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Episode Description

WHAT: Going digital can be a tough hill to climb if your staff isn’t on the same page as you. In Episode 1 of our 10-part series titled “Going Digital Is Going Places You’ve Never Been,” we are talking about Tech Buy-In. As in what typical challenges your team can expect, how to overcome them, and what metrics you can use to track your progress.


WHY: On this week’s episode you’ll learn:

  • The reason your techs have a direct impact on the amount of work approved
  • Motivation techniques for your techs
  • How to lead by example – getting them to buy in with you
  • Best Practices to put your techs in a position to earn quick wins

WHO: Shop owners Ben & Nate Ramsey (6 Meineke locations in PA) join Tom Dorsey and Uwe Kleinschmidt from AutoVitals.

Episode Transcript

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

– Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of the Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey and I’m joined by my co-host with the most Uwe Kleinschmidt. Say, hello sir.

– Good morning, good morning, good morning.

– And today we’re welcoming back the Ramsay brothers, Meineke, multi-center owners, certified butt kickers. I censored myself there a little bit for that intro. And we’re gonna be talking about technician buy-in. What we’re really gonna be talking about over the next couple of months is how to build your foundation, how to get prepared to start building a house. And so we’re gonna start at square one with you right at the foundational level, and no better… And you’ll see it in the metrics. No better guests to have on to talk about this, than Nate and Ben Ramsay and what they’ve been doing over there from a technician consistency perspective. Oh my gosh, it looks like they’re cooking the books. Welcome Nate and Ben.

– [Ramsay] Hey, Tom. Hey, Tom, thanks for having us.

– Yeah, no, thanks for coming on. We’re having a little video difficulty or so they say with Nate and Ben so, bear with us. Imagine what they look like. And when you’re imagining that, think in terms of chiseled torsos and, big strong muscles and flowing hair. Because they are gods among men at Meineke. So let’s get into the nuts and bolts. What we wanna talk about today is kind of, what were the first challenges that you guys had? Because when we look at your metrics, like I said earlier you as technicians, I mean, they are following the plan. There is no deviation. Is that done through whips and beatings or was that done through, building in a team buy-in, building out the process being transparent, Communication, all that good stuff?

– [Ramsay] It was done… One I’m going to disagree. We’re not perfect by any means. We’ve still got lots and lots of improvement to go. But, I would say, it really took us nine months, I would say. There was very much so a light switch that happened. And it was actually when Ben and I were out in Vegas at Meineke convention. And Josh went around, and Josh is the third brother that no one speaks of. He went around every single day auditing them. I would say the most important pieces

– I remember that.

– That helped us get over it, was a really good picture policy. And then just auditing them literally every single day until it created a habit.

– [Ramsay] There’s two things that tied into that. They were both pretty effective as well. We fired a really, really good technician, the guy that everybody thought was untouchable because he refused to do it. And we created a contest where we gave away an assault rifle to the guy that did the best job making the cheques. So those are the other two things that go along.

– There you go, folks. So if you’re looking on how to get your tech’s on board, you go up to the biggest guy in the prison yard, you punch him in the face, and then you give him a rifle.

– [Ramsay] Pretty much. That was that’s pretty much it.

– Pretty much easy. So, to get to that level, I mean, if you guys could address kind of where you went from the setup, you decided you were gonna do this thing, knew you need to get a tablet, you knew you needed to get hardware, you knew you needed to get some, Wi-Fi enabled. I mean, was that one of the first critical things you were thinking of in terms of because if it didn’t work, and then it’s harder to get the tech buy-in, you know what I mean?

