The Technicians You Need: Training and Developing Your Team
April 25, 2019
Hiring technicians is the largest challenge many auto repair shops face. For most other shops, it will become their largest problem as soon as they lose an employee. This is the third post in a three-part series on building a strategy to recruit, retain and elevate your technicians. The first post, The Technicians You Need: Building Your Team, can be found here. The second, The Technicians You Need: Keeping Your Team Together, can be found here.
If you’ve got a great team of employees, you’re already ahead of most shops. There’s no drama between employees. You’re probably not dealing with bad repairs. Your customers aren’t being ignored or disrespected.
Unfortunately, none of this means that you’re necessarily profitable.
Profitability comes from efficiency, and efficiency comes from processes. Designing, executing and measuring the results of your shop processes will help your employees improve the results of your shop every day they’re in the shop.
There are plenty of resources that detail how to build and measure results of the most common shop processes, including marketing, vehicle workflow and customer interaction. There are a few processes that aren’t as obvious, but can save you in the long run. Here are three of them.
It’s rare for most people to provide the same level of value to a shop year after year. If they’re not growing their skillset, they’re growing less valuable every year. Their skills are less relevant every time something changes in the world – and the world changes every day. That’s why professional development shouldn’t be viewed as an event or an option, but a process that every employee engages in.
What is each employee’s role in the shop? How will that role change in the coming years, and what are they doing to prepare for those changes? How will things change in your shop, and are they equipped to handle any strategic business changes you’re planning to make? Your professional development process is what keeps your employees providing more value to your shop each year, rather than less.
Think about each of your employees (including yourself, if you’re regularly in the shop). Now ask the question, “If that person were unexpectedly out of the shop for two weeks, what challenges would we encounter?”
If that exercise got your heart racing, it’s time to implement cross-training. Document all of the processes that have a single point of failure, and ask yourself who would be the best person to perform those tasks if an employee had to step out for an extended period of time. This will reduce your stress, and make it more likely that your shop will weather an unexpected emergency affecting your key shop employees.
Retaining a customer is many times cheaper than earning a new one. Despite this, it’s easy to forget about a customer that isn’t in your shop and isn’t asking for your attention, especially on days when there are plenty of customers that are asking you for help.
Once the repair is complete, the clock starts ticking on how much you can impress that customer. Did you contact them promptly? Did you provide a thorough explanation of what you did, and what the charges are for on their receipt? Did an employee ask if they had any questions, and try to answer them thoroughly? Did you ask unhappy customers what you can do to help make it right, and did you ask happy ones if they would provide an online review?
The process doesn’t end when they leave the shop, either. Shops that send hand-written or hand-signed letters to new customers or customers who have had major repairs done are more likely to see those customers again. And because you already have their vehicle information on record, those customers can be handled more efficiently and more profitably than new ones. For every dollar you spend on implementing a customer retention process, you could save five or more dollars on ads or postcard campaigns designed to attract new customers.
To learn how Repair Shop Websites can bring new customers to your shop, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.