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Episode Description

This week’s episode of The Digital Shop Talk Radio focused on how to maximize selling potential in the shop by alleviating constraints put on your service team.

Here are some things we learned:

  • Workflow management tools and strategies to make selling easier on your service team – Best practices on pre-selling, canned jobs, and exit scheduling.
  • The positive impact that a digitally-efficient Service Advisor can have on a shop’s ARO and weekly revenue
  • Real-life examples and experiences from shop owners Don Stewart (Cookeville Tire & Auto) and Eric Sevim (A+ Japanese Auto Repair) To register for future episodes, visit

Episode Transcript

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

Tom Dorsey (00:00:04):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey, I’ll be hosting, and as always, I’ve got my expert panel of experts, Uwe Kleinschmidt and Bill Connor joining me. Bill’s a little shy right now. He’s hiding behind his graphic, but I guarantee he’s on there. And I really want to welcome two fantastic digital shop owners, Eric Sevim from A+ Japanese Auto Repair in San Carlos, California. Welcome Eric. Thanks for coming on, buddy. It’s great to see you again. And Don Stewart from Cookeville Tire and Auto. Am I saying that right? Is it Cookeville or Cookeville? It is Cookeville. Cookeville, Tennessee. Yes. Yeah, and it’s a Cookeville Tire and Auto, so fantastic and been with us quite a bit, maybe going on about a year now. And gosh, I think Eric’s even a little younger than that to be honest with you.
And so we really wanted to have you guys on to talk about some of the best practices because we can see the adoption rate in your shop. We can really see how when those best practices are kicking in, it’s getting those results. And so we’d like to get you guys on and what we’re going to be talking about as far as best practices go is some real to-dos and don’ts, the kind of the do’s and don’ts at the front counter for your service advisors to really be able to do more in less time by following what we like to call the Amazon rule. We talk about it a lot, but in today’s episode we’re going to get down into the nuts and bolts and show you exactly where you need to make some changes or at least considered changing some process steps and adding some best practices in and really what it means by that best practice we will talk about, there’s one thing to edit a picture, but there’s another thing to edit it correctly and to really do the most that you can do to make it simple for the customer to make a decision.
That’s what we want to talk about today. And actually in Uwe’s got us prepared some fantastic graphics that we’ll be posting up. So get subscribed that way we get it straight into your inbox, you get the recording, you get all of the collateral that we create, the how to guides that we’re building for you. And then if not, you’re going to go find it. We will post that up where we post our recordings and also on the Facebook forum. So get registered there. Kind of a long intro, but really excited to have you guys on and let’s just kind of jump right into it. We’re going to have a hard break at the top of the hour, so we’ll probably, I’m sure we’re going to be having kind of a lively discussion going on and we’ll push that straight into Facebook after the show. So if there’s any questions that don’t get answered, don’t worry. Just ask ’em up on Facebook and we’ll carry on that conversation at that point. Okay, let’s do this. Thank you very much, Uwe. If you want to kick us off and talk a little bit about how that Amazon rule in your mind has developed, what kind of led to some of these best practices that we stand behind and train into our digital shops and what are the challenges for shops to adopt those best practices?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:03:11):
Thank you.
Tom Dorsey (00:03:13):
Thank you.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:03:16):
That’s probably the most interesting development in the last three, four years as far as I can tell. And it all, we call it the Amazon rule because it looked like Amazon was the trailblazer for all this new behavior online. I mean, is there anybody not buying on Amazon? I mean, they have become the gorilla in the market.
Tom Dorsey (00:03:47):
I’m waiting on my delivery right now. I’m just getting my update.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:03:53):
And so why are they so successful? Started with books, if you remember, and the book, you can pretty well, you know what you want probably you go there, you select it, you get it shipped, and now everything you can buy almost on Amazon and what they basically conditioned us to do, that’s the negative way of putting it. The positive way would be enabled us to do is go online and look all the information up. We need to make a decision as consumers, we don’t need to ask people anymore. We go online and do a quick search and Google helps us to do that. And if we want to buy something, it’s often Amazon or another online portal. So instead of going to somebody we hope knows about what they’re talking about and ask them a bunch of questions, we just Google it.
Tom Dorsey (00:04:57):
We’ve got an interesting kind of dichotomy here too, because Eric’s in the Bay Area out of San Carlos and probably caught that. It was Ben having to adapt to that. I mean, that’s where it was all born. And Don’s in Tennessee, and I’m not saying Don’s out in the middle of the sticks, but from a technology adoption perspective, you’re kind of going to adopt to your market. Yeah, Uwe, I’m going to say, Hey, I get more requests for text messages, I’m getting more of this. Can I book an online appointment? Or the guy offering the online appointment has a full parking lot, what the heck am I doing wrong? And so Eric, how did you have to adapt to that? I’m sure a lot of that stuff you started to pick up and there was no real solution in the market available for you. You just had to wing it and figure it out.
