skip to Main Content
The Digital Shop Talk Radio Logo.

Episode Description

Running your shop at peak efficiency can be a difficult task. That’s why we have 2019 Digital Shop Conference presenter Devin Kelley (All-Star Automotive, Columbia, MO) on to discuss how he runs his shop so efficiently and how he uses his shop’s efficiency to make decisions regarding the future of his shop.

How does he do that? Devin will give us a look at the thought process behind being open six days per week instead of 5, and how he keeps efficiency in mind when planning for future expansion

Episode Transcript

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

Tom Dorsey (00:01):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of the Digital Shop Talk Radio. Got a great one for you. Well, welcome back, Devin Kelley from All Star Automotive in Columbia, Missouri. And if you guys remember last time we had Devin on, we talked about he was the guy, he’s the shop owner that bought a shop with AutoVitals in it, had to figure it out on the fly. And then from there, remember Boo, it was a rocket ship of success and so excited to have him back on. And today what we’re going to be talking about is how to manage that success, right? Because it’s a double-edged sword, right? You sit there and you’re thinking to yourself, gosh, I need more cars. I need more cars. And if you’re doing, you’re filling your days with cars, with coupons for oil changes, at the end of the month, you’re just digging a hole. And so the key to that success is being able to manage it. You manage your efficiency and productivity. And so we’ve got the master of efficiency on with us today. Devin Kelley, welcome Devin. Thank you. Long show, but glad to have you back on, buddy.
Devin Kelley (01:04):
I’m excited to be on the show. Thanks for having me. Thanks to, yeah,
Tom Dorsey (01:07):
So let’s jump right in. Of course, man. You’re welcome. All time. And just another shout out real quick is that Devin will be doing a breakout. We’ll be talking more in detail about this at Digital Shop Conference next month. So come out to Santa, excuse me, marina, and see ’em. But how did it work out for you? Because I mean, that’s a problem. I mean, when you look at your metrics dev and you guys, I mean, you’ve probably pretty much doubled, it looks like your revenue I would say over the last couple of years. Did you double your staff? Did you double the size of your business or how did you manage that success?
Devin Kelley (01:44):
We have a smaller staff than what there was at the beginning of the transition of companies. Actually. We had a lot of really high performers. I was extremely blessed to have some amazing people on this team. It’s just incredible what they do. We also had some people that weren’t as high performers and they were affecting the high performers quite a bit. And once we started to figure out what the culture was going to be, what it was going to feel like, who we were going to be, we noticed that the lower performers didn’t really fit in as well. And in some ways, naturally, in some ways not the culture ended up with more of the high performers on board. So we needed less people overall and just letting the high performers do their thing without getting pulled in different directions by some of the other people. So that was one aspect. It was actually less people.
Tom Dorsey (02:38):
So kind of the first step you went in and you kind of had to thin the weeds a little bit in a way and just get some of the impediments, some of the obstacles out of the way so that you can get, like you said, it starts a culture. And we talk a lot about that on this show is that it really starts that culture. And if you open the door to your staff and you give them the big picture, you’d be surprised at how much they’re willing to come pull the rope with you. But so now that you’ve got that adjustment still, we can only get so much work done in a day. With all of the challenges that from a scheduling perspective and parts deliveries and availability of equipment and lanes, how do you manage that? Now that you’ve got the strong team in place, you still got to do a lot of work to get to those peak numbers like you’re showing?