– [Ramsay] Yeah, I mean, the technology stuff, we did approach it from that way, I would say we had a little bit of a different angle. And these are some of the things that we talked about when we were out with you guys in January, is you guys have real metrics that talk about the financial incentives to hit certain metrics and accomplish those things. So when you start looking at an $80 ARO increase when you’re getting the right number of pictures and inspection and all that stuff that you guys have, and you guys give us, when you really sit down and break out the technology component? The technology component to make sure you have it set up, to what’s right, is chump change comparatively speaking, to put a couple thousand dollars. And if you’re gonna add that much money per ticket. And we did and we talked about all the time. When we onboard people. We show them our year over year stuff and it says the metric we had a while ago and this is going back two years now when we really did this but we said you guys tell us we’re gonna get another $80 a car, if we hit these couple of metrics. And we hit $82 more a car, it was exactly what we did. If you’re gonna follow the recipe, if you’re not going into it, to try and pick the cheapest technology, get the right stuff. And we don’t pretend to be technology people. We asked you guys what we needed to get you guys told us and we did it.

– Yeah. Yeah, that was kind of a small hurdle, right? It was just work needed to be done, some expense but like you said, it’s gonna pay off. And that’s one place you don’t wanna try to shortchange yourself, get the most robust server and tablets that you can get, because you’re gonna get longer life out of it. It’s gonna eliminate an excuse, right? Because if stuff don’t work, how to expect me to use it? So you want to get that hurdle out of the way. When you were talking about your tech audits right, can you go into a little bit more detail about that? What exactly cause I know, and I don’t wanna steal any of Uwe’s stand and Uwe, you jump right on in here buddy.

– I will

– If you can kinda tell the audience a little bit about what exactly you were doing during that audit. Auditing their inspection sheets physically what reports or maybe data out of AutoVitals were you using to support that also.

– [Ramsay] So what I was actually doing was going in and really just auditing our picture policy. So our picture policy is pretty thorough. If you look at our picture numbers I mean, AutoVitals numbers is 17. With our picture policy, almost all of my stores are either 28 or better pictures per inspection. That’s because we’re requiring four corners, the state inspection stickers, the cluster, any damage, all fluids of the vehicle. We require a picture of anything that they’re recommending. We require a picture of any codes that are in the vehicle. We require picture of the air and cabin filter on any maintenance visit, whether it’s clean or dirty. ‘Cause our idea was we’re gonna show them the good and the bad. ot just the bad because if you’re only showing them the bad pictures, then they’re just going to ignore it. So I was literally going in and checking, did they take the picture? Did they not select that item at all? When it came to like, brake fluid. We make them take a picture of the brake fluid with a brake fluid tester in it. Because it’s not Nate telling them that the brake fluids bad now, it’s the tester telling them that it’s bad. I mean, our picture policy was very thorough. But that’s ultimately what we audited. We also even took it a further step and said, did our service writer or manager estimate what was on the AutoVitals? Does the AutoVitals match the estimate? Because if it doesn’t, that’s gonna be one of the biggest reasons you have technician pushback because they’re doing all this work. And then your service writers aren’t even estimating what they’re recommending. And that’s a real easy way to lose a technicians buy-in, once you get it if he’s doing all this extra work and not seeing the results from it. Because his manager is lazy.

– Critical. That is a critical success factor, would you agree Uwe?

– Oh, it’s probably one of the biggest because…

– They’ll beat entrepreneurs for years.

– There’s always also whether you pick up the sharp inspection by itself is nothing new. But there has always been kind of, depending on the relationship between the back shop and the front office, right. You know, keyword pencil whipping. If the techs don’t see that their efforts pay off, that’s just not great. And it was just not possible to measure that before going digital now we can measure it. And we will talk about this in more detail later on. I have a question for you Nate how do you do the audits really, from a schedule perspective do you do, during lunch, pay them lunch and then review it? Or is it before hours after hours? How do you schedule audits? And do you do that with all techs together or individually?