Eric Sevim (00:05:46):
Yeah, I think we’re fortunate in that respect to be in that technology kind center. I mean backtrack maybe 10 years we were taking digital photos with a camera, a real camera or digital camera, and then we’d walk the card into the office and upload it and then email the photos. If I was smart at that time, I would’ve figured out how to create a business around it
Regardless. Yeah, no, I think we just constantly seeing what’s the best technology out there, how can we utilize it? But it’s all in the spirit of how can we just give better value to the customer? And I think, yeah, to speak to Amazon, they give you five pictures of whatever you’re looking at. They give you all the specs. I mean all the information’s there. That’s all we’re trying to do too, is give all the client the information and then it’s their decision if they want to move forward or not. So I think you guys are doing a fantastic job of giving us the tools at our fingertips. It’s just a matter of how should we use them, how should we track them, how do we know if we’re effective? And Uwe, I think you’re just kind of the lead in this department. And my brother and I love data, so that’s why we joined AutoVitals. But yeah, I can speak to that more. But yeah, we’re all about the technology. Our jobs are incredibly difficult already. Let’s find ways to ease that up
Tom Dorsey (00:07:13):
And technology. Fine.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:07:15):
If I may add one thing, no matter how far you are on the technology adoption cycle, there’s one thing everybody loves no matter what, and that’s transparency. We all love data in some fashion where ideally it’s a third party, so there’s some flavor of that’s an independent authority giving me the data. We all trust those more than anybody else I wish I would’ve coined, but the transparency is the new ancy of trust hits the mark, that statement. And so it’s about transparency has always been no digital around you brought your customers to the back and showed them the car. That was transparency right there. So no matter the technology adoption transparency rules in my book,
Tom Dorsey (00:08:24):
Sure, it’s just faster and easier and more convenient to do it with the digital way. Exactly. Hey Don, how did that kind of roll? So what gave you the epiphany to say, I’m going to start on a digital inspection program, my customers are kind of demanding this. What market conditions or changes did you see that got you started going digital?
Don Stewart (00:08:47):
Well, really to my knowledge in my area, and we’re pretty much a hub between Nashville and Knoxville, but in Cookeville we’re probably the only shop as far as I’m aware of even dealerships that does the dvs. I decided I wanted to be a leader and not a follower, didn’t want to take catch. I wanted people to play catch up with me. And as far as like Eric, we would take photos and maybe take the customer back to the vehicles if they was here. If they was not here, we could text them photos and get that. But the AutoVitals is a whole lot better way of doing it and it does so much more than that. It’s all also good for us. I mean it kind of covers our butt in some way.
Tom Dorsey (00:09:43):
YA buddy,
Don Stewart (00:09:44):
You got it. That’s a big deal. If we’re doing thorough inspections on everything and people don’t do everything every time right away, but it’s always in their mind. They’ve got video proof, they’ve got picture proof, they’ve got estimates from a service rider that they take with them. So it is constantly on their mind. As far as it being well received, I’d say it really is. These people comes here and they might bring their other car early just to get another one of the inspections or they’ll bring their friends in to do it. So I mean as far as me deciding to do it, yes it was, it was a pretty good decision to make, but I’m really glad we did it. It is a big deal.
Tom Dorsey (00:10:35):
And so it must be having a good impact on even acquiring new customers. Word gets out, Hey, Don’s doing stuff a little different down here. Look at this awesome transparency to Uwe’s point, it’s really hooking them. It’s good bait. Right? And so what’s kind of the feedback that you’ve been getting from customers? Have you been catching a lot more referrals of folks just telling ’em, Hey, look at this inspection and look what Don’s providing for us. You should get on down there and see.
Don Stewart (00:11:01):
Yeah, I mean we do. We get a lot of comments like that. They love it. And yes, they do bring their friends and yes, they do bring, even if their family’s traveling from out of town, they come here to get the inspection. It’s really good. I think because it is new to this area, it is, it’s a pretty good hit for us. And realistically, they’re going to believe a video and if you’ve got a link to examine what a cabin air filter does or what a ball joint does, they’re really going to believe that they’re doing the research themselves. They’re not listening to a sales pitch. And when we do call ’em back or they call us back, they’re already informed. It makes the sales process a lot easier and smoother.
Tom Dorsey (00:11:59):
Yes, sir. And that’s exactly what that Amazon rule really encapsulates, right, is to say that because Don, what would they do if they didn’t, right? They’re going to go Google it and who knows where they end up? They end up on a competitor’s website, they end up on some do it yourselfer forum, people telling them that you’re ripping ’em off and then you got all these other questions when you get ’em back on the phone, if they even call you back. And that’s where that Amazon rule really hits home because guess what you’re doing is you’re giving them not only the condition of what they got, but you’re giving them that educational information right there inside of that inspection sheet for them to see their options, understand the need and make that decision. And it’s done like Uwe was saying, it’s done kind of in a third party manner.
It’s not coming from you, but I’m going to trust this video. Who knows who made it, AutoVitals made it, whoever they are, and then I can make now a confident decision to approve work. And so we’d like to jump in a little bit and start talking about some of those best practices, help folks that are just getting started or maybe haven’t really got all the pieces together yet. Because if I go in and I look at Eric’s data and I look at Don’s data, I mean you can really see that picture edit rate starts and that ARO starts to climb and it’s not a spike, it’s a consistent application, right over months and that’s really where you want to start. And so Bill and Uwe, if you guys want to kind of kick us off and we can go through this infographic, this kind of how to guide of what to focus on and then when Eric and Don, I really just want to get your feedback on, hey, that was a big issue in my shop. That was a challenge or we didn’t even do that and here’s why. Sound good?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:13:48):
Awesome. Thank you guys. Yeah, Bill, if you don’t mind, I kick it off. So you see on the left-hand side what Tom called the Don’s, and often you learn more from how not to do it than from how to do it. So I would really love to go through it because it’s a habit. What we’re talking about are certain habits. So the one we encountered is since time is so precious, a lot of shops did a quick visual inspection of the car and seeing whether there is something to gain. And when they saw something, then they took the digital tablet and started taking the pictures of what I call cherry picking of the things the technician thought can be sold by the service advisor and that’s not consistent. Instead we want to do a consistent inspection and then we hear a lot of wow that takes such a long time and so on and so forth. And so what we have done and implement is what we call carryover. Carryover helps you for repeat visits. So we present the previous inspection results to the technician and all he needs to do is to say, yep, still the same or no, it has changed. So I have a little example here.
