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Episode Description

On this episode of The Digital Shop Talk radio, we explore how to optimize billed hours per inspection to directly impact your bottom line and drive profitable growth!

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Episode Transcript

*This transcript was generated using Artificial Intelligence. Errors may occur. If you notice an error, please contact [email protected].

Tom Dorsey (00:00:06):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey, and today we’ve got a great show for you. We’re going to be talking about how to optimize those build hours per ticket, and I’ve brought on a fantastic guest, maybe having a little audio issues, but we’re going to work around that. We’re going to wait for them to hand crank better internet up to Auburn, California. Joining us from Auburn, Euro Motors. Christoph Schopfer. Welcome, Christoph.
Christoph Schopfer (00:00:34):
Hey, how’s it going, Tom?
Tom Dorsey (00:00:35):
Good, buddy. Good to see you. Yeah, and if you’re having an internet connection, it keeps dropping off for you. Christoph, if you could just even just dial in on your cell phone, the links in there in your Zoom invite, and then we will get solid audio with you and we don’t have to worry about everybody knows how beautiful you are already, buddy. I got a great picture of you back here behind me, but we’d love to see if we can make it work. And also joining us, of course, as always, our founder and CIO Uwe Kleinschmidt, welcome Uwe.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:01:06):
Thank you. I can’t wait
Tom Dorsey (00:01:09):
To, yeah, we’ve been chairman. The
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:01:11):
Numbers are so impressive. Christoph is putting up,
Christoph Schopfer (00:01:16):
Thank you.
Tom Dorsey (00:01:17):
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And really appreciate, like I was saying, Christoph, the preparation that you gave for us kind of going through some of this show summary, because really what we want to talk about and what we want to offer to the folks listening and that we’ll be listening to this episode is not just some ideas and some best practices, but some really specific action items that can take me to the next level. And you at Auburn, Euro Motors, you guys really have, I think, nailed it from the adoption of AutoVitals and the implementation of AutoVitals and then to see, gosh, we had you at a conference and looking at that first successful year, and then now through, I think you’ve recently done a point of sale change. You’ve had everybody’s been struggling through this pandemic and those types of things affecting your business, but still nailing the best practices and staying strong. How has the last year been treating anybody? Give us an update on your shop.
Christoph Schopfer (00:02:22):
So you guys hearing me okay?
Tom Dorsey (00:02:24):
Yeah, yeah, I can hear you fine. Okay,
Christoph Schopfer (00:02:25):
Cool. I had everything all set up and then right before we went live internet just decided to go out.
Tom Dorsey (00:02:32):
No, that stuff happens in the mountains
Christoph Schopfer (00:02:35):
And I’m at home, so I got my 2-year-old bet over there, so just a heads up.
Tom Dorsey (00:02:43):
Oh, that’s great.
Christoph Schopfer (00:02:43):
So anyways, so 2020, sorry, what? Yeah, mommy has, yeah, double
Tom Dorsey (00:02:51):
Christoph Schopfer (00:02:52):
I’m sorry. Yeah, he didn’t need me all day and I knew right when the meeting would start, so 2020, so basically April, may was tough just like it was for everybody. My dad and I were just kind of on semi cruise control. The shop
Was running really well, and then covid happened and we had to basically roll up our sleeves and get to work on the business. I’ll rewind a little bit to 2019. We live in an area in California, Northern California where the power goes out because of fires. And that was a really eye-opener for us. We didn’t want to just sit back and be like, oh, we can’t open. We had to get generators. We prepped the whole shop so we can be open. And we just didn’t accept the fact that, oh, we just can’t throw our hands up. So fast forward to the pandemic. We, sorry, we got to a point. Cormick, don’t play with this, please. Okay. 2020, the pandemic happened and everything shut down. We got to a point where it was just me and one of my technicians, and like I said, my dad and I really worked on the business. We took it as an opportunity. Got AutoVitals website. Okay, it’s over here. Can you come over here please? I’m busy. I apologize.
Tom Dorsey (00:04:40):
Yeah, as a matter of fact, last time we had you on, were running on generators. We had you on the show.
Christoph Schopfer (00:04:46):
I think so. I think I was running generators when we were on the show.
Tom Dorsey (00:04:51):
The shelf was open generators.
Christoph Schopfer (00:04:53):
Yes. Cormick, can you stop?
Tom Dorsey (00:04:56):
That’s what it takes right there is just,
Christoph Schopfer (00:04:58):
Okay, go put a lid on it.
Tom Dorsey (00:05:00):
Please don’t quit this. Boy, he’s a multitasker.
Christoph Schopfer (00:05:04):
Yeah, this is, yeah, let me get
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:05:09):
Not, that’s not what men are famous for, right? Multitasking.
Christoph Schopfer (00:05:14):
Give me one minute. No, you’re
Tom Dorsey (00:05:16):
Fine. You’re fine. We’ll talk a little bit, we’ll just give a little bit insight on what we’re going to be covering. Okay. When you get back. So Uwe
Christoph Schopfer (00:05:25):
Is okay. Yeah, I’m just, my son decided to take
Tom Dorsey (00:05:30):
This. We were talking about before the show, the topic is how do we maximize build hours per inspection? There’s so many variables that go into that, and really we wanted to do it broken down, and Christoph was awesome to provide that information really defined by workflow step. How do you see it Uwe as, and especially from a development perspective, the critical success factors to driving that approval rate and higher hours, average hours per ticket through those different workflow steps. What are kind of the most critical and what are the most critical best practices at each step?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:06:16):
I had hoped Christoph’s going to tell us the details, but overall I would say I don’t think there is a more important workflow step than another. It’s kind of a smooth process where when you pay attention in every workflow step and do the right thing in every workflow step and make the workflow itself a second nature muscle memory of the service advisor or production manager or whoever is running the production, the rest is kind of muscle memory
Tom Dorsey (00:07:03):
And training, right?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:07:05):
It’s fundamentals, right? It’s fundamentals in sports the same thing. Yeah. Once you buy into the workflow, you just split up the workflow steps you need in your shop and then say for every workflow step, what’s the important thing to do?
