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The digital customer interaction has created new opportunities for the service advisor to educate and build trust with customers. Join David Saline, Jim Krell, Bill and Uwe to discuss the opportunities and challenges.

Episode Transcript

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

Bill Connor (00:00:06):
Good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and you reached the Digital Shop Talk Radio where we gather on Wednesdays at 12 o’clock central to share all things about the Digital Shop with our panelists and our people that are listening in today, I’m here with Jim Krell, owner, KO Automotive or KO Auto welcome. I believe this is the first time we’ve had you on here, but we’re going to go ahead and get a lot of good information out of you today. David Saline, VP of Sales for Drive. I believe we’ve had him on an earlier episode. And welcome back, David. Good to have you here.
Cool. And plus we got AutoVitals founder, Uwe Kleinschmidt here with us today. So digital Shop interaction has been creating lots of new opportunities for service advisors to educate and build trust with their customers, and that’s a very powerful thing to do. So join us today for a discussion about profitable growth by focusing on customer interactions. So what are these key interactions to define during the service visit? How do you measure progress when it comes to improving these customer interactions? What is the best practice to implement change in your shop? So what are some examples of the best practices, the advantage and pitfalls that you might run into along the way? As always, teamwork is required in the shop. Provide the best results. In this episode, you’re going to take away tips to improve service advisors processes by focusing on customer interactions in your shop. As always, you’ll learn from our guest panelists and industry pros who operate or work with shops just like yours. So as always, if you wouldn’t mind getting us started on this topic, we’d certainly appreciate it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:01:53):
Oh, thank you. Thank you Jim. Thank you, David for joining. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite topics because on the one end it’s not easy and then requires a change of habit. And as we all know, this is just difficult. We’re creatures of habit and on the other hand, if implemented, no, I shouldn’t say if when implemented, it pays big. And I’m glad we are making that the topic today. And let me say a little bit more in detail what we’re talking about, education of customers, meaning motorists is a big deal and that’s nothing new. There were times when you took the customer to the car in the back of the shop and showed them and that was a very powerful thing and we replace it now with digital assets and it’s not just an outer repair shop which follows that trend.
Everybody who has gotten used to Amazon or other online ways of purchasing products or now even services knows its super convenient and I’m now getting my data, my information, my education from that online space. And why is it so dramatically different if we go into a service advisor’s practice? Before the digital interaction took hold a lot was through the phone and still is. But I as a customer, I have over the last years more and more gotten used to educate myself on my timeline and my control or as Bill used to phrase it, I want to buy and not be sold. So the more I’m on the phone with somebody under certain constraints, I’m in a business meeting, I’m wherever I am, whatever I do, and I’m not in control of my education and my timeline, I might not do what’s best for my car.
Or to put it extreme, if you imagine you are on Amazon, you’re browsing your product and after you’re on the same page for 30 seconds or a minute, the phone rings and there’s an Amazon sales guy trying to sell you the product you’re browsing. There will be a very weird experience because we just have gotten used to not pick up the phone but find the information we need to make a decision online. And the digital inspection results and the digital results of a test or diagnosis or anything falls into the exact same category. And long story short, there is a switch, especially for a service advisor to hold back and spend the time on editing the pictures, sent them out and watch the interaction, the digital interaction in our case on the auto vials TVP where you see how many seconds has the motorist already researched the inspection results and then wait for the call in instead of calling out or calling out after 20 minutes of no interaction.
So that’s a completely different process and on a lot of service advisors are so, how do I say that are so surprised the moment they do the other process, how much time they gain. That’s another effect, the side effect of this, right? It sounds like more work in the beginning because you have to mark up pictures. What you have explained on the phone in the past is now you use that time to mark up pictures. You show on a picture what’s wrong with the car and how to fix it and why. So you do that more in a digital way, but then all of a sudden you realize, dang, I can actually talk to more customers at the same time because you don’t talk, you mark up pictures instead. Okay, I talk way too much, but you can see how passionate I am about this because it took us, I don’t know, bill what four years, three years to all discover this and measure. It was
Bill Connor (00:07:49):
An ongoing discovery process for sure. And the interesting thing is Dave has actually, or Jim has actually been with us along the path since late in 2014. So he’s seen a lot of these changes and discoveries that went along the way. And as I was talking with him earlier in the prep call along the way, they got kind of comfortable where they’re at and then they didn’t go ahead and maybe explore some of the new tools that are available as we’ve made these discoveries. So today as we go forward, hopefully we can identify using some of the data just exactly what’s going on. But I guess we’d really like to hear a little bit from Jim about his journey and then we’ll get some feedback from Dave also,
Jim Krell (00:08:44):
Right? Yeah, and that’s definitely true. We’re guilty of getting started with the system and being comfortable with it. There’s no doubt about it. They always saying a picture’s worth a thousand words and the customers love, but we’re, I’m not an expert. I’m actually throwing myself in the frying pan here for everybody to kind of open up and get better myself. That coming back to being with AutoVitals for so long that, and it’s our own fault because we get the notifications of the updates and stuff. So we need to get in and update our system and get trained on using it so that we can make those edits to the photos better, quicker. Because we’re kind of behind the curve on what’s new as far as doing the editing on the photos. We’ve had our texts, but just like Bill was saying here and talking before we went live, there’s some easier steps to making that happen.
