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“My shop is different. I need a specific game plan to win and run a successful business.” Would you say something like this? I bet. In this episode, Uwe and Bill identify the difference between fundamentals and shop-specific magic. There is no reason to reinvent everything.

Episode Transcript

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

Bill: Good morning. Good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor. And you have reached the Digital Shop Talk Radio. For those of you who have joined live, we certainly appreciate it. If you’d like to join us live, you can go to and register. It’s always great, and we highly encourage you, for those that are live, to chat your questions in as we go along.
I’ve got Uwe here today with me, our AutoVitals’ own Chief Innovation Officer, and what we’re going to cover today is something that’s really near and dear to both of our hearts, ever since that first phone call I had with him way back in 2013 and started torturing him about what shops actually need to be successful.
So, today, we’re going to discuss a unique mix of fundamentals and shop specific magic that can make a difference for your shop and also other shops just like yours if you’d like to get them to join us.
Uwe, what I’d like to do, if it’s OK with you, [is] see if you can give me a correlation between what we’re going to be talking about today as far as the fundamentals and the magic, and let’s talk about how that applies in different sports teams, and let’s drag that into how it actually that plays out in the shop environment.
Sound like a good path?
Uwe: Sure. I’m just going to reverse that a little bit.
Bill: Awesome.
Uwe: This is not the first time that we talked about fundamentals, and everybody is nodding and saying, of course. So, what’s there to talk about?
We hear a lot from people working in the shop, owning a shop, saying, my shop is different. My business is different. The way I’m running my shop for my customers is different. And so, we’re all agreeing, but it always – I’ve mentioned this on the show many times. One of the early customers told me, Uwe, don’t think you can build a software we all are going to use, because we’re anarchists. We all do things differently.
And, of course, it didn’t discourage me. As you can see, I’m still around and there’s a company called AutoVitals. But it always irked me a little bit that it’s true, but what portion of it doesn’t feel true? We know it’s true. I’m not debating it.
The more I got into sports analysis, the more I saw the parallels between teams needing to excel in the fundamentals just to be able to compete. So, I look at fundamentals as the necessity to obtain or show in order for me to compete.
And then, every team is creating what we now, in this episode, call magic. And that’s the shop, team, whatever, entity’s specific things, which is the winning formula. I hope that makes sense. I don’t want to bore you with the soccer analogies, but soccer has changed in the last 10 years so dramatically and it’s based on teams like Barcelona, coaches like Jürgen Klopp with Liverpool, who built a completely new way of playing soccer – not that the rule changed, but the way to win is now based on fundamentals, where if you’re not an athlete, and you’re not willing to run at least 10 miles per game, you’re not part of the actual [inaudible] in the world anymore.
And I feel the exact same way for the digital shop. The digital shop has certain fundamentals which are a change to the way the business has been running before, but that’s an equalizer. Those fundamentals will be done by everybody. What’s the magic each and every shop is going to put on top of those fundamentals to succeed with loyal customers, which is part of the answer already in my opinion.
Motorists are all consumers, we are consumers and the digital landscape has, on the one hand, started confusing us because of the abundance of information on the web. On the other hand, we use it every single day and leverage it to get the information we need to make decisions.
Does that make sense?
Bill: Yeah, it does. Now all we have to do is break that down into what are the fundamentals in the shop that we’re talking about, and how do we take the fundamentals and kick it up a notch and apply some magic to them?
Uwe: Yes, and I would love to add the element of some magic, today’s magic, might become tomorrow’s fundamentals.
To go back to that example that I used in soccer, there’s a strategy called gegenpressing, which is actually a German word, but since it got invented by a German it just made its way into the vocabulary. And that means that you attack the opponent in their half as early as possible, risking to open up your backend and get more goals, be more vulnerable.