Devin Kelley (03:27):
Yeah, absolutely. And a lot of it comes down to the communication that we have. We do biweekly shop meetings and we talk about things much more frequently than that, of course, but in a formal way, we do a shop meeting every other week and I’ll have an agenda where we go over certain topics and that’s extremely productive. I think a lot of the beneficial communication that we have comes from just being very open to new information from anybody and everybody inside the shop. Outside the shop, I’m always excited to hear different people’s perspective. I may not always agree or I may not even know if I agree or not in the beginning, I’m a really analytical person, so I just like perspective. It’s just incredible what’s possible when you accept perspective from everybody in the shop. It doesn’t matter who it is when they have something to say, I really try to actively listen and take it to heart because that’s how some amazing changes have come about. And so through communication, being open to everybody’s input is, I think one thing that’s been really, really powerful,
Tom Dorsey (04:30):
Open ears and open eyes and my granddaddy told me a long time ago is if you want to be successful, do what successful people do. And you’d be surprised when you just talk to people and get their input and get their perspective of something. They’re all experts. Everybody you hire is an expert in there and what their role is. And so who better to get information and input from than those experts? It’s hard a lot of times, especially for shops that are struggling out there, you think that you got to consolidate it and you got to control it and hold onto it instead of opening it up and looking at those other perspectives. I guess maybe that’s where Dustin came up with it takes a village from that other last episode, but I guess it does from a cultural perspective inside of your operation.
Devin Kelley (05:19):
Yeah, absolutely. And when I talk to my team and I’ve got an idea of something I want to do, I always know I’m not going to necessarily just implement an idea. It’s going to take a lot of active communication to get something done. In fact, just recently I had a call with Bill Connor and we were talking about some things that would be a great idea to implement on our digital inspection process pertaining to the information we put on pictures. And our team wasn’t getting notes on the pictures every time. And so we were talking about what kind of information we should have, how we should approach it. And when we did our shop meeting, I went to implement, I had some pretty specific things I wanted to implement. And through discussion with my shop, I could tell really quickly that we’re kind of in the baby steps of putting notes on pictures.
And so I better start really simple because I’m getting from them that they’re a bit overwhelmed and I know that I feel like in my mind what Bill and I came up with is just the most efficient possible thing, and I would see like 90% increase, but if I don’t have the buy-in, it’s actually going to be probably more like 10% and it’d be very infrequently. So with their input, we came up with a concept that was more simple that more came from them. And I know in my mind it may not get the same results, at least initially, but because the buy-in is so high, they’re implementing like crazy and it’s already having a positive impact. So that’s something really important that I try to keep in mind.
Tom Dorsey (06:46):
Yeah, I just saw that in your BCP because I mean, it’s really incredible really when you look into your data because you can see there’s some work that you did with Bill, and then boom, the metric just shoots up and it stays really stable. In other words, you can tell that it’s stuck and that it’s adopted. It wasn’t one of those, Hey, we tried it out and then, oh, it’s difficult. And that’s really brilliant advice that you’re giving right there is that because you can have the best process in the world, I can go steal McDonald’s process and I’m going to put it into my burger stand and then move it’s complete chaos because we just flipped the apple cart, even though that’s a very proven process. And for folks out there listening, that applies to more than just the best practices for taking the inspection or what the service rider’s doing, marking up the inspection results.
It applies to even how you walk around the vehicle, how you do the inspection, what’s the flow around the vehicle, what’s the flow around the vehicle for the different types of inspections that you have on the technician’s tablet. And if you get that technician’s involvement, again, they know best how they’re going to be most efficient walking around that vehicle and using the lift and getting what the information that they need for the service rider and then incorporate that exactly in baby steps. Exactly like what Devin said is that then they’re the experts at it. It was their idea and they’re going to take to it fish to water. So how are you tracking that stuff, Devin? How are you keeping your eye on the success? And then what are you doing? What are you looking for? What triggers do you see inside of your efficiency metrics or any of your other production metrics that says, Hey, I need to address this at one of my shop meetings.
Devin Kelley (08:40):
So it can depend on exactly what’s happening in the shop at the time. As shop owners, we tend to want to put fires out. We’re all guilty of that. And I try to routinely go back over all my different pieces of data just because I do like everybody get focused on one thing or another. I want to see our average repair order hit a certain point or hours per repair order. And I just try to make sure I look over everything each week. I go through and calculate our gross profit margin. And I’d say I try not to look everything daily because that’s micromanaging and nobody likes to be micromanaged. We don’t even like to micromanage ourselves If we really think about it, it’s good to look back from a little bit further away sometimes. And so in that, I just mean I’m not checking all of our key performance indicators every single day unless I’m diagnosing a problem like a technician.
