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Episode Description

This week’s recording of The Digital Shop Talk Radio Show was focused on the Service Team and how to drive shop growth through their digital efforts. By watching OR listening to this week’s recording, you’ll learn:
– Overcoming SA’s typical challenges – especially during implementation
– Metrics and milestones to track along the way
– Best practices for SAs and owners in the implementation process
– Quick wins to get your Service Team fired up and ready to hit huge goals

Episode Transcript

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

Tom Dorsey (00:00:03):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey, joined as always by my co-host, Uwe Kleinschmidt, the founder of AutoVitals, and today we’re going to be talking with you. It’s a second part of our multi-part series on setting those fundamentals and best practices in your transition to become a fully digital shop. Last week we talked technician best practices and fundamentals, and today we’re going to be talking about how to set those fundamentals and those best practices at the front counter working with your service advisor. And so we’ve got a great couple of guests joining us today. Welcome back, Dave Earp from Village Transmission and Automotive, and he’s joined with Curt McGregor, who’s your service writer, service manager, right hand man, the guy who does all the work but gets none of the credit. That guy, the offensive lineman of the automotive repair industry. Welcome gentlemen.
Dave Earp (00:01:06):
Thank you. Good to be
Tom Dorsey (00:01:07):
Here. Yeah, thanks for coming on. Know, you guys are super busy, which is great. We were talking a little bit before the show and you were talking about how, gosh, things are starting to feel back to normal, and so that’s highly encouraging both course for y’all. And then for folks that are experiencing the same thing and also for folks that haven’t started experiencing that stuff yet, how’s that working out for you guys? Cranking on all cylinders now, huh?
Dave Earp (00:01:31):
Yeah, I mean we’re probably running about 80% of what we normally would. We’re 20% down, there’s no doubt about it, but it seemed like the first two weeks of April were pretty dead. I mean, I furloughed pretty much everybody and ran the shop myself with only three technicians. But after we got through those two weeks, I called Curt, I said, Hey, things are picking up. I need you back. And he said, no, I think I’m going to exercise my right to socially distance myself. And I said, you don’t have no right to socially distance yourself. Get your butt back here. I’m going to find somebody else. So he came right back and then it’s been building and the momentum. I can feel the momentum picking back up. People are tired of being locked up, they’re getting out and they’re doing things traffic skidding. It’s still not as bad as it used to be, but I coming to work, I’m starting to, I have to hit the brakes a few times now, so that’s a good thing.
Tom Dorsey (00:02:35):
Yes, sir. Well, that’s fantastic.
Dave Earp (00:02:38):
I feel like it’s getting better for sure.
Tom Dorsey (00:02:40):
Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. And this is a great time, right? Because it’s a great time to, when you were down, like what Adam was saying when we had Adam on, he said, Hey, I can curl up in a ball or I can use this time to knuckle down and reinforce my processes and best practices and train and be prepared. And so that’s exactly what we’re kind of doing, and you can see as we’re starting to come out of this things is folks that have put those processes in place like yourself are really prepared and are just shifting right into overdrive as it comes and not scrambling. And you guys have joined us several years, two years at least of at the conference. And last time, this last conference, I know when we left, you were getting ready to get back into the shop and implement some of the stuff that we’d covered at conference.
And for folks that are doing it in the same boat, right? They’re either brand new, they’re thinking about it, maybe they’re not doing it yet, or even they tried to carve their own way and now they’re saying, Hey, I’ve been hearing all this stuff and these guys are using this process and I need to learn it because I need to get these results. And a lot of times what we hear is the typical challenges that come out of this is that from a service writer’s perspective, Curt, is that, gosh, it’s just more work already. I’ve been doing this a long time. Customers they buy anything, I tell ’em they love me, this, what am I going to do all this extra work for? Did you guys, in the beginning, did you kind of run into that same challenge?
Dave Earp (00:04:19):
Yeah, well, there was definitely some growing pains. Fortunately, for many years we had already been doing paper inspections, and so I was used to the technician having to check marks and leave notes on a paper inspection. And then I would have to take that and type in customer recommendations or do estimates based on the paper inspection. So once we got past the growing pains, this is really a lot more seamless. I usually don’t have to type up anything. I do a little bit of editing, but I can do copy and pasting. So it’s been real nice. Like I said, there was some growing pains, but I’m really a believer and see the value in it now.
Tom Dorsey (00:05:04):
Yeah, because that’s another thing that folks, they’ll do. We do the inspection, we take the number of pictures you guys are telling us, but then we just kind of, again, it’s extra work to get in there and edit up those pictures and start to tell the story through the work that you do before you send it out to the customer. What was the epiphany for you to get you kind of consistently and build the habit of editing those pictures and telling those stories? I mean, was it you saw an increase in your sales customers told you how much they like it, you noticed you spent a lot less time on the phone to get approvals. How did that process work out for you?
Dave Earp (00:05:43):
Well, it was really two main things. One, the customers, if they had a chance to look at the inspection prior to calling me, their questions were very pointed and it usually made my job a lot easier. A lot of times they had already decided to approve repairs before they even called me back because of the picture evidence, which is very, very valuable. So that was one primary thing that really helped me see the value in the digital inspection. The other was multiple, multiple customers saying, wow, the dealer doesn’t do this. Wow, I’ve been to a lot of shops. You guys are great. I mean, we have a big screen TV down in our lobby, and I love putting up the inspection with the customer in front of me. If it’s not an over the phone, if they’re like an oil change appointment and it’s done, I put it up on the screen behind me and I review it with them. And a lot of times they’re just blown away. They’re like, you guys are really high tech and this is really great. You’re showing me what you’re talking about and it’s so valuable to them, and that is huge, and that’s why it’s so valuable to me.
Tom Dorsey (00:06:57):
And that’s really what happens, right? It’s that wow factor when you get that response and hey, you want to deliver that, right? That’s what the mandate of your job really is, is what Dave expects, right? Is that you’re delivering wow, each and every time. There is nothing really that can differentiate from maybe an experience I get from a shop down the road than that digital inspection up there and the transparency. And then the other thing is you’re stamping it on there that hey, this is the condition, this is the actual, the trust factor is huge because there’s nothing to hide. Have to. When you were kind of implementing this and you brought it to Curt, did you say, Hey, here’s the system, figure it out. You’re going to do it like this, or how did you kind of incentivize the adoption at the front counter? Are you given bonus on hours sold or ARO or anything like that for Curt? Or were you just like, Hey, we’re in this together and shared that same vision?
