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Repair Shop Advice

Archive for November, 2010

Automotive Training Institute – Answer the Cash Register Part I

November 23rd, 2010

One of the most common complaints from shop owners is the need for more customers and more cars. Shop owners spend their hard earned money on a multitude of marketing ideas but they forget to focus on the most important part of the marketing process. The idea behind all of this marketing is to get the phone to ring; a customer calling to ask for your services. Few shop owners spend the time needed to develop the proper system for answering the phone. Fewer still measure the effectiveness of the employees that are answering the phone and have tools in place to gauge how many incoming calls result in the customer coming into your shop. There have been many variations on this theme, but let’s look at this problem from another point of view and keep it as simple as possible. After all, when the phone rings, you should be hearing the cash register ringing even louder.

The success or failure of most tasks that take place in the average shop can be broken down to the effectiveness of three basic areas: Motivation, Measurability, and Accountability. Motivation needs to be looked at from both sides of the equation. The employee’s motivation to answer the phone and the customer’s motivation to come to your shop after the phone call is done.

As a public school boy, without the great resources to draw on that many of you might have had, I soon learned to rely on experience to be my major guide. At times, however, I would listen to my Dad and save myself some pain. We did a fair amount of fishing together and the lessons learned became invaluable. One of the first lessons was to think like a fish. What is the motivation of the fish? (My Dad would never have said anything like that; his motivation usually involved some sort of pain. Either a gentle slap in the back of the head or it was self-inflicted due to some oversight on my part that he allowed.). The fish just wants what he wants, the worm.

We all know why the owner wants the person on the phone to come to his shop, but why does the employee? It might be financial reward, the sense of accomplishment or just a little bit of praise for having a good day. Each individual is different and it is important that we are intimately aware of how our staff perceives their role in the workplace and what motivates them to do it. Otherwise you might find that you are fishing with the wrong bait. Find the right bait and you will be successful. The customer is a different story. Many times, if they are calling the shop and have never been there before, their motivation could be that they have already been to another shop and did not make the purchase (this could be due to a lack of trust, the amount of the purchase, maybe they just didn’t like them) or perhaps they do not have a shop to call “Home”. The resulting calls are at the least, an inconvenience, and for a good many people it can be almost painful to sit down and make all those calls and talk to all of those people. What do we do about it? What does the fish want, a nice juicy worm in his belly. It makes him feel good. What does the prospective customer want? What will make him feel good? How about not having to make all those calls? They want someone to listen to them. They need to feel like a person and they need to interact with another person on the other end of the phone who cares.

Automotive Training Institute Article Part II

November 23rd, 2010

The next time you talk to someone on the phone and they want a phone quote, find out their name and use it at least 3 times in the conversation. Ask open-ended questions. After all, the people that most people like to talk about the most are themselves. Ask them what problems they are having and pay attention, repeat it back to them so they know you are listening and then tell them that you understand their needs and invite them in so you BOTH can work TOGETHER to solve the problem. In my mind it is easier to think of it as “Speed Dating”. You have 3 minutes to make the date before the gong sounds and you have about 3 minutes to build enough of a relationship to get the customer to not want to pick up the phone again. In the end, you’re doing both of you a favor because they really don’t like making the phone calls to begin with. Practice this, use it every call and have your co-workers listen to you and provide feedback and you’ll be amazed at how much more successful you are on the phone.

While I was learning how to catch the fish, I was also learning how they would try and get away. One memorable time I had caught the first fish, just as the sun was rising. A great way to start the day. Feeling very proud of myself and too busy showing my Dad the prize to pay attention to what was going on, something went bad real quick. I’m not quite sure how it happened but the hook was not in the bass’ mouth, it was deep in my finger and he was nowhere to be found. I ended up with quite a different prize than I had hoped. My dear Dad’s response was to cut the line, leave the hook in my finger and duck tape it flat to my finger so we could continue fishing. This was a perfect example of self-inflicted pain that I will always remember. When you are bringing in goods, pay attention until the job is done.

Measuring success is always a touchy subject. Many of my clients are reluctant to measure and compare their employees work performance. They don’t want to set up an atmosphere of competition. Again, you must know your staff. Competition by itself can be good or bad. It is what you do with it, shape it and guide it that makes all the difference. The measurement of performance allows you to reward those who strive for excellence. The people who make winning a part of their lives, tend to win not just for themselves but also for everyone involved. Remember, the customer has to feel that winning sensation too. If not, they will not come in, they will not make a purchase or worst of all they make the purchase and never return and YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHY.

A very simple way to measure success on the phone is with a Phone Log. I have found it very easy to use (remember, I’m just a product of the public school system) and it produces results. If a customer calls and we are able to make an appointment, the staff involved puts their name next to the appointment. It soon becomes clear who is making appointments and who is not. Then we find out what the successful advisors are doing right and we reproduce it in the rest of the staff. If however, we do not make an appointment, we should have the customer’s name, type of car, and what was wrong. (We found that out during the conversation, in an earlier paragraph.) We then record this information, with the time and date, for future reference and when the customer does come in we can initial another successful phone conversation. It is important to know how many times the phone rings with a possible customer on the phone and how many times that results in the customer coming in. Each employee will develop a % of calls vs. people coming in, which allows us to determine who is doing what, what is effective and what is not. The basics, outlined above, will work. After all, the only thing you really need to fish is a stick some string, a hook, and hopefully a worm. The Bass Boat does come in handy though!