But at least every couple of weeks I’m going back and looking at average repair order, things like that. And I think productivity is something that I look at pretty frequently, weekly, absolutely. And actually daily, because we try to track things in live time through the tech view screen, through AutoVitals. And when I’m looking at productivity, I think about the week and what happened, and I try to sort out what was circumstantial, what’s within our control, what’s not. Is this a trend good or bad? Because we’ve had certain key performance indicators that have just taken off like a rocket, and then I’ll see some volatility. And so it’s important to look at it in the big picture and figure out what changes can we make that are going to be sustainable in a positive direction. And when I see productivity every week, it helps me understand how are things really flowing that just tells us so much. Everything from how fast our parts are getting there, how accurately we’re diagnosing cars, how well we can work through all of the challenges that pop up in a day. So I think productivity is one that I look at quite a bit.
Tom Dorsey (10:38):
Yeah, that’s a great point. And like you said, it’s like jumping on scale every day, just driving nuts. Gosh, I’m not losing any weight. And so overdoing it from a metrics perspective too can give us a confusing signal and it can worry you unnecessarily because some of those things are pretty fast moving and there can be fluctuations and longer the trend, the better the information. But from a productivity perspective, you’re looking when you are giving instruction to your technicians inside of those shop meetings, do you set a goal? Are you saying, Hey, here’s where we’re at today. We’re going to focus on, let’s say we’re going to focus on sales or even selling the quick win stuff, we’re going to sell maintenance. And then do you give them a goal from a productivity and an efficiency perspective out of the data, or do you just have a ballpark that your machine is running the best in and then try to manage it that way?
Devin Kelley (11:45):
Both as a really analytical person, I’m always looking at different perspectives and I look at it both ways. I know this year we’ve been selling a little over 200 hours a week and we’ll discuss that in a shop meeting. We’ll discuss. Our goal has been like 145 hours and we crushed that week after week. So we’ll look at bringing that goal a little bit higher, raising the bar more and more. And in the shop meeting we’ll talk about where was last week and where was our goal. And luckily we’ve been discussing how we’ve been crushing that goal. And so it does help them to have that target number just to know what good looks like. We don’t want to just be running a hundred miles an hour not knowing are we running fast or we running slow? There’s nothing to compare it to. So yeah, we’ll talk about a goal that way.
Tom Dorsey (12:34):
And that’s a great way to scale, right? Because then you just incrementally, you just got a beat last week, and so you incrementally scale that goal. And what’s happening is you’re scaling your operation and you find yourself at capacity. And then how do you scale beyond that? Because once you have, I mean, that’s a great gift. Once you have a process and a team and you can build the culture and you can build the process, you really have all the winning components. So do you add more operations? Are you open longer in the week and are you able to see, and do you need to change a process for weekenders versus during the week and across seasons, right? In your seasonality, I’m sure you get some seasonality where you’re at in Missouri. And does your plan fit in the summer and in the winter?
Devin Kelley (13:27):
That’s a great question. And we only really have just now a year’s worth of data for the way this machine is performing. And so I won’t get too deep into some of that planning. I’d like to see a couple years data to feel like I’m making really efficient plans, but year after year, even in my past shop, I do see some similarities. So we can do some preparation. And so as far as building from there, if you were to look at scaling or something like that, I think I would need to have my bench really full. What I mean by that is that the guy sitting on the sidelines who are saying, I’m just waiting on a call from All Star Automotive for when it’s my time to step up and join the team. And if we had enough people on the bench, I feel like there’s a lot of what we do that’s really scalable, but none of it would be possible without the type of people that we have currently. So if we get enough people on the bench that fit our culture, it would make another location a lot more feasible.