Dave Earp (00:08:05):
Well, I mean, I’d done different incentive programs over the years and changed things up, tried to make it fun, but ultimately he has paid on gross profit. So it’s pretty easy for him to understand, Hey, Curt, if you do these things, you’ll make more money. It’s pretty simple. He knows that he’s seen the stats. Autobio has flipped out stats. We know the difference between unedited and edited pictures and what they do for average ro, and I just put it to him like that, Hey, you want to make some more money? Let’s edit pictures and watch our average RO go up. And he ran with it.
Tom Dorsey (00:08:44):
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And so for folks that are thinking about this or just getting started, that’s really the key there is from a success breeds success. And if you need to incentivize or create some type of a bonus structure to initially motivate the front counter your service writer, whoever’s your estimator or whatever you got going on, and then celebrate that customer feedback, share it to the whole shop, share it to other customers, post that stuff up because why? Because it’s exciting. We like to please people. We like to give a service experience that wow factor, and then I’ll figure out ways to do more of it. And it just kind of snowballs from there to where you really have this dynamic process in place before you even know it. It’s just feeding itself. You do the edits, you tell the story, you make sure you send it out a hundred percent of the time, and then the customers will respond and before you know it on, they’ll expect it, Hey, where’s my inspection sheet?
Hey, where’s the, can you get me a picture of this or that? And they start actually engaging with you on how that thing is created and how it’s set up and how they actually educate and buy off of that inspection. Guys, we wanted to get, because we’ve got a lot of, this is a really critical success factor here is how you guys got to such consistent performance at the front counter. So this week we’re going to jump into the how a little bit early because we want to get a little deeper into it with you guys while we have you on there and give people a good opportunity to take lots of good notes. And we’ve got quite a bit of information. I think Uwe, you’re going to, why don’t you kick us off and we’re going to talk, oh, we got a poll up. So if you want to go ahead and take the poll real quick and just give us some feedback on what challenges that you’ve been having and how you overcame them. And then Uwe, if you could, let’s kind of dig right into some of the KPIs and start to show folks what are the important metrics that they should be paying attention to while they’re implementing this program at the front counter.
And we’ll go from there. We’ll dig into how Dave and Curt have been doing.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:11:04):
Awesome. Can you guys hear me okay?
Tom Dorsey (00:11:06):
I sure can. Yeah.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:11:08):
Awesome. So let’s get right into it because we have tons of stuff. Let me share my screen. I hope that’s going to work nicely here. Can you see it? Oh, it’s beautiful.
Tom Dorsey (00:11:21):
I see a big BCP.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:11:24):
Yes, a business
Tom Dorsey (00:11:25):
Control panel.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:11:28):
Let’s just start at the beginning and Curt, you and Dave, you alluded to it, right? It all comes down to initially two big factors. If the inspection has been done and the technicians do their job, you have to send it. And there was a little anecdote, I don’t know, years ago when we looked at the system and I remember the data being the following, 75% of all, no, 69% of all service advisors didn’t send more than 75% of the inspection. So there was some cherry picking of what to send, and we were thinking the send button was not big enough. And what it really was is that, Curt, you might relate to it, that lots of service advisor made choices, which inspections to send based on the predicted outcome of the inspection. Am I good at selling X, Y, Z? And that went away when more and more customers behaved exactly the way you described it. So they came with pointed questions, they had the approval already budgeted, and it was just the confirmation of whether it’s the right choice. Did you see that growing confidence on your part and then sending out as many as possible?
Dave Earp (00:13:03):
Oh, definitely. Yes.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:13:06):
And so for everybody out there, so those are the really two basic things. Inspection have to be sent and the pictures on it have to be edited right now we say that with such confidence and why do you state the obvious? But if you really take the time and audit your inspection results, you will see that there is editing pictures and there’s editing pictures. And we want to use today a little bit to go through some fundamentals on what are impactful picture, what are effective pictures, but just to close up this topic here, as you can see, if the inspection sent and the edited pictures per inspection rate goes up, your a OO goes up. I mean, there’s no debate about it, and it’s so remarkable in this graph. Curt, you have, or Dave, do you guys remember an episode where that really hit home where an edited picture sold a big job or something like that?
Dave Earp (00:14:24):
I can’t think of any specific circumstances answers for me. I think it was a webinar that we did maybe a year and a half ago, something like that where you did the same analysis and showed me that the benefit of editing and pictures and the correlation between average ro, once I saw that, went back to my service advisors and said, Hey, look, we got to be editing these pictures and not only that, we need to be sending the inspection. And at that point, we were dismal at best. I think that really the thing that really helped us is automating the sending process. Sometimes guys just forget to send the inspection. So if you stick to the workflow process, at least get your guys to manage the workflow properly, the sending is automated. So I think that that has been the biggest thing that’s helped us with our scent rate and then just ensuring that we’re editing these pictures and sticking to the workflow process.
Tom Dorsey (00:15:41):
Yeah, that’s a huge point. And so for folks that might not be sure what we’re talking about is that you can automate the sending of the inspection when you move the vehicle tile into waiting for approval. What that means is that you’ve sent it out and you’re waiting for them to review and approve. So what does that mean? Well, that just means that you got to get in the habit of doing all of your edits and preparing your story before you move the vehicle over. Simple as that. It’s just a little bit of timing issue there. And once you have that done, today’s point, it becomes automated. It becomes automatic. And so when you get a hundred percent, Curt, has there ever been a time, would you ever say there’s a time where you don’t send an inspection or that you shouldn’t send an inspection?
Dave Earp (00:16:24):
Absolutely not.
Tom Dorsey (00:16:26):
Dave Earp (00:16:27):
Absolutely not.