So that just makes it easier for everybody else. And then it is like you get the picture, if somebody send me a picture of an operation, they’re cutting somebody open. I wouldn’t know what any of that stuff is in there. But if somebody was to circle something and point it out, I think we’re guilty as being in the automotive industry that we assume everybody knows what they’re looking at on that photo. So the pointers and the circles and the stuff like that. And I just have to get it across to my service advisor manager, the points of that and how it makes the picture talk more to the customer.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:10:35):
And if I may, I want to just say it’s not just auto repair, right? Real estate has now embraced this digital assets describing, and believe it or not, I live in a high fire prone area. We are now using the inspection to inspect the fire, defense and protection level of houses. So we can as a community decide what needs to be done. So we are not in case of a fire or unprepared because there’s nothing worse than one house becoming the source of a devastating fire in the community. And it goes all across our experience now that we look at stuff on the phone, videos and images, and as you said, they say more than a thousand words, but if we are unable to put ourselves in the layman’s head, they look at it and say, what is this now? So this picture speaks
Jim Krell (00:11:51):
A thousand words, but
Bill Connor (00:11:52):
It speaks a different language than what the customer does for sure.
David Saline (00:11:56):
Well, there’s a couple things, and I’ve been kind of quiet here listening and I listened to Jim and Bill and talk every, but the thing about it is, is there’s a basic concept. Running a business would be so simple if you didn’t have to deal with customers or employees. And that’s what we’re talking about on two sides of this right here is the customers and the employees, and I’ll just break the first one down with the customers. It starts long before you send those pictures to the customer when you’re telling ’em what’s wrong with the vehicle and point and pointers on there, which all needs to be done, but the process with the customer starts a lot earlier and that’s when they drop the vehicle off, when that first phone call comes in and it’s setting their expectations. And if you take those couple minutes at the beginning to talk to your customer and say, look, we’re going to send you pictures of everything we find on your car, we’ll break it down, it’ll make you inform you and then you can let us know, respond back by email, text or phone call on what you want.
So if you set those expectations at the beginning with the customer and they expect it, then you’re not waiting and wandering at a phone, they know when they get it, you’re expecting a response back because that could be another piece of this puzzle in there. And then the other part that I heard Jim say is training your team. We are so bigoted, drive on training, training, training, training, everything you can train and there’s, believe it or not, there’s 30 different styles of training that a person could actually do with an individual and one of those training styles will work and the other 29 probably won’t. So it’s also knowing your employees, what type of training they respond to and how do you get the point across and get them into agreement to do what you need them to do.
Jim Krell (00:13:46):
For me for getting the agreement and getting them to do it is coming up with some sort of game, run a game. It’s just like when we were with the tablet and we wanted to go to everybody sending notes, no verbal communication and communicating back and forth on a tablet. So it’s written, there’s a record. So I did a game, I’m like, okay, who can go the longest without talking? Who can go the longest without talking? You’ll win 50 bucks. And there was one guy went three and a half days, but in that thick game, everybody got used to doing it and they bought into it and they’re like, okay, so just create some type of a game to make it fun too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:14:35):
Yeah, we had quite a bit of diverse shop owners on the podcast and everybody has a different idea. Staff sign those agreements. So there is a clear, it’s not just Ong, we’re going to tell you what you do from now on. They sign it and get reminded in every meeting. Rebecca created a hundred day behavior change game. Just to your point, it had nothing to do with the tablet and digital. It had to do with change a habit in your life, whether it’s weight loss or something else, right? Because in the end it comes down to a we ready to make a change in our behavior to reach the common goal. That is what it comes down to. And that’s hard, but it can be fun, as you said, turning it into a game. And the beauty about what we can offer is basically we measure in the business control panel exactly that behavior. And so there is no possible, and I don’t know Bill, whether that’s the right time to talk about those.
Bill Connor (00:16:05):
So it certainly is. Let me go ahead and open that up. And while I’m opening up, I’m just thinking about what you said there, how do we gamify this? So in order to go ahead and get the customer to go ahead and view the inspection and show value to it, so a game might be for a service advisor, whoever has the most motors research time because we know that the drop off conversation had to be good. Now it’s a permission based inspection and the customer knows that it’s their job to look it over and then call afterwards. So there’s definitely ways that we can gamify it.
David Saline (00:16:41):
One of the things you guys are talking about over here, whether everybody realizes it or not, is it’s called change management. And there’s actually, we provide workshops for it, but there’s a lot of research done on change management in your company. And the funniest thing about it, and I’m not trying to get off the topic too much, but most companies make the decision to do something different in their business. The boss makes a decision on Tuesday, then implements it on Tuesday, but tells the employees on Thursdays and expects ’em to follow through right out on Friday. And it violates every step of change management. So when you’re talking about change management and getting people to change their habits and do things, this is what this whole thing’s about is changing your employee’s habits and your customer’s habits. But it’s that first step is to have the open communication.