But the benefit is, if the opponent makes a mistake, you just turn around and have over the time period of the game way more chances to score. Way more chances to score. And the only way to do that is, the whole team has to know exactly where everybody else stands. Where are they positioned on the field? Otherwise, you would leave a gap, and you’re also running more. But I said that earlier.
I also would like, if we find the time, to identify those magic elements which you and I believe will become fundamentals over the next three [to] five years.
Bill: So, to put that in the shop environment because we know that everything is changing and it’s changing at an exponential rate, so years ago, when we started doing a walk around inspection on a paper form, then all of a sudden, everybody’s doing that, and then everybody switched to a basic digital form, which was the same thing as paper except red, green and yellow check marks and so on, and now we get on to the next evolution.
So, every time what is actually new to the industry and engaging to the consumer, there is always the group of first adopters that really take advantage of it for the longest period of time, and then, when everybody else gets it, that first group better start hunting for the next thing to excite the customer to show their unique position in the marketplace, so to say.
Is that kind of a correlation of what you’re talking about?
Uwe: Yeah. So, let’s make a concrete example. I remember when we came out with the digital inspection, all of a sudden the shop had to buy a tablet. First, third worst cost. Expenses. Where’s the benefit?
There was an episode – I remember going to a trade show and in front of – I don’t know, 30 shop owners – one shop owner challenged me and said, can you drop this in concrete? Is this going to survive the shop environment? And the same owner today would be laughing remembering that incident. [He’s] bought in and is a leader multi-shop owner in the meanwhile.
So, there’s certain things like, the fundamental is you have a new tool and you shouldn’t use it just as a replacement [for] paper. Still go to the paper rack [and] pull the work order but do the inspection on the tablet seems silly.
In the beginning we were religious in copying paper inspection sheets and turning them into a digital version. Do you remember that?
Bill: Yep.
Uwe: It’s just a digital replacement of the same thing we have been doing for years. And now, looking back, we know it’s completely different. The only thing that just left is do an inspection, show to the motorist as visually as you can what the health situation of their vehicle is.
Bill: And really, as far as technicians go, as soon as they found out that they could have the tablets in the shop, the next request is, how do we look up our information, recalls, TSBs, wiring diagrams and stuff? How do we use a tablet for that? Can we communicate to the front office where we never have to verbally talk to the service advisor again?
So, just having the tool there and then figuring out other things that we could use it for along with the intended purpose originally was to do inspections, and then we said, hey, Uwe, I need the whole repair order on the tablet so we don’t have to have paper anymore. Otherwise, we had to have a paper repair order and we had to have the tablet.
So, these were all things that were part of the innovation as we started out and we’re going to have to continue on in the future as everybody starts adopting our magic of today, and then it’s going to become a fundamental of tomorrow. We’re still going to have to continue to innovate to stay out on that front edge.
Uwe: Right. And back to fundamentals. So, the fundamentals are: use a tablet, have the work order on it, have your links set up so that you can go to whatever it is, all that I mentioned, Identifix, you name it, because it’s nothing else than a browser.
A lot of shops said, buy a tablet? My techs all have a phone. Why can’t they use their cell phone? That’s a good point. It’s just, if you look at the productivity limitations of techs with big fingers trying to get the information, scroll through and navigated on a smaller device seemed kind of eliminating a portion of the benefits of the whole system as a digital one.
Not that we don’t support it on a phone; we do. It’s not a limitation of our tool. It just it seems that, as they say, a penny smart, a dollar foolish, a pound foolish or whatever. If you look at the whole productivity equation, it’s still all about helping the technician to get the most information in the shortest period of time.
So, the fundamental, going back, is, use a tablet, have the work order also on it and all other information. So, what’s the magic? [How] does separating a digital shop, just basically taking the information and turning it digital, [become] a big advantage?
Bill: I know in our shop the first thing was we started getting the inspection done and we started having meetings where we actually got everybody to participate and tell us what they needed on the inspection. So, for example, if they were supposed to inspect a certain topic, what job was normally produced if there was a fail? And then what is the condition?