Exactly. Our technicians are doing very good inspections. Every one of ’em. Once in a while, our senior diagnostic technician, if he’s in a hurry, he may just do the diagnostics. And if I haven’t had a chance to do a walk around, there may not be an inspection. So we’ve been having one of our loop technician help out and do our basic vehicle health inspection if the senior diagnostic tech is too busy and our primary techs have been trained very well by Dave and they’re doing excellent inspections, so there’s never a time that I wouldn’t send one
Tom Dorsey (00:17:10):
Boom. Exactly right. And as a matter of fact, hey, you put in all that work and they do such a great job. You want to brag about it, you want to show it off, hit that send button, right? Deliver it, print it out, and hang it on the wall too while you’re at it because it doesn’t hurt. And then that way they always have that in their pocket. It’s right there in their phone. If they ever need to access it in the future, it doesn’t matter if they’re a waiter, you email or text it to ’em anyway because they’ll review it, they’ll show it off. And like I said, you really want to brag and show off that process that you have there. Thanks, Curt. That was awesome. Let’s talk a little bit, go ahead, I’m sorry.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:17:49):
Yeah, no, I just wanted to go a little bit more into detail because a lot of shops still have a picture policy, which is great, but counting pictures alone can backfire. And I want to show you two examples where it’s obvious, right? The technician took a picture on the left because there has to be a picture on per picture policy, and the service advisor didn’t mark it up because it’s hard to mark up. It’s blurry, it’s dark, right? Look on the right side, same topic might be even the same picture. Zoom in, mark it up, save what you can from the picture and you see day and night how impactful it’s, and so we really recommend to every team out there to do an inspection results audit, focusing on the pictures and put yourself in the motorist shoes and say, would I understand this? I have nobody explaining it to me. Can I look at a picture and know what the picture is supposed to be talking about? That’s the simplest test, and if you do that in a shop meeting as a team, it’s even fun because you’re going to find some interesting pictures taken, I promise.
Dave Earp (00:19:25):
I would put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Look at the inspection like you’re the customer. Can you understand what the technician is communicating to you? If you can’t, you probably shouldn’t send it to your customer.
Tom Dorsey (00:19:37):
Yes, that’s a great point. That might even be part of your audit process. You might ask a customer just standing, sitting in the waiting room, Hey, can you tell me what this is and just show ’em? And if they can then, you know, did it right? If they can’t go back to the drawing board and add some additional information so that it becomes obvious, right? That’s really what you want is not obvious to a technician or an master tech, but obvious to your everyday customer that just puts gas in the car, knows where the key goes,
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:20:07):
Right? Here’s another example, right? The picture on the left is great. I mean there’s no doubt about it. Ride lighting, zoomed in, but now put yourself in the layman’s shoes. Do you know what this is or what it’s supposed to say? That’s the challenge. And whereas on the right hand side with editing even on top of the picture and arrows, yes, it takes what, 30 seconds, but the effect on the motorist is just so much better. So we really want to remind, it’s good to have a picture policy. It’s better to do inspection audits and go to a more advanced policy, I should say, where you not only say how many pictures we’re going to take, but what to do about them, especially for the service advisor.
I want to bring up another thing, and that’s the education, and Curt already alluded to it right here are two examples where on the left hand side it’s the same inspection, but it has no educational information on it. And on the right hand side you see the inspection with educational information on it. And for everybody who wants to know what happens when you press the play button or any field, then this happens, right? And so what that allows the service advisor to do is have the education in the motorist hands so they can educate themselves and make decisions based on their time and in their control instead of applying sales pressure. And so who has not marked up, or I should say, configured their inspections with the educational information, please do it. Consider that a well worth effort because it just adds another component to the ability for the customer to be on their own in a business meeting at home and get the full information needed to make a decision.
Tom Dorsey (00:22:37):
So guys, how did you guys come up with your plan on how you handle that educational content? I mean, are you building it over time as you go? Like Curt, you get a question or you get a series of questions that you say, maybe I wouldn’t get these questions, or I could have these out if I had some video in the inspection sheet and then you guys work out how to get that delivered?
Dave Earp (00:23:02):
Well, as a service advisor, educating the customer is one of my most important duties and I love doing it, but I think that AutoVitals, having all these little educational videos built into the inspection just makes my job easier and I think it builds value with the customer. A lot of times they may have watched that and then I think when they’re talking with me, and I don’t necessarily know whether they’ve clicked on the little mini educational videos, but a lot of times I get that aha moment. I think that what I’m saying is reinforcing what they’ve seen in the inspection and the videos and it just makes everything a more believable, I think it builds value and it builds trust in the customer. If I could just interrupt for one second though, and this may not be part of today’s agenda, but for the listeners out there who might be new to AutoVitals, there’s one very important aspect to AutoVitals besides just the one-time sale to the customer.
If you have repeat customers, a loyal database before the digital inspection, like I said earlier, when we took paper inspections, sometimes the customer didn’t have time or money to do a repair that day. Maybe they’re there for an oil change and you made a future recommendation in our old system, they might call back four months later when it’s time for their next service and they’ll say, Hey, remember when we talked about me needing this? And if I didn’t literally type in the recommendations into our shop management program, I would be like, no, I don’t remember. And in the old days, we would have to really run upstairs to our office, find the file cabinets, pull out their old file, find the paper inspection and review it, but AutoVitals is so powerful. In 10 seconds, I can look up their history, pull up the digital inspection and be looking at exactly what the technician showed me four months ago that I forgot all about, and don’t underestimate the value of that being stored in history.
Tom Dorsey (00:25:15):
Yeah, a lot of guys can relate to that. Man, I can’t tell you how many shops I’ve been through. They got attic space full of file cabinets up there and they’re up and down, up and down and pulling out bundles of paper and I mean, oh my gosh, what a, they were package
Dave Earp (00:25:31):
This thick every customer.
Tom Dorsey (00:25:33):
Yeah. Now you know what you do with that once you get on Autobi is you take all that paperwork and as long as the bar doesn’t require you to have it on file anymore, you create a nice hot fire and then you roast some ribs over the top of it and have barbecue.