This is how in the new version, the carryover feature is going to look on the tablet and you see everything about the inspection topic, pictures, everything. And then all you need to do is confirm and then it takes you to the next topic. So under the assumption you have repeat visits, which often happen when the budget of the customer is not there for the full thing. So you get them back four weeks later, the part is not there or you get them back the next week, don’t skip the inspection, instead do a carry over inspection. And then all the tech does is confirm, confirm more than added a new node or take a new picture. I hope that makes sense. So question. And so I want to add to more aspects, pictures only bad items and follow a picture policy just by counting pictures does not leverage the potential because if you focus only on bad items and don’t use it also as a retention tool for good items, you always come across as saying my course in such a bad shape.
Instead you can say, look, last time we did this made that repair, it’s still in awesome shape. Here’s a picture I also like to say, because we’re talking on steroids, you don’t really need to count pictures. We have a feature called mandatory topics. So if you sit down with your team and say, this is what we want to see in every inspection, then you mark them mandatory and techs or service advisors cannot skip them. So from now on you don’t even need to count pictures because the inspection sheet as configured is telling the tech more or less what to do. Okay, lots of stuff. Let me summarize the habit of cherry picking. Avoids consistency backfires, make sure the service advisor adds layman’s terms and not technician lingo because that’s like me having our software developers talking to you. That’s going to be a fun conversation about database queries and all that stuff. Only experts understand, so it has to be layman. And then to really support the consistency, we recommend use mandatory topics and use the carry over feature. Bill. Anything to add?
Tom Dorsey (00:18:30):
So that’s quite a bit to unpack there. And so I really would like to start with Don and because you know what? When I’m in a high volume shop and I got a quick expected turnaround time if I’m doing tire and how probably the visual inspection part is going to be part of your check-in process, right? How do you guys do the intake? Have you created a specific digital inspection for intake? And let me start out with do you agree with Uwe’s kind of habits that need to be changed?
Don Stewart (00:19:13):
For me, yes. I mean before we was doing paper inspections, it was really easy just to one line everything. The digital stuff, it does guide everybody. We are pretty consistent on all of that. I’ll admit, I do like to have 10 pictures or more per ticket so the customer does see good stuff and they see that first of course. And then the stuff that needs attention editing pictures, we edit pretty much all of them. My techs, I’ve talked to them, you’re talking about doing just tires and try to be quick in and out. We actually talked to the customer on the intake describing what we’re going to do as far as the inspection and about how long it takes and what to expect there. I have meetings with all of my guys every week. None of ’em want an abbreviated inspection. They all say we need to just do the full inspection. My techs definitely see the value in it just as the shop does.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:20:33):
Tom Dorsey (00:20:34):
Awesome. So there is no cherry picking that you have to kind of deal with,
Don Stewart (00:20:39):
Right? Not now.
Tom Dorsey (00:20:41):
Awesome. So was there in the past, did you have that as one of the issues that you noticed have gotten kind of managed once you started digital inspections?
Don Stewart (00:20:51):
I don’t really know what it was. I don’t know if it was the video or the tablets just have a better effect on the texts. They’ve all got their own. I don’t know if it’s, gosh, I don’t know if they’re just more interested in doing it on tablets rather than paper, but it just seems to work better for them.
Tom Dorsey (00:21:20):
And are you a success?
Don Stewart (00:21:23):
I’m proud. I’m not. That’s
Tom Dorsey (00:21:24):
Fantastic. How about you Eric? So kind of the same thing because you guys got pretty solid car count, right? And do you find yourself or have you because it doesn’t look, I got to tell you, it doesn’t look like you. One of the things that really struck me, I got to off on a tangent, but one of the things that really struck me when looking at your data is how you guys went from brand new shop to a hundred miles an hour in like a week. I think you go almost immediately to about a 98% inspection rate. Motorist research time is within a couple of weeks of you signing up is up in the six hundreds. It seems like you guys just made a plan and then implemented the plan and you had the whole team bought in on it.
Eric Sevim (00:22:15):
Yeah, well the implementation portion of it, it looks that way because it took us two to three months to build everything out that we wanted. And you asked a question of Don and long story short is yes, the team was bought in, we were already doing digital vehicle inspections. We tried to recreate AutoVitals to match really closely to what we were doing in the past. So that was a huge win. So I didn’t want to retrain technicians on how to do it necessarily, but just that hey, it’s a new system. You got to learn kind of the systematization of AutoVitals
Tom Dorsey (00:22:55):
Almost like carry forward. Yeah.