So, by working together as a team through initially daily meetings or meetings a few times a day, we actually took even way back then what was a standard AutoVitals inspection sheet and morphed and modified it into something that was really tap-friendly for everybody in the building.
Uwe: Right. And you say so – like it’s the most normal thing on the planet, but it was an incredible change and it still is for a lot of shops. That now, through the ability to change an inspection sheet within seconds basically, to adjust to the feedback from the team to the technicians who have to use it every day and build a culture around that constant improvement process where everybody is encouraged in the shop to say, why don’t we do this? Why don’t we do this? What we did last week didn’t really work. Can we try something else?
So, this is all of a sudden a culture where team members are taken seriously way more than before, because the paper was just static. You want to get a new inspection sheet to the printer every week? You wouldn’t.
And so, that has created magic in terms of involvement of team members to build together the best possible inspection process. So, it’s not just the sheet. It’s the whole process. And they know that input. It doesn’t take a month until it’s implemented. It will be implemented by this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week at the latest, depending on who owns the inspection sheet and will make the changes. To me, that’s magic.
So, that’s one little thing, but shops who have adjusted their decision-making process in terms of what tools are we using, what works, what doesn’t, and goes into a continuous improvement culture where everybody is heard and where the results can be delivered in an absolute short period of time, that’s magic for their own team culture. They do meetings and talk about it.
And sometimes it doesn’t require a meeting. Some shops have foremen who speak for the techs, and then techs come to the foreman, and the foreman is actually the one building the inspection sheet. So, it doesn’t require a set-in-stone type of organization. It’s the culture which enables it, and the culture is, give feedback, get the feedback implemented, talk about how well it worked or didn’t – not every proposal is a slam dunk – but nobody is really mad about it – oh, let’s change it – because we can change it quickly.
So, that’s for me magic.
Bill: What I really love about that, though, is that when you build that culture in your shop, everybody is participating as a team and everybody wins as a team.
In the past, there was a lot of us against them between service writers and technicians, and that whole barrier seems to be taken down because everybody says, look; if we do this as a team, we own this together and everybody benefits by it, and because they participated in the building and editing and so on, adoption is real easy because it’s something that they build as a team together, rather than just somebody walking in the door and saying, hey, I bought these new tablets. You guys are going to do inspections. Have a nice day. I’m going to go back fishing.
Uwe: Right. You are 100% right. There is no back shop versus front office mentality possible actually because they participate together in the same discussion.
Bill: So, really a solid example to doing that would be, a technician is supposed to be checking the front tires. He goes up and he shakes the wheel and the wheel bearings are loose on it, and he looks behind and the front grease seal’s leaking on it. Obviously it needs the front bearings repacked and a new seal on. And so, he could go to the service writer or whoever and say, I need clean, inspect and repack job added as an action on this inspection topic. And the condition that I see is that the hub on it is loose and I see grease coming out the back of the seal.
So, that way, everybody has something that’s in it for them to educate the customer, and they’ve all participated. A service writer could say, well, these are the words the customer needs to see, because I can’t say that we’ve got over two thousandths or three thousandths play in the hub and bearing. They’ve got to translate it to the customer.
So, working together like that and whatever somebody needs, just get it done and get it done instantly.
Uwe: Right. Yeah. The instant change to me in the digital world is a huge benefit, but it can also be a challenge. I’m sorry for digressing, but an episode I heard was so amazing that I have to share that with you guys.
So, I visited a collision shop and they are working on Teslas, and through the high innovation that Tesla is doing, they have now four different mechanical versions of a door in the last 18 months. Can you believe this?
So, the software thinking – that’s my interpretation, that software and change is an opportunity – is the complete opposite of every other OEM where software is a problem. Don’t change it because it changes the bill of material.
Tesla thinks if change is good, do it, and even if means I have now four different versions of a door in 18 months.