That’s what you do with that stuff. That’s fantastic, Curt. No doubt about it, man, is that access to that education and being in tune with that customer, that’s all part of that customer experience that nobody wants to leave your shop rate doesn’t matter anymore. It’s because you guys are right there with me. You understand what I need. You reinforce it. You do what’s expected. I understand what it is that you’re going to do, and why would I go anywhere else? Save 50 bucks or something. That’s ridiculous. No, that’s fantastic. Interrupt anytime with wisdom like that buddy.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:26:23):
Yep. And we will have a follow-up episode exactly about this, how to use inspections for by Tom was talking, I was looking a little bit through the chats and I want to answer a few questions. So what you see here on screenshots is the new system, the release is going to be a soft release. If you want to get your hands on it, please reach out to your AutoVitals advisor, then you will be put on a waiting list so to speak, and then we switch it on for you. The other thing I think Kevin ledgers said earlier, he focuses more on motor risk research time than on picture edit rate, and I couldn’t agree more with him. And what I did here is I created a zoom in on the research time per inspection, the weekly revenue and the inspection sent rate by appointment. So the inspection sent rate by appointment means how many inspections were sent, not of the vehicles which were inspected, but of the vehicles which came in.
So all vehicles had an appointment and you see here up here, that’s the inspection center rate by appointment, and down here you see the weekly revenue, and I hope you see what I see that the slightest drop in inspecting vehicles and centered combined with a low motorist research time, or I should say more positively, a higher research time with a higher inspection center rate by appointment creates a higher weekly revenue and it’s just 10% points, or in this case it’s 60 seconds or here in this case it’s a hundred second longer. motorless research time has an impact on the weekly revenue, so that’s just remarkable. How do we create a higher motor risk research time? You start a drop off, you show a typical inspection result, ideally on a mobile phone footprint picture and say, this is what we are going to send you in about and whatever time applies to you, 90 minutes and we will be able to show you the health status of your car. Please check your phone for a text message or we have tons of variations of drop off scripts. If that expectation is created, then your motor research time goes up and we go as far as say, even if the customer is in the waiting room, even if it’s a waiter sent the inspection result, you’re going to see them sitting then in the waiting room on the phone looking at the inspection result and might come over to you and say, I have a question. That’s the best. Or
Tom Dorsey (00:29:49):
Even better, they come over and they say, Hey, is there still time to add this to the getting done today? Raise your hand. You’ve had an upsell from sending it to a waiter. There’s a lot of hands raised up there, you just can’t see them.
Dave Earp (00:30:03):
We love to hear the little ping go off on the phone.
Tom Dorsey (00:30:11):
Nothing else to do out there.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:30:13):
So this is an incredible stat to inspect every single car and try to do everything possible to have a good motorist research time because the education takes care of it this way, and service advisors get better questions and get a higher approval rates through that, right? Yeah.
Tom Dorsey (00:30:42):
That should be the top line driver, right, is how to drive that motorist research time because everything else follows. And the way you do that is engagement and just like what we’ve been discussing here and with Curt is how to really tell that story and put those edits and the educational information that keeps the customer engaged and they’re staying in the inspection longer and researching longer. The other thing on there, Uwe that we like to preach is quick wins. How do we get our, oh, it looks like you’re already prepared.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:31:16):
Yeah. Before I do that, I just wanted to give everybody show how this works. How do you know what the research time is, right? And so you see here, and again, this is the new release you see here, the time it’s set to 20 minutes, the moment you start sending, it starts ticking down and then at the same time, if everything goes well, you see this time ticking up because that’s the motorless research time live, right? Every 10 seconds you see an update here and then either you get the phone call before the 20 minutes countdown to zero or you call them when it’s zero and there has not been a phone call yet. That’s how simple. It’s right. You sent the inspection. Go ahead.
Dave Earp (00:32:09):
I was just going to share a quick story about that. This happened yesterday. I edited my inspection, I moved it into waiting for approval and we’re still on the old system obviously, and I’m watching the clock go around as I’m doing other things and I look at the seconds, I think it was 211 seconds, not great, but I watched it come around and then the phone rang and turtle vouched for me. I said, that’s Dean Pixley right there on the phone. Sure enough it was
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:32:35):
Tom Dorsey (00:32:36):
That’s awesome.
Dave Earp (00:32:37):
Down to the second mean, I knew
Tom Dorsey (00:32:39):
He was calling me.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:32:41):
Wow. Yes. That’s just incredible. That’s how amazing it works. Yep. Incredible. Thank you Dave. To Tom’s point, quick win fire away. Tom, do you want to take that?
Tom Dorsey (00:32:56):
Yeah, sure. So one of the things that really helps to build that and just like we talked about last week, right, is that you really want to establish that picture policy. You want to set up your technicians for some best practices and that really supports sets the service writer up for success. And one of those things that we like to, especially in the beginning, but this is going to apply to anybody, it doesn’t matter what phase in your digital shop development you’re in, quick wins are always going to be value for you. What defines a quick win? Well, quick win is something that you can do on just about every call. Doesn’t matter the model powertrain setup, right? Everything’s got oil or tires, whatever. I guess not everything has oil. If you’re doing hybrids or if you’re doing electric vehicles, we want it to have a high margin.
It’s got to be worth doing the job. You’re going to make some money off of it easy for the customer. Understand it doesn’t take a lot of arm twist in or an advanced degree to figure out that that needs to be fixed or replaced or maintained and that you can count it, set a goal behind it and show how many your individual crew members are producing so that you can build goals and then you can track it over time and you can grow that metric if you want to go ahead and click for me. And so areas that we find quick winds in are things like your brake fluid, moisture testing, any fluid testing drip trays where you can show a before and after anything you’re allowed to show a comparison of real easy, a dirty filter and a clean filter. Your battery test, that’s real simple.
Usually you put your battery tester on there and it says pass or it says fail. Not hard for me to understand that I need to get that thing done. So if we build a consistent each and every single time these quick wins are documented, photograph video, robust notes are added in there, the detailed service writer needs, again, just like what Curt was saying, when we set it up the right way, we don’t have to do a lot of discussion, see what needs to be done, and they make a decision. It’s a quick win. So anything you get, your colored feeler, gauges in there on your battery, excuse me, on your brake pads, leaks, anything that’s steeping or weeping, great place for a video. Anything that’s out of round another great place for a video, spin it. It’s evident that that thing needs some attention.