– [Nate] Right, so we use an iPad program. And what I do is I go in individually my whole job is operations in our company. So I go in, and I do we call it, doing a bag audit where. Now I take an entire day, and I look at an entire day of invoices, and I’m going to look at every single invoice for that day and make sure the technicians are doing their job. But it’s the iAuditor is what we use. And, I can then email the manager results. But ultimately I’m going to leave, I print off pieces of paper and I also give him with notes on each one with what was done wrong, but, they can get an overall snapshot through our App that we use to do the audit process and they can see it at a glance. Verbally, I’m also gonna take that manager aside and go “hey, this is what this individual, this individual, this individual, are not doing correctly, you need to fix that. And just readjust fire on how to get them back on course ’cause, it’s a forever battle with technicians. It’s never going to be, they just wanna do it. It’s easy, I mean don’t get me wrong. Pushback nowadays is not near what it was, when we first started, but, you’re always gonna have to realign your technicians on a very regular basis. If you stop doing that, then they’re just going to get off path and do whatever they feel and they’re gonna do cherry picking just like they do with a pencil whip inspection. So that iAuditer program, it gets into way more than just AutoVitals but what’s awesome with it is it works similar to AutoVitals and when you go in and you do an iAuditor, and it goes over your AutoVitals. It has all the questions preset up so you’re literally gonna enter the invoice number and then you have a drop downs and you just hit a couple keys. You do the audit, it scores it for you and then it turns around and saves it for you. So it’s there for forever. So when you do an audit, it’s just like doing an AutoVitals. It’s making a receipt of it, that you have to go over with the people and you can track progress and all that stuff with it. And the reports that I use in AutoVitals that cues now that we’re a little more streamlined with it, the report that I use to identify a problem to make me go deeper, is absolutely technician effectiveness. That is an awesome report. I can look at a shop and I mean, I can tell when a guy is or isn’t doing a thorough job just based on the numbers when you’re looking at the technician effectiveness. That is one of my favorite reports. I know I’ve asked before I really wish we could click on a guy and have a hyperlink to where you can access all of his individual reports. That way when you do see a problem from technician effectiveness, you can go directly into that guy’s and a list of all of his inspection reports and really dive in deep to what was the problem and you can start to find those 300,000 mile cars that had no recommendations.

– Yeah, makes sense. I would love to take it to the audit level and even that you can give grades to quality of pictures and stuff. But maybe we can take that offline to see what’s the best approaches.

– You guys are talking to the right man, I can feel some products getting created right now. I can feel some updates are coming. That’s fantastic. I mean, and yeah, you hit the nail on the head, right. Is that technician effectiveness report if you ain’t using it, you missing out. And, yeah, definitely getting that thing improved. And we’re gonna be showing some examples here pretty quick coming up on exactly how you use that to identify, are they following your policies? But just to just to kind of reinforce some of those great takeaways right there. If you’re struggling, it’s open communication, right? Get a common goal and have a plan to get to that goal. But then audit and give that feedback, reinforce those best practices and start right there with that picture policy, right? The more robust you make that picture policy, the more understood it becomes, and the more your technicians will deliver. And then that’s the foundation that you need to really start building your story to get that motorist approval. That’s fantastic. We’ve got a quick poll up for you. If you could take a little bit of time to go ahead and answer that we’re just looking at get a better handle on, what is your experience? What’s kind of the challenges that you’ve noticed from the technician side of it? And, maybe we can get you some answers here from our two guys who have definitely tackled that challenge. And then some, or I should say three, we got to have started having Josh on what’s going on?

– [Ramsay] He’s actually pacing around here as well

– You might as well just put some put some slashes in that name there and just put all three of you on there. We don’t have a video.

– Which Uwe we are definitely up to six stores now not five just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean we didn’t open a store.

– Boom right there.

– Very cool

– Right there.

– Very cool.

– Still growing their business in the middle of it.

– And so what do you do differently now with the six store now that you have it under your belt and done enough times. Is there a rollout process which is just like second nature? Or have you adjusted over time how you roll it out?