This is a change that we want to make. Give me your input. What are your thoughts? Give me your agreements, give me your disagreements with it. Because if you have an employee that disagrees with anything that you put in place, it’s never going to get followed. They’re not going to follow it. So get their agreements and sometimes you’ll get feedback from ’em. That is a better way of doing it than what you thought the plan you laid out. But once you get your employee’s agreement on it, then you issue a policy. And I heard that mentioned there is writing it down, putting it in policy, having them sign off on it, then you ask them to follow the policy. If they violate the policy, you reissue it to ’em and it’s accountability, a communication and agreement. If you get all of those pieces in place, these changes happen really quick.
Bill Connor (00:18:20):
So here what we’re doing is, go ahead,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:18:22):
Bill. I want to comment on that. There might be cases, and it’s not unusual that the initial feedback for a big change is negative, right? We heard this a lot. Oh, we have never done it this way. And what’s the reason why we should do it now? So there will be hesitance, even if there’s agreement, there will be hesitance because it’s a change in behavior and especially on the time pressure to change something is hard. It’s super hard. And so that’s why the gamification is a good thing and patience, right? Setting golds too high can backfire. Setting golds too low is not going to create the change. So where is the right middle ground? And I think the best way to achieve that is just have the team sign up for the middle ground, ask them what do you think we can achieve in one week, in one month? And then get the feedback. And that feedback will show you also how far apart they are from each other. Because one says we’re going to conquer the world in half a day, and the other one is going to say, will take us a year. And then you can negotiate and bring them in. And that can be fun too, bill, sorry.
Bill Connor (00:20:06):
So what we’re doing here is we’re looking at a example shop here and what we’re doing is looking for opportunities for improvement with the existing staff, if that makes sense. And having talked to the owner, we know that they would like to go ahead and increase weekly revenue and they’d like to increase a RO at the same time. So we’re looking to see what we have to work with and here we can see that really they’re doing a really good job. They’re inspecting a lot of the vehicles that come through the shop. So that’s a good thing. And now we’re going down a little bit further and we’re looking to see are the pictures on the inspection that goes to the customer being edited. So not so much in this particular case, but we look a little bit further down and we can see the technicians are supplying the service writer with a lot of pictures.
So it may be that they’re all required or it may be overwhelming for the customer. And then we look down a little bit further to see how the customer is receiving that information and they’re looking at all the inspection results for an average 152 seconds, which is extremely low. So again, this is exercise is about finding opportunities and then what do we work with in the shop? We move down a little bit further on the list and we can see that the technician for whatever reason, even though they’re doing a large amount of inspections when it comes to spotting needs that are built into the inspection sheet, we can see on average that they’re only seeing about four things that need service across all the vehicles. And we’re in an all make and all model shops. So we’re wondering why is it the way the inspection sheet is built? Maybe they need to work together as a team to do some updating here to get it done. And what’s in it for the technician is on average if we’re having 1.8 hours per repair order that go through the shop, we can see by working together as a team, how we can grow that up and eliminate busy work for both the technicians and the service advisor, if that makes sense.
So my question is that looking at the data here, I see some opportunities, but Jim, are you seeing the same opportunities? And Dave, is this something that this shop can agree is something that there’s opportunity there and we need to figure out a way to go after it?
Jim Krell (00:22:36):
Oh yeah, there’s definitely opportunity there and we need to come up with a plan to fix it.
David Saline (00:22:44):
Well, there are a couple things that I see on there. You definitely got opportunities in there and you got habits that are going on over there when you look at it and say, okay, are we sending too many pictures or not marking enough up on the pictures? I would refer to you guys at AutoVitals because the data, you have the analytics behind it, what means and what this goes on. But there’s also the other piece of the picture too. How often are these customers coming into the shop? If there are a lot of quick lubes and they’re coming in every 30 days or 60 days for a quick lube and it’s a newer car, are you going to really expect all of the upsells that you can on there? So there’s a lot of variables that I think you have to take the whole picture into it. And I ain’t saying that this isn’t demonstrating the whole picture, I’m just saying this is a piece of the puzzle and it’s a great benchmark to start setting and looking at with your employees and saying, how can you make this better over here? But also looking and seeing what are the reasons why some of these numbers are low?
Jim Krell (00:23:49):
And that’s true. We do run a fast lube with our shop also. It used to be worse because we were price point down low, so we were getting the wrong content. We have in the last six months raised our prices on our oil changes and kind of got rid of some of the bottom feeders. If I say that. And we do inspect ’em all and we train our loop guy to do a thorough inspection and there’s some of them that do convert to good tickets or we have the opportunity to market to ’em down the road. And another thing too is we’re in a real rural area. We’re in our town’s like the population of 2100 people, so we do fairly well. But like I say, there’s room to improvement. If we bring that average RO up to where it’s supposed to be at 4 70, 4 68, that’s a huge change in revenue and for everybody across the board, employees, owner, everybody. So it’s a benefit to fix it and help everybody in the teams.
Bill Connor (00:25:05):
Go ahead. Really, the interesting thing is though, is that when you go ahead and look at today’s prices, we’re only talking about to get a bump in a hundred dollars per repair order, an extra half hour and related parts, in some cases sometimes even less than that. So you’re not asking for huge gains, you’re just asking for change over time. That can be measured, trending in the right direction I guess is the best way to put it.