Eric Sevim (00:23:00):
And you asked about inspections. We did create an initial check-in inspection for the vehicle when it arrives. It was before done on paper now digitally captured. And just a little side note, two people have asked us about the new damage that they found on their vehicle and we went back and looked at the photos and shared it with them and said, oh yeah, that was there upon arrival. Here’s some photos. So the implementation of the actual vehicle check-in inspection saved us a couple grand already in terms of inspecting every vehicle. We have one major that’s like lift the car up, pull the tires off, go through it front to back, up and down and that’s effective. And then also, I think I’m saying it right, is it Uwe? There’s there’s a way to go in and then look at each technician individually under the reports and see who’s recommending certain inspection items over other technicians.
So once we got into the beginning stages, then we started unpacking it a little bit and said, okay, which technicians need training? How come this guy’s recommending 30% of the time timing belts and this one is 2% of the cars he’s recommending timing belts. So the way we got quickly to where we are today is we started unpacking these and digging deeper and then doing individual training once we did the global training and then we did create an inspection, the digital inspection for each sort of scenario we could imagine. And not every single one, let me back up. There’s a brake inspection check engine light inspection, an airbag inspection, so individualized for specific systems in the cars and we always asked for the technicians to review it before we implemented it. And then there’s an open door policy. So if they think we’re too heavy on something, let’s back it out. If there’s something that’s missing, let’s do that. If there’s a concern that’s not there that should be, that just makes it clickable and fast for them, come to the office, let’s add it right away. So it’s just been a collaborative effort from the get go and we’re still iterating as we go through this and it’s all, again going back to how much value and transparency can we bring for the client, let them make the decision. We’ll just bring all the facts to the front.
Bill Connor (00:25:35):
So before we get off on the next section here, I’d like to point out that when we’re taking the picture of these good items, we want to make that default topic things that we can actually take good with a measurement. There’s nothing more frustrating to the customer than going ahead and being able to see something decay over time and not understand it. So anything we could take with a measurements. So tire tread depth is good. Antifreeze protection level moisture protection. It might be your inductive battery tester to go ahead and show state the health of the battery, but a pitcher with a measurement is a hell of a lot better than just a pitcher saying good,
Tom Dorsey (00:26:10):
That’s a fantastic point Bill. And because exactly that, it’s good for the motorists, it’s also good for you because now you’ve got a baseline, you have something to measure against as time progresses and it’s going to just help you in that alignment with your customer to have them buy into and commit to your ongoing maintenance exit schedule shouldn’t even be a question honestly. It’s the next logical step in the maintenance of the vehicle because of exactly what Bill said is we’ve gone in there and put the work in and made that and aligned on that understanding. Real quick, I wanted to mention too, Eric, you got a cheerleader in there. Chris Maggard is in here rooting for you in the chat and she’s saying that you’re one of the best process driven shops she’s ever worked with and she’s worked with a lot of ’em. And so that’s high praise coming from Chris and that you built your first standard operating procedure fully on your own and implemented it with the staff by doing a lot of continuous meetings and feedback, bringing your shop on board. Great job Eric. Not to mention you also implemented ProTrac at the same time. So she’s saying you like to bite off a lot.
Eric Sevim (00:27:27):
Yeah, my marriage almost ended, but we got it done. Like wow.
Tom Dorsey (00:27:32):
Yeah, and Ray cars asking about map guidelines also. I just wanted to throw that in the conversation as well is how do you guys manage map? I know Don, you’re a MAP compliance shop. Eric, you guys map compliant?
Eric Sevim (00:27:46):
I’m not sure what does that stand for?
Tom Dorsey (00:27:49):
First assurance program. Yeah, I know you got, it’s
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:27:53):
An initiative. It’s an initiative. It goes back to, I don’t know whether you remember that, but California sued Sears long time ago and as a result the MAP program was created, which standardizes the inspection sheet so that motorists get a consistent inspection everywhere where a map is being offered.
Eric Sevim (00:28:25):
I’ve never heard of it, so I probably can’t comment on that.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:28:29):
Tom Dorsey (00:28:30):
I think we’ve got some map inspections that folks have shared in the library too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:28:34):
Tom Dorsey (00:28:35):
So if you want to get, just go into the backend, go into your inspections tab, look in the library and you’ll see some map compliant inspections in there and get you an idea of what those topics are and what the parameters are.
Bill Connor (00:28:50):
When you think through your inspection sheet properly and you build the conditions in there where they actually drive the status and the recommendation, you can pretty much rest assured that you’re going to have consistency that they’re really looking for that a leak is actually something that’s dripping on the ground and a seep is something that makes a stain and if you build them into your conditions, you’ll be spot on anyway. So again, the logic behind it is really solid, but we can actually, with our inspection sheets being so flexible, you can be spot on and adopt that process if that’s what you want to do.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:29:22):
If I may, I would like to ask Eric, it sounded like you invested a lot of time individual education. How did you do that in terms of is there lunch and learn or
Tom Dorsey (00:29:37):
Yeah, was it after hours? How’d you keep your
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:29:38):
Production? How do you keep the technicians happy in terms of pay and invest in training,
Eric Sevim (00:29:47):
I just do a lot of walking around the shop. So I do all my research before hours, before operating hours. So I just get during the day and then I’ll bring it out to the technician and I’ll just show them on the screen. And the fun thing about that is it’s not about me, it’s about the computer program and we say, Hey, this is an area that we’re curious about. Tell us a little bit more about how you’re doing. So we do a lot of question asking and let them come up with the answers. And we’ve been successful for us because we learn a lot. I just realized that someone was marking, like see other notes I think in the correction line or the concern line, it was saying see other notes. So it looked like 80% of the cars he was recommending wheel locks.
