in the future. And even help the impression of our industry. You probably have more time available to spend with your customers. It’s the perfect time to build or cement a great relationship, to create that illusive trust with your customer, that’s mentioned in just about every trade magazine, but they never tell you how. May I suggest “The How” that I’ve been using for years? This will be handy now and in the future when this is over. Learn more about your customers. Become “friends.” Talk about everything: the lousy situation we’re in, ask about their job, their kids, their past vacation, their future vacations, their weekend jaunts. Exchange good news. Exchange not-so-good news. Listen. Talk about what comes up. I treat our customers like friends, like former high school friends. And these friends know we have to make a profit (EVERYBODY knows that!) For me, it’s a given that we’re going to take care of their car. If they tell me their dad just went into the hospital or nursing home, we’re done talking about their car. I ask, “How’s dad?” But still do your (digital) inspections. And write down everything, even the stuff that can wait six to nine months. This may affect the service writer or shop’s approval percentage, but so what! Your percentage will be lower, but you will do more work on the car this way. (Notice that I didn’t say you would sell more work. I don’t “sell.”) No decision now on the future stuff, it can wait. If their car came in with a problem, this is what will fix it (there’s no selling: this is the solution). I point out the other thing that needs attention now. There will be some explanation, but no selling: it needs it. No decision for the customer, actually. Their car needs it. Next I say, “Here are the things that can wait six to nine months, but I want you to be aware so there are fewer surprises.” No selling, no decisions on their part. Plus, I’m the trustworthy guy who’s telling them they don’t need everything now. “Now let’s come up with a plan for these other things I found about your car.” I’m explaining, not selling. “You can do these now or in two or three months.” NOBODY wants to come back in two or three months so they are leaning in that direction, but no pressure from you. They will probably ask; “What would you do?” I say, “If you hate bringing your car in, do it now.” (this is where you would bring in a little value, benefits and safety) Again, not selling, suggesting; letting them make the decision. Notice that the first two issues didn’t involve them making a dreaded decision: It needs this, doesn’t need that. If your inspection has 5 things, they will do 2 to 4. If the inspection has 8 things, they will do 3 to 5 – with no selling. You are their friend, you are advising. List everything! Now think about that phone call. There is only a little selling value or benefits: maybe some safety. So there’s no pressure on you, no bad news. You are the car detective, reading the cars clues and helping your friend thru this. When you take care of the customer in this fashion, you come from a place of trust, like taking care of a high school friend. You will be happier because that call back won’t be stressful, you will have more work, and they are more likely to refer your trustworthy, easy-to-work-with shop, which means even more work.
  3. How do you think they are after your customer? Getting info from the VIN and contacting them? Highly unethical, almost stealing. I'd be surprised. too easy to verify, which would be bad publicity. A "fee" seems fair, depending on how much. Is it a shop rate, where you can mark it up? Could it be simply added income for them? And what if the diagnosis doesn't fix the problem? I'm presuming their diagnosis software is much better than ours -- read more expensive, Probably prohibitively more expensive than ours, depending on how many brands you work on.
  4. Alex, did the Chat happen last night, the 16th? I tried to get on, or I did it wrong.

    Please let me know how to join the chat, Wednesday or Sunday night.

    1. Alex


      I replied to your comment here. The chat room is always available https://www.autoshopowner.com/chat/

      I just haven't seen much activity lately.

  5. until

    Is the chat happening tonight?
  6. I agree with above: it's not "a sell." (and certainly not an upsell - it either needs it or it doesn't) The service ADVISOR educates the customer about the needed repair or maintenance. If you built up trust, they will say yes - or reschedule. How can they say no? You aren't "selling" anything. They can't say not to the idea of repair, because it needs it (you're the expert). And your advice is coming from a trusted friend, you, the advisor. And everyone knows you have to make a profit -- just like their company. They can say no to doing it now, for several reasons: they don't care enough about maintaining their car, they are cheap, or they really can't afford it now. Oh, the go-to, "I'm selling the car." (That's when I tell them, "OK, don't do that, but do this, this and this, to get more for your car or make it easier to sell.") Re "trusted" advisor, the trade magazines don't tell you how, they just say do it. And the same goes for the "amazing customer service" or the "exceed/shatter expectations." The trade magazine just say do it. Maybe you're supposed to hire the writer and their company to teach you. (And how do you shatter expectations the next time?) Future article coming on the "how."
  7. 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 …
  8. 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.
  9. 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.”
  10. 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?
  11. newport5


  12. 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/
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

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