Jim Krell (00:25:34):
Yeah, we’re right there. We’re right there knocking on the door and we just need to get over the hump. And it is just the communication out front with our customers. We’re not getting those edits done and getting everything through. So I need to go through and re-look at the whole system even to the message it’s sending with the inspection and stuff. So
David Saline (00:25:56):
Just hearing the pieces of this, and not to interrupt on here, but you’re talking about interaction with the customers and stuff like that. The digital part of it is a big factor on that and I see all the benefits for it, the time savings, the explaining to customers, the research that they do, explaining things easier. But there’s a fundamental thing when it comes to customers, and I’m just going to use GU as an example. Over here in a small town of 2100 people, I don’t know what you run through the shop on an average over there, but if you ran 3000 cars through the shop in a year, that means probably each of your person in your town is visiting your shop at least once if not twice a year. But in a small town environment, your service advisors are your face, they’re the people up there.
The point I was going to get to. And in a small town they have to see these people not only at the shop, they have to see ’em in the grocery store, at the park, at the school and everything else. So they got to be sure that they’re in communication, they’re well liked, they come across well. They have good communication. They’re outgoing because it’s not their only interaction in a small town. Now in bigger towns, you go to LA, you probably service a car, a vehicle, the service writer talks to the customer, shows the pictures, does everything, does the sales process, and the chances that they would run into that customer out on the streets at a later date two days down the road is a lot less likely than in a small town. So I just try to say keep those things in mind when you’re thinking about this, the personality of your person, of the service advisor, how they interact with the customer, their communication ability, not just with the digital platform but in person and over the phone too, all take into effect of what your average RO can be.
Bill Connor (00:27:45):
Yes, for sure. So I guess you’re saying it would be a good thing if we go ahead and save the customer time or the service writer time by getting well edited pictures to the customer and then repurposing that time to go ahead and create a better customer experience, build that relationship with the customer. So now we’re service riders. Instead of spending all their time selling over the phone, we’re letting the digital platform go ahead and educate the customer and the service writer can spend more time working on the customer experience. So to say
David Saline (00:28:20):
Exactly, and I’m trying to put the right words in there, but I’ll give you an example. Customer comes into the shop, they have an oil change done, maybe you do a brake job on the car, you notice that there’s a few things that were not emergency level where they had to be done right now it’s something, okay, this can be done a little later down the road. You send out a service reminder to the customer. Now if you’re really on top of your game as a service advisor, you knew that the last time the customer came in, you did the breaks and the oil change, they were taking their family on a vacation to Disneyland, they were driving across country, you let ’em get back from their vacation, you sent them a reminder on this. But when you’re doing the reminder, you put a personal note to it, how was your trip to Disneyland if you’re focused on that, not on what the repair was or the pictures of it, I’m saying focus on the pictures and mark ’em up and everything, but connecting with that customer because if I told you how was your trip to Disneyland, and by the way, have you had a chance to go check out what’s happened on this inspection over here, then we found this.
Do you want to take a look at that? It’s more personable than just saying, Hey, this is David from a B, C, we sent you an inspection report. Did you take a look at it and see how it looks? We need to get that fixed on your car.
Bill Connor (00:29:36):
So on my screen here, you’ve got an example of a lot of shops. They’ve been using AutoVitals for a long time or other digital inspection platforms, and we see stuff like this go out to the customer on inspection reports. And this takes a lot of words and explanation out of service advisor to go and explain. So to me, sending a customer a picture like this is to the equivalent of walking a customer out to the bay, not telling ’em anything about what’s going on, not pointing it out and hoping they absorb the information, which is just kind of, doesn’t make a lot of sense.
David Saline (00:30:15):
Yeah, that particular picture that you put up there, bill on that, this is another great example. Timing belt, throw an arrow on there, show the freight belt on there and everything else. And then when you follow up with the customer, if they don’t call back in, if you were my customer, I would be say, wait a little wait, do you know the time? You say 20 minutes is what I heard you guys say, wait 20 minutes after you send it and everything else. If I called you up and said, Hey Bill, I just wanted to one touch base with you, but we didn’t get a chance to talk earlier, how’d your vacation go?
And then when you answer that question for me, by the way, I sent you a couple pictures of your timing belt, you can see that it needs replaced. Do you want to go ahead and authorize it? Those conversations change when you’re using the pictures and marking ’em up. I agree 100% with what you’re saying there. Mark ’em up and do this. But use that time to build that personal connection with the customer because if you do that, they’re going to be repeat business and they’re going to keep coming back and it’s going to be a lot easier. We all know that the shops have the customers that walk in, throw the keys on the counter, say fix it, build my credit card, call me when it’s done. Well, those take time to build and it’s through that personal connection and that trust factor that you build with them that they do that.
