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Digital inspection can be seen as replacing a paper inspection with a digital format and adding pictures and videos. Shop owners going completely digital have implemented a new process around the digital inspection, added WorkFlow Management, and achieved impressive results – results that were impossible by just replacing paper inspection with a digital version of it.

Episode Transcript

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

Bill Connor (00:05):
Good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and if you’re listening live, you’ve reached the Digital Shop Talk Radio. If you’re listening afterwards, you’ve listened or you’ve come to the same place, if you’d like to join us live, look for and just register and you’ll get a reminder saying to come in and join us. We always prefer those that go ahead and join us live to chat their questions in as we go along. We’d be happy to go ahead and answer those live that actually pertain to the topic of the day. So today I’m here with Billy Catching the general manager of Aram’s Auto Repair Center. Been here many times on similar topics for sure. Always a good person to have on this. And Greg Masewic, he’s a operator of multiple Meineke Car Care Centers, so that would explain why he’s pulled out most of his hair.
Multi shop owners always have a unique perspective. We want to go ahead and get out here in front of everybody. And now our AutoVitals, very own Chief Innovation Officer. He’s out today doing some innovation things, so he’ll share those secrets with me when he comes back for sure. So these panelists and I are going to compare and contrast digital inspection sheets, which are highly effective with inspection sheets that only take advantage of perhaps just pictures and videos with nothing else on them to educate the consumer. And again, this happens all the time. And so you’re going to take away some ideas from shops just like yours on this very important topic and you’ll learn what preparation these two guys have done in their shops, how to train your staff properly and what results are possible so your shop will master these important processes. And we want to make sure that just like these guys, they’ve scored some really amazing results today.
We’re going to give you some solid information on using inspection sheet to educate and build trusts with your customers for higher approval rates. So what I’d like to do, because I don’t have Uwe to lean on here, I’m going to go and get you guys started myself this time. And so we talk about the inspection process and how it’s evolved over the years. And I’m going to go ahead and share some different ones here in just a minute. But initially wanted a lot of shops go into the digital inspections. They view it exactly like they used to do their paper inspection. And a matter of fact, a lot of them take their paper inspection and just copy it over digitally and they end up with a red, green, yellow inspection sheet and nothing more than that. So why go ahead and share that. If one of you would like to go ahead and talk a little bit about that evolution, that would be great. Go first,
And I’m assuming right now that you can see what I call is the first transition a lot of shops go through when they move over to digital. So this is a inspection sheet that was converted from a paper inspection to a digital one and it follows the same format. It’s got good maintenance, due needs, future attention, red and some other things, and that’s it. So this is the first thing we see. And I guess my question is did you guys go through a simple process and say that, look, I’ve looked at some of these other inspection sheets that AutoVitals proposed and I think I can go ahead and go in here and do my own thing because we’re all the type of shops that think whatever we do is better than anything anybody else can come up with. So kind of share where you’re at and how you went through that process.
Billy Catching (03:39):
Well, for us here, we had a different platform that was a digital experience when I showed up. So we had already some experience with doing the digital inspections, doing taking pictures, trying to make notes. So we never went through this part of the growth process just because we had already had some exposure to another form of the same type of equipment. But I could where this would be someone’s possible first step, maybe just a little tepid, put your toe in the water type deal, and while this is still helpful because you’re getting it to the customer in a digital format, send it to their email, what have you. This is pretty generic and you’re putting a lot of weight on the customer’s shoulders to try and interpret the information because you’re not giving them anything to work with here. It’s like the picture’s worth a thousand words and there’s no word, there’s words here, but nothing helpful to the customer.
Bill Connor (04:52):
So Greg, did you have a similar experience, and maybe not in the same way, but maybe when you first started doing digital inspections, some of your earliest ones that went out to the customer might’ve went ahead and as you started, I guess the easiest way to go ahead and say this is you started working to go ahead and get your technicians to understand that they’re an integrated part of the education process that the consumer needs to understand. What was your experience and how did you go ahead and work them into that mindset?
Greg Masewic (05:28):
Yeah, so kind of the same. We started by building an inspection sheet that was very similar to our paper. One got into the AutoVitals library of shared sheets, huge fan of plagiarism. So we dove in there and stole a bunch of stuff and borrowed and built our own. And then it was, I think for our techs in the bays did our best to try to include ’em in the building process. And that’s really how we got the layout of, okay, let’s build a sheet that’s going to kind of mimic the way they walk around a car and get it and do an inspection as they would on paper. So start with pictures of the four corners and then the things that you would find when you get in the car to pull it into the bay and then under the hood and then as the car goes up and just have a sheet that kind of flowed with that same process that they use.