Bill: And we’re going to see more and more of that.
Uwe: Yes. And it will challenge logistics, and it does challenge logistics. The collision shops are not happy about that, of course.
Bill: So, how long before the magic of Tesla becomes fundamental?
Uwe: I think Tesla is going to dial it back a little, because four doors in 18 months seems a little excessive.
Bill: Yeah. We used be happy years ago when we’d only see new systems update every six months coming out of the OEMs, and now it’s just like all the time.
Uwe: Anyway. I was digressing.
The point is really [that] change is awesome if you can manage it, and if it’s not just a new idea. Oh, I have a great idea. OK. Let’s implement it. No. No. No. Wait. Why is the idea a good idea? What do you expect the outcome will be? Turn the brainstorming into, what are we trying to achieve? And then we measure the results against what we were trying to achieve.
Bill: Would another example of fundamentals be the service writer going over the inspection with the customer – because we know that we’ve been doing that for 30 years or 40 years or whatever – versus the magic of sending the inspection results to the customer, letting them have all the content and the time to digest it, and then calling the shop ready to engage.
Uwe: Good question. We have been discussing this since the inception.
So, here’s what I think the fundamentals are. The fundamentals are you cannot rely on hand-waving on the phone anymore and try to explain how the call looks. That’s over.
So, you have to take images and you have to edit them. Edit meaning, you cannot just send, even it’s high resolution and looks really great, you cannot send it by itself, hoping that it will trigger some reaction. We as consumers get pictures every day in a massive amount. This is just one of them. It has to spark my interest.
But I agree there are different types of magic because some service advisors are really, really awesome in brief questions provoking explanations. What I’m trying to say here is, it’s probably part of the fundamentals already that what you want to do is spark questions, because they’re mostly buyinq questions. So, you can test whether a customer has a received the information at the level they expect to, and now mull it over in their head what to do about it. And you want to have that question to test, yes; they want to do something about it.
So, that means I can do that in – many different ways, but let’s use two. One is really what we found out as the most successful one but also requiring the most change in the shop is, pretend you have no opportunity to talk to that customer, and edit the images in a way that they are self-explanatory. So, they’re not just showing a circle around a problem area, they’re actually writing out on the picture, not somewhere else on the inspection sheet – on the picture – what this problem is and how to fix it. All on the image.
So, this way, the motorist gets a bill of health, prepared at drop-off that this is going to come, and will pick up the phone and ask questions.
Second way is, you circle, but you comment, you make notes in a way that you will have an engagement with the motorist, and you can have a conversation about, do you see the circle? That means X, Y, Z. I recommend A, B, C. If you don’t feel comfortable with the first way or don’t want to do that step initially or ever, the second one is still magic because it preserves your personal contact to the motorist.
The challenge with the second version is, you have to reach the customer at exactly the time when you are ready to tell the story and there’s no other interrupts. So, that’s challenging. It will take more time. The first version we have shown that in research – and shops have confirmed that – spending the time of editing the images out, including problem description and recommendations on the image, overall frees up time for the service advisor and the service advisor can talk to digitally more customers at the same time.
Does that ring a bell? What do you think?
Bill: Yep. So, as far as the consumer goes – and I’m going to call them clients, not customers – a customer is not going to buy what they don’t understand. If you supply them with all the understanding they need to know, so that they don’t have to go to Google or phone a friend or anything else, and do it in the right time of the cycle as the vehicle is going through your shop, then you have used the magic to create some winning for your team.
So, to not provide them all the information to make the decision, for example, to do a halfway job, and I guess this would be a fundamental, it’s taking a picture and just putting an arrow on it and nothing else. That’s kind of a fundamental. Everybody else is kind of getting to that point.
And now we are getting to the magic, that is actually including along with the arrow, for example, during the inspection, your brake fluid moisture content is above a certain percentage. It needs to be replaced to protect expensive components. If all that information is on the picture, the customer has nowhere else to go for any kind of information whatsoever. Basically, it gets them to where they call and talk about buying-type questions, about how much and how long.