– [Ramsay] So as it relates to AutoVitals, that was absolutely different. When we started with AutoVitals, not to sound mean, but we let people almost have a say, and it’s now it’s just like, “hey, this is what you’re gonna do.” And I think that part is so important. For a long time, we tried to take our people’s opinions into consideration, and listen to them and listen to their gripes. And at the end of the day, you just gotta jump on board with the fact that you’re doing this program for them as well. And I don’t need them to understand I just need them to do it. But, we opened the store up March 23rd. And we did almost 30 grand with 28,000, almost $29,000 in our first week in business. And our fill in the blank governor, shut the state down a couple days beforehand. It was the worst week to try and do it. But we sidestepped, we adjusted our operations, we decided that we were gonna make a lot more outbound phone calls. We got signed up with you guys to do the text messaging and more updates and stuff with you. When we lost our national advertising badge, but we still got to drive cars and try some other stuff. So we just sidestepped and we leaned on our operations our AutoVitals and our financing to keep having strong weeks.

– And, is that you know everybody lines up I’m gonna tell you how to do it or what’s the process?

– [Ramsay] I mean, honestly I’ve injected because I do the hiring as well. We’re telling guys that this is how it’s going to be from the interview. And honestly we have such a positive we speak so positively about it. Guys are interested and fascinated by it. It is literally from day zero that we’re talking about AutoVitals and how we are a part of the future of the automotive industry.

– Well so that’s an inspiration right? For the people. And so how’s the age profile of your techs are there people who are technology impaired or?

– [Ramsay] The guy we bought the new store from, is in his 50s he is not a tech, what is he Josh?

– 56

– 56 He is not a technology guy. And he told us he’s like we didn’t believe that we were gonna do. He’s been in business for 15 years. We beat his best week ever by five grand in our first week in business. He didn’t believe it and he’s one of the biggest advocates now. Like, when you’re talking to the guys like, “I don’t know,” I’m like, dude “I see you on your phone, “on your face space, whatever.” Like, if you can operate that thing, you can take a stinking picture. Like, Who are you kidding? Like, just do it. You either decide that you wanna make money or you don’t. And if you don’t wanna make money, this isn’t the place for you to work. We did have to put some incentives in there. We joke about the AR15, but we’ve I think we’ve given six away of them in a year. We do contests and we tie when they sign on. We don’t expect them to get a commission in our first month or two. We give them a guaranteed component. But the only way they get it is if they complete the training and they’re doing the criteria that we expect them to do. So it’s also affected by their like wallets affected by it. If they don’t do their training, and they don’t do their onboarding, and they’re not hitting their stuff, they don’t get the opportunity to get their bonuses or their Commissions.

– And, you talk training is that dedicated hour, half hour whatever every day on the first day so how do you schedule this and then check in whether it works?

– [Nate] We actually email them links to do the AutoVitals training. So that they are familiar and we have them watch that 45 minute video for the technicians, prior to them showing up on day zero. We then walk them through, the way we train them nowadays is we personally spend the first couple. We normally bring in like a loaner car and have them do an AutoVitals on one of our shop cars a couple times. Then we normally have them hold the tablet while another technician is doing an inspection on a vehicle. That way that technician gives them tips and tricks on how to do it. And then we do that with a couple of different technicians. It’s normally a few days I on boarded a guy this week. He’s already I mean, it’s Wednesday, so he’s on his third day. He’s pretty proficient in the AutoVitals inspection already.

– That’s awesome. Yeah, it doesn’t take long. You just have to have a plan. And I just wanna reinforce what Nate said there. Add that to your audit plan, get your techs to inspect the same vehicle and then review those results. You’ll see who’s missing certain things and, it’ll give you a good idea of how consistently your techs see a vehicle, right? And how they follow the process. Because you need to have a flow built right? You need to have a pattern for the inspection also. Where do they start? They start at the front left, walk around, and what do they do at each of those steps, think in terms of efficiencies and scalable is the more that they can do in this area before moving on your inspection should be set up that way. And then they should follow it consistently. And so you should see very similar results if they’re inspecting the same vehicle. Fantastic advice, Nate.

