skip to Main Content

Customers dropping off their vehicles for maintenance or repair typically expect that you take care of all aspects of their vehicles. What is the best practice to manage these expectations? Join Bill, Uwe, and our panelist Frank Scandura to discuss options and their advantages and potential pitfalls.

Episode Transcript

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

Bill Connor (00:06):
So good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and you reached the Digital Shop Talk Radio where we gather with our great panelists on Wednesdays at 12 o’clock central to share with our listeners today I’m here with Frank Scandura, owner of Frank’s European Service. Welcome back. Frank’s been with us many times. It has shared a lot of wisdom with us and we also have AutoVitals’ founder, Uwe Kleinschmidt here as usual. So join us today to talk about the discussion about customers dropping off your vehicles from maintenance repair. We’re typically expecting you to take care of all the aspects of your vehicle service. Does it sound familiar? It really should because it happens often and even more often than it used to as customers are having trust built with them using the digital shop. So what is the best practice when it comes to managing these expectations? What are the options, their advantages, and some potential pitfalls to handling this particular aspect of the business? As always, teamwork is required to shop to provide great results, and you could take away some tips today about subletting or referring to customers to other shops to take care of some of these needs. As always, our guest panelists who operate shop just like yours are here to share some tips with you. So if you wouldn’t mind, how about getting us started here and down into this very deep topic?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:32):
Of course. Thank you Frank for coming on and the topic came up and Frank and I had a conversation and things we often take for granted are not followed by all shops. So we thought it’s a great topic because it seems like so logical. I don’t do smart tests, so why don’t I refer you to a shop doing smart tests as an example or transmission replacement or I mean you name it and it seems logical and why do we even have a topic? And the real truth is it’s all about the customer. And if you approach it from a customer’s perspective, then all of a sudden the world looks a little different. It’s not just what services do I provide, it is how do I take care of the customer? And that’s what basically the topic is about. So I hope Frank, I have given you a good lead into that discussion and I hope during the hour we will. We’ll look at many aspects of managing customers’ expectations.
Frank Scandura (02:52):
You did, and I was thinking about this this morning and something dawned on me, but first I want to put out one of those little disclaimers. Make sure you know your state laws because when you said send a car, I’m going to take a car out for a smog test, California against the law for me to take my customer’s car for an emissions test for whatever reason. So make sure your laws that said, I was trying to figure out why do I even start doing this for my customers. This is not one of those tips that actually puts money to the bottom line. It’s not like really a lot of the things we talk about on the show really affect the bottom line. And this may or may not really affect the bottom line, but what it does affect is the customer and our goal should be customers for life.
And we all know people die, they move, they get mad, whatever. So how do we prevent them from just getting mad and staying in the fold? So why did I even start doing this? And I think I remember way back in the early days telling somebody they needed tires and just picking up on something in the tone of their voice and then saying, would you like me to help you figure that out and hearing the relief? Yeah, that would be great. Could you do that for me? And I think that’s when it dawned on me, people are, we all know one of the most hated things in the world is change and getting your car fixed. We can’t do anything about change, but we can make getting the car fix a lot easier. And I think that made me realize that I could take pressure off of them by helping in everything on a car, whether I do it or not personally.
And some of the things we talked about was window tank. It’s much easier for me to establish a relationship with a good tinter than to hope my customer finds by asking mother Google, who’s a good tinter and then bringing me the carcass of power. Windows don’t work. They got watered down the door modules and fried all the door modules out and they don’t take responsibility. That’s happened. So I know that or body work with all the chains and all this mass consolidation with body shops. We need to find that body shop that’s so independently owned that we have a relationship with that we can send Mary down to say, look, if you go talk to Daryl, he’s going to take good care of you because I send Daryl about $2 million worth of work a year and he doesn’t want to lose that. And I don’t tell the customer that, but Darryl knows it. And when you run a really good shop, you tracked really good customers. So now when you start referring your really good customers to other really good shops, and I’ve had these shops come back to me and say, Frank, man, your customers are awesome. They just said, whatever Frank says is what I’m supposed to do. And that’s really the relationship and that’s the level of trust that we’ve developed with them. And that’s why I think it’s really, really important to be able to offer that service for your customers.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (05:39):
Yeah, I mean I couldn’t agree more. I just went through something like this and I consider myself fairly technical and I do my research, but just go to you said tires, go to an online page and figure out what the tires are for you. I mean the options are way too many and understanding the technical lingo, and we all think this is a commoditized business, tires, what the heck? But having that person you can trust doing the right thing for your vehicle is priceless in that moment. In my opinion,
Frank Scandura (06:23):
Tires is a perfect example because when you walk into a tire store and say any tires for that red thing out there, we assume they want to put the tires on, the manufacturer recommends for the car. And people don’t realize this. Uwe, you can attest to this, a lot of times the car is built around a tire.
The handling characteristics noise, the levels are really specific to tires. A lot of Mercedes had on the door jamb sticker for the tires do not use. And it had specific tire brands on there not to put on the car. That’s how important it is. True story had a customer with a Honda S 2000 and Mr. Bigshot doesn’t want to listen to Frank, he needs four tires. So he goes out and gets two tires on the car and he swears there’s something wrong with the suspension because the handling characteristics of the car was so bad there had to be something wrong. It can’t be the tires. They’re new, they’re new, they’re new. Alright, let’s go back if I’m wrong, I’ll pay for the tires, go put these four tires on a car. Car’s fixed. And what happens a lot of times is tire stores get rebates from the tire manufacturer.