So our sheet over the years has definitely evolved and grown and and I think in the beginning for us it was better to start with something kind of simple. So we didn’t overwhelm everybody, we didn’t want to dump too much on ’em at once, but over time it’s kind of grown and evolved as far as getting their buy-in. We made a lot of mistakes in the beginning. We just beat ’em over the head. We tried that approach, right, look, this is just the way it is and you got to do it. And got probably a lot more pushback than we needed to. I think just we were chatting yesterday about one of, I think the big mindset hurdles or one of the big mindset things to get across is the tech’s involvement in a customer experience in your shop in the past has just been to fix the car correctly. They’re now much more part of the sales process, the education process. And when you can get them to understand that and see that bigger picture, the light kind of goes on and now you’re off. It makes a huge difference
Bill Connor (07:48):
As we go through the evolution and whether you’ve come from somewhere else or you’re just getting your guys on board. A lot of times the next step of the evolution we see is they go ahead and start incorporating the picture and then we get a picture with just an arrow or a circle on it. Like these examples here, they’ve done really good, they’ve got some pictures on there. But to me, as part of the evolution, this is where you got to start talking to your staff about, look guys, if the customer came out in the shop and you’re showing them something on their vehicle, would you just point to it and walk away without saying anything? So can you guys go ahead and expand on when you’re working with your staff and they get to this point, how you go ahead and kind of get them, as you say, at some point in time, they have to understand they’re part of the consumer educational process and it’s a team process,
Billy Catching (08:42):
Right? Well, I mean in the picture you just showed clearly I know what I’m looking at. And so then that comes down to whoever’s doing your final editing before you’re sending the report. In our specific situation, I don’t necessarily let the guys put notes that the customer sees. I have them hide it and for shop eyes only. And then the reason I do that is just to make sure we’re on the same page and we’re not making any grammatical errors, things of that nature. And I can tell from that picture the shock picture that you had before. Clearly the shock’s leaking, there’s oil that’s been dripping out and there’s dust duct to it. But the way to explain that is to add a caption there, make a note that the reason that you’ve got an arrow there is because that oil or that stain is the result of oil is leaking from the shock seal.
Then that tells the customer, okay, here’s why I’m looking at that or here’s why they want me to look at it. There’s a problem with the shock. And then have some type of a discussion or a video link to the importance of the shock absorbers and how they control the suspension and how they affect tire wear. Give them the opportunity to do the research. Why do they want me to know about my shocks and why are they important? But that’s going to come to whoever does your final editing before you send that report out to say that that’s the tech’s responsibility. Depends on how you run your operation personally. The tech gets notes, but the final decision gets put on by the person editing. And in that case it’s me,
Bill Connor (10:34):
It safe to say we all get paid out of the same gross profit dollar pot. So working together as a team is you never think automotive repair is a team sport to you start getting down there and understanding the thought process behind it. So let’s move a little bit farther in the process and you talked about working together as a team to get it and let’s see if we can find some other ones here. So you can see here that they’re doing pretty good with the circles and so on. And again, this is another one the same. So if we go ahead and think about it, our goal is to go ahead and I guess the easiest way to say this is we want to be the Google for our customers of the shop. We don’t want them to ask anybody for anything. We want to supply it all to ’em.
And we also talked on our prep call the other day that the underlying thing is is that a lot of shops say, well, is this really important because this is the elephant in the room. We’re going to go and do this preparation and the customer may never look at it, they might not look at the informational videos and so on. And the point was made between Uwe and you folks here that it really doesn’t matter whether the customer really views the whole thing from stem to stern. The fact is we’re building trust supplying them everything they need to know to make a decision. Could you go into that a little bit more? Let me see if I can find one that we’ve got some notes starting to show up on it.
Billy Catching (12:08):
There we go. So at least for telling the customer what they’re looking at. And to piggyback off of what Greg was saying earlier in regards to our building process, it is very important that your tech understand the importance of the pictures they’re taking, the quality of the picture, the amount of pictures. I would recommend that you have some type of a minimum picture implementation so that as we talked yesterday or on the prep call, don’t just take pictures of things that are bad. Make sure you’re also putting a significant amount of pictures on things that are good because you have to instill in that customer why there’s still value in their car and why you’re trying to get them to spend money with you during today’s visit.
Bill Connor (13:07):
Yeah, we’re going to cover that a little bit more in depth in the next example here, but this to me looks like the next step in the evolution that we see a lot of shops do is I’ve got the picture there, I’ve got the arrow on it, now I’m going to tell the customer what this is. So in a way, I’m thinking of things because I’m going to look at everything in the eye of the consumer of the shop because that’s who we’re trying to satisfy in this whole thing here I’m looking at this and I see the arrow there. So this is the technician pointing to it, and I see that he’s now said the fluid is dirty and now he’s turned around and walked off without any other information. So again, this is part of the evolution of the digital inspection process. But if I wanted to play Shrek in the donkey, are we there yet? I don’t think so. I guess you’d agree with that.