And I was like, oh, you can’t do that anymore. That’s triggering something, right? So we learned stuff as well as training with the technician. So we’ve done that and then every day we were having conversations at the beginning of, and now it’s a weekly on Sunday, I’ll put together all my notes based on the BCP page and then we go ahead and send it out to all of our staff. They have time to review it and then we have a Wednesday meeting that we discuss the previous week’s data points. And they’re not always good and they’re not always bad. We’re still learning. I’m looking at your screen share here and there’s things where I just took notes next to me and I’m like, oh, we could execute on that. And the bottom line is we just chunk it out one week at a time, one project at a time. There’s no other way to do it. It’s overwhelming as it is. And I think that’s what we’re trying to take it a week at a time to answer your question.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:31:40):
That’s cool. And do you have any incentive built in or is it all goodwill? Teamwork?
Eric Sevim (00:31:53):
There’s no financial incentive. It’s more of like, Hey, this is a best practice and if you don’t think it is, let’s have a conversation about it. And I think that’s where the buy-in comes from because they get to be part of the process. But me and my brother own the shop together and we’re just highly engaged with the staff. Not micromanaging, but more just saying, Hey, we’re here to discuss it, let’s make it work for you and for us and ultimately for the client. So that’s been kind of our MO from the beginning.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:29):
Thank you Don. Don, how do you train? I mean you do shop meetings, is that also when you do the training?
Don Stewart (00:32:40):
No, really. I do one-on-one meetings with all of our techs and service writers every week and take suggestions from them, give them suggestions, they got a problem with anything. That’s when we address it. As far as training, gosh, all my guys has been here several years. They’ll range in age from mid twenties to 40 and they always just excited to be on board with it. Period. They was ready for a change. It makes a substantial amount of difference in their paycheck every week if they do. So most all of the training that they’ve done is on their own. I provide them the location to do it. They can do it at their own leisure, but they have done it pretty much on their own time. But they know what the bottom line is is their pay.
Tom Dorsey (00:33:49):
Yep. Money’s a motivator. Yeah, all of a sudden I’m coming in early and I’m staying late,
Don Stewart (00:33:55):
Late. They all do it and they got the flexibility to do it at home or do it at the shop here or wherever. But everything seems to be doing pretty well there.
Eric Sevim (00:34:12):
We one note on the training, oftentimes the training is more of a, hey, this is what we expect, something like this as an example. So for brakes for example, we put the measurements on there. You have a little gauge where you touch the brake pad and then you get a really good photo of it and the brake gauges are green, yellow, and red. And so we’ll give them one or two examples of what the expectation is and visually show them how the customer will see it, visually, show them how the service rider sees it. So we try to give them full picture into what their actions ultimately end up in. And we find that that’s incredibly helpful versus maybe just doing some random training here and there. We like to share the whole story being transparent, going back to the beginning of all this and how their actions will really help the shop and ultimately help bring work back to them,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:35:10):
Right? That’s what this is all about. Thank you.
Tom Dorsey (00:35:19):
So let’s talk picture editing because I really think this is one of the most critical, it’s the easiest to skip when you’re busy and it’s in my opinion, is absolutely the most critical step that you can’t skip. And there’s a big difference between a picture that’s edited and a picture that’s edited properly and well. And it’s going to do work for you because that’s really what the key is. When you think of picture editing, you want the picture pictures worth a thousand words. Well, you want it to actually get out there and tell those words. You want it to work for you. So you don’t have to go through and answer all those questions. And I mean a really easy way to visualize that is just think about it, send your mom a picture of a engine compartment and let her figure out where the drive belt is or a picture that’s zoomed in focus, good lighting, arrows and text on the image not off somewhere else in some notes right there on the image to direct me to aha drive belt crack. Makes sense. I get it. That’s bad. So let’s talk a little bit of, if you could jump, kind of kick us off about what have you identified as some of those habits and picture editing that service advisors need to work on, especially consider also all that hard work the technician did to get it up to you. To this point, you got to ask their baby, you got to kind of handle it like one.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:36:50):
I mean the general suggestion I have is the moment you put yourself into your customer’s layman’s shoes and look at the picture and understand what it says, you’re good. If you don’t understand what it says, you need to add information. That’s the easiest rule of thumb I can give. And so to break that down into more detail, keep in mind that nodes at the inspection topic are great, but they’re not shown while researching a picture. If you imagine you have a mobile phone in front of you and you just tap an image, it blows up, you see all the details, everything else which was on the inspection sheet is now hidden behind that image. So one of the biggest impactful things to do is put the notes on the pictures as captions because then the whole story is on the image. And then you might just need one image. That’s probably the number one thing I would recommend. And in the new release we help you a little bit. So if the first picture doesn’t have a caption, then just take the notes from the topic automatically. But in general, that is what a service advisor should focus on. A green check mark is so self-explanatory and it’s so to add, right? So that is really important and
Tom Dorsey (00:38:42):
It makes you feel good. It sets you up because to Don’s point, getting those walls down, Hey, this is good stuff, great job maintaining your vehicle, green check mark really makes me feel good and it brings my defenses down for the next step.