So when you walk in, a guy goes, you know what? I got a set of A B, C whoopies that are black walls that would really work well in your car and they’re only $900. And you go, my gosh, what a great deal Johnny’s given me. Well he just got a one or $200 kickback on the other end and you don’t have any way of knowing that. So that’s a really good example of why it’s important to help guide your customers to the right decision under something so simple as tires anyway. Sounds like the doctor making that prescription written out for something he’s getting a kickback on. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If his mindset is I want to do what’s best for my customer and holy cow, look at this tire I can make an extra spiff on is what’s best for my customer. And I honestly don’t think the tire guys are trained that way and I don’t think there’s anything malicious behind it. And especially these cars are getting more and more complicated suspensions. More and more cars are coming through with active suspensions all wheel drive. You can’t just throw anything on these cars and hope they’re going to be okay.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (08:33):
Yeah, everything is dialed in, especially on their higher end course. But let’s talk about, so we basically are done with a podcast recommendation is sublet never with her. Let’s talk about politics. No,
Frank Scandura (08:53):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (08:58):
Let’s peel the onion a little bit, right? Because it’s easily said, okay, I take care of it for you. You now apart from more work also have to really make sure you never screw up, screw up because they now trust you for something you are only partially responsible for, right? So how do you vet your suppliers? And the other point I think is will, so you have to go back to 0.1. You have a big chance to screw up your relationship with the customer, right? If the selection is not done correctly and managed. And the second thing I would bring up is the logistics aspect of it. What do you say take a loaner. I hope I get it back by tomorrow. I mean, how are those details managed?
Frank Scandura (09:59):
And that goes to managing expectations of this, right? So let’s break it down. If you’re managing their expectations, you should already know whether or not they have other transportation. You should already know when the deadline is to get the car back and you should never ever do anything to jeopardize that. And it should never be this is cringe worthy words from a technician or a service advisor. I will do my best to get it to you by Friday. That to me, you work here because I assume you’re going to do your best. That’s why you have this job.
That’s not managing expectations. Managing expectations is Mrs. Jones, there’s always a possibility something could go wrong and I may not get the car back by Friday. Why don’t we reschedule your next service visit to get that bumper fixed? That’s managing expectations. Then she has the opportunity. He has the opportunity to say it’s not that big deal. Go ahead and get it fixed. If it’s not done, it’s okay. We’ll be all right. So yeah, cringe-worthy words for sure. And then how do you find that trusted partner? And that’s really what it comes down to, right? Because now it becomes a two-way exchange because the work I’m sending to the body shop, eventually they’re going to have that vehicle there where they don’t know why this car they drove into their shop can’t be driven out. Frank, can you help us? Yeah, sure, of course I can because you guys have treated me right?
And how did that relationship even start was perhaps we scratched the bumper I needed fixed. So that’s usually where it starts. And shame on you shop owners. If you’re looking for the best deal, I need the cheapest price paying for it. Shame on you guys because you get what you deserve when it doesn’t work out well, I never negotiate the price and I’ve had the guys take really good care of me, do really good work and that’s most important. So that’s a good way to start those relationships. And they started with the body shop that we use, started with a referral to us. Hey, I know this guy that works there, he’s a really straight shooter. Give ’em a try. Boom. We go down there and make the introductions talk to each other. Okay, I’ll throw you a little bit. And then what happens when the customer moves from that scratched bumper to I’ve got in a car accident, right? You guys know this. Your customers call you first. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know where to bring a car. But what do I do? Somebody just hit my car in the parking lot or hey, my kid got in a wreck, somebody ran a red light. What do I do? And then you have these opportunities to help relieve that pressure and help them negotiate and navigate everything else that’s going on with their vehicles. That’s what we should be doing as service providers.
Bill Connor (12:47):
Those that are wreck cars to show up on your lot on a Monday morning waiting for you that you didn’t know about. And that’s when you know the customer really trusts you. It’s not going to the body shop, it’s coming to Frank’s or whoever’s purse to get an opinion. And it’s really kind of interesting also is that when you help them get it to the right place, even if their insurance company’s dealing with it, you can also help them understand does the complete job get done? Are all the ADOS calibrations done when it gets done? If they change a windshield, do they recalibrate the forward facing camera or they just stick a piece of glass in it and open for the best? So there’s a lot of things that as a professional shop that’s trusted by your customers that you can do to go in and make sure that they’re getting the right fix for whatever’s going on in their life.
Frank Scandura (13:33):
And that’s a really good point because I’ve done post collision repair inspections for customers too because I remember what the car’s supposed to look like with all the right bolts and pins in the under liners and the wheel well moldings and the bumpers and the wire looms. Are they all connected correctly? Did they tie strap the supercharger intercooler up to the radiator because they didn’t want to wait for the right parts or because they’re flat rate in the job because the insurance company’s trying to rip them off by only paying 45 bucks an hour for labor? Yeah. And that’s where that truly all comes together as a full package.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (14:10):
So I would love to talk about Buddy a little bit because when I started looking into collision industry, whether our workflow management might help there, I was blown away by how big the insurance impact is on delivery of the service. And sometimes it’s a long ongoing negotiation between the insurance and the shop if it’s not a direct repair shop. And how do you manage that? I mean, would a collision shop in most of the cases tell you it’s going to be done by X and then you just take that for granted and relay the message?