Greg Masewic (13:58):
Yeah, we’re definitely a lot closer. So prior to guided mode and TVPX, we would have the texts either and we would do the same thing. They would go to shop eyes only, they would either type it in or voice the text that in there. And as Billy says, for the counter guy, for the service advisor, there was a lot of editing that had to happen there and a lot of time making sure everything they were saying was on the same track as what we wanted with guided mode. The pre-populated notes is just a godsend. It saves the tech, it saves everybody time, it saves the tech time. He’s not standing there trying to type a letter, he just picks that note, overcomes it. There are a lot of things that power steering fluid is dirty, right? That’s a pretty common thing to say about it. So that note’s already in we go. So there’s lot of things a time consuming and then B, it kind of forces that consistent process. We’re always saying the same thing. So that’s been a great step in the evolution of the product I think.
Bill Connor (15:22):
So let’s move a little bit further down through the evolution of what happens to shop environment. So now they’ve got this and they started telling the customer what this is and so on. And now what they do is they discovered kind of what Billy was talking about, perhaps is going ahead and showing the customer a lot of information about the good of their vehicle. So here is somebody that truly believes in using the inspection sheet to go ahead and show the customer the good for two reasons. One is that they want to know that this thing is worth investing in as they go forward. And the other thing is they can go ahead and show them where over time, so Billy, you had mentioned this earlier, you want to expand on further how you use this to go ahead and educate the customer and are you sharing the same belief system that I do is that every visit to your shop should be setting up the precedent for the next service visit?
Billy Catching (16:18):
Exactly. And there’s got to be consistency. So let’s face it, sometimes things go off the rails, days get busier than they should be. Things get dropped in your lap. But if you don’t stay consistent with these types of inspections, let’s say it’s a first time customer and you blow their skirt up with this type of inspection, wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before. This is awesome. They share it with coworkers at work on their pc, it looks really good. Then they come back the next time. And if you don’t give them the same type of experience, let’s say you try and revert back to the old spill and fill or do something along those lines, you are now setting, you’re giving them that expectation, well wow, you really treated me really great the last time and I spent a lot of money because you showed me these things were all bad.
If you don’t do this inspection again repeatedly, you have the potential there to lose interest from that customer. And number two, by doing it over and over again in this picture, the person’s trying to demonstrate what the brake pads are the next time it comes back, you take that same measurement and let’s say they’re at four or let’s say they’re at three, you’ve set that precedent to the customer that you’re showing them and now there’s a reason and they understand the reason, okay, well last time they were, and this time they’re there. Okay, maybe it is time to do something with ’em and it’s important to follow that. I know that things can get a little hectic, but consistency is like what Greg had said is key. You got to be consistent in your process, trust in it, even when things are rough, stay true. You got to stay true.
Greg Masewic (18:19):
Yeah, we use
Bill Connor (18:19):
Both of you. Go ahead and talk a little bit about the value of a pitcher with a measurement or a comparison versus just a picture with an arrow and a note on it without an actual measurement.
Greg Masewic (18:36):
Yeah, yeah, no, again, critical, right? One of the traps I think we all fall into is we all look at this picture and we know exactly what we’re looking at and a customer has no clue what they’re looking at. So you have to have that. The picture and the verbiage have to be both in there for it to make sense. We’re telling a story. And if you look at it that way, then you’ll do it properly. If you take this picture and you look at the report and just try to put yourself in a customer’s shoes, okay, if I were reading this, would this make any sense to me? If the answer’s no, then you got to change up what you’re doing, right?
Bill Connor (19:20):
Awesome. So let’s see if we can step forward one more step into the evolution and let’s see what we’ve got here. So this is good. So this is a shop that they’ve adopted the guided inspection. And so here you can see they’ve got a picture well lit and in focus it’s got an arrow drawing the customer’s eyes right to it. And then everything they need to know about it is located right there in the text on the pitcher. So basically the tread on your tires, it is low due to wear and it needs an alignment. So it’s telling them the why, what’s in it for the customer, why it needs to be done and so on all in one place and let’s go down and see if we can find another one. I guess I blew that up a little bit bigger.
And so again, I go through this with a lot of shops. I tell them the most important thing is the picture and the notes on the picture. And I get a lot of shops, they tell me all the time, well, the notes are already here. And my thought is as well, if the notes are already here, you’re telling me that the customer is going to read those notes, remember ’em, and then correlate it to this picture. Is that what you’re telling me? So any thoughts on where the notes belong and what type of notes actually need to be here?
Greg Masewic (20:52):
So I think this particular one is a great example, right? Again, think of anything you pick up and read. You read a newspaper or a magazine, anytime you see a picture, there’s always a caption underneath explaining to you what you’re looking at, right? No matter what the article next to it says, right? It’s sort of the same theory here. When the customer’s got this picture open, that’s what they’re focused on. So this is where your important information should be.
Bill Connor (21:26):
So part of it is we say we want to go ahead and be our customer’s Google, and if we don’t go ahead and provide them all the information that they need to go and make a good decision, I think that this can seriously go ahead and derail the authorization process because they’re going to get the information somewhere. Customers really like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold. So they’re going to go ahead and make an informed decision based on information that gets them from somewhere. So I would rather the information comes from our shops versus them having to go find somebody named Scott or Scotty on YouTube to go ahead and get information that may not be accurate. Then we’ve got to go ahead and handle those objection or unlearn them before we can go ahead and start getting the right information in their head.