Bill Connor (00:38:58):
So really when it comes to taking pictures, you only want to take enough pictures to tell the story. And the story is exactly what the customer would see. If they’re at the shop looking at their car, they know it’s their car because they’re looking at the doggone thing, the technician’s going to point to it, that’s going to be your arrow. And the technician’s going to say, this is what the component is, this is what it does and here’s why you should spend money to fix it today. If you get those four elements on the picture, you’re going to win every time and there’s no need for additional pictures. Now the other way around, let’s go ahead and take it the other way around. They just put an arrow on something that’s broke and that would be the equivalent of the technician pointing to something on the car, sending the customer back into office and having the service writer explain to ’em what it was that makes no sense or for the technician to point it to ’em.
And then for the service writer to go over there and say, Hey, read these notes on this piece of paper, that’d be like having a note. So having everything on the picture is key and there’s four things they need to know where it is, what it is, what needs to be done about it, and why they should spend money. And now you’ve got a home run. And again, on our next release, we have the ability to go ahead and build that into the guided inspection sheet, the one that we already have configured or build your own, but make sure that you take advantage of the tools that we provide for you. And then it gets really super consistent and really quick.
Tom Dorsey (00:40:17):
Yeah, thank you Bill. And make sure you write that down right, because back to who’s point earlier, it’s not just about counting pictures in your picture policy, it’s about adding those critical success elements that Bill just described for us into those pictures. That’s the full picture policy. The one that’s going to pay, that’ll pay off
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:40:43):
Eric and Don. Any additions or,
Tom Dorsey (00:40:47):
And are you guys following those best practices already or are you learning stuff?
Don Stewart (00:40:52):
Yeah, I guess I took from the other guy that we don’t need to take pictures of the good stuff. Is that what I
Bill Connor (00:41:01):
Heard? Nope. Nope. So your retention starts right from the first time you ever see a customer. So there should always be some pictures that you call mandatory that you want to see measurements taken on every visit. And then you want to tell the customer a dropoff, sir, we want to see you three times a year or four times a year. So we can not only see what’s wearing, but we can predict the rate they’re wearing because of the measurements we take in the photos. Now you’re using the inspection sheet to go and bring them back from now on and also bring their friends in along with ’em. So yes, there has to be pictures of, in my opinion, good with measurements is the most effective way to do it. Right, right.
Tom Dorsey (00:41:39):
Good With measurements,
Eric Sevim (00:41:40):
Yeah. I’ll just add two notes about the pictures. We did implement a picture policy. As a matter of fact, we took it right off of the AutoVitals help website and then we added a few things specific for our shop. So that’s been the guidance for the technicians. And secondly is the picture editing and the captions. We did as much training as we can and we’ll continue to do it so that the technicians do most of the editing. I have more technicians than I do service advisors and I’d rather my service advisors spend time on other things where the technician is doing the picture. So they’re trying to tell the story with the picture. They may as well finish it by putting some language on that story. So I would just encourage every shop owner to train your technicians to do that work so that your service advisors is just doing a review and there is a data point that you can track who’s doing the edits and what percentage of the pictures are getting edited by which person. And I think that’s a data point that we look at each week I want to see my service writer editing percentage go down to a particular threshold and I want to see the technician edits go up to a particular threshold.
Tom Dorsey (00:42:56):
Bill Connor (00:42:58):
And when you think about it, the technicians at the customers at the shop, they would do that. They’d point to it, they’d tell ’em what it is and so on. So they’re only doing the same thing, but now they can do it on a hundred percent of the repair orders without a customer hanging around the shop like a fender lizard. That’s not a bad program.
Tom Dorsey (00:43:15):
And really the best practice there is because when you use the voice to text and imagine you’re speaking to the customer, well now those notes become much more natural and there’s less editing and spelling edits that the service writer has to do when he catches them. And it doesn’t sound like it’s just out of a textbook or robotic. It sounds like I’m having a conversation with you.
Bill Connor (00:43:43):
Tom Dorsey (00:43:44):
So Terry Graffiti real quick is agreeing with Eric saying that they do the same. It’s the tech story to tell and we are fortunate with our tech’s ability to articulate well in layman’s terms also. And Carlos Contreras is asking, Eric, how much did your sales increase in your ROA with the digital inspections? What did your shop do in 2019?
Eric Sevim (00:44:07):
Yeah, so we were told that our average ARO would increase 20%. And I was like, no way, because we thought we were doing a great job. And by fine tuning this, and again we’re I think maybe three or four months in we’re starting to hit our stride and we’re up 20% where we were before on the average ARO. We’ve done a lot, but I attribute most of that to the AutoVitals program. And how much did my sales increase? Part of this COVID-19 shutdown is like skewing my data as well. But we are looking at it from anytime we look at data, we look at what the control is, like AutoVitals, average ARO time spent by the client reviewing and the number of edited photos. Those all you can see if there’s a problem with the data. So you have to look at a couple different points. But I would say yeah, we went up over 20% on the average ARO And what did your shop do in 2019?