Frank Scandura (15:02):
I think promise times through a body shop are extremely difficult because that is a true example of the unknown, right? Yes. I see the bumpers pushed in a little bit. I see a little wrinkle in the fender, I assume 1, 2, 3. And then because most insurance companies don’t authorize tear down, they authorize a repair based on what you see. Yes. And anybody who’s had a minor bumper impact knows it’s never what it seems to be. It’s always something more. There’s all the impact strips underneath. Sometimes the frame rail get a little wrinkle in, it does a total of the car, you just got to pull it up. But it’s almost always additional work. And I don’t think until the car is actually heading for the detail shop, should it be considered ready to be promised. And the delays in insurance companies today, there’s just mind boggling. And there’s a guy online who specializes in diminished value claims. He’s out of North or South Carolina. A guy’s really good at what he does, and a lot of people don’t realize is accident records on your vehicle make it less valuable. So he helps people recover diminished value claims and anybody wants information on that, reach out to me offline and I’ll help you find it.
And he’s got a saying, it really makes sense. Never trust a person that owes you money to be fair with you. And that’s what happens with the insurance companies and how they’re able to have such an investment in the body shops is really, really sad. Think about if you’ve ever had this opportunity to talk to somebody who has, if they call their insurance and says, I was in an accident, and the first thing they say is take it to our preferred shop, and you go, oh, okay, good. Assuming it’s just like Frank’s saying, take it to my preferred guy because my preferred guy is trusted, my preferred guy, I will help you if there’s a problem. My preferred guy is a straight shooter on the insurance company side. The preferred guy has already negotiated a lower price. So the insurance company is intending to save money. And I’ve seen multiple times where body shops submitted a claim for $7,000 and the insurance company says, no, no, no, no. You should be able to fix that car for 4,200.
A good operator knows how to overcome that, submit to the next tier, do whatever they have to do to get the car properly fixed. But what happens to the shop that doesn’t know how to overcome that? Is he fixing your car for $4,200? It should have been a $7,000 repair. And what is the end result of your vehicle? We actually had a car come in, one of our customer’s daughters started going to school, UN LV in Nevada, got in a minor accident front fender and the right front door and the right and a couple months after the repair, we didn’t know about the accident. Was it one of those calls that came to us? The car comes in and we said, man, this thing is what a mess, what happened to this car? She goes, oh, it was in an accident and X, Y, Z starts telling us this story. Well it turned out that this particular body shop ordered the new parts because we called the insurance company and said this thing’s not safe to drive this thing’s hammered. They ordered the new parts and never put ’em on the car. So they submitted a receipt to the insurance company for all the new parts for the full repair, sent the parts back because the insurance company did a subpoena, got the records from the dealership and they repaired the fenders to frame rail on the door.
And this is the one time I was impressed with the insurance company investigator called the body shop owner out to the shop and he says, look at this car. And the guy looks at it, he could tell he was in trouble and he goes, we can do this one of two ways. You can write me a check right now for the money we gave you or we can settle this in court. Guy goes, how much the problem is now it doesn’t stop him from doing it again. So it’s truly, and that’s what happens when those prices are controlled, it opens those doors. So that’s sketchy kind of work. So important. Want to be
Bill Connor (18:50):
Really clear on this. What you’re doing in this case is this isn’t a sublet, this is a referral, but you’re also going ahead and working with the customer to make sure that they get done what needs to be done. Is that correct?
Frank Scandura (19:04):
So this particular one, we did not know the car was in an accident. We did not send it to the body shop. Our involvement came after the car came in for repairs. Our concern for the safety of our customer, it was like time out. This car shouldn’t have the brakes done, shouldn’t have this other work done. There’s something terribly wrong. We couldn’t align the car. It was so Ben up and this is an
Bill Connor (19:27):
After the fact assisting the customer. I’m talking about generally you would refer to the customer to the body shop of your choice to try and get them before they’ve been mismanaged by somebody else. And then part of your being Frank’s is to go ahead and make sure that you’re helping them understand is the car is actually truly fixed properly, hopefully in a timely manner and things like that. So this is a referral, not a sublet
Frank Scandura (19:56):
In that case? That’s correct. Right, because we’re talking about two different things at the same time, subletting a vehicle and referring a vehicle, we would have made that referral and they never would’ve had that problem. The car probably would have been towed.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (20:11):
But let’s go back to the ideal world. You take care of whatever collision related thing and I don’t know, do you have a limit on how big it is? Because here’s what’s going through my mind, and that’s again informed by talking to collision shop owners who sometimes leverage the motorist to convince the insurance to increase. For example, use OEM pods instead of off the market parts, right? Yes. So they recommend to the motorists, take all the insurance threaten to cancel if there are no OEM parts in that repair, right? So would you take care of all of that? Probably not.