Billy Catching (22:19):
Yeah. One of the ways that we do make sure that we just gain a little bit more interest or keeping them invested in just the inspection report is we provide links that are embedded in that inspection report that they can just click on. So if they want some more information as to why the shocks are important or why the serpentine belt is important or why taking care of the cooling system, things of that nature, I like to put links to different informational videos so that way they just stay within the inspection. They don’t have to go, like you said, go to Google University or YouTube University and try and figure out why these things are important. And I’ve also found that by keeping them there, it also reduces the chances, at least in my experience of them trying to find out what comparative pricing should be.
Because I know there for a while we were up against it where people, different online repair information companies that they’re giving you what a suggested price should be when I didn’t have the videos and stuff and I wasn’t being very specific as to why we were doing, I didn’t have quite the sales capture rate that I really expected. It was better, but it wasn’t where it is now. And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re just keeping them more engaged this inspection and there’s no reason through that transparency we talked about in the prep call, you’re showing them everything. You’re giving them all the information if they want to know it’s there. If they just want the classic used to be, then the customer would just give you the keys, call me when it’s done. Those customers are still around, but now they’re fewer and farther in between. You have to at least provide the information and then let the customer decide if they want to take it in or if they want to become that, call me when it’s done customer.
Bill Connor (24:35):
So basically, that’s a really good point you brought up about a customer being a key tosser type customer where they just toss ’em on a desk and say, do their thing. And I have a lot of shops that tell me all the time, our customers are key and I don’t need to do this. And so my question is is that if you don’t do this and you don’t do this on every car and build that habit, how are you going to go ahead and build your replacement key tosser customers as other ones move or away and so on? So as the evolution goes on, then we go ahead and get a lot of shops that figured out that I can further go ahead and enhance my inspection by going ahead and getting more information here. So you can see in this case, they’re using a tool to go in and bring in the actual graphics of trade that measurements and things like that.
And again, a lot of ’em are doing a lot of effort to go and show the customer that these are things that are in great shape and then we’ve got the needs and so on. And I can tell almost every time when I get to a shop that’s using guided inspection, because I’ll come in here and I can see that we’ve got all kinds of information here telling ’em what it is. If a customer wants to go ahead and look and read and understand it just in a text type format, I can see that they’ve got great videos attached to it. So they’ve got this. If a customer wants that, and again, we know that not every customer is going to do that, and then when I come down to their pictures, I know a hundred percent sure their pictures is going to have everything on it.
It takes to go in and tell that customer what it is, what needs to be done, and the reason why they should open their wallet and get it done. So this is an example of a guided inspection where I know shops that are using these and have spent the time to put their inspections in this particular format that they’re going to have really good consistency. Whatever technician chooses a condition, it’s automatically going to go ahead and give them the proper image caption and a proper note every time, and they just got to take a picture and add an arrow to it and they’re done. And Greg, I think you’re using the guided inspection. You had alluded to that a little bit earlier. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Greg Masewic (26:48):
Yes, yes. We’ve got multiple shops. So everything, you always try to knock things off one shop at a time and make sure it’s good. And going to guided has made just when we kind of scaled up enforcing these things gets to be really challenging. When I had one shop and it was five techs, it was pretty easy to keep your thumb on everything. As we grew, that gets harder and harder. Guided has made that tremendously easier. It just forces a lot of processes to happen. It’s much harder for guys to kind of work around it and cheat it. And we use the inspection audit tool quite frequently Just now you can just go in, look at a few kind of spot check and make sure everybody’s staying on the same page. So guided has been great. We’re big fans of that.
Bill Connor (27:51):
Well, here’s a great question. Come in and B, as we have two different mindsets, types of shops here we’ve got Billy, you’re more interested in going ahead and slowing things down and generating that eight or $900 average repair or dollar amount as it goes through your shop. And Greg, you’ve got a different situation in your shops because looking for consistency, a reasonable ARO, you’re not trying to go ahead and slow it down so much that you’ve got that $900 window, although that would probably make you smile. So the question is, given the pictures and inspection editing, what is the feasible time to spend doing an oil change and inspection, but what would be a good range? And also what is the average time spent on editing and inspection? So let’s go ahead and first let’s go ahead and let Greg go ahead and talk through what your process is and your average time. And then let’s go ahead and let Billy go through and talk about his.
Greg Masewic (28:44):
Yeah, so yeah, as my, we’re just by nature a little, it’s a little higher volume at environment oil change with an inspection. If we can get through that process in 45 minutes or so, if it’s just that that’s good time, we’re trying to slow down a bit. We’re not a European shop where every car is there for 12 hours, but in our world, an oil change with a good quality inspection, right? 45 minutes, and again, we set that expectation with the customers, right? Guided has really cut down the editing time for the sheets. So that’s been really helpful because in our world, a service advisor has really got a lot of balls in the air. So we’re trying to minimize the amount of things he has to deal with on a minute by minute basis. And with guided, he can literally five, 10 minutes maybe going through an inspection sheet and doing what he’s got to do to dress it up before he sends it out. So we’re pretty consistent with that time range.