That’s a kind of open-ended question. If you want to clarify, I can answer, but what I will tell you is that we did have different software platform. We were doing digital vehicle inspections. It’s just we didn’t have the data behind it to support better decision making process. And we also didn’t have that send report then wait 20 minutes then follow up. And we didn’t do a good job of alerting the clients of what the process will be like for the day. So some of those just really solid fundamentals that AutoVitals has put together for us, we’ve implemented that and I think a lot of that has to do with the success.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:46:07):
And we didn’t pay to say that
Tom Dorsey (00:46:12):
We paid him in success. Yes, but that’s the thing. We’ve heard the story, it takes the commitment. It’s not a toaster. I say it all the time, you can’t just plug it in, push down the button and expect some crispy bread to come out and everybody have breakfast. Well
Eric Sevim (00:46:30):
Tom, here’s the thing, Tom, I told you guys, we spent two to three months before we even started just to get this thing in our eyes, just build it out for our shop. So you’re absolutely right. If you invest the time in, you’re more bought in. Everyone’s more bought in. And then we went back and talked to Chris Maggard who was our coach and she coached us through where to look. And then best practices, I mean talk to me in a year and we’ll talk about more success.
Tom Dorsey (00:47:00):
Yeah buddy, we will be. And to the point, and I’m not trying to brag and I’m not trying to, the other digital inspection that you had, it shall remain nameless, but you guys were already running digital inspections and you’re able to build an increase on that and a lot of the stuff that you’re talking about, yeah, we offer some different functionality and different features, but that data which you’re talking about, that’s how we understood Amazon rule to begin with was by looking at the data, the results of the shops that are using our digital inspection and then thinking about how to improve that and that some of it is just best practice has nothing to do with the technology, it’s how you apply it. But we came to those conclusions by working with guys like you and looking at that data that’s available that we make available to you. So if we can figure out things, and you know what? Bill’s a great shop operator and we’ve had plenty, but I don’t know how many shops have you worked in buddy?
And so it’s really being able to see the problem, looking at the actual data to determine what the solutions may be and being a risk taker and just throwing it out there. Uwe loves to tell stories and I love to hear ’em boy, especially when he first met Mitch Schneider and some of these guys where he just walked in and said, Hey, I’m kind of a fanboy of auto shops and I don’t really know a wrench from an open end from a box in, but I want to help. And that’s really how it culminated. And through the analysis of that data, we come to things that thank you are proven as best practices. If you change those habits and you implement ’em. And some of ’em might sound crazy, but the proof is in the pudding. And if other folks are having that success, don’t reinvent the wheel, don’t sit there and try to deny it. Get on the bus. Dustin just gave us a 10 minute warning, we’re about a halfway through, but before that I want to, Steven KOAs is saying, will this webinar be available for later viewing? So again, folks, we post it up at, man, I’m going to butcher Dustin, help me out buddy. What’s the link now? Is it help dot It’s
Dustin Anaas (00:49:15): Yes. There’s a new look to it too. You guys are going to like it. And then Hey Steven too. We’re also going to email it to you tomorrow. Okay. So we’ll send you all the links too and I’m going to put a link to it, all the previous episodes right now into the chat. Okay.
Tom Dorsey (00:49:32):
Yeah. Appreciate you coming and joining us Steven. No doubt Carlos is saying he agrees a hundred percent with the technology is great, but it will not do any good if you don’t do great picture taking inspections with great explanations. Let the inspection do the educating when our customers call back after reviewing the inspections, it’s just a matter of choosing what it is they want to do today and then you’re set up for what they’re going to do when you get the exit schedule at pick up and they come back. I mean it really is. That’s the progression. What are you going to do today? What are you doing tomorrow? Yeah, thank you Carlos. Awesome. Alright guys, so we’re down to 10 minutes. Sorry. And I know I’ve been rambling let’s, I don’t want to miss out on these last topics because they’re very important. So let’s make sure we get ’em onto the show so we get ’em into that recording. So next up is motorist engagement. Is there anything that we missed on picture editing or anything that Don or Eric you guys want to add? What the heck?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:50:37):
I’m sorry. Shouldn’t click on my screen. Cut this out Dustin.
So motorless research time, Eric said it already. We as consumers want to take time to research our options. If we have somebody whispering in my ear what I should do, I feel kind of taken aback. I want to do the research on my own. Most of us want to do that. So that’s why we came up with this rule. And it’s not that we just made it up. There’s a long research and working with shops behind it. And so in general the simple rule is send out the inspection and then this 20 minute timer starts ticking down and this number starts counting up and then you just wait for the motorist callback. And if that’s not happening in the 20 minute timer is up, then you call and then you mark with this dropdown what the status was, right? If you had to call, you say, and you leave a voicemail, then you say left voicemail. If the customer called you use this or you called the customer successfully, use this. So this way you can actually let everybody know what the status of that customer engagement is. Very simple
Tom Dorsey (00:52:24):
And then fix it right at the drop. Then you just know, hey, if I’m having to leave a lot of voicemails or I’m having to call the customer, they’re not kind of getting the program. So we got to tighten it up at the drop on setting expectations on what to do when the inspection comes. And then you should see more customer called me,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:52:39):
Eric Sevim (00:52:40):
Can I ask a question about that? That dropdown left voicemail I called customer. I haven’t used the new system yet, but can we click more than one?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:52:51):
That’s a good point. More than one. No, we have one option. We have only one option right now.