Frank Scandura (21:04):
Probably not. However, if my customer called me to ask my opinion on it, I would help them. I would say, yeah, absolutely. Here’s what here, why? Why thank you Bill. Right? Right. And I just had this chat again yesterday. You have to know the why behind the what I was helping A shop owner called me yesterday. Hey, this is going on, this is going on. I says, well, does your team know why you want to do all those things? Right? Well, they should. Okay, there you go. I
Uwe Kleinschmidt (21:34):
Assume is normally the answer. I assume
Frank Scandura (21:38):
So. Yeah, absolutely. And this is the why. It really helps ’em understand some parts aftermarket parts are not approved for autobody repair. And if you guys are paying attention, there was an article not long ago about a Honda Fit, I believe was modeled of the car was in an accident and repaired the repair was a new roof was installed. You remember that the Honda repair process was not followed, the car was subsequently sold, it was in another accident and the family died and that accident due to that prior repair. So when the insurance company is trying to tell the body shop, you could fix that car for $4,200 instead of seven. It’s like, no way, man. If I’m following a manufacturer’s recommendations on how to repair this car, and it’s no different if you’re put brakes on it and quit throwing away those new C bolts with the pretty blue Loctite on it guys because that’s there for a reason and quit saying, yep, that’s tight enough. Get the stinking torque wrench out. There’s a reason for these specifications and that’s why these cars have to be repaired properly. This
Bill Connor (22:48):
Actually brings up a really high valued point, is that a lot of the case law around ados and these self-driving cars hasn’t been settled yet. So when you’re looking for a partner to work with to do these calibrations for you, do you go and inspect your facility and make sure they’re using OEM procedures or do you trust that they’re doing it when you sublet to ’em because now you’re in the middle Liability wise,
Frank Scandura (23:14):
Having those relationships allows you to know what they’re doing in the back. And you can’t have blank faith and think about this all as mechanical guys, the insurance companies are now requiring a pre-scan and a post-scan or they may not pay the entire claim. So there’s a lot of data there they’re looking for. And we need to be in a habit of scanning every single car before it hits the shop, every single module, every single car, every single time. Just as important as every single car gets inspected every single time. Now it needs to become part of the inspection process Bill just for that reason, just for that CYA man, I got to cover my book probably
Bill Connor (24:00):
Pre and post also.
Frank Scandura (24:03):
Yeah, pre and post.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (24:07):
Bill Connor (24:07):
The days of somebody knocking a mirror off their car and you just go ahead and paint one and putting it back on and not calibrating it, those days are over.
Frank Scandura (24:15):
Those days are over, right? My backup camera went out. My explorer had to be calibrated to get replaced. And even a lot of the alltel scanners, not of the scanners, I’ll have a little ADOS note there. This is an ADOS component because a lot of times we don’t even realize it. How about I have to take a radar sensor off of radiator support to put a radiator in it and I put it back on you? Darn well, better have gotten a pre-scan, a post-scan and a calibration on that part before you did it. Because if that customer goes around the corner and hits a tree because his radar is a little off it not going to sell,
Bill Connor (24:48):
It’s probably not going to be listed in the labor guide under condenser RR either is it?
Frank Scandura (24:53):
It probably isn’t going to be right and it’s not going to set a code. A lot of people don’t realize this. They think ADOS is no big deal. It won’t set a code, it just won’t work. Right? Okay, so if I’m driving down the road with my lane assist on, and I love renting different cars for this over there, and then the next thing you know you’re a little over little over little over, it’s because it thinks it’s in the right lane. And now I just turn away and glance for just a second because I’ve become so accustomed to how the system works.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (25:26):
So let me go back to managing expectations because it’s not you actually tell your customer there is a sublet involved and here is why, and here is what could happen. They might give you a call. So you manage expectations even through a sublet and don’t hide it in case of the collision. Or maybe in any case,
Frank Scandura (26:01):
In any case, we do, we check cars for recalls when they come in and we always offer to bring the car to the dealer for a recall. Dealers in town are so busy, they don’t care who brings the car in because they’re under a legal obligation to fix the recalls. A couple of ’em, they think that they rule the world and they won’t work with the after market. That’s fine. We buy our parts other places and they have nothing but pissed off customers. They don’t know how to provide exceptional customer service and never hiding from the customer what we’re doing with their car, where and how. We’ve had shops sublet their cars to us for maybe programming or something else. And literally, I had a customer walk in one day want to know why his car was in my shop. I didn’t know it was your car. Jimmy Joe down there, he asked me to do this for him. He goes, well, if I wanted my car in your shop, I would’ve brought it. And he was right. So make sure your customers know everything you’re doing.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (27:03):
Transparency is trust period. Absolutely.
Bill Connor (27:07):
So for a shop owner that might be listening and say, well Frank, I understand it’s really good for the customers, but I’ve got to go ahead and drive the car to the dealer, make arrangements. I’ve got to have my guy Uber back or send to two. There’s a cost involved with that. Do you go ahead and build a customer or do you just go ahead and look at it that this is part of my marketing strategy and that’s just how it is.
Frank Scandura (27:32):
And I don’t look at it as part of marketing. I don’t build a customer for it, but I do include it in my cost of doing business. So if I take, and this is what I teach guys that I coach, what is it costing you? What are your expenses? Let’s divide that by your gross profit and then I can tell you what you need to do in sales and how many cars based on your average RO you need to get into, cover that. And then I can show you where you could bump the needle a little bit here, a little bit here, a little bit here, where it makes an enormous difference to the bottom line, right? But
Uwe Kleinschmidt (28:06):
Every customer pays for it, period.
Frank Scandura (28:08):
Absolutely. Yeah. And so you have to think in terms of the level of service you’re committing to give your customers, right? So let’s say one through five, we’d all know those one guys that are ripping and tearing, they’re just next car, next car, next car. Oh, I hate putting fuel pumps in this car, I’m just going to charge for it. Oh, I hate actually that all filter hard to reach. I’m just going to charge for it. We got those really bad shops out there. We got the level of five shops, top tier shops, the minority that don’t work on as many as cars, but make more money than anybody else because they’re committed to giving that level of service. You just have to decide where you want to be.