Tom Dorsey (14:32):
And that’s a great point too, because when you build that strong culture, then you’re able to get, your team will refer in people that they know and they’re going to, there’s going to be no stronger critic or verifier of those new hires than the people in that because they don’t want to get that hung around their neck. You brought in this bum into, well, we had a great thing going here, and so they’re really going to be stronger and harsher, more harsh critics. I think if you can get that type of referral, are you incentivizing your guys to get out and find you your next Allstar at Allstar?
Devin Kelley (15:11):
Yeah. Last week I put out in our Facebook team chat for Allstar that I’m offering $200 cash. If somebody refers a new hire in and they end up getting hired, I think they all know the benefit is much larger than that because we’re down a couple of positions right now in the shop and they feel that daily. That’s a lot of stress. So they realize the reward is so much bigger than that, but it’s kind of nice to have that short-term incentive also because it maybe puts it in their mind just a little bit more outside of the shop. So if they’re at the grocery store and come across a cashier and they’re like, wow, that person just knocked it out of the park and all they did was bag my groceries, they might just keep their name in mind. So yeah, that’s one thing that I’ve done here recently is offer a cash reward if somebody’s hired based on their recommendation.
Tom Dorsey (15:57):
Yeah, sure. And so a couple spots down, and so you got those guys actively looking. Well, I’ll tell you what, if you’re anywhere within driving range in Columbia, Missouri and you’re watching this, you should get on the phone to Devin because I couldn’t imagine a better place to work, super strong culture and just very highly successful shop. So Devin, let me ask you this. What are we talking about when you come out to conference? What are you going to have for listeners? I know a lot of people out there want to come out and meet you in person. What are you going to be talking about out at conference
Devin Kelley (16:30):
About the pitfalls of becoming a digital shop, being a shop that didn’t have a digital inspection process and does now I’ve had, this is my second shop that does digital inspections and I’ve used a couple of different companies to implement digital inspections. And so it’s given me some pretty good perspective and I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. Learning AutoVitals, the way I did that was challenging, just jumping in like you referenced. And there was a lot of things I needed to do within all-star culture wise and physically in the building to really make it flow well for us. And we’ll be talking about some of those challenges. What are some mistakes you can avoid very easily that can save a lot of time and money? And I’ve got a little list that I’m compiling. I like to talk to a lot of shop owners that aren’t digital and some that are, I think sometimes some of our expectations going digital can be unrealistic. It’s important to know what is realistic and simple things like your internet capacity, what should we have, what do we have and how’s it actually performing? How does it perform on one side of the shop compared to the other? It’s just such a simple thing. But if you were to implement the digital inspection process and not have some of those key pieces in place, it’s going to cause a lot of pain and may affect the buy-in of your staff. So that’s some of the things that we’ll be talking about.
Tom Dorsey (17:53):
Yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s worth the price of admission right there is if I’m able to get somewhere, spend a nice weekend in a sunny place and learn all of the things to avoid on my path to success, thank you very much. Hopefully I can record it and take it home. So that’s fantastic. Are you bringing anybody out from the shop? Are we going to get to meet any of your staff?
Devin Kelley (18:18):
Nope. Right now it’s just going to be myself from the shop. I’ve not been to the conference before, so I’m excited to go. I want to go kind of feel things out and understand how it flows. It’d be great to have people go with me in the future.
Tom Dorsey (18:31):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, we’re lucky. We got a couple of shops are bringing out, some of ’em are bringing out their whole team. And so it’s really good because we like to get, also, we always have good strong digital shop owners given the breakouts and teaching classes, but we’re also lucky to have service writers and even techs come out and teach classes and stuff like that. And so if you’re thinking about bringing out some staff members and stuff like that, give us a call, talk to Dustin, we can accommodate you and everybody’s going to take away some good value and bring it back to the shop. So yeah, we’re really looking forward to seeing your class. Devin, I know we got a lot of interest in it. We got some really strong lineup this year of people that are in similar situation. Matter of fact, I think we’re talking with Fred next week on digital shop talk radio.