Tom Dorsey (00:07:24):
So Christoph, how did you train those fundamentals into your crew? Because like I said, we had you on last time, you guys were just coming out of your first year I think, of adoption, and you guys were cranking, I think at that time you were probably running closer to six build hours per ticket and right around $900,000 ARO kind of at the peak right before,
Christoph Schopfer (00:07:47):
Yeah. So apologize for the distractions, but I think I got it handled. So basically, yeah, so after Covid hit, we just really focused on the business and like I said, just like with the power outages, it was an opportunity for us to grow. We took that slow time to really even further perfect our systems and the way we do things. So the biggest thing that we changed this summer was honestly, we did more marketing and we prepped ourself for more car and flow. I think in July we were booked out a couple weeks. We didn’t really change how we were doing anything with AutoVitals until later in the year, October, November, as you see when our stats went down. So that’s kind of where we made some changes with how we were using. We changed our POS software and basically we took a closer look at our inspection and how we were sending it to the customer.
And my two service advisors, we took ’em down to the conference back in January last year, and when we got back, they got to see really how other shops were using AutoVitals because I talk to other shop owners and I see how they’re doing it, and I have to constantly tell my service advisors, this is the way I want it done, or You’re doing this part really great. For the most part, they’re both very amazing at utilizing AutoVitals, but I think that conference was really an eyeopener for them, seeing how the other shops were doing it. And honestly, I mean, I told them how I want the technicians too, how many pitchers I wanted and everything. And Uve was saying, speaking of muscle memory, for me it is just practice. You just keep doing it the way you want to do it. And even though we’ve been doing it for a couple years, we still just keep doing the same thing over and over and practice makes perfect. So once you get one thing handled, then you move on to the next. It’s not an overnight like, oh, I want my 302nd motorist research time. It was a process. Once we hit that, then we went to the next thing and it was just you see what works and what’s successful and what other shops are doing and where they’re finding success and you just try to copy that, if that makes sense. It’s one thing at a time. So
Tom Dorsey (00:10:50):
Yeah, no doubt about it. And so what would you say? So from a fundamentals perspective, right, because you’re right, the 302nd motorist research time doesn’t happen overnight. It happens because you are doing more consistent inspections. Your technicians are hitting a number of recommendations per action, per ticket goal. Your service writers are editing the amount of pictures that you have asked them to do the texts or taken the amount of pictures that you’ve asked them to do. That’s the culmination, that’s the result of those best practices. What would you say, if you had to tell somebody who just signed up yesterday and they’re going to get started on this, what would you say they need to focus on from that fundamentals perspective?
Christoph Schopfer (00:11:35):
I would say the number one thing to focus on, and I’ve said this in the past, is make your own inspection. Make it tailored to your shop and only send customers a good inspection. Don’t send them something that doesn’t make sense. Utilize the tools like the, that’s an easy thing. Well, it sounds easy, but it takes the owner a lot of time or manager a lot of time to create that inspection. But the payoff is huge. That would be number one. And I tell everyone that is struggling with AutoVitals or new to AutoVitals, that’s once you get that dialed, everything else is easier.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:12:25):
If I may, can we go to the next level of detail, Christoph? Because as you know, in hindsight, everything as you said is easy. But when you have to start with it, when do you know it’s not working and when do you know it will be working? Right? Are those critical things because we are not in a sandbox. This is real life, real business, real customers. So could you break down a little bit for us? When did you know what the right thing was and how did your guys jump on board
Christoph Schopfer (00:13:03):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:13:03):
Bought into it?
Christoph Schopfer (00:13:05):
So that’s a tough one. So we’re still constantly perfecting it and working on it. How I knew was the right time, I would probably say when we really started seeing the fruits of our labor as far as average AROis concerned, it was probably about a year ago, about month before March, it was January, February, we saw motorist research time just start to go up. I would say the number one thing is, well, I just said a solid inspection sent to the customer, but
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:13:55):
How did you know it was solid? Did you ask your customers or
Christoph Schopfer (00:13:59):
Did you
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:13:59):
Guys put yourself in motorist shoes and had shop meetings? How did you know it’s the right thing?
Christoph Schopfer (00:14:08):
So I started having customers more. I would say, this is awesome what you guys are doing. This is amazing. We love the inspections. And we were seeing a high volume of returning new customers back. I mean, we still are, and I probably attribute it to the only thing we really changed was really getting our digital inspections dialed and everyone on the same page at the shop, the technicians, the service advisors. Yeah, we did put ourselves in the motorist shoes. I was constantly trying to make it as simple as possible. Things can get complex. People like to complicate things, and I always like to make things simple. So basically we use the software AutoVitals for, I wrote it down here and I’m still, to this day, I still, people will deviate. I still got to rewind, come back and tell my service advisors and my technicians, what’s the problem with the vehicle?