Bill Connor (28:45):
So your mindset to measure that is basically you’d have a sublet line in your repair order if it was a sublet, but if you transport it to a dealer, you might go and have a labor line on there for the technician to drive it there and bring it back so that way you account for that time in your costing and you can actually pull it up and measure it.
Frank Scandura (29:03):
Now Bill, that would be highly inefficient to have a technician be driving cars to
Bill Connor (29:08):
Order whatever. I get it. Somebody with a valid driver’s license that works for you.
Frank Scandura (29:15):
And that’s exactly right. So I have my support staff, I call ’em my service valets. They keep the shop clean, they wash the cars, they run errands, they run for parts, they drop off and pick up cars, whether I’m picking up from the customer or a sublet like this. And that’s all encompassing in their job description. And I’m glad you mentioned the labor line on the ticket. So critical in the early days of AutoVitals, we actually were walking, everybody who knows my shop, I’ve got 93 parking spaces. It’s not uncommon for us to have 70, 80, 90 cars in the parking lot at any time. And we spent about two hours looking for a car before we realized it was at sublet for windshield. And that’s when we created the sublet workflow step
Uwe Kleinschmidt (29:59):
Frank Scandura (30:00):
Line on the ro, right to the sublet. My parts guy keeps an eye on a car set are at sublet, and as soon as they’re done, he gets the call and lets the service department know it’s ready. And that’s what I love about AutoVitals. Shameless plug. I know. But to be able to customize that workflow for that specific reason
Uwe Kleinschmidt (30:20):
That you know where everything is at one glance, that’s just
Bill Connor (30:24):
So basically you’re measuring it and you’re managing the same way you would, a credit card fee is shared across all customers as part of your pricing model.
Frank Scandura (30:33):
You know what? And thank you for that too, because you guys want to start passing a 3% fee onto your customers is, come on man, you’re tripping over dollars to pick up nickels, cut it out, price your services accordingly to the level of service you intend to give the service you’re pricing for. And everybody will be happier.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (30:56):
No, I mean I can speak only about me, but I know it’s shared by a lot of customers. If it’s transparent and it’s very clear what’s going on, this has a huge value. It’s priceless. I cannot put a dollar amount to it. It’s just a certain expectation I now have after the internet enabled me to look up basically anything wrong or right. And so the moment I get transparency, I know there is nothing hidden and I find that incredibly valuable.
Frank Scandura (31:37):
It builds trust, right? Yes. How many times have you guys heard me say, our customers don’t buy parts and pieces. They don’t buy brake pads and rotors. They don’t buy ball joints and tie rods. They buy trust, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, $900, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Frank, when can you have the card done? That’s trust.
And so you’ve got to establish that trust and you can only do transparency. And that includes admitting when you’re wrong. None of us are perfect. We make mistakes. We misdiagnose cars. That’s what happens, right? We had a car that we thought needed an engine control module and customer proved that we put it on. It was not the problem. We called them up, said, sorry, this is our problem. We’re going to take the old module off. We’re going to put the old module back on and start all over again. How does that not build trucks? Could we have said, okay, we did the module, now we have another problem? Sure, that would’ve been wrong.
Bill Connor (32:39):
What a lot of shops forget though is that we’ve done these services hundreds or perhaps thousands of times, we know how things go. And if we don’t share that with the customer, they’ve got no idea how this goes. But if we share with them exactly how the process works, what to expect, what to expect along the way, and what the outcome is now, that’s along the ways of managing their expectations where we don’t have to deal with the unreasonable expectations.
Frank Scandura (33:07):
And so, right, and lemme go back to what you said about taking that pressure off the customer. If a customer brings me a car and I look up in the database, safer, plug in the VIN number, see if there’s a recall on that car, not on 8 20 15 car like that, and I call the customer and I say, you have an airbag recall, would you like me to bring it over to the dealership for you to get that done? Who’s going to say no to that? If they wanted to go to the dealership, they wouldn’t be in my shop. So anything I can do to help remove their pressure, increase their satisfaction, make sure they feel like I’ve given them the safest, most reliable transportation humanly possible.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (33:50):
And to me, the more important thing is you went the extra mile. There was not part of my request when I dropped off my car and all of a sudden my horizon just expanded because oh yeah, my shock took care of that too or wants to and leaves it up to me to make that decision, right?
Frank Scandura (34:18):
Yep. And as part of mission statement, Bill, sorry, that automotive repair should not be difficult or intimidating. It’s our job to tell you what we’re doing on your car and why you can make an informed decision even if that means not doing any service work on your view,
Bill Connor (34:40):
What are some of the things that we should be looking for to go ahead and build relationship with a vendor partner for a customer? And as far as referrals or an actual sublet, what are some of the things that we should be looking for? We talked about body work, but how about car detailing? How about glass repair? The list goes on.
Frank Scandura (35:00):
You know what? And a lot of times if I don’t get a referral from somebody, I’ve got to try a company just like anybody else. I, we’ve had a number of detailers come through that we’ve tried in the shop. Let’s use that as an example. And we finally found a company that does what they say they’re going to do. They do a really great job. I had my truck detailed by them last week and impressing me is one thing my wife got in the truck says, oh my gosh, what a great job. These guys did it. And now I know good. Now I know this is a company I could safely refer to my customer. So a lot of times it’s trial and error to answer your And because I’m trying to take care of all my customer’s problems, if they’re not happy with the detail, I’m going to take care of it.