He’s going to be talking about staffing and a little bit about what we’re talking about here is it’s such a struggle right now to find good people and to keep ’em. And there’s some really smart ways, and you heard a little bit of it here today on how to be able to do that and incentivize and build that culture where they’re actually attracted more people in instead of trying to build a revolving door for you. So that’s fantastic. So let’s talk a little bit about your schedule, because I know you had mentioned to Dustin, I think that you had some pretty strong opinions or maybe you’ve tried out and kind of test it out between being open five days and six days. And what are your current hours and how’s that working for you and why?
Devin Kelley (20:07):
Alright, current hours. We’re open 11 hours a day Monday through Friday and eight hours on Saturday. So it’s 63 hours during the week. That’s a lot of hours. And that comes with its challenges and its benefits. And my last shop we were five days a week and just the same. It came with its challenges and benefits.
Tom Dorsey (20:27):
And so what was the decision making? So did you just open four hours or something on Saturday at first and give it a shot and then you saw yourself turning away business, so you went eight?
Devin Kelley (20:37):
Nope. Allstar was a brand that was established before I came on board and they were already six days a week. So there was a lot of things in place supported the sixth day.
Tom Dorsey (20:50):
And what’s the biggest challenge mean? So you’re fully staffed on Saturday and are you running it just like any other day and do you see that you’re getting, I mean, are you busier or do you find yourself already having the appointments booked out and some waiters on Saturdays? Or are you having to get on the phones or market to fill Saturdays?
Devin Kelley (21:12):
Saturdays can be a tough thing for me to assess really well because we’ll have carryover from the Friday in the week. So in my data is some skewed information. So I’m working on finding different ways to get a very realistic view of what we’re really accomplishing on Saturdays. That’s kind of tough
Tom Dorsey (21:35):
Because I’ve always been worried. The thing that would worry me is that, hey, I can drag my feet. It’s Friday and I know I’m coming in tomorrow morning anyway and I can finish this thing out and all of a sudden I got to carry over on Friday that I probably could have pushed out. And then once or twice maybe, okay, but if that becomes the norm, then you develop that reputation. I’d love to go there, but I really like my car back on Friday night. No, and so you got to kind of manage that. How do you stay on top of that from, and again, I guess you could probably just see it writing the data on Friday, if we’re pulling strong from noon on and we’re getting meeting our promise times then yay. But do you see that there’s a loss of productivity or efficiency on Friday afternoons?
Devin Kelley (22:23):
I dunno if I’m seeing that. I assume we’re going to have some of that because we really design our Saturdays before we get there. For the most part we do most days we have a target of 15 appointments we set in any given day. We reduce that for the Saturday and we’re not fully staffed on Saturdays. We only have one flat rate technician and one to two general service technicians and two service advisors. And that’s a drastic reduction of our normal capacity that has its challenges and its benefits. One of the benefits is that those people that are off on the Saturday, they have that day off. All of us only work five days a week. So if we work a Saturday, we have a weekday off,
Tom Dorsey (23:02):
Kind of rotate them through.