And what this will do for you is be able to really set yourself up with your can jobs, create those mandatory inspection topics. That’s another thing that we’re going to get into here pretty quick and say, how can I ensure that my team is following this each and every inspection and can make it mandatory and they can’t submit or finish the inspection until they have those topics done checked. And you could even go as far as requiring that they add a picture to it. Curt and Dave, are you guys using mandatory topics in your shop?
Dave Earp (00:36:25):
We are. The way we do it might be a little bit different than everybody else. We created one inspection with everything on it that is our comprehensive inspection, but for our basic inspection, those are the mandatory items with mandatory pictures. So every vehicle that comes in the shop at minimum gets the mandatory items. Unless we sell a comprehensive, then it gets everything.
Tom Dorsey (00:36:56):
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:36:57):
And I would like to add for everybody who focuses on counting pictures, if you use the inspection configuration in a way that you set mandatory topics, you don’t need to focus on counting pictures anymore because the technician is basically forced to take one. So by setting up the mandatory pictures or mandatory items, then you can basically lie that the inspection gets done with the right amount of pictures and then can focus on the quality of the pictures. So you take it to a higher level. That’s the huge benefit and it creates consistency for the technician as well. Yeah,
Tom Dorsey (00:37:45):
And so what we’re seeing here, this is where you go in the back end, right inside of your edit topic in the inspection reports tab where you’re doing your inspection sheet set up or inspection sheets tab, I’m sorry, you can go right in here. There’s two boxes there for you. Make it a mandatory topic, require an image, right? Simple as that. You set ’em up, make sure you’re tagging at least your quick win stuff, your high margin stuff and make that mandatory because the other great thing about it, now guess what? Because of that consistency, just like what Curt was saying, how great it is to be able to access four months ago, this gives you an exact timeline of the condition of that component or system throughout the history of that service with that vehicle right there at your fingertips, you can pre-sell work off of it. I guarantee if you document this correctly, you can start to determine what that brake pad rate of wear is and you can project, Hey, you’re going to be at this point in X amount of time, let’s get it done now. So you can really set yourself up to start to pre-sale work off of being able to capture the deterioration of components through the images and video.
Alright, I’m off my soapbox now. We got another poll. Oh, these are results of polls. So where are we at? 46% of us said they didn’t even know that the BCP existed. Oh my gosh. It shows we got to go back to square one, buddy.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:39:18):
Tom Dorsey (00:39:19):
To. We got some heavy to do, sir.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:39:21):
I know
Before I have to leave a little earlier today, I just want to give you another quick sneak peek on what the new release is going to bring you. See here, I mean this is an awesome picture in my opinion, right? It’s almost art, the dashboard with a green check. Mark says everything is great. I mean that has a big impact. And you see that’s a new feature we have added and if you could click, I want to combine that with the other new feature. See here that you can now add a text directly on top of the picture and not just at the caption, more impactful and already as today, by default, it takes the color of the status of the topic. In this case it’s areas of future concern or future attention or whatever you call that topic. And then it’s yellow and the filter is dusty. You can move around on the picture and put it to the right spot where it is highly impactful. Something
Tom Dorsey (00:40:47):
That curle really liked too. You see those arrows up there now you just click and it sets the direction of the arrow automatically for you. No more thank you
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:40:57):
Tom Dorsey (00:40:57):
Around because that was a,
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:40:59):
You don’t need to rotate your arrows anymore. You just pick one of the four directions and done saves shaves of another few seconds, which adds up big over time.
Tom Dorsey (00:41:12):
I got pickles for fingers, so it was hard to move those arrows.
Dave Earp (00:41:17):
Anything we can do to make the service advisor’s job easier, speed up, we put so much on them as it is, if we can increase the speed of editing the inspections, that definitely helps.
Tom Dorsey (00:41:32):
Yeah. Yeah, cool. Because ultimately, hey, I know you got a gig, so if you want to get out here, don’t let the door hit you. I’m just kidding. We’re going to miss you, buddy. Come back in if you get lonely.
Uwe Kleinschimdt (00:41:49):
Thanks for the tough love I see next
Tom Dorsey (00:41:53):
Week. Thanks everybody. No, that’s awesome. Thank you very much for coming on and sharing that new stuff with us too. Everybody’s excited and it’s got to get out. Yep. All right. There you go. Hey, Dustin, if you could click real quick because really ultimately what we want to set up guys is this is kind of the transition that we’re talking about making here, right? Is kind of the old way we’ve been doing where you get SC scrambles and you spend a lot of time doing edits and trying to type all that stuff and decipher it and communicate back and forth from the tech to say, what does this even mean? And then you’re trying to communicate that over to the phone with somebody who is just not used to learning or even comprehending what it is that you’re talking about. And we run into roadblocks and with the digital inspection, when you really build those pictures to tell the story and add that mandatory topics that you in, but also B, edit those pictures to tell the story and add your educational videos and your video that you take of components that shouldn’t be moving at are or that around, go ahead and click.
This is really what you want to set up is this type of a process where your technicians capture all the information you need. The service writer is really just kind of editing and finishing the story. Think of him as the editor. You got the author, you get the editor and publisher, and then you push it out to the customer and you really want them to be able to get that comprehension, make a confident decision to approve without having to go a on Google or get second opinion or tie you up on the phone. And Curt, something that you said earlier, which I thought was really important was that we’re not replacing you in your years and years of experience and knowledge. Really what we’re enabling you to do is to elevate yourself to be that expert because now the customer has some information, some knowledge, and can ask some questions without sounding stupid. And here’s where you get to come on top and show that exactly what it is, and you’ve got experience behind this and you add kind of the toppings if you would, the frosting to the cake. Is that kind of the experience that you’ve been having as you’ve been using the digital inspection program and communicating those needs with the customer?
Dave Earp (00:44:23):
Yeah, like I said, I think the combination of what they’re hearing me tell them verbally over the, and the information that’s been provided by our inspections and the educational videos that AutoVitals provides, I think it’s multiple sources helps reconfirm their belief and it builds value, but it also builds trust.
Tom Dorsey (00:44:50):
Yeah. Yep, exactly. And to be able to do that, again, it’s important I want to reinforce and I can’t stress this enough, is that you have to put your best practices in place. You have to have that kind of digital shop operating process or procedure, your DSOP, not just for the text, but also implemented at the front counter and it really starts before the vehicle gets in there. Are you guys using, let me ask you this, are you guys using drop off scripts or at least talking points? You’re kind of consistently saying the same thing and same expectations, whether you’re booking an appointment over the phone or if you’ve got to walk in.