I’m going to get the car redone because I told them they can trust me in this area of their vehicle. And same thing with glass shops. The guys that we’ve tried and we called up, we had this one company, man, we loved dealing with him. Dan was really super reliable. He decided to retire from that, start driving a school bus for benefits and the company went like done the customer service tank. He was the face of the company. I don’t think they really realized how well a job he did for that. So we got to start looking for another glass company. And it was again, trial and error. The guys to show up on time, they don’t scratch the car. They do what they say they’re going to do.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (36:25):
And you use basically your company or your personal calls to do the test
Frank Scandura (36:33):
Whenever possible, I will. Sometimes you have no choice but to,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (36:37):
Right? Use the customer call,
Frank Scandura (36:39):
Customer call. But if I’m willing to make a wrong, right, I’m not losing anything, right? If I say to the customer, well, it’s not my problem because that guy did it, but I called that guy, so it is my problem. Yes. Again, level five service, level five pricing. I can afford to make it right. Level two service, level two pricing. You can’t afford to make it right? Level three, service level three, you can’t afford to make it right? You got to go timeout, man. I don’t have nothing to do with your windshield. That guys are all checked up. Well, maybe they are until you find right guy. So everything you’re doing
Bill Connor (37:10):
Is based on the lifetime value of a customer. You’re building customers for life, you’re understanding the lifetime value of the customer and you’re not giving them those extra opportunities. They have to wander from your flock.
Frank Scandura (37:22):
Yeah, exactly. I put the door module in your car, Betty, now can you take it over there and they’ll program it for you. Really? And you can’t do that. You really can’t do that. And so let’s talk about referring a customer to another shop, right? Body shop, completely different. But let’s say, here’s what happens with us a lot. Check engine out beyond in a car. Mother Google, who should I bring it to today? And mother Google will make a recommendation based on that ad, the guy pay for to click on here and they’ll go down there and it’ll be some dumpy shop downtown and they’ll put a new air filter in it, change it. I’ll put spark plugs in it, disconnect the battery, put the battery connector back on and say your lights off. Have a nice day. Next day for a
Uwe Kleinschmidt (38:10):
Week, for a week or
Frank Scandura (38:11):
Less or less, customer comes back, lights back on. Oh, well we don’t really have the tools for that, but I heard those guys at Frank’s a pretty good go ticket it there. And we get a lot of referrals like that. And then they come in and they say, but I already had it all tuned up and I had this and I had that. I was like, okay. So now we educate ’em in testing the proper tools and all that that goes with it. Then I end up with a customer for life because I can prove I’ve demonstrated our ability to care about what you need by doing the testing. You need to accurate diagnose your car, fixing it, right? Standing it behind it for three or more years.
Bill Connor (38:45):
So I’ve got a car in my shop and I just replace some things that requires an ADOS calibration. Can I afford to go ahead and tell the customer, you need to take this and get a calibrated and hope they do it? Or does that go and occur to me a lot of liability in case they don’t do it?
Frank Scandura (38:59):
Yeah, that’s a great question. Hope is not a good business plan. Okay? Forget the liability aspect of it. What if they don’t get around to it and the car seems to be okay and says, geez, why would Bill tell me I need to go over there? A car is fine. And then something happens later on down the road. And even if it doesn’t come back to you as a shop owner, there’s a moral component to that. It’ll come back to you eventually. You have to pearl the gates and go, you remember that car you fixed in 2025? Talk about that. I don’t want to have those conversations.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (39:40):
So how are we doing on time? Oh man, time flies. I want to bring up one topic, which seems to be a trend just increasing. And it’s completely counter to what we just discussed in terms of you have to be the all encompassing service provider and that is mobile technicians. So it seems to take off and customers seem to Google something and it’s breaks or whatever, and then they get a mobile technician who claims to fix it or if not fix it, it becomes a lead generation for whatever shop network that mobile technician is affiliated with. So number one, was there any occurrence of something like this? You are aware of where you shop was basically lost the customer or any other so many shop owners where that is a trend which is hitting now slowly, and if so, how do we manage that
Frank Scandura (41:12):
Again? So three aspects of this.
When a customer calls up and says, can you come to my house? You have to be fully prepared to say why that’s not in their best interest and I’ll set that aside for right now. So then we have two kinds of mobile mechanics. We got the guy who’s on Craigslist that’s advertised to 50 an hour labor. You show up at his house, he demands cash to go get the parts. He may or may not come back, right? Those stories get on nextdoor, get on Facebook groups and you’ll see those stories all over the place. Or worse, they’ve taken hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars and the car’s worse off than it was before. We had a mini Cooper in that somebody tried to do control arm bushings in and stripped out the threads for the subframe into the body, and that cost her several thousand dollars to fix because of the money she saved by having, of course I can work on your car.
I’m a mobile mechanic. So those guys, you got to be wary if they’re not licensed, they’re not insured. There’s actually companies now advertising legit companies saying, Hey, your mobile mechanic source, we’re going to come out to your carhouse. We’re going to do all the change. We’re going to do the brakes. Honestly, I really gave this a lot of thought and I don’t see that being a long-term solution. They’re extremely limited to what they can do. Yes, if you’re living in a climate like Las Vegas, you actually want to be in somebody’s driveway in 115 degree heat in July, putting brakes in a car, something wrong. You can’t possibly be in a mindset where this is going to be a high quality thorough job. And customers, if they’re thinking this, there’s a complete disconnect and they’re limited to what they can do. So when they do start working on a car and they go, okay, here’s a list of preferred shops that we send work to that we can’t do in your driveway. Go pick one of those. Well, how does that solve your problem? You know what I’m saying? So I think what we need to do as shop owners is accommodate our ever-growing request for Can I get it now? Can I get it now? Can I get it now? Can I get it now? And I think that’ll help diffuse that. We’re talking about in our shop, we’re so busy that somebody says, Hey, can I get an oil change today?