Bill Connor (30:04):
So in your case, you’re actually using the guided to go ahead and not only create that consistency, but to go ahead and save your service advisor editing time because the notes come through and basically all they got to do is approve ’em and start moving them service packages over. And so this is part of not only doing an inspection but doing it efficiently. So you’re getting your efficiency from one part of our tool. And I think when we go in and hear from Billy, we’re going to find him getting his efficiency from a different area.
Billy Catching (30:33):
So we’re a little bit, so when we try and make notes, I’m like a new customer for an oil change. And the reason we do that is we pretty much allot for about an hour and a half total time on that visit just for that customer’s card. Now that doesn’t mean I expect to tech that long. I’m giving myself 15, 20 minutes time to edit pictures, do what I need to do, answering phones, doing all the crazy things that we get into sometimes. But the tech themselves probably spend about 45 minutes to an hour at least on a first customer, never seen the car again. Typically that customer returns on an oil change. That time drops to closer to about that 45 minute window that Greg was speaking of because number one, we’ve already seen the car, maybe we’ve already done some of the things that we’ve made recommendations on, and then that process then becomes faster.
It’s not that there’s less things to look at, there’s less things to actually have to break out and take tools and measurements on. So it’s just streamlined because the customer is now taking care of their car. They’re no longer just getting an oil change, they’re actually getting maintenance. And what we’ve found to be our situation as is we’ve had quite a few customers that have come in that have been going to other shops in the area, and the common thread seems to be that they feel like they’re not being taken care of. And when you ask them, well, what do you mean you feel like you’re not being taken care of? Well, I feel like they’re just there to change my oil and get me on my way. Well, then you do these type of inspections, you show them that their concern was valid. I can’t tell you how many cars they’ve come in here that still have the original cabin air filter in them.
And I mean, I’m talking about cars that are 20 12, 20 13 sometimes, and it looks like a rat’s nest and no one’s ever told them about it. And when they see that, you blow them away and then they immediately begin to feel like, wow, these guys are going to take care of me. And that becomes that you’re gaining that trust and you’re gaining that. You’re building that relationship with that customer. Because let’s face it, we’re not here to just change oil or change brakes or tires. We’re here to build a relationship with our customer and ask that customer to put faith in us that we’re going to be here tomorrow and next week to take care of their car.
If you’re just pencil whipping it like we used to, some people used to, you’re not going to get the larger aros and some of that in our situation, we have slowed down the process. We don’t take as many cars, but we take more time with them. We make sure that the customer gets a complete inspection, and then it’s like we talked earlier, it’s consistent. We try and make sure they have that same experience every time. And then as they bring in another car or they refer a friend, they’ve talked so glowingly about us that when the friend comes in, it’s super easy because the expectations already been created because they’ve already been talked up by their coworker or friend or what have you. So you still have to deliver to that customer as well.
Greg Masewic (34:16):
And how often
Bill Connor (34:17):
You hear a lot of service advisors talking about that they don’t want to be married to a customer or vehicle, but just like marriage, isn’t it a lot cheaper to keep ’em than it is to go ahead and keep going out and hunting a new one all the time?
Greg Masewic (34:32):
Billy Catching (34:34):
Greg Masewic (34:35):
What Billy was saying about when they come in and talk about that last shop. Isn’t it awesome when that last shop is the dealer? Right? Those are our best days, right?
Bill Connor (34:48):
There you go. So we got another question come in, and this is kind of interesting and we hear it all the time, is if a vehicle comes in for a specific or repair, just a little minimal diagnostics required, do you still provide a full inspection on it or do you go ahead and only fix what they come in for?
Greg Masewic (35:09):
So our goal is full inspection every time, right? That’s what you’re trying to do.
Billy Catching (35:15):
I agree. I mean there’s days when we don’t pull that off when it’s really chaotic, but for the most part, try and slow down the process. The customer’s here for a check engine light, but if you can find other things wrong, then you at least are demonstrating to them that you’re an eye on their entire vehicle. And that’s really key to people nowadays because like we talked before, the vehicle is the second largest purchase a person’s going to make. They should be engaged in the fact of maintaining it, not just repairing it when it fixes, they should want to stay ahead of it. And if they’ve been going somewhere that’s not giving them the experience and you comes in for a check engine light and you find that it needs brakes and shocks and it’s got a inner tie rod bad, why would you not take the time to take a look at those things, demonstrate it, build estimates for it, and then even if they don’t do it today, we leave recommendations and notes that are printed not only on their invoice, but they’re in that inspection report, and AutoVitals has this beautiful feature where when it comes time to schedule another appointment, those recommendations are carried forward to your customer.
So then they can go, oh, that’s right. They did tell me that I had a problem with my tire rod and I should get it replaced and get the alignment done at the same time. So it just makes it that much easier the next time they come in.