– [Josh] Josh is sitting here saying three more things, which is one of the focal points of how we operate when you onboard and train a new technician. And even when they’re not new, you forever have to have somebody go back out and we call it find three more things, where you’re gonna go out and after you look at that Vitals, you’re gonna go out and look over the car, and spot check them and see if you find stuff that they missed because, you have to check their inspections. But you have to make sure that they’re finding them correctly. And especially when you have new people, you wanna go out and get eyes on that car and be like, “why didn’t you get a picture of this or this is how I want you to handle this situation.” It’s gotta be interactive, so you can bring them up to the level of what you want. And if you don’t ever look at the car too, you’re never gonna know what they missed until the thing comes back the next time and somebody else looks at it.

– So in real quick, Josh. So from a production managers perspective, or so to say it, there’s gonna be guys that say, “yeah, that’s nice that you’ve got all that time to be able to do that.” But I’ll tell you what, if you give that feedback early and often, you don’t have to continue to give the same feedback for years, right? How do you approach that Josh? When you’re ramping somebody else new and then enforcing those policies that you have in place?

– If I can add who is doing what you just said? Is it the service advisor, the production manager, the location manager, who is going back to the car and identifies more opportunities?

– [Josh] So that’s a little different from store to store, I mean we have a store that we’re adding four more bays is gonna be a 12 bay shop, we got a four bay shop. Sometimes it’s the lead technician. And you tell if it’s that guy to lead technician, you explain to the lead technician like, “we need to make sure that this guy is doing thorough inspections, cause if he’s burning through cars, he’s taking cars from you, and it’s affecting your production as well.” So there’s an incentive for that guy to do it. If we have a service manager, which is what you’re calling the production manager, it’s the guy that’s in the best position to do it and is in tune with cars. We have stores where our store manager, you send them out to the car, he’s not going to know the difference between controller arm bushing and a motor mount to some degree. Like it’s just not his thing. So you have to have somebody that’s gonna do it. Whether it’s a technician, if it’s a service manager, if it’s a store manager, you’re always gonna get a better result. And you’re gonna get a better inspection. If they have the fear or they know that somebody else is gonna come behind them and look. So, whoever you can have do that on a store by store basis, as far as how do you come up with the time to do it? I mean, right now we have more stores running a six to an $800 ARO than we have running under a $300 ARO. Because we’re getting more out of all of those cars. So, it’s not changing how much money you can do in a week. It’s changing how many cars you need to do it, and it’s doing it to your favor by increasing your ARO.

– I mean there’s a lot of people out there that wanna emulate that. I’ll tell you what, a matter of fact folks are asking about where do you find those videos? You guys catching that stuff on help.AutoVitals. Go into the academy section, you can find a lot of training videos, recordings of the show all kinds of stuff in there as collateral. What are some of the things that you guys have bookmarked or have downloaded that you use to introduce your technicians during their training and ramp up period?

– [Ramsay] So, the video that I particularly use is actually something that is on Mieneke’s Online University that John Bryson created.

– [Nate] There is a lot of stuff that we have. And there’s trainings that guys get on to your guy say I didn’t use, and then we can certainly help and get on and look at some of that stuff. But, the one that we have is about 45 minutes long. And it just goes through all of the basic components of how to do it, what we expect, this is how many pictures, this is editing. It’s just hits all the basic points, and it’s about 45 minutes long. And, if we have a technician come in, and for some reason they didn’t watch it, first, they better have a really good reason as to why they didn’t, ’cause that’s a huge problem. And two, that’s the first thing they’re doing. We’re not gonna spend any time trying to coach them from ground zero, they’re gonna start off by watching the video and that’s gonna be the first 45 minutes of their day. Because that little bit of training where they’re sit there and they’re just focusing, they come in the first time they pick up the tablet, they’re so much less overwhelmed. They don’t look like you’re trying to drink from a fire hydrant. Because they had a little bit of time to go through the whole sequence once and visualize it before they start to do it themselves.