I know myself as a shopper – I shop for things, mostly Harley things – but if I don’t understand it, I’m going to get the understanding by reading the side of the box, going to the web, or whatever. I’m going to understand what I’m getting before I part with my hard-earned money.
Uwe: Yeah. You bring up a point which I couldn’t agree [with] more. You and I are the type of people who rarely pick up the phone. We do our research first. So, if I get the results of a research, I need to spend 10 minutes browsing on Google. Now [it’s] all in one package directly on the image, and I don’t need to do the research anymore. Slam dunk for you and I.
Other people still want to talk to the service advisor about it and might feel, I would rather have it explained to me than reading I don’t know how many lines of text. So, I think there is room for both, and it’s up to the service advisor to gauge what their customers are looking for and then adjust accordingly.
Bill: Should we show an image of what a fundamental is versus a—?
Uwe: Yeah. Please.
Bill: Let me see if we can share one here. Hopefully you can see my screen OK.
Uwe: I can.
Bill: And so, on the left hand side, what we see is what I call a fundamental. It’s a picture with an arrow on it. It’s kind of hard to tell what it is without a little bit of explanation, and this is where a service writer would probably have to spend time with at least one person explaining it. And then after they explain it to the first person, they might have to explain it to the person that controls the wallet and so on.
And if we look at the picture on the right hand side, you can see that it tells everything right there where there really isn’t anything in question at all. They can see that it’s a brake fluid tester, and it says, to protect your expensive brake components, your brake fluid should be replaced at this time. During your inspection, we found excessive moisture content in your brake fluid.
So, everything they need to know about the what, when, where and why, it’s all right there to be digested without any assistance. So, I kind of call this my mom approved plan, so that way I could send this to my mother, and she could look at it, interpret what’s going on, what it means to her, and whether she should spend money on it without any assistance from anybody.
Uwe: Yeah. I agree. I couldn’t agree more.
Although, I have to tell you, looking at the picture, there are some other improvements possible. I would actually count them in the category of fundamentals. So, if you look at the picture left or right, they are almost identical. You see that [for] only 30% of the image it’s actually covered [the problem] or contains what is important and what this picture is about. The rest is just noise.
So, that’s another fundamental service advisors especially should try to turn it into muscle memory. It needs to be 60% of the image if not more, where the music plays. So, it’s hard to identify that this is a brake fluid tester. Yes, it says it on the thing, but it’s small font and the contrast is not very high and there’s no arrow on it or circle or whatever.
I, as a laymen, who has never seen this, even with the current arrow, might have challenges to identify what that is. And again, back to the magic, it could be on purpose that the information is not complete. Why? It sparks interest. The moment your magic is to spark interest and get questions, and you gauge your success based on how many questions you get from the customer, keep doing it.
If you are a big implementer of that magic, still zoom in more and make clear what it is, but don’t give the whole information. Give information which triggers a question. And on the right hand side, same thing. Just zoom in and maybe circle brake fluid tester, so everybody knows, oh, there is a device and that measures my brake fluid. Aha. I didn’t know that.
Bill: So, if we had to define the magic on the photo editing, it would be well lit and in focus, properly zoomed, and then it should have an area focus: what is the picture of, what needs to be done, and the reason why they should part with their money.
Uwe: Yep.
Bill: Cool. And that’s part of giving the customer everything that they need to make a good decision, and so on. One of the other magic that we’ve got a lot of shops that have actually discovered is, initially when they started doing the inspections, they would ask the customer, did they see the inspection results?
And what we actually found over time, the magic comes from asking them one or two open-ended questions about the results that they sent them. So, that way it’s actually dialing the customer right into, hey, ma’am or sir, what did you think about your brake fluid content on there? They’re doing two things: one, they’re inspiriting the customer to start the communication, and they can also judge by that the quality of the material they sent them. Did it actually educate the customer properly?