Bill Connor (36:51):
So let’s go ahead and expand on that a little bit further because this comes up all the time. Let’s say I’m a technician, service writer, maybe even a shop owner that doesn’t see the value of doing an inspection every time they come in. Tell me what the value proposition is for each person involved without telling me do it or you’re going to die.
Greg Masewic (37:13):
Well, so to kind of pick up where Billy left off the value for the customer and us is, let’s say you have that car comes with a problem under the hood and this sensor A, B or C, and it’s going to be $500 to repair, and the customer says, go ahead and you do that job and they’re in a month later for a state inspection and you put it up in the air and the frame is rotted and this car’s never going to get through another year of life. You really have not treated your customer well. You took that 500 a month ago, they probably wouldn’t have done that repair if they’d known what kind of shape the frame was in or something, anything along those lines. So it pays for everybody to try to do a good thorough inspection every time the car comes in for techs and service advisors, it’s pretty obviously the more we look at, the more work we find, the more work we present, and the more people say yes, especially with these great reports. So everybody makes more money when we do it like this, right?
Bill Connor (38:20):
So Billy,
Billy Catching (38:23):
Yeah, I mean ditto. If you’re not doing the inspection, you’re not only doing yourself a disservice, but you’re doing that customer a disservice. I mean, we’ve all, anyone in this room knows Frank and Frank wrote an article that I believe was printed in a trade journal and it really rung home with me as to why we need to do that inspection. I’m paraphrasing here, but it went something along the lines of would you want to be the one that got the phone call in the middle of the night to come get your daughter stranded somewhere and that it was just at a shop, it was just being looked at and they missed something. The simple as like a belt that was coming apart and now you’re going to get that call from the customer, Hey, you guys just have my car in. I would’ve thought you would’ve told me if it needed something.
You just went down a couple rungs on their respect level and you created stress for somebody who had to get up, go out, get their daughter off the side of the road because you didn’t look at the belts and hoses because it was only there for an oil change. Why would you not take the opportunity to find those things and at least make them known to your customer? You can’t make, my grandfather used to say, you could drag a horse to water, you could shove its head in the water. You can’t keep it from drowning. You can give all the information to the customer, let them make the reasonable choice for their car just because they don’t do it now. Maybe it’s a financial situation. So you plant the seed at least for the next visit. I really think that, again, if you’re not doing an inspection on every car, you’re just doing not only yourself a disservice, but the customer as well.
Greg Masewic (40:22):
And I think a lot of guys in our business have a fear. They’re afraid they’ll be seen as over recommending and trying to that old stereotype of, I came in for an oil change and next thing you know they want $4,000 worth of work and all of that. You’re approach if done correctly, if they’re in for an oil change and you find seven other important things that it needs, you don’t talk about price or any of that stuff right out of the gate. You don’t even estimate it yet. The customer’s attention, let them know and you’d be amazed what a difference it is when they ask you for a price as opposed to when you give them a price for something they’re not expecting. Changes the whole dynamic, right?
Bill Connor (41:14):
So as soon as we in this industry go and decide that we’re not here just to fix and maintain cars, we’re here to go ahead and help the customer make good decisions about safe, reliable, and the comfort of of their vehicles. As soon as we change that mindset and then start involving the whole staff in the process that, look, we are no longer a sales department. We’re an educational department and our job is to spot the needs, transfer it into information even the most inexperienced consumer can understand, provide that to ’em at the right time in the authorization process and then stand out of the way and let them come to us with their questions or objections.
Billy Catching (41:57):
Just to piggyback that Bill, it takes a mindset change for sure. I know me, for me personally, when we really started getting in depth in the inspections and sending out more and more of them to the rate that we’re at now, a lot of times often I found myself kind of doing what we used to do back in the day when you were just looking for the quick hits. But the problem with that mindset is I was short selling my customer. My guys are taking all these great pictures, trying to show all these things that are potentially going to be a problem with the car. And in my head I was just, oh, these guys, this car is a pile. They’re never going to want to do all this stuff. And then one day I had a car that I just took the time, it was a slower day.
I edited everything, built estimates for everything that the techs were taking pictures of, and I honest to God went in with the mindset that there’s no way this customer was going to do anything more than just the oil change. I’m here to tell you that car left here with a pretty high repair order, and it was at that time that I realized that a light bulb went off in my head. It’s not like the customer climbs underneath their car when they get it home from the oil change and look at it in the driveway. They’re relying on a professional, in this case, you and your facility to give them good information about their cars. They don’t go look at it themselves just like, I don’t go fix plumbing by myself. I hire somebody. Same thing. If you’re not doing that inspection and giving the customer that type of service, they’ll find somebody who will
Bill Connor (43:46):
And you’ll know when you’re doing it right, because the first time the customer comes in and you don’t do that inspection on that trip in, you’re going to hear about it for sure
Greg Masewic (43:54):
When we get in trouble now it’s for that.
Bill Connor (43:58):
So let’s go ahead and go a little bit further. So when do you started between when you started the inspection and where you are today? How did you make the flow more efficient in your shop? How many topics you started out with? Where are you at today? Let’s walk through some of the things that you’ve done to go ahead and modify and learn and help your whole staff become a team when it comes to this.