– Yeah, I know it’s a great way to get that situational awareness right from the jump and then you set them off and then they get it they understand it, and then it’s just repetition and muscle memory development. And then they’re following policy. And then that’s how you see a guy in three, four days start to put up results from a strong way. If you’re not a Meineke Shop, don’t worry about it. What we’re talking about here’s the Meineke version of our Initial Boost or IB video. You guys get that from your trainer. It’s on in the Academy. A whole series of stepped training videos that you can start out. And the one we’re talking about today is the initial, because we’re talking foundational development today. And really how to set yourself up for success. And to the point we were making earlier is the more you front load it, the more you get it done up front, the easier it is to maintain it over time. And then reap the benefits of that and have that success. So, go and bookmark that, we put the link there inside of the chat, you guys can copy that down and get over there and put a bookmark on it and spend some time in there. Because it’s a great resource for you. Depending on what you need, and what stage of your development you’re in. All the way from the basic building blocks all the way up to very advanced tactics that you can use and implement. You’ll find them there at Oh yeah, thanks for putting that link in there perfect. Fantastic. So, let’s transition a little bit, let’s get into the nuts and bolts. Let’s start showing folks if we could move on. We talked about that technician effectiveness report. I wish I had a poll in there that says, “Do you know what the technician effectiveness report is, Yes or No?” Because it’s one of those things that as a matter of fact, when I was talking a little bit about this last night as one of the very first things that we implemented back when it was a paperless back shop. We had technician effectiveness report from day one. Let’s talk a little bit about how folks find that Uwe if we could. And then Nate, if you could jump in and we’ll just kind of audit a little bit your technician effectiveness report and take a look at the good bad and the ugly.

– Cool. So everybody should see. It’s a little small, but that’s on purpose because I wanna show you the overview. This is a one of the Ramsay Brother’s shops. I graded names and what you would see with the right configuration is that everything which is yellow is a tendency to pencil whip unless it’s the walk around. And everything you see in red is the tendency to over recommend. And I’m saying tendency, because depending on your policy, it might be exactly what you desired as a result and it’s not over recommending or it’s not pencil whipping. So only you can know what the results really mean. But you see then visually with yellow and red, the two extremes. And everything which is white is in the good region. And what I would like to do Nate is take a snapshot out of it which is this one. And, let’s talk about this a little bit. So, let’s go back to explain what it really shows. It shows all topics on the inspection. And then how many inspection topics have been oops Oh, so good.

– Yeah,

– okay. How many inspection topics have been recommended by the tech which normally would show up here at the top of the report, right? So, you have the technician name up here and then you have what is the tendency, how many percent of the topics have received a recommendation during the time of the report, which in this case is three months, right? And then you see it also for the whole shop, right? So there is a summary. And the first indication whether the report is really saying anything is here at the top of the report. It says how many inspections have been done by an unassigned tablet, right? So some people share a tablet, which we think is a big no no, because then you don’t know who really did the inspection and this report is kind of useless, right? So that’s the technician effectiveness report Nate was referring to. Now let’s go into a little bit more detail. So now you should see all the different numbers. So you see three techs, and the far right, you see the shop total. And so my first immediate assessment would be awesome job on air filters and brake fluid. And, that seems to be kind of correct me if I’m wrong shop policy, right?

– Yeah.

– And then for some light transmission fluid and engine coolant, there’s a big difference between the field tech and the other two. And then, if we go all the way down where you see the tires, it seems like the tires overall don’t have a big focus on your inspection. And that’s just me interpreting the data. And maybe you can even, you already know what center it is just by looking at those data.

– I know what center it is and I’m pretty sure I could pick out which technician is which line.

– So yeah, can you talk about the air filter, brake fluid, so can you confirm this kind of, you train your technicians to pay attention to this?