What’s the solution and what’s the benefit to the customer? Those three things, we can go down this rabbit hole of the repair, but really the customer wants to know what we found, what’s the solution, why should they fix it, why do they need to do their maintenance? And that’s key. If you can just focus on that. I think everything else is, there’s a lot of complexity to the software, to any software that you use and you need to really learn it. The owner needs to learn it, the manager, the implementer, whoever that may be, needs to know the software better than the people using it. I don’t necessarily, I don’t edit the inspections. My service advisors do it. They’re very good at it, but I had to know how to do it so I can show them. Does that make sense? Of
Tom Dorsey (00:16:14):
Christoph Schopfer (00:16:16):
So I don’t know if there was a time, I don’t think there was one single thing that we did when we knew, to answer your question, what was working and what wasn’t working. But I can tell you it was about a year ago when, like I said, we were seeing high volume of return, new customers and a lot of customers telling us how much they love the digital inspection. And that right there was Christoph, real
Tom Dorsey (00:16:42):
Quick, real quick. I got a couple questions from the audience to cover, and the first one is, and they kind of go together with customers making appointments at drop off and dropping off your vehicle. Have you modified your drop-off conversation for a phone conversation versus a counter conversation? What are those? So
Christoph Schopfer (00:17:06):
A drop off, my service advisors really set the tone with exactly what’s going to happen. We explained to them about the inspection they’re going to get. I know for a fact that motorist research time equals higher ro, so let’s get the motorist research time up. So we explain to the customer that they’re just receive the digital inspection. We tell them up. I mean, we spent some time with them saying what it’s going to look like if you red your yellows, your greens, what they mean? And we tell them, look at it, spend some time looking at it and then give us a call. And I would probably say 80% of the time I’d have to ask my service advisors, but I would probably say 80% of the time the customer gives us a call after looking at it for however long. But if they know what they’re going to get and what they look at, that helps. When we first started, I had a binder and I actually took a really good digital inspection and I printed it and I laminated the pages and we would show the customer, this is what it’s going to look like, but it’s going to be on your phone or in your email. We don’t really use that anymore, but for someone new to it, I would highly suggest doing that.
So you can explain to them. But like I said, we don’t really use that anymore, but it really needs to be explained to the customer. If they just get a text and they don’t know what it is, they’re not going to open it. They’re not going to look at it
Tom Dorsey (00:18:48):
And doing the binder thing or doing the laminated picture. The reason that really works is because that helps you to develop that muscle memory. It’s sitting there on the counter and then they know they have to talk about it. And so it triggers that conversation and then over time it builds that habit. And then, yeah, you can probably remove it away because why? And you could show that in different ways. You can email or text an example to somebody. You can create a video of you describing the process, which is a great idea for those of you that don’t have that, because then you can just as an autoresponder, send that video off to a customer and they say, oh, look at all this stuff. And in preparation of your first conversation now, there’s a lot less questions. They’ve seen the process, they’ve seen what the inspection looks like, they’re excited.
They want to hear the whole story about their vehicle, and they’re prepared to answer the important questions and ask the important questions. So something to consider. That’s a fantastic point, Christoph. And you had said something also about when you’re first getting started, kind of almost constantly auditing and then over time you kind of, I don’t want to say relax, but you don’t have to put in as much time from an auditing perspective. Is that because your team, like you said, your service writers are auditing the inspections now, they’re taking on more of that responsibility, or is it just you’ve gotten your process so dialed in and they’re making less mistakes and they’re straying outside of the boundaries less?
Christoph Schopfer (00:20:26):
Yeah, so I mean, my service advisors spend a little more time. I fixing the arrows that we get back from the technicians, then they would probably, so I’m more work with the technician to make sure it needs less editing for the service advisors. It’s still going to need some. And then, yeah, it is hard in the beginning, but then it gets, yes, they will one minute. So now a technician might say, I think everything’s dialed, but they might say, Hey, can you add not applicable under transfer case or something, little stuff like that. And I’ll just do it. They’ll send me a note, it needs to be in writing so it gets done and I’ll just fix that. I just fix it right then and there or that same day so that the next time they do the, and it is just little stuff like that. And I probably say once a week still to this day, I have a technician, they’ll come to me like, Hey, can we add this or can we take this away? And yeah,
Tom Dorsey (00:21:38):
Because they’re engaged, and B, because it improves. And so they have direct ownership of improving the process and improving the inspection sheet. And I mean, you really can’t ask for anything better than that. Uwe, do you got any follow-ups for Christoph?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:21:55):
Yeah, I would love to go into details more because look, I, I’m looking at your numbers and I’m in awe about hours per hour. And what we have been talking about so far is really our, how should I say it? The fundamentals. We really teach every shop or trying to, there has to be a secret sauce how you get to five hours per, oh,
Christoph Schopfer (00:22:33):
So yesterday I was telling my wife, I’m going to do this show. And she’s like, well, what are they going to ask? They want to know why we have a hype. And she’s like, well, how do you have that? And I was like, that’s a good question. I should probably think about that. So I wrote it down basically, I don’t want to say we’re cheating a little bit, but we are a European shop, so inherently we do less cars with a higher ticket, a BI would probably say the number one thing is to have good service advisors that buy into your vision. My vision is amazing customer service, number one. And number two is we tell our customers everything. So a hundred percent transparency, it sucks, especially if you have a new customer and it’s a $4,000 Audi, the car’s worth four, 4,000 bucks and the first time in we might find $8,000 worth of work. That’s rare. But it does happen. But it’s not our job to withhold anything from the customer. We need to tell them everything. I’m constantly, every day almost, I feel like we didn’t buy it, we didn’t build it and we didn’t break it.
You can ask my service advisors, I say it all the time, that’s key. And then circling back, it’s not our job as shop owners to withhold anything from the customer because we’re afraid I am I trying to sell ’em everything. No, on a new customer, we will prioritize it. We’ll break it down for them to get their car back on the road. And 99% of the time they love it. Our customers love it. They love the honesty. People love the honesty. That was one thing I did. The second thing, trust your team. Trust they’re doing everything that they can be. In the beginning. Yeah, I did go in and I would spot check or I very rarely do that now. And spot check inspections, get your inspections dialed, make your own inspection, tell customers everything. You’d be surprised what customers are willing to put into their vehicles.
