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newport5 last won the day on January 31

newport5 had the most liked content!

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About newport5

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    Occasional Poster

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  • 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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. newport5

    Customer's buying their own parts

    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.
  5. newport5

    Customer's buying their own parts

    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.
  6. 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?
  7. newport5

    Customer's buying their own parts

    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 !
  8. newport5

    Customer's buying their own parts

    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.
  9. 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
  10. newport5

    Opinions on my work hours

    You are getting some great information. Start encouraging online reviews. Even referral customers check your online reviews. In CA it's Yelp, which is free. I say, "Hey, if you liked my service, please go online and leave me a review." I'd heard that the simply satisfied customer doesn't refer you. it's after you do something special for them. Victor
  11. newport5

    Workshop for service writer training?

    My service writer article on getting easier approvals through trust versus the current selling on safety and value. http://www.shopownermag.com/magazine/ Page 8 of the July/August issue, at left, with the hourglass.\ Comments?
  12. newport5

    Workshop for service writer training?

    Re service writer training: I just had an article published in an auto trade magazine on getting customer approval through trust and not the typical "selling" via safety and value, but I don't want to break any Forum rules by putting in link, since I'm a free member. Moderators: can I post the online link to the magazine article? And I have a few more short articles on the auto part of my personal website. Victor
  13. newport5

    Auto shop owner new forum topics

    Scott, Here's what I meant about the forum making money off the guy posting the webinars about webinars. He's a paid member, you and I are free, Victor
  14. newport5

    Auto shop owner new forum topics

    I imagine the marketing ads help pay for maintaining the forum, so I don't mind too much. What I don't like is the catchy title that links to a 3 minute pitch for a link to a "GREAT" webinar that ends up to be a 20 minute pitch (with no content) for a live seminar.
  15. Actually, he'll be plugging HIS business, not a business that we don't know is his. Subtle difference.