Bill Connor (00:31:33):
And so this is an example of where we’re talking about to where the service writer and technicians have worked together to create the same experience a customer would have if they were in the shop. They’ve used an arrow to point to it and they’ve added the words down here saying your ax of boots, seeping, inspection, and make repairs as needed. So again, we’re using this to go ahead and recreate that same experience that we would’ve had if the customer was in the shop and we can free up that time with the customer to go ahead and do that. We talk about customer interaction. One of the things that is really good for a service advisor to do is when a customer calls in after they’ve looked over the inspection report as an example, don’t ask them if they’ve seen the inspection report. You might go ahead and talk a little bit about their life as Dave was talking about there. But then the question should be, ma, sir, what did you think about X or Y? That’s on the inspection sheet. And go ahead and get them into the conversation.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:36):
You actually know that already, whether they looked at it through the customer or the motors research time. So you can actually tailor how you talk on the phone. And I think we shouldn’t, how do I say this? There’s a great saying, transparency is the new currency of trust, right? So it’s not replacing the talks about family and football. It’s allowing by switching the time, which used to be used on the phone to explain by hand waving what’s wrong with the car, putting that in the digital education and freeing up some time to do the family and football talk, right? It’s a combination of the two. And even when the communication is in the digital assets, that’s still the same service advisor talking just not on the phone, right? It’s not some virtual service advisor pulling up a link from Google and just transferring facts. It’s still the same sales advisor pointing out, here’s what we found on your car and our recommendation as Bill showed it on the picture is to take care of it. And that empowers the customer in an unprecedented way. They’re not being talked into it on the phone while they were in the business meeting or there’s a certain pressure component, sales pressure and otherwise we completely eliminate by creating this process. And the cherry on top so to speak, is if that process is made clear at drop off, everybody knows what’s coming by actually AWAI for the text with the inspection results, right?
David Saline (00:34:58):
Be with you a hundred percent. And like I said, I’m not saying that you’re not going to have to talk about these repairs with some customers, but what you’re doing is you’re shortening that time and you can make your sales process a lot easier. And I agree with everything you’re saying because the sales process becomes, it’s not a sale education, you’re just now building that education. You’re doing a quick, you already educated the customer with the pictures, now you’re just calling up and saying, look, okay, you got our message. I see you got time to look at it. Do you have any questions about it? Because these repairs are necessary to keep your car safe, reliable and on the road, do you want us to go ahead and repair ’em then going to give you any other objections that they have and your time’s better focused on handling their price objections or the other objections, their time.
Usually it’s one or two objections with a customer. It’s either the price or the time it takes to do it. And if you’re prepared and know how to handle those two objections with the digital inspection, that’s already showed ’em that they need the repair, you’re not showing them you don’t have to sell the repair, the repairs already sold, now you’re handling their price or time objection that they got to handle and you focused on that. And as a service provider, I’ll give you an example. If a customer says, well, I really don’t have the time to fix it. Okay, maybe I have loaner cars at my shop that I may give out, or maybe I find out that the time is that they don’t have time to drive to my shop and drop it off before they go to work. So maybe I say, Hey, look, if you can get here, I’ll get you an Uber to work or something like that. There’s so many solutions to handling those things and if your service advisor is actually handling the true objection and not trying to sell the job, if that makes sense.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:36:44):
No, it makes total sense. That is what the saying encapsulates, right? We want to buy and not be sold the moment we want to buy. Then the decision has been made. You explained that perfectly.
Bill Connor (00:37:00):
So authorizations that come from education have really put the consumer into position that we’re buying, number one. And number two, because it’s an educated decision, it takes the buyer’s remorse out of it later on.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:37:13):
Yep. Thank you. Jim. If I may, how are we doing on time? I would go to maybe the next step. What would be your educated guess why the picture editing is 1.4%? Is it because car count is so high that it basically doesn’t give the service advisor enough time? Or maybe rephrase my question, what would your service advisors say if you asked that question? Why is the editing just 1.4%?
Jim Krell (00:37:54):
Well, I asked them before I got on this because I said, you guys set me up for instead of being a spotlight, I think it’s going to be a roast. And so they say it’s at least 30% of ’em are getting edited. I’m like, okay. I says, well, that’s not what it’s showing. So I guess from my point, I know we’re doing the presentation, getting agreement to do the inspection and getting agreement to send the inspection. And that was also my next question is, okay, how many of are getting sent? And he goes, I send every one of them, but I know there’s a concern there with the time to edit the inspections.
I got one guy that kind of just takes everything on his shoulders and he thinks he’s got to do everything, so he needs to let go. It’s some stuff we’ve been working on that I’ve learned through drive and stuff to recognize this that he needs to let go and not try to just do everything and free up some more of his time to do that. And it is just we need to do it. We think we’re doing it. We’re sending the inspections. I know we looked at our scent rate and that was off, but we had a problem with a QC inspection that was being included in that. So we’ll see how that comes.
And we need to look at the amount of recommendations on a vehicle. That’s an another thing we have. I do what we do. I’ll take a car and I have every tech do an inspection on that car and then I compare the inspections to see are we getting a thorough inspection? I look at, okay, this guy recommended this, this guy recommended this, this guy recommended this, and then we’ll go over that in a meeting. And when you do that, that kind of brings back that, oh, okay, I got to pay attention to what’s going on here. People are actually looking at,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:40:03):
Actually Neil Daly I think was it. He took that to another level. He not only let the technicians do the inspection on the same car and they weren’t supposed to share the findings with each other. He also estimated every one of those inspections and then they compared in the end how much money was left on the table.