I was just talking with one of my service advisors yesterday. I mean, I have customers, they’ll put 10,000 bucks a year into a car that’s not even worth that. You can’t look at it that way. You can’t look at the car’s worth, people love their car. I’m in California and in 15, less than 15 years, they’re going to stop selling. There’s been a ban on internal combustion engines, gas cars. So people are going to be forced to keep their gas car as long as possible. It’s going to be amazing for us. We’ll see about once again.
Tom Dorsey (00:25:49):
Yeah, there you have,
Christoph Schopfer (00:25:52):
I’m really excited because people will go, the car could not be worth anything and they’re going to want to keep their gas car. So
Tom Dorsey (00:26:02):
That’s going to be like CUwe, right? It’s going to be like Cuba where there be, you don’t have a choice. Fender repairs in the garage.
Christoph Schopfer (00:26:11):
And then the other, I would probably say the last thing as far as getting high hours per ticket is you fix the system. And we’ve been doing that since before AutoVitals. And most AutoVitals shops are going to be doing this because I would say most AutoVitals shops are higher level as far as how they treat their customers and how they fix vehicles. But I’m sure everyone would agree with me, a radiator leaks, you do the hoses as well. You take a picture of ’em, look, they look old. The customer’s always going to fix the system. They’re going to trust your judgment. I’m a firm believer in fixing the system. That’s how I repair my vehicle. I’m going to do everything when I’m in there and it needs to be sold to the customer that way. And then once again, it just really comes down to your team. Have a great team, work with your team every day. Listen to them, help them when they have questions with software. Figure out even if you don’t have a solution, figure out a solution, figure out. Just make it as easy as possible for your team and keep them all working together.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:27:30):
So do you do daily shop meetings or is it weekly or is lunch kind of everybody comes together? How does it work?
Christoph Schopfer (00:27:40):
Yeah, so we do a meeting every single morning when everyone gets there, probably around eight 30. One of my service advisors runs the meeting. We tell the technicians what’s coming in. Even if they’re not, we tell ’em all the cars coming in so that they can prepare. Say we have a sprinter van, we only have one lift to lift those, they need to know when it’s coming in so they can not, it’s also our alignment rack. So we can, at the end of the service advisor does all the dispatching so that there’s no conflict, but sometimes involving the technicians in what’s going on really helps. We also take that time to, like I said earlier, if anyone has a problem with the software or they want me to add or take something out or rearrange something, they’ll usually tell me during the meeting. That’s every single day. We also do a weekly, longer meeting in my office every Tuesday.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:28:43):
Christoph Schopfer (00:28:43):
See. So yes, we do do daily meetings.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:28:47):
And when did you introduce them? Did you see a change after you introduce it or can you not remember because you have been doing this all along?
Christoph Schopfer (00:28:58):
We’ve been doing it for a long time. I don’t remember, we’ll say that morning meetings dropped out probably around August for a couple weeks. And you see a difference in the numbers. So I just try to reiterate every week, let’s do the morning meeting and then they just become habit
Tom Dorsey (00:29:23):
Bill’s asking during the morning meetings, do you ask everybody what their daily goals are and if any of the repair orders might block them from obtaining it? And also do you set it up on the today’s vehicle page where those goals are highly visible?
Christoph Schopfer (00:29:38):
That is a good question. Usually technicians will tell me if they think they’re going to run into problems on certain vehicles, but I do not. I have them set goals. That’s a really good idea. I should write that down. No, we don’t. I mean the service advisors tell them which cars we would like to get done, the ones that talk to the customer and they know what needs to get done. So the service advisors do set goals. But as far as the technicians, no, I don’t have them set goals for themselves
Tom Dorsey (00:30:16):
Christoph Schopfer (00:30:17):
Yet. Yes.
Tom Dorsey (00:30:20):
That’s good stuff.
Christoph Schopfer (00:30:22):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:30:23):
Thanks Bill. Okay, so the summary is really you do constant improvement. You’re never done,
Christoph Schopfer (00:30:33):
Never stop.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:30:35):
You never stop.
Christoph Schopfer (00:30:36):
Yeah, you never stop. And when we have stopped, that’s when things go south. The more attention you put on your business, the better it will run. Constantly educating myself and doing training constantly. I am, and I’m a little bummed that we couldn’t do or you guys couldn’t do the, I know you did the digital shop conference, but I’m looking forward to having it in person again. That was a huge benefit.
Tom Dorsey (00:31:10):
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it’s all the side conversations that you can get into and experiences that you get from other attendees that makes it so valuable and such a great learning experience and experience, right? Because you get to give knowledge and help and information and get some in return, and that’s what makes it such a great collaborative effort. And yeah, we miss it a lot. Hopefully it’s coming back soon
Christoph Schopfer (00:31:38):
And just like you said, it’s constantly helping your service advisors and being there for them. I try to be present as much as possible. I know a lot of owners want more freedom, but the more attention you give to your team, in my opinion, the better they’re going to perform, the more support you give them.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:07):
But it looks like you empower them tremendously. So it’s not seen as, Hey, my boss is looking over my shoulder constantly. I can actually go back to him and ask tons of questions. And for some that’s a pride issue, so they want to be self starting and do their own thing. That was never the case with you.
Christoph Schopfer (00:32:35):
Yeah, I mean, no, my service advisors, I mean don’t really need me, but I am. They know
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:42):
It and they know it.