To be accountable for something is to take some form of ownership over it. Whether it is good or bad, we must be accountable for our actions and our time. I would much rather to use praise with an employee to let them know that I appreciate their hard work than to resort to criticism for a poorly done job. The key between the two concepts is the amount of time measurement you are using and are you watching the situation on a regular basis in a way that everyone knows what is expected and can see it for themselves. Too often, accountability is done far too late. The damage has been done, so to speak, and we are left only with negative consequences. If we are proactive, we should constantly give our staff guidelines and feedback on the areas that we find to be most important. We can use the guidelines of measurement and accountability to solve problems while they are small and most importantly, train the staff as soon as it becomes apparent that training is needed. Remember, you catch more flies with Honey than with Vinegar. I think my Dad said that too.

G & S Auto Handles Everything From Routine Maintenance to Heavy Duty Services

November 19th, 2010

G & S Auto is a New York State Inspection Center and a state certified emissions repair facility. Located in Brooklyn, G & S Auto has been providing motorist with comprehensive auto repair for over 15 years. They service both domestic and foreign vehicles as well as fleet and off road vehicles. Their technicians are all ASE Certified and can handle everything from routine maintenance to heavy duty repairs. Their heavy duty services include both engine and transmission rebuilding and replacement. For more information on their services or to schedule an appointment call them at 718-386-8600.

G-F Automotive is a Customer Satisfaction Leader

November 19th, 2010

G-F Automotive is the leader in customer satisfaction in automotive repairs in the Bay Area. Their loyalty and dedication to customer service is obvious from the moment you enter their facility. You can be sure you will leave satisfied. Their outstanding crew is the secret to their success. With a combined 60 years of automotive experience, their ASE Certified Technicians strive to provide you with dealer quality service without the dealer price’s. Give them a call to set up an appointment. They look forward to servicing your vehicle.

Terry’s Auto Service Center is Professional and Reliable

November 19th, 2010

With more than 25 years of experience, Terry’s Auto Service Center in Midland, Michigan provides only quality automotive service. Their trained and friendly staff is always ready to help you with your auto repair needs. Terry’s Auto Service Center provides complete auto and light duty truck repairs. They service imports and domestic vehicles and a local shuttle is available. From oil and lube service to engine rebuilding, their staff is trained to do it all and each job is supervised by the owner – Terry Shudark. Shop hours are Monday – Friday 8 am to 5 pm. To schedule an appointment, give them a call at 989-486-3800.

Laman Automotive is on a Mission

November 19th, 2010

Laman Automotive in Olympia, Washington is a full-service, Select Auto Expert service center which means earning your trust is their highest mission. They provide their customers with experienced and knowledgeable staff and quality brand name parts. They take pride in providing each customer with fast and reliable service at a fair price. No repair is ever performed without the customers consent and all repairs are backed by Repair Assurance North American Warranty. At Laman Automotive, it’s their mission to earn your trust. To find out more about their comprehensive auto service or to schedule an appointment, visit them online at http://www.lamanautomotive.com/index.html

Delevan Auto Parts Has New & Used Auto Parts

November 15th, 2010

For over 74 years, Delevan Auto Parts in Buffalo, New York has been providing quality auto parts to area motorists. They have great products, excellent quality and outstanding prices. You can purchase all of your car care products, maintenance supplies and auto parts from Delevan’s. They offer all types of counter services such as battery testing and installation, parts cleaning, oil recycling and more. With an on-site salvage yard, used auto parts are also available at great discount prices. Shop hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 – 5:30 and Saturday 9 am – 2:00 pm. To check on in-stock parts call 716-892-3312.

Turn to Contemporary Auto for All Your Car Care Needs

November 15th, 2010

Contemporary Auto in Metairie, Louisianna can handle all your car care needs. They use high tech diagnostic equipment to guarantee your vehicle is repaired and or serviced correctly the first time around and they only use the highest quality replacement parts, filters, oils, and components when it comes to your car. Large vehicle and flat-bed towing are available and they carry most major brands of tires. For those with busy schedules, after hours drop off is a convenient option. Shop hours are Monday – Thursday from 7 am to 6 pm. For more information give them a call at 504-838-6807.

At Patrick Automotive, Quality and Honesty are Priceless.

November 15th, 2010

Patrick Automotive in Kenosha, Wisconsin offers great service at a fair price. Someone, somewhere may offer a better price but the certified technicians at Patrick Automotive know that quality and honesty are priceless. They have been serving area motorist for over 20 years and have become the trusted choice in automotive repairs. They go the extra mile to make sure the work is done right and the customer is fully satisfied. To schedule an appointment online click: http://www.patrickauto.net/Kenosha-appointment-request.php

Frank’s Lakeside Service has Excellent Service and Outstanding Prices

November 15th, 2010

Excellent service and outstanding prices: this is what you can expect from Frank’s Lakeside Service in Provo, Utah. Their certified technicians offer preventive maintenance and comprehensive repairs at very affordable prices. They use only quality auto parts and all parts and labor are guaranteed for 12 months or 12,000 miles. For more information on their service or to schedule an appointment, give them a call at 801-375-2880.