Jim Krell (00:40:30):
That’s good idea
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:40:32):
By some of the technicians. So again, we’re talking gamifying and that opens eyes, which might not have been open before. The other thing I want to mention is, and I don’t know, I’m just guessing, but sometimes when the time pressure encourages taking shortcuts, you could, and I don’t know whether that’s the right thing, I’m just spit balling here. You could take your inspection sheet and put that in two inspection sheets. Not literally, it’s still the same, but if you have a lot of oil changes, you only do a portion of the inspection sheet presented to the customer and get permission to do the rest, if that makes sense. That takes the pressure because the initial concern is taken care of with the oil change and the inspection is pretty short, but then you present the customer and gain permission and more time, if that makes any sense. Right,
Jim Krell (00:41:50):
That makes sense. But how do you present just half of it or part of it
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:41:57):
Jim Krell (00:41:57):
Just go over part of it?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:41:59):
Yeah, so there are different schools of thought, right? Some make it a fixed portion of the inspection sheet focusing on the safety items and on the items where you don’t have to take stuff off to find it. Although say basically find something which presented to the customer is going to sway the customer to say, oh yeah, please, I need the whole thing. I need the whole comprehensive health inspection from you. And again, I don’t know. I’m just saying that because shops who have a lot of quick loop work, basically a better faring when they treated two different shops in their head, you have a lane with a quick loop and then you have a lane with a repair, and if the car in the quick loop, you find ways of moving it to the repair by getting the agreement from the customer and presenting what you found, just throwing that out.
Jim Krell (00:43:18):
And we do have an oil change inspection, so like say we don’t try to have waiters, we try to get ’em to drop it off. Of course, I hate that quick lube terminology, but yeah, me too. We have a quicker inspection that is just for the fast lube part of it, but very rarely do we see it. They’re pretty good about getting agreement to do the full inspection. So
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:43:43):
Bill Connor (00:43:43):
A lot of shop, they find that service advisors always feel that they’re under a time crunch. And so a lot of times the best thing to do is kind of what we talked about before we got on here today, Jim, is to go ahead and have your service advisors and technicians work together to build the notes and stuff into the inspection sheet so that way it provides a consistent verbiage for the customer and it is touch friendly for the technician. So all they may have to do is choose a condition, maybe verify the job that it needs to produce, snap a picture and drag an arrow onto it and everything else is done. And then the service writer, all they have to do is accept it and estimate it. So that’s one of the beauties of ProTrac. The way it’s actually designed and other point of sales that we integrate with is if the inspection sheet is tied to the service packages or operations and the POS, basically it can be almost build the repair order in a way that’s consistent no matter who does the inspection.
Jim Krell (00:44:48):
And that’s what I’m hearing is that the techs are doing most of the editing. What I found out this morning is what they’re doing on the markers and stuff on the photos.
Bill Connor (00:45:00):
Go get it.
David Saline (00:45:02):
So there’s a couple points here that I was just here listening and we’re talking about time crunches and if the service advisor fills, they’re under a time crunch, I will almost guarantee that 90% of that time crunch is created by the service advisor themselves. And why I say that is examples you can tell a customer, drop your car off at 10, it should only take an hour. And what’s the customer expecting? They’re expecting to bring their car in at 10 and have it back at 11. Or if you say bring it on, drop it off in the morning and we’ll get to you and we’ll give you a call later in the afternoon and let you know when it’s done. And both of those are acceptable and most customers will accept to dropping it off in the morning, hear back from you on the afternoon when you know something.
And setting the expectations. Like I said, when we started this conversation off setting the expectations of the customers from the beginning, I seen a shop, and I won’t say where it was or anything else, but we’ve seen a shop one time that was scheduling all their work like a doctor’s office and every 15 minute intervals they had cars coming in and being dropped off. And of course your service advisor’s not thinking about it, but are they up there and saying, oh, it’ll take a couple hours to get this job done. It’s about a three hour job, it’s about a four hour job. When they say that they just set an expectation with your customers that in four hours my car’s going to be ready. So it’s
Bill Connor (00:46:26):
Service advisors like playing soccer or football. As soon as you get the ball in your court, you better go in and look for some open space. A lot of it.
David Saline (00:46:35):
Yeah. So
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:46:37):
David, we agree on your analysis. It’s mostly caused by the service advisor, the time crunch. And I want to go back to what Bill said, Jim, the fact that the number of can jobs on the inspection sheets are relatively low with the analysis, there might be an opportunity just to start with, go through your inspection sheet and find where more service packages, as protractor calls, the can jobs can be applied, which saves the service advisors time, big time. And the second thing he mentioned, I hope I interpreting the right bill, is what we call the guided mode, which takes the to another level where basically assuming you can pre-configure per condition, meaning what’s wrong with the car, what motorist language is going to show up as an image caption and as a node. So that takes a lot of work initially, but it pays off big because all the technician literally does is what Bill said, take a picture, move the arrow with a finger and done. And then combined with the canned jobs, you can reduce the inspection time for the tech and the estimating time for the service advisor significantly. So that’s another idea.