Christoph Schopfer (00:32:43):
Yeah. Yeah. Obsolescence, I’ll tell you right now, if I were walking the shop, I know kind of the big picture what’s going on, but I’ll do quality controls on the cars and I see the car come in and then the car’s done. I don’t know what we did on it. They do everything. Every now and then a customer will want to, I love engaging with the customers, but it’s funny, sometimes they’ll come in and they’ll be talking to me about their repair and I have no idea what we did to their car. It’s like, yeah. So I really trust my service advisors. They’re very self-sufficient, but like I said, they don’t need me, but they do. When they have questions or anything, I’m there for them. I’m ready to answer any question they might have and I’m constantly helping them with, I probably interject more than they want me to on certain weird problems that we might be facing on a car. But yeah,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:33:55):
I have a question about, you wrote that in your notes and also the numbers reflect that, right? When you introduce a new system, in your case it was just recently the switch of a point of sale, then everything is new, but the business has to go on. And so what’s your top three lessons learned when you switch to a new system? How to manage that? The best possible, but there will be, would you agree? The saying it has to get worse before it gets better is always true when you’re introduc a new system because it will pay off in the long run.
Christoph Schopfer (00:34:46):
Yeah, I mean if you’re having a hard time, it’s extremely difficult. You’re doing the right thing.
So I would say top three things. So one of ’em, you might not be able to control it, but we all know when our slow time is. We don’t want it to be slow and we try to not have slow time. But number one thing is try to plan it around a slow time. I implemented AutoVitals. Yeah, one minute. I implemented AutoVitals during slow time. I implemented our new software during a slow time. We changed marketing during slow time. I try to work around that. It just makes it easier. You don’t want to be changing something in the middle of July when you’re booked out three weeks. It’s just going to be a nightmare and then you’re going to give up. That’s number one. Number two I would say is whoever’s implementing the new software, whether it’s the owner, the manager, one of those writers, they need to know how the software works really well before just, you can’t just wing it with AutoVitals. I was practicing on it six weeks before we went live with the new software. I had it two months before we went live. And you still, when you go live, you’re going to have problems. You just are and you just work through ’em. And number three, I would say I wrote all my stuff down here.
Like you said, it is going to get harder before it gets easier. And just being aware of that and accepting of that is key. Don’t expect anything to be easy. You’ll be disappointed and it won’t, it’s not going to work. And don’t be a victim either. Oh, this sucks. And throw your hands up. You got to focus on what you’re doing when you’re implementing the software, whatever software it may be. And you got to work on one thing at a time. So if you encounter a problem, figure that problem out and then move to the next one. I guarantee you’re going to have multiple problems a day just like, how do we do this? Or how do we do that? Or this is different then we did it before and don’t expect it to be the same. It’s going to be different.
Tom Dorsey (00:37:12):
I got a follow up on that real quick, Christoph, but I also want to get Matt Fowler’s point in here. I thought it was brilliant, is he says, having an internal advocate for AutoVitals product is key to implementation. So I mean, how did that work for you? You had one of your ATECs or a leader in the shop that bought in and then everybody else followed?
Christoph Schopfer (00:37:34):
It was me.
Tom Dorsey (00:37:35):
Christoph Schopfer (00:37:36):
Great. No one except my dad believed in it when we implemented it. One of my service advisors, Rochelle, she was a believer in it, but it was hard. Okay, sorry, I’m getting my kid more milk
Tom Dorsey (00:37:51):
Worries, buddy.
Christoph Schopfer (00:37:56):
It was difficult, but like I said earlier in the beginning of this, it’s all about consistency. You just keep at it. You just keep at it, then you don’t quit. And it might take longer for some shops, it might take shorter, it just really depends. But you just keep that consistency level very high and you just keep doing it. But slowly people will buy in.
Tom Dorsey (00:38:24):
Yeah. Well, and the proof is paycheck, right? The proof is in the paycheck. I’m waiting for somebody to make some kind of a deal with their staff that says, you know what? We’re going to do it like this. You’re going to commit to this amount of time and then I’m going to get 10% of the increase in your paycheck as the commission for driving the thing through and put those naysayers in their place.
Christoph Schopfer (00:38:48):
Yeah, yeah. The same
Tom Dorsey (00:38:50):
Here, you had the exact same experience.
Christoph Schopfer (00:38:55):
Yeah, I mean you’re not going to get around that. That’s not going to go away. I don’t know. There might be shops where everyone buys in. It’s not possible. It goes back to expectations. Don’t expect everyone to buy into it. You got to be an advocate for it and you just got to keep at it. It was the same with our new POS software. It’s all, it’s a lot harder to use. I think I want it to be easier. And there’s some ways it is a lot easier, but there’s some things about it that it’s harder, but there’s so much more benefits to it. Just like with AutoVitals, there’s so many more benefits and you just got to look at that. You got to look at the positive, not the negative.
Tom Dorsey (00:39:44):
Yeah. And it seems if you’re doing it right, the negative stays for the short amount of time. The positive lasts a long time, which done correctly. And speaking of that, the other follow up I wanted to ask you is, because you had mentioned and you wrote in your notes about no bandaid fixes, and you had said that you’re going to have these problems that erupt all day every day, and you got to kind of knock ’em out, put the fire out and move on, put the fire out and move on. How do you ensure A, you’re not putting a bandaid on that fire and can you be more specific about a situation where you could have put, what is a bandaid fix in your estimation, and how do you avoid doing that? How do you get the time, carve out the time or empower and make responsible team members so that you can make sure that you’re not putting those band-aids in place?
Christoph Schopfer (00:40:37):
So mainly when I was talking about band-aid fix was on the car, correct? But as far as, are you talking about software? No Band-aid fix on the software or if you run
Tom Dorsey (00:40:48):
In the process, I didn’t realize when you wrote it in there, you were talking.