Dave Earp (00:45:38):
Yeah, if it’s a new customer and I’m filling out their name, address, phone number, I have a quick little spiel. I’d say, listen, we’re going to do a complimentary inspection. It’s complimentary. We call it a basic health inspection. We want to make sure that even though you’re here for a simple oil change or a broken wheel stud, we don’t want you leaving here with a burned out brake light or no engine oil showing on your dipstick. We’re going to take some color photographs, we’d like to email that to you. And that’s how I asked for their email address and they’re like, wow, complimentary inspection with pictures. Sure, I want to give you a real email address. I asked them what the preferred method of communication is because some people would rather have a text to ’em. So we do things a little bit differently. There is no set script for us. We believe every individual circumstance is a little bit different, but we do communicate that we are a digital shop and in some way, shape or form, they will receive the digital inspection.
Tom Dorsey (00:46:42):
Dave Earp (00:46:42):
I’ll a lot of times send the inspection on text and email because I figure if they get it on their phone, that’s great. Then if they go home in the evening and check their email, it might look even better on their big screen at home. So I just give it to ’em both ways.
Tom Dorsey (00:46:58):
Exactly. It’s going to look great in HD and that’s exactly it, right? Make it easy for them to find and they will find it and then it’ll remind them. You hear the stories, it’s happening right now literally in some auto vital shops somewhere in the country, the phone is ringing and a customer saying, Hey, you know that inspection you guys did six months ago, there was this thing on here that I think I get done, and they’ll come back to it and they will get that work done. It’s not if it’s when it really becomes that way. And so as part of that process at the front counter is that you also want to make sure that you give them the expectations at pickup, just like we were talking about at the drop. You want to do the same at pickup is to say, and as a matter of fact, you want to go for that exit schedule.
So you want to say, Hey, we’ve already got these things done. We already know that these things are referred are still outstanding and need to be done in this type of a timeframe. What’s a good day for you? Let’s go ahead and get you on the schedule now. Hey, we’re busy and taking care of all of the rest of the customers just like you who appreciate our transparency and craftsmen and workmanship, and so we want to get ’em committed. And it’s easy to talk about what to expect from a follow-up perspective. You’ll get in today’s point is you want it as text or email or maybe it’s both and you’re going to get these reminders, but we’ve already got you on the book or maybe you need time. And then here’s how you respond to that reminder and let’s go ahead and confirm your appointment. So are you guys doing the same thing from a pickup perspective before they leave the shop? How are you setting follow up expectations
Dave Earp (00:48:44):
You go into now? Sure. Okay. So there’s a process from the beginning to the end. So the customer comes in and we’re doing entry interview, so we’re prepping them for what’s coming their way. We’re communicating to the customer while the vehicle’s in the shop with our digital inspections on the exit interview. We’re trying to get the next appointment already while the customer is exiting the shop. So some of the things that we go over is the repairs that we’ve done and future recommendations, and we’re documenting those recommendations and trying to reschedule them for future services.
Tom Dorsey (00:49:32):
Awesome. Because that really becomes the logical next step. If you’ve done all the lifting up front, right? If you’ve put the work in, you’ve telling the story in the inspection sheet and we got some of the work done, well, the rest of it’s not going to just disappear. So there’s an expectation that something’s going to happen with the deferred stuff, and so it really becomes an easy conversation. It’s not a sale anymore, guys. That’s the thing. You’re not twisting anybody’s arm. You’re saying, Hey, we got to this point. When can we get to this point? Well, how’s your budget looking? What’s your time looking like? Here’s my recommendations on what you need to get done first, second, third, give ’em some options and then just get to commit. Just get they’re on the book, boom. Done. It’s that easy. Oh, and hey, don’t worry, we’re going to send you some reminders.
You don’t ever leave the doctor’s office without stopping at the front window. And so it’s an expectation. It really is. And people are conditioning. We don’t have to hide from that. We have to embrace, and all we got to do is set ourselves up to have that conversation. It doesn’t even have to be a hard break. It’s just a natural extension of what we’ve done during this visit and now what’s going to happened next. And boy, I’ll tell you what, it’s amazing watching kind of my kids, they’re true millennials, and I swear to God if their phone told them, go to the nearest cliff and jump off of it, they, it’s like they do what their phone tells them. And Bill had a great point in the chat right here is that you want to, I think it’s brilliant, bill, they say you want to own the spot in their phone, just like you own that spot on the window with your oil, it’s no different. You want to own that real estate on the phone. You want to be, when that text message comes, it’s got caller id, it’s not some strange message. They expect it. They know what it is about. They know what it means. They are prepared, they have it on their calendar, it’s integrated into their phone systems even so that the calendar or their alarms or their notifications remind them of these things and then they show up at a much higher rate.
Am I talking crazy, Curt, or is that an experience that you’re having from being able to set those expectations and then just kind of continue the chapter and the story you’re telling?
Dave Earp (00:51:54):
Yeah, you’re exactly right. Most of our customers, after they’ve been here more than once, and they almost always come back because they’re so impressed with this technology, they have that expectation. And like I said earlier, we have a screen on the wall behind the service advisor’s desk, and when we have time, I ask my customers, Hey, do you have a moment to look at the inspection with me? And maybe they’ve already looked at it on their phone and maybe they only looked at it for 100 seconds. They almost always say yes. And I put it on the screen behind me. And there’s a lot of times where they saw a picture but they didn’t really understand it. And to you and I in the industry, it seems self obvious, but we have a fluid sample tray and we dip a brake test or strip into their brake fluid and we put it next to a little chart on the sample tray. There’s a lot of times my customer saw that picture, but they don’t even know what they’re looking at. It seems so obvious, and I’ll just explain to them and then they’re like, oh, hey, can you do that break fluid flush now or can I come back next week for that? So building that expectation, and if you do have a moment as a service advisor to review it with them in person at pickup, if you haven’t sold something, I think is hugely valuable.