Eric Sevim (00:52:57):
And then one of my service advisors, I’m like, Hey, did that client get a call yet? And he’s like, I called him three times. I said, did we text them? Did we email them? So if there’s a way to give me all those options and then allow me to choose more than one. And the reason I say that is I don’t know my generation, a lot of people don’t check their voicemail anymore. I see missed a call and I call ’em back or so a text or email might be effective or someone’s in a meeting right in the Bay area, everyone’s in their Zoom meetings and phone call is not as effective maybe as something else. So maybe just adding a few more features in there and then maybe we could color coat them. So if it’s been done, it gets a color background.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:53:50):
So great input. Brilliant. So see this icon up here, that’s the one indicating whether an email has been sent and opened or not opened yet. Same for the text. The text just has a different icon and it’s a green check mark in case of a text when it has been clicked. So you can see the information you were asking for up here and can combine it with that. But I agree if we can just combine them all into one and then show the end result up here, that’s just one place where you have to put your eyes on. So we’ll take that into consideration. Thank you Eric.
Bill Connor (00:54:38):
So the motorist research time is one of the top level KPIs that we really want to monitor. And the reason why is it’s a great indication of how well you’ve done. A customer is never going to buy what they don’t understand. And high motorist research time lets me know that they’re getting the understanding from you not having to go anywhere else to get it. So again, I want to understand motorist research time. I want to understand how to use that KPI as a diagnostic tool and to use it as a goal to know how well that we’re doing in the process.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:55:11):
Yes, and I would like to thank you, Bill. I would like to point out this, lots of shops keep the information vague on purpose on the inspection result because they rely on the phone call by the service advisor to complete the story. The reason for that is there is a kind of underlying concern that people Google and start comparing. So if you keep it vague, but it’s enough teasing effect that customers look at it, the service advisor has a chance to sell, and we believe actually we don’t believe we know from the numbers. That’s not really true anymore because the power of your work is in the accuracy and transparency of the information. You know how hard it is to Google all this stuff and how long it takes if the inspection result is already top notch and beats all other Google results you will ever be able to find you’re done. That is what you need to feel. There’s a comparison going on and even if there’s a comparison going on, you have the best result and then they come back to the best result because it’s about their car
Tom Dorsey (00:56:36):
And decide to
Bill Connor (00:56:37):
Act. And the simple way to really think about that, if the customer is at the shop at the side of the car, you’re not going to let them phone a friend or Google it, you’re going to explain it to ’em right there. So why would you want to do anything different in the digital world? So again, think about the logic of what you used to do and transfer that to the digital world and then you’re going to be in good shape in a really quick manner.
Tom Dorsey (00:56:58):
Alright, we’re down to, we got four minutes real quick, so we got to get in at pickup at least we want to get that in here. And real quick, Terry s Scaff had put into chat, she had kind of an old school solution. The analog solution to Eric’s request is she said she took a label maker and just wrote text, text, text and stuck it on the monitors pin pin it to their shirt. All right, let’s talk pickup.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:57:27):
Yes. So in pickup we have already something and let me go to a real shop that probably is the easiest to do so here. I hope this is big enough. Let me point at it. You can actually say and configure what will be the recommendations for your next visit. In other words, what portion will show up in the service reminder. And you can configure that here. You see that’s tons of options. The time is not enough to explain every single detail, but there isn’t help that AutoVitals article about it. Maybe if you could find it and put it in chat, we will definitely post it on the Facebook forum. As a quick advice, if you use a point of sale system which supports the client jobs, that’s the number one thing you would check. And by default we also put all future attention topics on the reminder. So how does it look? You have then a give. Oh wow, I just could see, oh, I just moved down your platform.
Tom Dorsey (00:58:59):
I’m going to sell it.
Bill Connor (00:59:00):
You just showed a new feature.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:59:05):
So let’s look at maybe an already finished one like this one and go to the CRM next visit that will show you what items, client jobs, future attention or CRM recommendations will show up in the reminder. And we recommend you use this tab to educate the customer what will be in the reminder, right? It’s setting the stage for the next step. So in this case, for this customer, it’s a bunch of future attention items, but it could be another one. Let’s just maybe pick this one here and see what it is there. And did I ask, I probably have picked the same one. Give me one second and scroll down a little further.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:08):
And while s finding that before, because we’re going to have a hard break right now, Eric Don, really appreciate you guys coming off. Fantastic show. I think you helped a lot of folks today. Really good discussion.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:00:18):
Thank you. So here you see point of sale recommendations as well and future attention, right? So this is the place, the CRM next visit tap where all the recommendations which will show up in the service reminder are visible and the recommended practices. Before you let the customer go, you click on it and show him this is going to be pending and here is the next due date. You will get a reminder with this content,
Tom Dorsey (01:00:49):
This 10 and nine times out of 10. When you go through that, they’re going to say, Hey, you know what? Let’s not go through all that drama. Let’s just get us onto the schedule right now. And that’s how you capture that exit schedule. Tell the story. What’s the expected? You’re going to get the reminders anyway, but get ’em on the schedule at pickup. All right, we got to get, thank you very much, that was awesome show. Thank you everybody. Thank you Dustin. Bill, Uwe, Eric, Don, thank you. Next week, same time, same place. We’ll send out a post about the show topics. We’ll see you next Wednesday.

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