Christoph Schopfer (00:40:52):
No, no, that totally makes sense.
Tom Dorsey (00:40:53):
So I don’t want band-aids on my car.
Christoph Schopfer (00:40:58):
It was tough in the beginning. I saw a question pop out, what software did we pick? We picked, we went with wear. And in the beginning there was a lot of bandage. There was like, oh, how do we do a counter tag? It’s like, I don’t know, let’s figure it out. Let’s do it this way for now until we figure it out. So yeah, there was a ton of that stuff. Also, when we went with the new AutoVitals, TVPX, it was different. And I got that a lot. There was a lot of like, well, how do we do this? Or how do we do that? And it’s like, well, let’s do it this way for now until I figure it out instead of trying to figure it out. But like you said, I would do one thing at a time. So I’m trying to think of examples. And there’s probably a hundred, but I can’t think of any right now.
Tom Dorsey (00:41:54):
Alright, bill says, running a repair shop is great training to be a parent. You learn how to juggle many things at once
And that really is the key, right? Yeah. Adoption and implementation is because, yeah, like you said in the beginning, you do have to wear all those hats. You have to be the IT expert and the software expert and the training expert and the boss and the auditor, and you have to kind of do all of those things. And again, if you look at yourself as almost like a sports coach is, if you drill those fundamentals right, the pros still run bases, they still run laps, they still play catch, they still practice blocking fundamental to their positions, but they reinforce that regularly for a reason because it develops that muscle memory and then it takes away, and you had said something earlier too that I wanted to touch on, and that was that you said a lot of shop ones want more time away from the shop, but really don’t you think that that’s the way you get that more time away from the shop is what you’re doing, empower your team, provide them the tools they need to be successful and then get out of the way and let ’em be successful and then you don’t have to be in there watching over their shoulder as much, right?
Christoph Schopfer (00:43:03):
Yeah, yeah. And also when it comes to AutoVitals and our new POS stuff, it’s all cloud based, so I can be in a different country and run the shop.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:43:15):
You can let your son it.
Christoph Schopfer (00:43:17):
Yes. I mean I do have that freedom. I am lucky. I do have amazing people that I entrust to run the shop. I can step away when I want and need be. However, I do enjoy being at the shop and I think being there for my people when I am president and I think focusing on helping your team really buys you that freedom in the long term.
Tom Dorsey (00:43:56):
Definitely. I know Christoph’s got to cut out about five minutes early, and so we got about 10 more minutes with them and I wanted to jump in if we can change gears a little bit and talk about specific best practices by workflow step, because I thought you put some brilliant stuff in here. I really want to get that into the show. Regarding drop off, you said that the deferred work,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:44:20):
Do you want me to show simply Christoph’s, TVPX, Christoph, is that okay? And then you just
Christoph Schopfer (00:44:26):
Go through the steps? Yeah, that would be awesome. Yeah.
Tom Dorsey (00:44:30):
Christoph Schopfer (00:44:32):
Tom Dorsey (00:44:33):
While Uwe’s bringing that up, you said that the deferred work has gone over with the customer at Dropoff, so you have a process and it’s built into the dropoff script, but will you usually have the parts ready in case they say yes and I thought that
Christoph Schopfer (00:44:47):
Was Yeah, so it depends and it really depends. We don’t want to order a bunch of parts and return, but my advisors will sometimes order the part and try to sell it in the doorway. Our new software is really cool. It’ll show the deferred work and they can click on it and approve it on a tablet and then if they approve it, everything gets approved and then it’s all instant in AutoVitals and then we can dispatch it super easy. We do have a lot of steps in AutoVitals as you can see. I think we have nine total. And the key, once again, I try to make things simple. When we were first starting the key, it’s like a game gamify it. The key is to get all the cars to the right side. You want to get everything over there. You want to Pinterest
Tom Dorsey (00:45:45):
Stack ’em up.
Christoph Schopfer (00:45:48):
Yeah, it’s like Tetris. So you want to get everything over there. That’s the end goal. And if you look at it that way, that’s key.
Tom Dorsey (00:46:02):
Yeah, because I even thought it’s like a
Christoph Schopfer (00:46:04):
Beehive, right? Goes from left to right Ideally, yes.
Tom Dorsey (00:46:07):
Yes, the busy bees moving the blocks, but I thought of a gamification idea when you were talking about having those parts ready because really what it says is you could actually put that on the right. The rider is so confident that I can sell this to this customer that I’m going to go ahead and have the parts on the shelf. And so you could even do a thing where they put their money, where their mouth is, they get an additional incentive or an additional commission on success and they pay for the return if they fail. I
Christoph Schopfer (00:46:41):
Dunno, I’m sure they’re listening to me right now,
Tom Dorsey (00:46:45):
The shop,
Christoph Schopfer (00:46:47):
I guarantee it and yeah, that’s a good idea.
Tom Dorsey (00:46:51):
Hey, hey, now the competition is beginning.
Christoph Schopfer (00:46:57):
Tom Dorsey (00:46:58):
But see, I think that’s brilliant. I really thought that that was a great practice and if you can adopt that and put some numbers around it and put a bar against it, put some goal having the parts on the shelf waiting. It’s not in case they say yes, it’s when they say
Christoph Schopfer (00:47:16):
Yes, it’s when they say yes. Yeah, I wrote on my thing I sent you in case I meant to say when they say this.
Tom Dorsey (00:47:22):
Yeah, exactly. There is no, no.
Christoph Schopfer (00:47:27):
And I really liked the fact AutoVitals sends the appointment reminder with the old inspection and the stuff that they deferred. So I don’t really know if they look at that or I don’t think there’s a way to track if they look at that, but I’m assuming it helped because we have more deferred work sold at the door than we did two years ago.