Uwe: That’s beautiful. It goes back to, engage with questions. So, you get on the same page as fast as you can, and not just rattle through what the inspection results already said and repeat that. That’s not a good use of time. Questions are way more engaging and will reveal what consumers are looking for.
And so I want to mention something which we kind of assume and take it for granted, but that’s another big change in the last five years probably. I think you said it to me long time ago, as consumers, we want to buy; we don’t want to be sold.
And the more telling information, right on point information I have available for myself to make a decision, the more I feel in control to make that decision and spend the money. That is independent of auto repair. That’s for any purchase we make or any decision we make.
And so, what’s beautiful about this digital engagement process is, I can now as a consumer – if I really wanted to – check whether the inspection results are reflected in some user groups or in whatever internet information available, and that will increase my confidence to make the decision. We are creating a record, and that record can always be compared with something else. Or as you just said earlier, send it to somebody you trust – your dad, your brother, your buddy – and get an opinion. It’s so much easier now.
Bill: And the other thing I really like about that from a consumer standpoint – I know that I’m probably the world’s worst – if I’m shopping for something and educating myself, if the salesman comes over and does anything that I perceive as pressure, I’m going to shoo him away. I’m going to do it at the time of my choosing, and I think most humans tend to respond the same way. If they want information, they’ll ask for it. And otherwise, they want to be left alone.
And right now especially, I like to send out the inspection results and wait for them to call because you might have a mom trying to educate her kids at home, you might have somebody working at home for their work, but they might be driving, so to interrupt them and expect them to engage in the conversation at the time of our choosing versus the time of their choosing, the focus isn’t going to be there. They’re just focusing on damage control. Give me what I need real quick and go on.
Uwe: Yeah. The sense of urgency will overpower the ability to make a decision based on trusted facts. The sense of urgency drives the decision. And that will naturally lead to a low approval rating. That’s no doubt.
Bill: When we think also about the magic in the shop working together and building a team culture, isn’t this where the quick wins process comes in for them to work together to find and identify the quick wins on the topics – how it’s going to look, how it’s going to be measured, and so on. Isn’t that part of the magic that goes on in a shop environment?
Uwe: Yeah. I don’t know whether I would call a quick win magic. It’s all about if you learn something new and you have to do it on the job, nobody sends you for two weeks into an isolated environment where you can learn it and build the muscle memory and then come back and apply it. That doesn’t happen. It’s always, as they say, you fly the airplane, and while flying, you have to repair it. You don’t have time to land and reconfigure.
And for this, it requires certain aspects of the training process to keep doing what you’re doing but learn at the same time something new. So, quick wins is a motivational tool. I’m scrambling already, and now I should do something different? I need to know why and it hopefully is more than just, my boss told me.
And so, that’s where the quick win comes in. If I can turn around a benefit in a short period of time, the same day or the next, I want more. And voilà. It’s not training anymore. I don’t perceive it as training anymore. I’m now motivated to, oh, that worked well. The most interesting thing was, for me, the story John Long shared with us in one of the episodes, when he shared with his service advisors, we’re going to introduce the production manager role. You’re not going to build the estimate anymore. And they looked at him and said – I’m paraphrasing — are you trying to take our job away?
Bill: Penalty for encroachment. There you go.
Uwe: And John said, OK. If it doesn’t work, we’re going to go back to the old thing. After a week, they came back to him and said, that was the best thing we could have done. Not quite a quick win, but through the mutual trust the participants had in each other – that’s another thing, let’s try it for a period of time, measure the results and then revisit it together as a team.
And so, that’s as important in my opinion as the quick win. The quick win, just for the audience as a good example, take a canned job, I don’t know, replace cabin air filter, and look for the last three months. How many of those did you sell, and how many do you think you should have sold if the inspection process was implemented and followed exactly as you envisioned?