Billy Catching (44:23):
Well, I think Greg said it earlier, and this was important for us when we started, we just grabbed a canned inspection from the AutoVitals library. We implemented that first, and it was a little rough. The technicians were pushing back a little bit, Hey, this isn’t very smooth. I don’t like the way this is worded. So what we did is we ran with it for a couple of weeks just to let everybody get their list together. And that’s what I told ’em to do at, Hey, take a notepad, write things down about what you do and what you don’t like about this process. And then we had a shop meeting about two weeks later and they gave me some good feedback. They gave me feedback in regards to the way that it wasn’t very smooth. It was clunky was the word that we’ve all kind of used together.
So I went back, we created our own list and it wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I tried to address the things that the technicians wanted. We ran with that for a month and then at the end of that month, we had another shop meeting and went back over the same process again. And I feel like in that way I got the text to feel part of that experience, and then the sheet changed and we ran with that one for another month, and by the end of about the fifth month, and it took four to five months, it went from being a Hugo to being more like a Ferrari, the speed of it, the way that they went through the inspection, like Greg said earlier, it just became a full flowing feeling and where it started, where the walk around started with pictures of the interior, making sure that no check engine light on a BS, then it went to an underhood, then the car went in the air and they followed the flow of the inspection.
So it made them more efficient and it also made them feel more engaged in part of the process. It took away some of the initial, oh man, why are you making me do this? And then they learn the value and then to make sure I keep them engaged personally here, once a month or so, I’ll send them one of their own inspections that they’ve done. I’ll just text it back. I’ll change the directive in the dashboard and send them their own inspection. So then that kind of reminds them of what they’re putting out for the customer to see. And I think that’s kind of key too, because then it forces them to stay engaged and not just start to slack off, oh, I’ve been doing this long enough. This would be, this would be okay. No.
Bill Connor (47:17):
So in your case, you don’t use the guided mode. Do you use the predictive text, the type ahead text to go ahead and help save you time in your editing?
Billy Catching (47:26):
Yes. Yeah, we don’t use guided, but there is predictive text. So a lot of the stuff that you’ve typed, I think it keeps the last most 20 common things you’ve typed. So yeah, that speeds up the editing process quite a bit as well.
Bill Connor (47:42):
And so Greg, if you would, we’ve got just a little bit of time left. Let’s go ahead and talk about your evolution to use a guided and is that part of your process, like you mentioned earlier, to go ahead and make consistency and save time. Is there anything else besides that and how do you work with your staff when we know that the industry’s evolving every day? Did they have the ability to come to you or somebody and say, I would like based on this condition, I’d like it to point to this job and I want the note to say this. Can I get that added?
Greg Masewic (48:14):
Yeah, that actually happens pretty constantly and I think that’s when you’ve got your guys on board is like Billy was saying, we started the same way. It was really rudimentary. Everybody thought it was taking too long and all of that stuff. And you realize you turn the corner when they’re coming to you saying on there, we need to add this, we need to add that when they’re trying to get things onto the sheet instead of off of it. So that’s a big piece with us again, as we grew that process and consistency just becomes ever more important. A lot more cats, we got to herd every day. So daily, I can’t think of a day that doesn’t go by when we’ve got a tech who’s got some input on the sheet or something we should add to the sheet or something we should put in a different spot. It makes more sense. Our sheet has been a living document since day one. It changes little minor changes constantly as someday maybe it’ll be perfect. I doubt it, but that’s okay.
Bill Connor (49:24):
So that’s one of the huge advantages of a multis shop operator is you can go and have rapid continuous improvement when everybody has the ability to go ahead and put their suggestions in and if it benefits everybody, it just gets implemented. So we’re kind of short on time. What I’d like to do is, if we could is one at a time here. Let’s go ahead and go through your top three things that you’d recommend for somebody to do to go ahead and actually get their team ramped up and start doing great inspections and then how to go ahead and make ’em more efficient. Greg, you want to go first?
Greg Masewic (50:03):
Yeah, so top three. I think number one would be that whole giving ’em the why, right? Why is it important? Why are we doing this right? Getting the guys to understand that, as we said earlier, right, the techs are now a much bigger part of the customer experience and they’ve got more involvement in that and why it’s so important for ’em to do good inspections. I think once you get them there, that’s probably one of the biggest pieces is the culture. Second is, again, getting their input, constantly giving ’em ownership of it. And then third is, is just constantly working on it. Monitoring, measuring, managing, using that inspection audit, going over good inspections, going over bad. To this day we get bad in, I’ve got horrible inspections just yesterday, I could show you. And then coaching to those things. If you just consistently do those three things, I think you stay on track.