– [Ramsay] Yeah, absolutely. So, our air cabin filters, they’re required to take a picture of it. So when you require them to take a picture of it, whether it’s clean or dirty, that eliminates “I checked it, but it was good.” They can’t just click that it was green. That was one of the reasons. The other reason is we don’t wanna show them just bad stuff.

– [Uwe] Right.

– [Nate] One of my favorite things to initially look at on this sheet is actually the top what you had hit on Uwe was the average number of topics that they’re selecting. And I knew just from that line what store this was. Because this is actually one of my lower recommended stores. Almost all my shops, my technicians are all gonna average between 10 and about 14% average topics. Right there in the top. Yeah, the very top line below how many cars they do. What I really like to hone in on this is I mean, for my personal technicians, it’s weird a shop, we always all talk about, well “hey, we sold, you know, 12 timing belts this week?” Well, it’s just like when you buy a new car I think. When you buy that new car, you start seeing everyone else driving the same car. And it’s the same thing with technicians. When see their buddy doing a timing belt. So they’re like, “hey, I should maybe check that timing belt too.” And that’s not by coincidence. So you will actually see, if you watch this stuff really closely, many times you’ll see not only trends within a technician, what he does and doesn’t check on a car, but also trends in in a whole shop. Because I mean, right now my Lancaster store, the whole shop is down for number of brake fluid recommendations. Well come to find out, they needed Triple A Batteries for their battery tester. How stupid is that that we, we went two weeks without batteries and a battery tester is why we weren’t selling, $90 brake flushes.

– That’s awesome. So Nate is referring to those numbers here, right? So you see the average of all topics and then the total of inspections done by the technicians. Let’s go back to this one because I’m really curious about, from our experience tires are a huge opportunity for tires if you are in tires or for alignments. Is there a particular reason why your focus is not too high on this?

– [Ramsay] So part of my picture policy is on they have to take a picture of every tire with the tread depth gauge in the picture. That does two things. One, if I asked three technicians what the tread depth of a tire is, I’m gonna get three to four answers. Two, it just requires them to take it all the time. And this actually I know my middle column technician is actually Dakota, because he’s one of my worst recommenders for tires. And his numbers are actually up for this. At the end of February, I wanna say he had recommended about four tires for the year. So he’s doing better. One thing that I don’t know if other people have this issue, but it seems like a lot of technicians only ever recommend one of the tire lines because they can select four tires needed as, what the fix is. So they essentially only then they kinda pencil whip the rest of them. So typically what you’ll see and not so much at this shop but typically what you’ll see at some of my shops, like the front left tire is the first one. So you’ll see the most recommendations. Actually you do see it in the first column there yes. Yeah, we’re 76 versus nothing else is even half that. They will recommend all four tires or two tires in that front left one.

– [Josh] Which is the percentage

– [Nate] which use the percentage, right.

– Makes total sense now. Cool. What else do you use it for? I don’t wanna miss anything before we go to the next.

– [Nate] I mean that’s primarily what… The other thing that I use it for, because, we don’t really use the Canned jobs as much as we probably should. End keys integration with the parts and stuff like that isn’t always there. The new point of sale system is coming very soon and I’m excited for that, for the full integration. But what I also do is I record on a spreadsheet, how many recommendations there are, and then I go in and I audit how many recommendations there are from the manager. And how many were actually sold. So that I can see how effective the manager is at selling those items and how often he’s actually recommending it. ‘Cause he’s gonna get, I don’t accept if we had 50 recommendations on air filters, I better have 50 recommendations on the invoice. I use this to make sure that my managers are in fact recommending everything that the technicians are recommending. And when you have the red columns where you have a technician that’s way over recommending, one of the things that we constantly train our managers is, If your answer is that that guy is over recommending, you need to edit that inspection sheet before you send it out. Because otherwise, we’re sending out a product that we don’t agree with ourselves. So, the answer of “I didn’t recommend as many as they recommended” is never an excuse, for my service riders and managers.