Devin Kelley (23:04):
And that has some challenges when it comes to scheduling because we only really have one day a week for the most part where everybody’s there. And so that’s one of the things we talk about is if we were five days and we have everybody there, how much more smoothly would this place run how we may be able to find there’s more production there? At the same time, when I had a five day week shop, I had people who would take off during the week for doctor’s appointments and things like that because I don’t have a weekday off. So there’s two sides to that coin. And we do, like I was saying, design this Saturday, so midday Friday, we’re really paying attention to how much we have scheduled for Saturday compared to how much carryover we anticipate having. So we have a decent amount of control over that. And when we set those daily numbers of appointments so that we know we can typically have the option of bringing in three to five walk-ins or toe ins, and so we typically have control of throttle pretty well. There’s always the unexpected. We all know that that’s hard
Tom Dorsey (24:08):
To plan through. Yeah. Yeah, that’s an interesting challenge, right? Because gosh, the Saturday guy could just be the guy that gets all the stuff dumped on him and then like you said, then you got the walk-ins and the tow ins and he’s, now I’m swamped and there’s nobody here to help me. And so you really have to think smart, I guess, on Friday to really set ’em up for success for the next day type of work you’re booking. If you can get as many parts on the shelf or stuff in the mix for tomorrow as possible and just kind of do a lot of that pre-work, it just really, I guess would help them from an efficiency perspective and a productivity perspective actually come in and bang it out on Saturday and then make it something that is valuable and it’s seen as an opportunity to the team because that’s really the key, right, is if it’s an opportunity and they see the value, well then they’ll make it valuable and they’ll give the performance and the work and on a Saturday and make Saturday very successful, especially when you are contractually obligated to keep the doors open on Saturday.
You got to rock and roll. So do you do, what about from a marketing perspective? How are you reaching out? Are you doing exit scheduling and then keeping Saturdays in mind as you’re doing those exit schedules to try to fill in, I guess some gravy work or something like that on the Saturdays to make it even that much easier for the operator?
Devin Kelley (25:38):
So we’re not actually doing a whole lot of exit scheduling right now. I’ve changed and implemented so much this year that I’m trying to be very careful about what I implement and when years past I’ve been guilty of being way too progressive and changing things so fast that nobody knew what was left and what was right and what I was expecting and what we’re all supposed to be doing. So using that experience this year, I’ve tried to be really careful how much I implement, how much that is new because there’s been a lot of things that were new and so we’re not in a very official way or in a very consistent way doing exit scheduling. When we get to do that, that’s going to be a really powerful tool. I’ve used that tool before in my previous business and it was incredibly powerful and helped us with control. So again, we’re not doing exit scheduling consistently right now, so that’s just another piece of low hanging fruit that we have. But I anticipate that being able to help us control things
Tom Dorsey (26:40):
Well. Yeah, good. And I know a place where you can get a really good perspective on exit scheduling and some help, at least some good ideas. And that would be at the digital shop conference when you come out next month, because I’m sure you’re going to hear some you’re in, you see it in the Facebook form all the time, but there’s some pretty strong opinions about that and it really does boil down to can you handle it? What’s my shop, what’s my model and what’s my demographic to be able to be highly effective at the exit scheduling. And it is a pretty big process change. It does take a big buy-in from the guys up front, that’s for sure. And conditioning of the customer really. But the good thing is once you get there, then it’s a machine, right?
Devin Kelley (27:27):
And it becomes natural once you get past some of the buy-in challenges and make it consistent, it becomes natural. It’s just a normal thing. And once it feels like a normal thing, it is just a normal thing. There’s no big deal.
Tom Dorsey (27:39):
Yeah, that be great, right? Is your customers get done, they come in for pickup and they’re just standing there waiting for their next appointment, kind of like we do at the dentist office, right? Go up to the front, give ’em the paper, okay, I’m good next four months from now, whatever. Now that’s fantastic. Yeah. So yeah, interesting. It’s great to see just how smart you are about the implementation of these things. There’s a lot of wisdom there. There’s been some trial and error and it’s quick to understand that yeah, you’d crack that throttle too much and you flood it out and you’re in trouble. And it’s really just a controlled and metered application of these process changes. Let the habits get developed, let them stick, test them that they’re there because that’s the real test, right? Devin? Is that when, like you said, when those unknowns, those something’s on fire, something blows up. That’s really the test to, is your process sticky? Did your people follow that same thing or did they go back to hair on fire mode and just start doing what they used to do just to survive? How do you test it? And have you been through that test to where you’re confident in it, obviously enough to where you’re going to come out the digital shop conference and let the crew steer the ship?