Tom Dorsey (00:53:19):
Yeah, no, that’s it. And it really is just continuing to tell a story and that story kind of never ends, right? It’s a circle. They’re going to come back and there’s going to be required maintenance and there’s going to be other things that come up and things wear out, and we just have to make sure that we’re just constantly keeping them engaged and peace of mind of knowing that the next step is already covered. Curt’s got my back, Curt’s got me covered, I just need to engage or hit accept on this or book an appointment or whatever, and the rest just happens and my car works. I get to work. That’s great. Hey, let’s welcome Bill. Bill, thanks for joining us. Buddy hopping in there, my co-host with the most from the Texas coast.
Curt McGregor (00:53:58):
Yep. I’ve just been kind lurking and learning in the background. I’d like a lot of the things I heard today. One of the things I always work with shops on though is a lot of times it’s not really intuitive to them what a well edited picture is. So I always talk about there’s four things that should be on that picture, and it’s the same thing a customer would see if they were at the shop area focus, that’s going to be the red arrow, but in a shop that would be the technician pointing to it. The technician would probably say what the component is, what needs to be done and why the customer should do it. So if you take that same information and drop it on the picture, now you’ve got another salesman on your staff educating the customer, and when they call, they’re truly ready to talk about options and pricing. So stack the deck in your favor by maybe not understanding the photo count, but what we’re trying to replace from the non-digital world, which is show and tell at the side of the car. We never want the customer in the shop, so give them that same experience just digitally.
Tom Dorsey (00:54:58):
Yeah, that is,
Curt McGregor (00:55:00):
And the other thing I learned that’s probably something for the other day or I didn’t learn it, but I’ve been talking about it for a long time, is the last frontier is actually exit scheduling. I don’t really understand the resistance to it because I promise you’re not going to go into get out of a doctor or dentist office without getting it done. And so really we should be owning that This is your appointment reminder and instead of giving you a paper card like everybody else is going to do, we’re going to send you a reminder today. We’re going to send you one, two weeks before and another one two days before. And because none of us know what you’re going to be doing three or four months from now, just click on the thing and choose a date and time that works for you.
Tom Dorsey (00:55:40):
Let’s get you on the book now. That’s fantastic. Thank you, bill. Hey, Dave, before we let you get out of here buddy, was there anything that you would tell folks that are looking to take this next step, what you’ve learned, pitfalls that you’ve realized now, or give any advice for folks that are looking from a how to get those best practices implemented at the front counter?
Dave Earp (00:56:06):
Well, the biggest piece of advice I would say is take it slowly. Don’t jump in with both feet forward work either by yourself or with one advisor on implementing systems. And best take it slowly realize that this is always evolving, things are always changing something. Curt just mentioned to me, I’m going to go in and edit my inspection. If my customers aren’t understanding the brake fluid picture, maybe I need to have something canned in there next to that picture that explains what the test strip means. So everything is always evolving. Be patient and take it slowly.
Tom Dorsey (00:56:55):
Yes. No, that is great. And it’s exactly that. It’s an open, it’s not one and done. It’s a dynamic process and it’s open communication and sharing information. And tech should feel comfortable coming up to you and saying, Hey, if we kind of did it like this, or if we did this thing in this order, it’d be faster or better, or we get more approval, listen to that and build it in. It only takes a few seconds to make some of those edits and swap out some topics and things like that to really tweak it to get to that high level. How about you, Curt? What advice would you give folks that are looking to follow your trail that you’ve been blazing?
Dave Earp (00:57:33):
Well, if you don’t see the value in it now, I think you will. You just have to, like I said, there are some growing pains. I’m really looking forward to the new release because I think it’ll be more intuitive for those early beginners with AutoVitals, but the investment of your time and energy to get to learn the odd vial system and use it consistently we’ll repay you 100 fold and guarantee it.
Tom Dorsey (00:58:02):
Yeah, no, and as a matter,
Dave Earp (00:58:05):
I couldn’t be doing it any other way now, honestly.
Tom Dorsey (00:58:07):
Well, that’s big.
Dave Earp (00:58:10):
Looking back, I couldn’t do it any other way.
Tom Dorsey (00:58:12):
Yeah, it’s amazing how it became a critical like that. You wouldn’t leave the house without putting your shoes on. And it’s funny, matter of fact, bill will be the guy to tell you, as I remember when we first went into Craig’s Car Care and it was the manager over there and he had some seasoned, the crew was, they weren’t spring chickens, right, bill. And so we thought, oh my gosh, what a challenge and how are these guys ever going to adopt this technology? It didn’t take long. Yeah, there was a little bit of growing pains, like you guys said, but once they saw the results on the paycheck, it was a rocket ship from there. And man, for years we pointed at those guys, if these guys can do it, anybody can.
Curt McGregor (00:58:58):
So the number one thing really to go ahead and take away from all the episodes of Digital Shoptalk Radio is be a leader and go ahead and share your vision with your staff and ask them to come along with you. The reason why that’s so powerful is I promise every one of us has in our DNA structure, the structure of a donkey, and we all know that if you push a donkey, they just stop it and won’t do anything. But if you kind of guide them along, they’ll follow you just damn near anywhere. So the donkey, DNA is something that I’ve shared with a lot of people and they laugh about it, and then they think about it and they say, yeah, I really shouldn’t go ahead and try and push ’em. I should go ahead and share that vision and ask ’em to follow along with me. Something that needs to be done, be done, and it needs to probably done often.
Dave Earp (00:59:43):
Great analogy,
Tom Dorsey (00:59:43):
Take away from here is be a donkey. Write that down.
Dave Earp (00:59:50):
How about be a leader?
Tom Dorsey (00:59:52):
Oh, that’s what it was. Yeah. Be a leader. Lead those donkeys and distract all the weight on them. Put all the work on them and then leave ’em.
Dave Earp (01:00:00):
Use the carrot, not the stick.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:02):
Yes. Yes. And that’s it. And that’s perfect because that’s where that BCP and those weekly team meetings really enable you to get that culture built is that you’re just showing ’em what’s going on. You’re setting a goal, you’re incentivizing that or throwing lots of carrots out there, and you can put the stick away because before you know it, your team will be outrunning you. They’ll be demanding greater the next kind of level, the next improvement from you, and that’s when you really know that you’re cooking with gas and you’re getting to where you want it to be. Before I let you go, I want to show you one more kind of teaser for the next release. Dustin, if you could show the task manager slide real quick.