Tom Dorsey (00:47:53):
Yeah, see exactly. Yeah, and it shows in the numbers and your service writers are amazing. If I can just throw that out there. They’re not even paying me to say that, but because two things happen is you, from your after conference, you guys put your picture policy in place and it was pretty steep. I don’t remember what it was, how many pictures per inspection you’re requiring, but your writers run like an 80% edit rate,
Christoph Schopfer (00:48:21):
Tom Dorsey (00:48:22):
So you have a high number of pictures per inspection and an incredibly high number of edits. And I just wanted to make sure I A recognize that and B, get you to talk a little bit about that. How fundamental is that to your success in driving that five build hours per ticket and being able to maintain that? That’s incredible.
Christoph Schopfer (00:48:42):
So that is all them. I told them that I wanted it higher or over 50 and that was, I’d probably say 90% of that was them. They just did it after the conference. I mean I always wanted it them to edit more and I was always bugging, edit more pictures, but after the conference, I wish I could say I did this to have them do that for other shops to have their advisors. But my advisors, they just started doing it and so I would give them the credit on that
Tom Dorsey (00:49:22):
One. Yeah, that’s the first key takeaway is have amazing advisors.
Christoph Schopfer (00:49:26):
Yes. Yeah.
Tom Dorsey (00:49:30):
No, that’s fantastic because yeah, it is not easy, especially when you’re busy, but obviously what’s happened is you’ve had enough results, you’ve gotten enough of the payoff to say, Hey, we can’t skip this step because that’s the bread and butter. And when you get that type of an attitude, when you build that type of an expectation, you don’t skip putting the ketchup on your fries no matter how busy you are.
Christoph Schopfer (00:50:00):
Yeah, I mean it goes back to also, I mean we only do about 25 to 30 cars a week. I’d like to obviously do 35 cars a week, but we do have that time with two advisors. They’re working 15 cars. If you do the numbers on a busy week, they might be doing three cars a day. I mean realistically in the real world, most of those cars are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. But we set the expectation the car’s going to be there a few days, two to three days. We tell all of our customers that if their check engine lights on and it helps by time to get the work done that’s needed. That way if they need work, it’s not like, oh, I don’t can’t leave my car there. But you’ve solved the problem of them needing their car by setting that expectation upfront. And sometimes customers don’t like to hear it, but it goes back to that transparency thing. I’m not going to lie and say like, oh, we can get you out in a day when you’re not going to be able to get parts for you. Just set it up upfront. You do whatever you can to keep the car there a couple days and let the customer know exactly how the process is going to go.
Tom Dorsey (00:51:13):
Yeah, because that’s another question that I had for you because that’s another challenge to run high average build hours per ticket, you get up into the six hour range that car’s staying overnight. No doubt about it. It might stay two days like you said, right? Well a lot of people, that’s a big fear. You got to overcome that. Yeah, you can offer loaners, but at the same time it’s not the same, right? It’s not my car. Is there something, is there advice you can give to folks that want to achieve something like that but get a lot of, or maybe don’t have the procedures and policies in place to allow them to get that customer to hand over the keys for two days?
Christoph Schopfer (00:51:56):
It comes down to sales. It strictly comes down to sales. You got to sell your process to the customer. They’re not going to want to leave their car there. It’s difficult. And the easy route is to say it’s not going to take that long unless you know it isn’t. That’s the easy way out. As a service advisors, you’re selling yourself, you’re selling the shop, you’re selling your process. Yeah. It takes long. Sometimes, especially with a new customer, you might be on the phone an extra five minutes selling your process, but that extra five minutes is going to pay off in the long run. You’re going to have the car there for three days or two days or whatever. You can’t accommodate everything. You’re going to have those customers where they need it. You’re not going to be able to get around some of ’em. But it really comes down to how your advisor sells your shop to the customer. That’s what it really comes down to. It’s sales. It’s sales 1 0 1. And if you can’t, it’s just easy to say like, oh, we don’t have customers that want to leave their cars. Yeah, that’s the easy way out. Yeah.
Tom Dorsey (00:53:15):
You know what, we only got you for a couple more minutes, Uwe, is there anything that you wanted to cover? Because the last, I want to try to get the pickup, what they’re doing at pickup in there automatically scheduling.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:53:27):
Yeah, let’s do the pickup because we’re really,
Tom Dorsey (00:53:31):
Yeah, we’re pinched for time. So tell us.
Christoph Schopfer (00:53:37):
So pick up and I can stay till 11. I just got to my son’s, the bell rings at like 11, 10 school’s only like five minutes away, but just letting you know.
Tom Dorsey (00:53:48):
No, I appreciate it. You
Christoph Schopfer (00:53:49):
Can go get him.
Actually, you know what? My wife is working from home today and she has 15 minutes. She said she can go pick my son up, so that’s amazing. Give me one second. Let me get that set up really quick. Yeah,
Tom Dorsey (00:54:07):
Sure. Take your time. We’ve just got five more minutes.
Christoph Schopfer (00:54:10):
It’s going to be a lot of traffic. So are you going to talk to go again? I would leave right now then yeah, you him. Can you get some more milk?
Sorry about that. It froze. Can you guys hear me?
Tom Dorsey (00:54:31):
Christoph Schopfer (00:54:31):
Can you guys hear me?
Tom Dorsey (00:54:32):
Yeah, I can still hear you. Yeah, the video.
Christoph Schopfer (00:54:34):
Okay, cool. So pick up for pickup.