And if you determine that there is a big gap between the two, make the cabin air filter a focus of your team meeting and remind everybody, and then measure at the end of the week or the end of the next week and so on whether your goal has been achieved, and then people are going to be blown away [at] how easy it is.
Because cabin air filters means I have to disassemble something. I have to take it out, and so on and so forth. That’s work. It’s more work. So, let’s not do it. That’s often the rationale for pencil-ripping an inspection sheet.
Bill: So, the good thing about the quick win process, though, is it can really be done on any topic on the inspection sheet that they choose, number one. So, what we’re looking for is something that’s easy to document, something that can happen on any car, something that’s highly visual for the end user client, and something that has labor time attached to it, so that way there’s something for the technician.
So, any topic that fits that criteria in a way that you can measure, it’s really a great target. And after you prove out one, normally everybody will get together [and] say, OK; we’ve got that dialed in now. Now let’s do this one. So, after they’ve proven out that it works, then there’s no limit to where you go with it.
Uwe: So, can you repeat? What were the ones? The chance that it happens at every car has to be high.
Bill: It has to be on every vehicle. It has to be something highly visual for the motorist. It’s got to be something that’s quick to document. And it sure better have some labor time associated with it, because technicians don’t generally like to spot needs that have no labor associated with it.
Uwe: Right. Where the parts sales is the goal and not the labor sales.
Bill: Yep. Yep. Absolutely.
Uwe: Makes total sense. Another magic, talking about training and motivation, although it’s kind of connected to the initial hurdle is roleplay. I remember when Tom and I introduced roleplay for a lot of things at AutoVitals. The initial hurdle is, [we’re] big; are we little kids here? Is that a play? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You learn so much about yourself and how to do it right in the shortest period of time. It’s amazing.
To me, that’s a magic. Teams, where the culture [is] where they accept and embrace roleplay is a high maturity. And that’s why it’s magic.
Bill: And so, playing off of roleplay, also one of the other things that is really highly effective is doing an inspection result audit as a team to randomly pull up some inspections and say, OK; this is what we sent to the customer. What could we have done better? Get back feedback from everybody, and everybody learns as a team and improves as a team.
Uwe: Right. And if you really want to make a case with [what] the value is literally, I remember Neil Daly did an inspection clinic and determined how many dollars were left on the inspection table after you compared the best estimate and the worst estimate coming out of that inspection clinic. And it was mind boggling. Just leaving things out to be fast is not a good recommendation.
Bill: Yeah. It’s pretty interesting when a shop does that and they say, everybody, you’re going to inspect this car individually during the day. I don’t want you to talk to each other about it. Then I’m going to have the service writers estimate everything that’s found. And we’re going to look at the differences between the two, make sure they’re all righteous recommendations.
So, the dollar disparity between technician A and B can be huge sometimes, and really, that’s how we ended up diving off and actually getting into building the guided inspection where it was consistent no matter who did the inspection.
Uwe: Yeah. Let’s talk about guided a little bit. We believe it’s magic because it creates consistency, can save 10 minutes per vehicle and automatically generates the motorist education just by tapping the condition on the tablet. That’s literally magic, right?
Bill: Yeah.
Uwe: It takes effort to set up and the people who have done it spent a considerable amount of time, but once implemented, it’s literally cookie cutter.
Bill: Yeah. And for those that actually started out with AutoVitals years ago, that they had their favorite inspection sheet, when they switch over to TVPX, they have some work to do. And for those that are coming on new, we found that it’s really more advantageous to them to use the guided inspection sheet and then work as a team to add other conditions or other actions and something to it, rather than creating the wheel.
I wish when we started in 2013 [that] we had a guided inspection because that would have really, really sped up the process. And a lot of times when we first started doing guided, everybody says, I don’t need this because that’s where the rookies come in.