Jim Krell (00:48:22):
Yeah, and another point too is getting these edits and messages on the pictures is it’s helping your, because we have another guy, the manager or I have another guy in back that I’m training to do this, trying to take some of that pressure off. So we’re building that guy, but my girl that’s a service advisor, she doesn’t know. And those markers and those notes on the pictures are going to help her. We hired her from Dairy Queen, she makes blizzards, but she’s a great people person. She does a great job. She gets right behind you and she needs that assistance to help her because she could look at that picture you showed earlier where the rim’s rubbing on the strut and she’s not going to know that there’s anything wrong
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:49:10):
Opportunity. Okay,
David Saline (00:49:13):
Well, I was going to say not only opportunity was what Jim just described to you is that I hope if any shop owner’s listening right here is I hear it all the time, I can’t find the right service advisor, I can’t find a salesperson, they don’t know the automotive industry. But with this system here, if you set it up right, your techs are using it right, and everything’s being done right on it, you can go pull that people person out of a kiosk in the mall. You know how many people of an automotive auto shop think when I walk through the mall and that guy that keeps trying to pull me into that kiosk in the middle of the mall, should I offer him a job as a service advisor? My suggestion to that is yes, they are people, persons, and they have no back off. If they can pull people into a kiosk walking in the middle of the mall, imagine how they can interact with your customers. They may not know the automotive industry, but this system can help them through that process.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:50:06):
So Jim, just Bill, if I may, they’re perfectly placed because they’re the same layman as the motorist. They’re the best person in the shop to put themselves in the Motorless shoes, nobody else because everybody else knows too much so to speak. And yeah, I couldn’t agree more.
David Saline (00:50:33):
Well, I’ll tell a quick story just on, not take much on this, but Jim, you’ve probably heard this one, but I had a service advisor I had shops years ago and I had a service advisor and we talk about she knew nothing about automotive. She didn’t know how to check the oil. I don’t even think she wanted to pump gas into her car. I think her husband did that for her, but she was that people person. And I heard a story, my toughest customer come walking in one day and he walks in and he’s trying to negotiate deals and everything else. And this person basically said, she says, look, you’ve been coming to here years. You trust our work, don’t you? Yes, I do. And I’m sitting here thinking with the digital inspection, if she would’ve had that with it, she could say, look, here’s everything we found.
Did you trust that? Okay, I trust that. And she goes, okay, we’ve always treated you right? Yes, okay, well, I gave you the best possible price could without being fired. You don’t want to see me lose my job, do you? He’s like, no. He goes, didn’t you just asked him? So do you want to get the repair done? And he is like, yes. Now this process took less than five minutes with her, and I’ve seen other service advisors and myself spend half hour, 45 minutes with this customer, and that’s why I go back to it. It’s created by the service advisor and what we think they want to hear and what they really need to hear.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:51:50):
Bill Connor (00:51:51):
Example. So Jim Davis is kind of writing you a prescription here and that he can go and follow up with you later on That is work on your service advisors with the drop off conversation. Make sure that not only is it permission based inspection, make sure the customer knows that it’s their job to look it over and call. And then when they do call, ask ’em a few questions about what they’ve seen or learned. Number one, and number two is I think he’s defined you a team building exercise with your service riders and your technicians along the lines of working on your inspection sheet to say, Hey, technician, when you see a condition on a topic, what is that condition you normally see? And then what job do you expect at the result? So that way you can get the ProTrac job embedded in the inspection sheet and then ask the technician, if the customer was at the car, what would you say?
And add that to the customer notes and image caption, and now all of a sudden you’re moving forward. And you could take it one step further because now you can do it a little bit at a time. Look for quick wins, look for a topic that you guys can work together, maybe work out one topic a day, just like vitamins and make you grow stronger. Choose one topic a day that’s on every vehicle. It’s got some labor time for the technician and so on, and work on finishing out one inspection topic per day until they’re all done and fully developed. And then you’ve got not only everybody’s working together as a team, but if you bring in that customer service person from outside the industry, all the language they need is already built into it. All they have to do is pretty much follow some directions and keep working on the customer experience that you probably hired them for anyways because they’re warm, bubbly, and friendly
Jim Krell (00:53:32):
For sure. And then it comes down to it’s just me not letting it happen and take caring of it, get it straightened out and get it moving forward. So let’s do a webinar in two months and see where we’re at.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:53:46):
That would be awesome. I want to add one more thing, which blew me away, how simple it is, but also how impactful. Send inspection reports to your spouses or family members outside of the staff members and let them explain to their husband, brother or whatever, or spouse, this is what I see on the picture that’s going to open light bulbs. You have no idea. And it’s so impactful and it’s not the boss talking, right? It is the loved one talking and it has a really amazing impact. I just wanted to throw that out because, so
Bill Connor (00:54:37):
As you do this, Jim, what you’re going to be looking for though is as you’re working on the inspection sheets, you can go ahead and define some canned jobs in there that you want for quick wins, and you can measure that, do approvals go up on that individual job? Number one, do the number of recommended actions on average for inspection go up and does the motorist research time go up? So you have a way, you’ve got a plan that you have in place, you decide whether executed or not, and now you have a way to measure it and go ahead and see are you going in the right direction? And if it’s not, then you don’t go and give up on it. You go ahead and remove whatever the barrier is and attack it from a different angle,
Jim Krell (00:55:12):
Right? Yeah, we have to adjust and correct it.