Bill Connor (51:12):
Billy Catching (51:14):
Yeah, pretty much going to mimic what Greg said, buy-in on the tech. It’s imperative. Your tech has to understand why this inspection is being performed and they have to feel like they’re a part of the experience, or at least in my opinion, so that we’ve been talking. So they’re part of the team. It’s not just about them fixing cars anymore. The story begins with them. They’re the ones taking the pictures. They have to understand the importance of those pictures and the importance that it’s going to relate to building work for them to keep busy. The shock to stay busy, that’s all part of that. You just got to get them on board. The living document, I mean, we kind of talked about this the other day, to use a race car analogy, you could have the fastest car on the track if you don’t do something to keep ahead of it, somebody else is, and then you won’t have the fastest car anymore. So if you stay engaged and keep changing, I mean our inspection sheets due for another revision right now, don’t sit on your laurels. Yeah, we’ve been pretty successful, but we want to be even more successful. And that starts with keeping things moving forward, keeping that inspection, like Greg said, finding things new, making tweaks, making adjustments. Those are important things.
Bill Connor (52:54):
Cool. So that’s some really good information. So what I’d like to do is talk about a little bonus round because really there’s a different type of inspection. We’ve got our vehicle health inspection, courtesy inspection when they come in, but really on the repair order itself, there’s a lot of inspection that goes on with anything that requires testing or diagnosis. So I want to go ahead and see if I can go ahead and share my screen one more time here and let’s see if we can’t get into a little bit of extra additional stuff here. So here, this is a section that can be included with the inspection results. That’s the services that were performed today. And we have a lot of shops that have discovered that to go ahead and build or enhance value into what we’re doing. Because vehicles are so complex, they’ve started going ahead and making sure that anything that requires testing or diagnosis, they’ll actually start including that here in this and send it along with the inspection.
So you’ll see a lot of great information in here by a lot of shops that have seen that to further go ahead and put themselves in a unique value position for the public. They’ll actually go ahead and use the repair order section to do all kinds of things to further demonstrate the value of what they are. So scan two readings, scope readings. I’ve seen people go ahead and put wiring diagrams in here with a arrow pointing right directly to where the connector they fixed and so on. So can you talk about whether you guys are using that or whether it’s something that makes sense when it comes to providing value?
Billy Catching (54:27):
Well, the first one you showed had my ugly mug on it, so I know that was us. Yeah, we do use the work order portion of it as well. We also demonstrate, so we have a PICO lab scope and a lot of, one of our techs has really become very fluid with the pico. So we not only will demonstrate even more technology, here we are showing you wave forms and we’ll show ’em a good and a bad and we’ll put a caption and we will explain to them why their car has a misfire, because there’s no coil draw, no amperage draw because the coil’s dead. And you’re just increasing the value of the AutoVitals product, and you’re creating even more of a connection with that consumer because you’ve gone so far as to not only show them things about their car, now you’re demonstrating to them in the diagnostic portion of it that you’re using technology there as well. So it’s just another sales tool to show what you have.
Bill Connor (55:33):
Here’s another great question. Come in and I’m going to let Greg take this because this really pertains to your business, is given the time required to inspect and edit, do you do appointments only or a walk-in still welcome and can be accommodated?
Greg Masewic (55:46):
Well, I don’t know if welcome’s the right word for walk-ins, but we still take ’em as time’s gone on. They’re becoming less and less a part of our day. I think in our world, everybody’s discovering that. And I mean we knew it all along anyway, right? Getting that card dropped off is all the difference. If someone’s sitting there tapping their foot in your waiting room, your chances of selling all that work are greatly diminished. So everything can to get people to drop it off. We’ve got a full fleet of loaner cars, whatever it takes to get ’em out of the shop. But that said, walk-ins do happen. And for us, walk-ins are usually new customers, people who have never been there before, and when they see this tool, they’re blown away and it’s just such a good opportunity to gain a new customer for life. So that’s a good reason to take walk-ins.
Bill Connor (56:48):
So really the walk-ins are those that have not experienced your level of service yet, and it’s your job as a service advisor to go ahead and turn that walking customer by. Wow. Giving them a wow experience into that key tosser that we’re trying to develop over time. So this comes from what is the maturity of your business? If you’re just starting out, you’re going to take walk-ins, but as long as you’ve got a fixed policy plan and procedure to wow that customer and turn ’em into key tosser over time, you’re going to go ahead and work it out to where you’re going to have less and less of the people that walk in and say, surprise, I’m here. I need a pit stop.
Greg Masewic (57:26):
Yeah, it takes a couple of visits usually to train a customer right on their, they walk in that first time, they might walk in a second time, and after that we’ve, we’ve got ’em trained and they know that they should drop it. Right.
Bill Connor (57:38):
Cool. So we’re at the top of the hour, so I’d like to thank both of you guys for participating today. Lots of great information. It’s always great to go ahead and have you guys stop your busy day and drop by and share your wisdom with others. For sure. I’d like to go ahead and invite people to go to and join us. It’s always great when we have questions come in like we did today, where they could answer live on air. And if you prefer to listen to us on your drive time, just go to your favorite podcast platform and search for the Digital Shop Talk Radio, and we’ll be there also. So once again, I’d like to say thank you to you guys and tell everybody go while your customers make some money and have a great day. Thank you gentlemen.

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