Devin Kelley (29:03):
Well, I think that in some ways the tests happen on their own daily, and I look at that through consistency of everyone’s implementation. When we implement something new, for instance, we were just talking last week about adding notes to pictures. It’s something that I’ll do a lot of follow up on. Anything that’s going to become a habit. We have to do it for a while before it can become a habit and an important part of that. It’s my follow up in talking about our expectations and our performance. And so I think watching it for a while to make sure it’s consistent is very telling.
Tom Dorsey (29:37):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean that’s a great indicator. Do you do things like secret shopper or whisper on the phone or anything like that to try to make sure that when the boss isn’t looking that they’re consistent?
Devin Kelley (29:52):
Not typically. The data tells me a lot of what I need to know. I spot check inspections and that gives me a lot of information. I’ll jump in on estimates and look at the notes from the technician, or I’ll just audit some inspection reports that are either in progress or have already been sent since I know how to perform those tasks myself. I’m not going to say I’m as good as my team. They’re real rock stars, but I can look at an inspection and understand how it flowed at the time just by seeing the technician’s notes, seeing the technician’s notes, seeing what the advisor advisor edited and seeing what went to the customer in what way. I’ll look at it from the customer perspective and then the shop perspective, and that’s really telling.
Tom Dorsey (30:39):
And then what’s the follow up with the customer? I mean, do you pull your customers regularly, send out surveys, or just get out when you see ’em in the waiting room and go talk to ’em and just kind of ask them how that experience has been to try to get an idea of consistency across visits.
Devin Kelley (30:54):
I use a software online that sends ’em a text message three days after service that asks essentially what their level of satisfaction was with things. That helps a lot. Not everybody will respond to those text messages so it doesn’t get a hundred percent of the customers, but a large number of them and how people that had a bad experience somewhere, they’re going to talk a lot about that. They’re usually pretty willing to say something. I get some good feedback there. And we have a lot of customers that rant and rave about our service. They just love us. And when you have people that passionate about a positive experience, they’re willing to speak up too. And that’s nice about the follow-up though is I get the in between because that in between really mad and really happy is some really good stuff. And so yeah, we sent out text messages to everybody and I respond to those, and that can be a lot to keep up with sometimes. And I think it’s an important thing that it’s done though.
Tom Dorsey (31:49):
Yeah, and really for folks out there, and you’re right, but it is time well spent. You should be responding a hundred percent of the time and you should respond publicly as much as possible to those online reviews. Why? Because you get an opportunity to put information into your response. Things like the year, make, and model things that Google likes to find. And if you can do that, and so not only does it show that you’re open and that you’re willing to work with folks and hey, stuff happens. And when you do have maybe an issue with somebody, it’s great to be public that, Hey, I was out there trying to make it right, whether the person was going to work with you or not, is it relevant? Right? We see that stuff all the time in our own shopping experiences and online research and stuff.
Oh my gosh, that guy sounds like a crazy person. That poor Baker was trying to do everything he could to make a new cake. That guy just wouldn’t have it. And then you say, and it actually works in your favor. You say, well, this guy, this guy went through heck trying to get this guy happy and I think I’m going to come down and do business with them. So that’s one aspect. But the other side of it is that you get to put good keywords in your responses and they go online and then that stuff gets found when people are searching and things like that. And what a great introduction to your business to find a review or you’re responding and thanking somebody or managing somebody who isn’t happy as my first introduction to you instead of just your sign or your coupon or something like that, right? Is really a strong introduction and so long diatribe to say respond 100% of the time to all your online reviews 100% of the time. If you’ve got to do it at midnight, just do it. It’s going to pay off and it’s going to continue to pay off for you in the long run.