Let me see. Usually so customers come in and we’ll go over everything we did to the car. You have to resell that work. We don’t just hand the key over. We go over what we did, what we found, and our existing customers kind of know the procedure and what we do, what’s going to happen. New customers, we tell them, Hey, we’re going to call you in three days. We’re going to send you a letter at 30 days. And we actually haven’t been doing our 30 day letters, but we typically, we will send a letter at 30 days with recommended repair work, like deferred work. We will hand write it and then we call every single customer using the, we used to do it manually type out all the customers that were, but now we don’t. Sorry, I got super distracted.
Tom Dorsey (00:55:46):
You were talking about the 30 day letters.
Christoph Schopfer (00:55:48):
Yeah, we don’t really do that much, but we do tell ’em that we’re going to call ’em three days. Actually recently it new we started a couple months ago and again it was hard to get that working and there was bugs that we had to figure out. We started using AutoVitals software to do the three day callbacks. And in the CRM there’s a feature, you can see who picked up and with our new software when we
Tom Dorsey (00:56:22):
That’s, and so you had mentioned in there that you’re automatically start the next appointment. Are you doing that? So you’re doing that in shop wear, you’re putting ’em on and
Christoph Schopfer (00:56:36):
No, we do that in AutoVitals. So after we do the quality control, and this is a feature request that I’m going to make to you guys right now it’s at six months or a year. The cars, I mean we’re going 7,500 miles between oil services. Most of our customers, it’s about eight months. That’s what we do sticker for eight months or 7,500 miles. And right now you can only use six months or a year. So we’re doing the six month feature where they get a thing at six months. It would be nice to be able to set it custom to like eight months or nine months or whatever as a shop you’re doing. But that’s my feature request for you guys. But yeah, we do inform them that we’ll be letting them know on their next appointment and that we use AutoVitals. We don’t use our POS software. It’s all done through AutoVitals.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:57:38):
Can I put a bug in your ear,
Christoph Schopfer (00:57:41):
Chris? Yes.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:57:44):
Have you thought about doing a condition-based schedule, meaning throw the servers in the wall out and instead give them an inspection in the wall as coming back,
Christoph Schopfer (00:58:00):
Like inspection every six months? I mean, our marketing has revolved around that. We do free, all of our inspections are free. But no, I haven’t really pushed for that.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:58:17):
So the idea is basically that is
Christoph Schopfer (00:58:20):
A good idea.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:58:24):
Whatever. Since you are in Euro, there’s a lot of reminders on the dashboard and you run partially the risk that your customers see that as an OEM feature and you are just doing the work when the car tells you to, right? Whereas an inspection condition based schedule will basically say, look, we go way beyond whatever the service reminder on the dashboard is because we look at your tires and whatever else. And we would love to do that on a regular basis. And as long as you follow our recommendation that comprehensive health inspection is going to be complimentary. And so you basically go into a mode of we have the ability to determine the condition of the vehicle and we would love to do that. And then now you tell me the number twice a year or whatever is in a the right.
Tom Dorsey (00:59:27):
Yeah. And there might even be a faster interval on specific systems like braking. You’re in the mountains, they’re hitting their brakes a lot. Somebody lives up on the top of some peak like Uwe’s house, right? Uwe probably has to have his brakes checked weekly, the road he has to drive down to his new house.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:59:48):
That’s why I bought it to you truck.
Tom Dorsey (00:59:50):
That’s right, man.
Christoph Schopfer (00:59:52):
We do have commerce that, yeah, I have guy off road. I probably see her every three months i’s trapped every time.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:02):
Christoph Schopfer (01:00:04):
Ride. That’s a good idea. I did not even,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:00:11):
Oh, I think the internet is gone for Christoph.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:17):
I think what he was saying is, Tom, that was a brilliant idea and
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:00:21):
Oh yeah, of course.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:22):
Thank you tremendously and I owe you all my success to you. I mean, I’m just paraphrasing. Bill says, twice a year, full vehicle health inspection, condition based inspection, lots of things can happen in six months and every 90 days if they have lots of rodents. Okay, there you go. So if you live in a vested corner of the world, get more inspections. I thought it was brilliant how Christoph was pumped about no more combustion engine cars because he we’re going to go Cuba third world style. That was brilliant. That made me
Christoph Schopfer (01:00:56):
Laugh. Get overtime years, but as a amazing,
Tom Dorsey (01:01:09):
Yeah, yeah, no doubt. Eli. We lost him again. But that’s it folks. We’re at the top of the hour. Appreciate you tuning in. It was a great show. Told you it would be. Tune in next Wednesday, same time, same place. We’re going to be talking about it again. I think we’re going to try to focus on average weekly revenue. We’ve got a great show coming up with a great shop owner that we haven’t had on, I don’t believe, on digital shop talk radio. We’re pining him down for end of the month, I think the 31st where we’re going to be talking revenue. So tune in, bring your friends, especially anybody who is looking to improve their results, not just from AutoVitals but from running their shop as a digital shop and really incorporating a lot of the best practices that we as a community are learning and sharing. And this is a great way to get that out in recorded format so that more people can learn. We can help even more. Folks, appreciate your time. Thank you very much, Christoph. You were amazing, buddy. I knew you would be. Thank you. Really appreciate you coming on. Thanks. Thanks. Yeah, man.
Christoph Schopfer (01:02:17):
Multitask. Sorry I was a little all over
Tom Dorsey (01:02:18):
The place, but No, you were great buddy. Oh, you were great. I sent you guys that document. You free to share that if you want with other people. Thank you. Go take care of them babies. You’re a good dad. Yes. Thank you. You’re a good dad. I’ll talk to you later. Yeah buddy. Thank you. Bye. Go make some more money. Put all of that knowledge into practice and go do it.

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