And then after we got a few of them to start using it, and they said, this ain’t about rookies; this is about automated authorization process because I tap on the condition. It automatically puts the right canned job in there. It automatically adds the notes to the picture, and all they got to do is take a picture in focus and drag an arrow onto it. And they could give anybody in the building the same inspection sheet. If they see that condition, it’s the same result every time.
Again, this is part of the magic that we’ve developed through innovation over time and will continue to go into. Is it leveraged by everybody? Not yet, but it’ll probably be a foundation before long.
Uwe: I agree. I agree. And it’s funny that you mention it, because then the inspection clinics would create in small boundaries the same results.
Bill: Every time. That’s correct.
Uwe: And it’s like your best technician/service advisor pairing created the inspection sheet every single time.
Bill: Especially if your team worked together to build the inspection sheet. So now, you’ve got the best of everybody in the building all feeding into there. You’ve got something that your unique value proposition in the market that nobody else can produce the same thing. There’s definitely no downsides to it, except for a little bit of time that you put into creating it in the first place. But it yields benefits from then on.
If you think about five or 10 minutes saved per inspection, get good consistency, save the service advisor time of editing, because all they really have to do is accept the notes unless they’re changed. It can become a beautiful thing really quick.
Timewise, it’s really kind of flown by. We’ve got about five minutes left.
Uwe: Uh-oh.
Bill: You’ve been bad again.
Uwe: I’m sorry.
Let’s do a quick summary. I think we have a little table we can share. Maybe that’s a good basis for the summary.
Bill: So, let me share the screen and then maybe I can also grab the link and share the link to it for those that are actually live with us.
Uwe: That would be good.
Bill: So, this is going to be on this monitor over here. And if you’ll let me know that you can actually see it, and then I’ll scroll up to the top, and then I’ll put this link in the chat.
Uwe: Oh yeah. I see there’s one element we haven’t covered really: the digital check-in inspection. That’s kind of dedicated to shops who have a lot of waiters, high car count. Do you do a comprehensive 50 or more point inspection for every car no matter what? Or do you separate them into a check-in inspection and the rest, and present the results of the check-in inspection right away?
Because especially waiters have a kind of expectation: I dropped off my car; I want to get out of here. I don’t want to wait unnecessarily long. So, every additional effort might dampen my willingness to agree to listen to the inspection results.
Bill: An example on that would be taking maybe 10 topics and putting [them] on the first tab and saying, everybody starts out here, and then if we have time – the customer allows us time – then we do the rest of the inspection.
And then we’ve also got one of my other favorite things, we have our one standard inspection, and then really it’s the technician’s job initially to just do a quick cursory look over on it and see if there’s anything that’s really a serious health problem on the vehicle that would cause an accident to happen potentially or a breakdown.
And the thought process here is, let’s separate the vehicle from the customer, get the customer on their way, and let’s have time to do the rest of the inspection and provide what the customer really deserves from us, which is a safe, reliable and comfortable vehicle.
In order to do that, we’ve just got to have time, and we’ve got to figure out how to turn that customer into a client. And because the client is going to allow us the time to actually do that full, complete inspection.
Uwe: Yep. Cool.
Wow, the hour flew by.
Bill: It surely did. I think we covered a lot of area. I know there’s a lot of good information for people to use and inspire their own staff.
I would highly encourage those of you that are listening or those that watch the replay later on to not only use these thought processes for your own staff, but to find somebody else in the industry around you, a shop owner or a manager that might be struggling a little bit, and invite them to a few of these episodes, try and work on lifting everybody up together. One at a time we can eliminate the low price leaders from the marketplace and put everybody in a lot better place.
Uwe, I’d like to thank you for participating here today. Thank you for inviting me back as usual. I’d like to invite everybody to go out there and make some money and wow your customers and turn them into clients.
That being said, unless you’ve got anything else, Uwe, I think that’s a wrap for today.
Uwe: That is a wrap. Thank you very much. We’ll see each other next week, same time.

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