Devin Kelley (33:39):
I just wanted to add this for a long time. I’d feel very, very stressed about a bad review, and I still take ’em extremely seriously, good or bad. And I’ve found some peace in being accepting of a one-star review because we’re human. Everybody is, and people understand that when they see it. If anybody would like to see all star automotive reviews on Google, we’re in Columbia, Missouri, I’d encourage you to look at ’em. And I feel like any one star review that we get is an opportunity for us to be transparent and show people how we deal with adversity and how we really want to help. So I found peace in accepting the one star reviews not as something that ruined my weekend when I found out on Friday evening, but something that gave me an opportunity to show people who we are when things don’t go a hundred percent properly. So if anybody wants to see those, I’d encourage you to take a look. I’m no master review responder, but I’m human and you might be able to see what seemed like it worked for me or didn’t. So
Tom Dorsey (34:31):
Yeah, it’s like you said, everybody gets to learn a little bit from everybody else. But yeah, it is critical. And if you think about it, you put yourself because you do the same thing. You’ve gone to a business that you’ve done business with and are happy to do business with or a restaurant where you love your dinner and you see these bad reviews. It’s about the number and it’s about, like you said, it’s about what are those owners doing to respond to that stuff. If you saw all five star reviews, you’d automatically think it’s just fake, right? It
Devin Kelley (35:00):
A little suspicious. I’ve seen it, and some of those been great companies, but I think sometimes it looks a little suspicious. Yeah, it
Tom Dorsey (35:06):
Looks suspicious. You tend to move on. And then when there’s something, yeah, four and a half stars, okay, now I get it. They’re human, their stuff happens, but look, they’re responsive. And that’s all I really care about. And the vast majority is, because that’s the other thing is if you have some of those, or if you’re trying to rebuild from some maybe a chain of battery reviews, you had a guy and he’s gone or whatever, you bought a business, it’s about the volume. And here’s the funny thing is we’re still stuck in the old ways where, oh, people, I don’t ask ’em for a review. They’ll leave one if they want to. But you know what? If you think about it, it’s a tool that we use every single day ourselves. We read those reviews, we rely on those reviews. So then again, of course I’m going to leave a review because it’s adding to that tool that we all use collectively. And so the attitudes have really changed, and you’d be surprised if you just build into your process as part of that exit scheduling or you just build it into your pickup script to ask for the review or make it easy to suggest how they can leave you that review. Oh my gosh. You’ll see reviews go from 20, 30% if you’re lucky, up to 70, 80% of folks leaving reviews. It’s just how you ask ’em. You just have to be willing to ask them.
Devin Kelley (36:26):
It really helps combat that natural tendency. We have to want to have an outlet when we’re really frustrated. That’s why I think some people are quicker to put something negative on there. They need an outlet they didn’t feel like they were really listened to or somebody didn’t take ’em seriously enough. And so by asking the people that had a great experience to put that out there, it helps balance those energies out. That’s really important. Yeah.
Tom Dorsey (36:49):
Yeah, exactly. Oh, shoot. We’re over. Hey, it’s easy. It’s easy to go over when you got Devin Kelley on your show. Thanks a lot. I appreciate you having you on. I’m really excited to see you next week. Excuse me, next month out at the Digital Shop conference. And until then, like Devin said, go look him up. He’s in Columbia, Missouri, all Star. Take a look at his website, take a look at his reviews, give him a call if you got some questions for him or you have something maybe we didn’t cover on the show today. Devin’s very open and just looking to help other people in the same boat be successful. We all row together.
Devin Kelley (37:27):
Absolutely. And I’m human just like the rest of us. I don’t consider myself any magical shop owner or anything like that. I’m no genius. I just see a lot of good stuff and I try to write it down. I’ve got great coaches like Paul Marsh at ATI and Bill Connor there at AutoVitals, and all you guys at AutoVitals are amazing. So I just be a sponge and there’s great stuff out there.
Tom Dorsey (37:47):
Perfect, perfect. Well, thank you, Devin. Tune in next week. We’re going to be talking with Fred Wicki. We’re going to be talking about staffing some creative ways, I don’t want to say creative, I want to say successful, savvy ways and techniques of recruiting. And so Wednesday, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern. Until then, get out there and make some money. Thanks a lot, Devin. Thanks Dustin. Thank you.

Back To Top