David Saline (00:55:18):
Bill Connor (00:55:19):
You can always,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:55:20):
Two months of this, Jim, maybe two months is too short. I mean, I want to caution you to not try to do
Bill Connor (00:55:37):
One or two things at a time. That’s it. Yeah,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:55:40):
Exactly. And agree on the goals with your team.
Jim Krell (00:55:45):
Yeah, I think it’s
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:55:46):
Just tweak. It might be three months,
Jim Krell (00:55:48):
Just some tweaking and some key words that we’re saying at drop off and stuff like that. And so I’m just going to pick out some of the pictures and I’m going to give ’em to Madeline and have ’em explain it to Charles so that he gets the vision of, oh, well, she doesn’t even understand it. How’s she going to tell the customer?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:56:08):
Right. Very good. Well,
David Saline (00:56:10):
The picture I got over here, and I really liked this conversation we had today because there’s one other picture to this too. You can put all the systems and all the software into your business, but you still got to train your employees. And it’s not just something that you train ’em once and they learn it. It’s an ongoing training, it’s a continual piece. And if everybody listening on it, just got that piece out of there, continually train, continually work on processes and continually keep up on it because as you say, updates happen, things change, stuff like that. And that just doesn’t go for just AutoVitals. I’ve heard protractor thrown out there a couple times today. I’m sure their system’s the same thing. And I know that we have a representative from AutoVitals coming up to drive Expo here in three weeks, and we are going to take that topic on, are you using your technology to the max? We’re going to have a whole workshop on that because it’s that important in the industry right now.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:57:12):
Jim, there’s another element I want to add to what David just said. It’s not just the training of new features for developing muscle memory. If your staff experiences that giving input changes their life for the better, they get trained on a feature or for example, and then say, I would love to change the inspection sheet in this topic and in this topic, and then it’s done by the next day, all of a sudden the training becomes a collaboration, right? It’s not just the one-way street, he is how you do it. It is they get back to you and say, well, why don’t we improve X? Why don’t we improve Y? And then they basically become part of designing the best process for your shop. And once you have that combined with the training, that’s super powerful.
David Saline (00:58:19):
And Jim, I know you realize this because you’ve had this happen, but when the employee in your business comes up with the idea that you may have already presented it to ’em 10 different ways and they didn’t, but they found a new way to bring it up and a new way to present it to you when it’s their idea, they embrace it and they follow it.
Jim Krell (00:58:38):
Yeah, for sure. So that’s even like, so Jim, do you have ask ’em enough questions until they come up with the idea, even though you already know it, bring it to ’em and ask ’em questions after questions and input. And pretty soon they’re going to stumble onto it and Hey, that’s a great idea. Let’s do it that way.
David Saline (00:58:58):
Exactly. Jim,
Bill Connor (00:58:59):
Do you have a top three list of things that you’ve learned today that maybe you want to implement yourself or you’d like to encourage somebody else that’s listening to actually take hold of and actually put it in place?
Jim Krell (00:59:10):
Well, I think the first thing is because I’ve been with AutoVitals so long, I’ve got comfortable with the stuff and haven’t kept up on the changes and making sure that my employees see those changes in how to do things on the inspections with the editing and all that stuff there. I need to work on that and how that can affect your average RO by getting those inspections, right, pictures and stuff like that.
Bill Connor (00:59:43):
Cool. So we’ve kind of run out of time here today. I’d like to thank both of you for joining us here today. Got lots of awesome information in there. And Jim, if you’ll let us invite you back at a later date to go and see your progress, I’d like to encourage you or other people that are listening to go to the Digital Shop Talk Facebook forum to go and ask questions about maybe how to edit an inspection sheet or whatever the topic might be. Ask it in there because there’s three or 4,000 people in there just like you that are more than willing to go ahead and help you. That’s one of the things about this industry is your peers are very helpful. All the coaching companies like Drive Here as an example, they’re all here to help you. And I’d just like to encourage you to ask questions. Go on. So again, thanks for joining us here today. I’d like to encourage people to go to and now there’s 181 episodes of some really great information that’s been shared by our panelists. Maybe share that link with another shop owner in your area and help bring them along also. So once again, thank you guys. uvi, you have anything you else you want to add before we finish up here?
I think your microphone’s off.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:01:04):
Yes. Sorry. I really enjoyed the discussion and I hope, Jim, you did too. There was no roasting. It’s all opportunity. All opportunity.
Bill Connor (01:01:18):
Those that put themselves out there always go ahead and benefit in the end if they go ahead and Great.
Jim Krell (01:01:24):
Yeah, just about getting better, being better. Yep.
David Saline (01:01:28):
And one last thing is thank you guys for inviting me onto the show today, and we want to extend an offer. We do have the Drive Expo, which AutoVitals will be a big part of on August 25th through the 28th in Orlando, Florida. You can go to drive Everybody from AutoVitals and their viewers and shop owners out there, you’re all invited. Just if you want to get more information, go to the expo site and we’d love to see you there.
Bill Connor (01:01:57):
Awesome. So thanks. Thank you once again. Go out there and make some money and while your customers and create a happy staff in the meantime. Thank you guys.
Jim Krell (01:02:08):
Yep, thanks.

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