We just sink into our chairs because we can’t. And we know our customers don’t plan out in advance, even though we send ’em the reminder 72 times in six months, we know they’re not making plans in advance. Even though we’re sending these appointments in the future. It’s like, oh, I’m going out of town Friday. Can I bring the car in today? Make sure everything’s okay. There’s a third
Bill Connor (43:50):
Mobile technician that we haven’t covered also, and that is the ones that only sublet to a shop, come and do a process at your shop. In your shop. And they only work for shops. So there’s a bunch of them out there, programming and calibrations and things like that. Also,
Frank Scandura (44:07):
I don’t call that a mobile panic. So there are diagnostic technicians and mobile programmers and mobile ados calibrators. Yep. Okay. Those guys are legit and they have their value. We have a remote programmer that we use a lot of times for the cars. I might have a Ford in there and it needs a module. Well, I’m not going to go buy the Ford scanner almost. So I don’t think that’s a long term win on that. I think people initially think, oh, this is great. They’re going to service my car while I’m at work. I don’t even have to worry about it. Well, I broke a bolt. You’re going to have to have a tow door shop.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (44:53):
So I mean, do you think a wide GLO service like pickup and delivery would lower the chance or would you just ignore it because it’s just a wave, it’s going to go away for all the reasons we just talked about.
Frank Scandura (45:15):
I think for certain people that white glove would be an awesome experience. I have had a vision for a long time what a concierge service would look like, and it’s difficult to put the logistics in when you’ve got a hundred cars in a parking lot every single day. But I think, so the Pato principle, 80 20, 80% of your revenue comes from your top 20% of your customers. Those are the people you need to identify. Those are the people you need to stumble over backwards trying to help. We end up at the bottom 20% because they’re super vocal. And I’m going to tell all my friends that I’m going to leave you a bad review on every site. And then we forget these heavy hitters up here, and when they’re not feeling special, they don’t leave reviews, they don’t make a big deal. They don’t write letters to the owner, they don’t call the TV station, they just go away. So there is a lot to be said for identifying your top 20%, 25% of your customers, and you’ll make more money catering to them than you’ll ever save by sending out a 1999 Cuba.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (46:27):
Oh, no doubt. Because the beauty of
Frank Scandura (46:29):
Those customers is they normally know more people just like them and they’ll refer ’em to you all day long.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (46:37):
I have to go back to the mobile technician because Rivian one, an upcoming electric vehicle provider has made that their model because they think they can save on building an infrastructure of service centers. And they actually tell you, and then when being asked that, the mobile technician comes out and then they say, and if they cannot do it, we take your car to our service center. So I’m bringing this up because I think there seems to be momentum out of desperation or other reasons or people who think they can make money. There’s lots of investment. Money is now flowing into network of mobile technicians, and that’s why I’m bringing it up.
Frank Scandura (47:39):
It is something we need to be aware of and be able to act on. Personally, I would prefer vehicle dropped off at my home. My vehicle picked up service wash detailed and brought back to me, and I never talked to anybody or touch anything. Everything’s electronic. Send me a text or an email. Boom, yes, do it. Do it. Don’t do it. Boom, boom, boom, done. I’ve got things to do. Places to be people. See, and if you’re going to take care of that all in the background, do I care how much you’re charging me for it?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (48:07):
Frank Scandura (48:07):
Not. It has a higher level of convenience because now nobody’s bothering me to tell me it’s got to go somewhere else. Already taken care of that I think will have more traction in the future.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (48:20):
Yeah, I totally agree with you. Pick up and delivery is the future for those kinds of,
Frank Scandura (48:28):
And who knows, in 10 years or 15 years, the car’s going to bring itself to the shop.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (48:34):
That’s true.
Frank Scandura (48:36):
Right? And you’re going to scan it and it’s going to tell you, can you do my rear row two sensor or this or that, or whatever’s on it. Oh, the flux capacitor. Batteries are dead, please replace them. So there’s a question
Bill Connor (48:46):
Came in for Frank. Frank, how do you identify your top 25% only by money spend or by visits or both?
Frank Scandura (48:54):
Yes, absolutely both. Right? Because asking your service advisors who, they’re key droppers, right? They’re the ones who are talking about their kids, their dogs, their grandkids, their vacations. They’re the ones who are connecting with you personally. So they’re really easy to identify. Then you kind of create your avatar. Who is that ideal customer? And I coached a guy who couldn’t understand why his postcards were ineffective. He was sending postcards to an affluent neighborhood and he says, those people got money, they’re going to fix their car with me. So it said, okay, but where do your customers come from? So we ran a zip code list and he’s sending postcards over here and his customers are coming from over there. He’s going, it’s top customers, top spend, top visits. So we start sending postcards over there and guess what? Car count starts climbing. So birds of a feather flock together. So they never ask for discounts. They don’t sit around waiting for coupons to show up in the mail. Can you have my card on? Can you take care of my problem? So
Bill Connor (50:03):
I would answer a little bit differently is I would go to your business control panel, go to the retention category and select a year or longer, and export the frequency report and then analyze it and find out all kinds of information about your customers.