Dave Earp (01:00:44):
It’s frozen.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:45):
Dave Earp (01:00:46):
Yeah, we are. Yeah. Just a second here. Let me get back into that mode.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:51):
Dave Earp (01:00:52):
On the release.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:55):
What does it sound like? That thing was staged, just so you know. It wasn’t staged dust’s. Just a fast typer back there. He puts up new graphics. Yeah. One more thing before we get, because we were talking a lot about kind how do we stay on track and how do we get consistency and how do we help the service advisor to save time free up to really tell those stories in the digital inspection? This is another piece that’s coming out in new release. This is our task manager, and so now imagine this, right as we know that there’s some automations we talked about a little bit about it you move a vehicle into the waiting for approval stage and it can automatically send the inspection sheet out to the customer and it does. This is kind of the same concept, is when events happen, we’re going to create automatically for the service rider.
Now a task, so technician sends an inspection sheet, task is review inspection sheet and send it to the customer, right? So what does that mean? Well, that means that we’re able to build kind of an activity list, a timeline of tasks that are outstanding for the service rider so that no matter how busy they’re, they can always come back to their task list and get right back on track. As you complete the tasks, they can automatically disappear. I needed to edit this inspection sheet and send it. I moved it to waiting for approval. Task is done and now imagine you’re on that phone and instead of those post-it notes and scribbling on the desktop calendar and all that stuff that we do now we just hit a button, add a task, and get right in here and we can put that in to our task queue so that it never goes away. We never lose it. It doesn’t get blown off the counter. And as we build these out, they’re going to be drag and drop to reprioritize, add additional information and edits, and they’re both going to be vehicle and tech specific. You have a great way to categorize what that looks like. Bill, am I leaving anything out buddy?
Curt McGregor (01:03:02):
Well, kind of, so to expand on it a little bit is that these tasks are also based on best practices. So when an inspection comes in, the service writer should review it, he should go ahead and edit it. He should create an estimate and so on. So some of these tasks actually have three or four elements on it so that if you get derailed by the phone ringing or something else, you’re not going to go ahead and miss an important piece of the puzzle. So again, it’s there to go ahead and keep things in an organized manner so nothing gets missed. But also to go ahead and make sure that you follow best practices that we know across our whole network. Produce approvals.
Tom Dorsey (01:03:42):
Hey Dustin, can you click one more time? There should be a little popup. There we go. That’s the task queue that it’s what it’s going to look like and it’s real easy to drag them right there from the hook on the edge. We prioritize them and like I said, they’re going to give you a lot of information. And all those are links, so you can get right into that inspection sheet. There’s a lot of quick links in there also. So you’ll be able to do that right into the worksheet, right into your record, right into the vehicle record, right into the ro, whatever it’s you have all of that ability. It’s going to float in that little sidebar right there. Access whenever you need it.
Jim Summers is asking how can we update to the new system? So we haven’t released yet. Right now it’s out on Turbo. We have some pilots. We’re really close. We have some criteria. We’re just making sure that we’re not having some critical issues or emergency tickets for a certain period of time. In other words, we can prove that there’s stability and it’s ready for release to the broader base and then we’re going to roll it out by point of sale. So it’ll be phased in over time once we get to the point where we’re confident that we’re not going to be blowing stuff up as we start to release it out. So it’s coming soon. I know we’re excited. I believe that there’s a process. Talk to your advisor if you want to get into it now you can. I mean there’s some requirements we’re asking you to do. Give us feedback and make sure that you’re putting tickets and things like that as you find in bugs and help us to troubleshoot it a little bit in preparation of that wide release. But you can get your hands on it now. Contact your advisor.
Curt McGregor (01:05:23):
So what I really like about both the task manager and the communication center now is we have something that’s really familiar to everybody. That’s some nice little red circles with the number count in them. We’re so used to seeing that in our cell phones and other places that places that drive us crazy when that number’s there. So this is going to be really intuitive and a really powerful addition to what we’ve already been doing.
Tom Dorsey (01:05:48):
Well, fantastic. Dustin, what are we doing? Next week? We’re going to talk best practices on inspections.
Dave Earp (01:05:53):
Yeah, exactly. And the true value of a digital inspection are really going to break down the difference between paper and digital and we’re going to put numbers to it. We’re still iron it out who’s going to be on the show with us. So if you want to Chad right now, maybe we can bring you up. But anyways, no, we’re going to have a great topic. Same thing. We’re going to dig, do more screenshots. We’re going to dig into the how a lot more and just really understand why digital inspections are so important and just build off of what Dave and Curt have already started.
Tom Dorsey (01:06:21):
Yeah, we’re going to drill down into the next kind of level of detail. We’ll be talking about those mandatory topics, how to set up pictures with the proper edits and what that looks like and kind of how to spin the yarn, right, how to tell the story. So make sure that tune in for that. And to Dustin’s point, raise your hand. You can contact him and chat if you want to be the guest on and tell us all how to do best practices on your and show off your inspection process and program. And we’d love to have you on. If not, I’m sure Dustin will be calling you on and twist your arm a little bit to get somebody in here that’s going to be able to give us some insight from that perspective. We’ll be having old bill back, I’m sure, and will be joining us again next week. Dave and Curt, thank you enough man, you guys always come on and just drop insight and we really appreciate it. Glad that you guys are busy and you’re coming out of this thing and seeing you guys in there and positive for the next months coming up is really great. And thank you. I can’t thank you enough.
Dave Earp (01:07:21):
Thank you. Thanks Tom,
Tom Dorsey (01:07:22):
Everybody. Thank you. All right, next Wednesday, same time, same place. 10:00 AM Pacific time, 1:00 PM Eastern. Find us on Find us on Facebook, find us wherever. Keep the conversation going. Get on Facebook. There was a lot of questions. Adam, ick. I want to give you a shout out. And everybody else that’s been holding down kind of that question that’s been happening in chat, it was flying by so fast I couldn’t get it in the show. Amazing. Thank you very much. My co-host in the chat holding it down and we’ll talk to you next week. Until then, get out there.

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