Frank Scandura (50:19):
Well played Bill, absolutely. You’ve got the reporting and it’s just a matter of taking the time. That’s one of the things I love about wear. I can run a report in eight seconds. I could tell you the window of my most profitable model, years of cars that fast. And those are the ones I send postcards to.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (50:42):
You send postcards, Frank.
Frank Scandura (50:44):
Yes. If you’re not, you’re missing out.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (50:47):
Very cool.
Frank Scandura (50:48):
It needs to be a part of your complete marketing package. Yeah,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (50:52):
No, I was joking. Of course. And I bet
Bill Connor (50:55):
They’re not your average postcard size either. I bet they stick out in the mail like a sore thumb.
Frank Scandura (51:00):
Yeah, they’re pretty big. It’s kind of getting to know us, kind of postcard with its own tracking number so I can measure the phone calls. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (51:13):
Cool. And time flies. So Bill, this is now the time for you to ask for the top three.
Bill Connor (51:23):
Well, you just already did it. So let’s just go ahead and we’ll skip that part and give Frank some extra time to go ahead and give some more details.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (51:32):
Frank Scandura (51:35):
Top three.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (51:37):
So what’s your, for people who are still a little hesitant and prefer or referral over sublet, how should they start rethinking their approach?
Frank Scandura (51:59):
You have to start with your core values and your vision for your company. So if you don’t have your core values written down, if you don’t have your vision written down, if your team doesn’t understand what it is, then you’re not going to be able to deliver it. So once you get that done and then you decide what level of service do I want to provide? Am I going to lose my mind every time some chain puts out a $99 break pad, parts included lifetime warranty, or am I going to focus on putting a sign up that says we fix $99 break jobs?
So you have to start right at the very beginning. What is my company, what do I represent, what it is it that I’m trying to do in my community? And for us, it’s to deliver the best possible service experience. We’ve trained our team on how to deliver exceptional customer experience and it had a side effect I never expected. They now know how to recognize terrible customer service when they’re experiencing restaurants and stores or whatever, which is a great training tool and helps us continue to grow. So decide what level of service you want to give. Do you want to be that average shop that has average cars with average customers? You want to be that exceptional shop. The people, when somebody calls up and says, can I bring my car in? And they’re told, if you bring it in today, we’ll try to have answers for you next week.
And they go, okay, what time do you want it? Right? Because we created a reputation that says it’s worth waiting a week for. Do you want to be that shot or do you want to be the shop that says, I don’t care what you guys do in the back, I want that car back to the customer at five o’clock. You can’t have both. Right? And then price yourself accordingly. Do not be afraid to charge what you are worth. Our industry has been under charging for probably the last a hundred years. We’ve been underpaying our staff and undercharging our customers for what we do. If you think about it for a moment, dangerous environment, right? Moving parts, hot fluids, cars could fall off a lift. Somebody could drive into you the dangerous environment that an automotive technician works in to fix someone else’s car. That’s worth a premium pay to me. So price yourselves accordingly. Quit pricing yourself based on a competition. They’re lying to you anyway. When you call ’em and ask ’em how much they’re charging was that two. So
Bill Connor (54:43):
Before you go on to the next one. So what you’re really saying is decide what your core value is, decide what you go ahead and need to charge for to go ahead and be profitable at the end of the day. Have a good net profit at the end of the day. And then learn how to adjust the customer’s perception to understand the value that you’re sending. So you’re not just saying, I’m going to do this. And that’s how it is. Everything you do is demonstrating that value to the customer.
Frank Scandura (55:10):
Absolutely. And that means standing behind everything you do. And I’ve been accused by many, many team members of being too generous with customers when things don’t go as planned. And 99.9% of the time we’re right. And that doesn’t matter because the customer doesn’t think we’re right. The customer thinks they’re right. And I would much rather error on the side of generosity to the customer than to go, I don’t care what he thinks. I’m right and I’m not giving him the money because then that’s your mentality is wrong. It’s stinking thinking, right? I want to give exceptional customer service. Zappos is the perfect example. We still got time, right? Yep. Yes. So the return policy is you don’t like to choose send ’em back. And there is a lady who would order a pair of shoes on Friday, wear ’em over the week and say, I didn’t like ’em and send ’em back on Monday. And they knew this. They kept letting her do it because they felt the reputation of being able to return shoes was more important than one customer trying to rip them off. Look at the enormous company they built. That was a core value. So that’s why that’s so important to have. And if you don’t know how to do all that hire coach,
Bill Connor (56:27):
It really doesn’t matter what you think as the shop owner, it’s the customer’s perception is what the reality you’re really working with. That’s all that matters.
Frank Scandura (56:35):
That’s all that matters,
Bill Connor (56:37):
Right? Awesome. So we’re up against the end here, Frank. I’d really like to thank you for joining us here. Again, as usual, lots of great information has been shared. I’d like to encourage those of you that are listening, either now or later on to refer others in your area to the and either join us live or maybe go ahead and pick up some of the tips from the last 175 episodes that they can use to go and help themself in their industry. So once again, I’d like to thank everybody for listening in. Go out there and make some money while your customer is in the process. So Louis, you have anything you’d like to add before we end? As usual, thank you, Frank. We’re honored to have you on. It’s amazing. Absolutely
Frank Scandura (57:18):
Honors mine. Thank you guys very much. And it’s easy to do a good job. So go Ahead and do it.
Bill Connor (57:27):
Just get it done. There you go. Thank you. Thank you.

Back To Top