– Yeah and for folks that are looking at where to start, this is exactly where you start, right? You download that technician effectiveness report, you take a look and you wanna us to know where to start your audit. So it’s gonna tell you right there which ones open up first, and start to dig in and which ones to continuously monitor and give feedback until you see the consistency develops. Real quick, guys. We got a couple of questions from the audience. First, we’d like if we could just talk a little bit about your definition of pencil whipping. Pencil whipping is something that doesn’t exist in an auto auto shop once you get up to speed because usually what happens there for why pencil whipping happens is a lot of different reasons inside your operation. But the most part is this, if I don’t think the service advisor is gonna sell any of this work, and you’re not paying me 30 minutes to do an inspection on his vehicle, I’m just gonna go through and go, “Yeah, this is all good, good, good, good, good.” And that’s pencil whipping, right? And that’s one reason but there’s a lot of reasons why pencil whipping might happen. What do you guys kind of define that as in your shop?

– [Ramsay] Pencil whipping is recommending or not recommending something when you didn’t even look at it. So if you look at the third column here, obviously the individual in third column, he’s recommending a lot of your fluids and flushes at a very high rate. Now it would take a little bit more auditing and a little deeper dive to figure out whether or not whether or not his vehicles truly needed them, or if he’s just pencil whipping. And that’s just, he’s blindly making recommendations or not making recommendations. One important thing that’ll bite you in the rear end is, saying that something is good. My favorite one is always, on a 2000, seven Ford Explorer. They’re telling me that the transmission fluids good. Really, cause that’s a sealed transmission. So how exactly did you do that? That’ll get you that’ll kick you in the butt because those four transmissions go out all the time. And guess what, why was it that a week ago you told me my transmission fluids good and now you’re telling me it’s black? And now you got to backpedal and you’re going back to how accurate of a report are you sending out to your customers. That’s the most important piece about this is. Hey, you got to send it to your customer, but you gotta send em a product that’s accurate. And that’s why we do the brake measurements in the brake pictures that we require, with the measuring device with the brake fluid device, with the tread depth gauge device, you’re taking a picture there is no gray area anymore. It’s black and white. And you’re sending out an accurate report. Not just sending out the report. But it’s gotta be an accurate report. It’s the same thing as taking a good picture and just taking a picture. There’s two very different things there.

– [Josh] So one of the pushback from the technicians is always that the AutoVitals inspection takes longer. And it is a crock of crap. If it takes longer, it only takes longer because it eliminates their ability to pencil whip. You can still pencil whip an AutoVitals. If you’re gonna correct that problem, you’re gonna have to do the audits. But the amount of time that it takes to take your finger and touch a button is substantially less than it is to write some of the stuff out. So, if you’re gonna write out left rear tires at 230 seconds, because you’re writing it down on a piece of paper. Or you’re hitting a button and taking a button like you’re supposed to use the tread depth gauge anyway. And I know that’s kinda the whole thing is getting buy-in from people. At the end of the day, when you do your AutoVitals correctly, you’re gonna work on three cars instead of four or five. So the amount of time you spend inspecting cars, even if it does take longer to do an AutoVitals, you still spent less time today doing AutoVitals and inspecting cars, because your tickets are bigger.

– Exactly. Yeah, it’s not gonna take you longer. If it does, they just weren’t doing a complete inspection before. Simple as that.

– Right?

– Right.

– You got pictures that of evidence that they did it. And so now you know. And then you’ll see the results in your sales. Hey, let’s welcome on Bill. Bill joining us on here. How you doing, buddy? How’s things in Texas?

– Doing fine, I just snuck in here to join you. Actually you invited me and demanded I show up but that’s okay.

– Look at that consistency. That’s what I was talking about earlier. This is a, I don’t know what the standard is. But this is one of their operations and I mean…

– That’s incredible I wannna add a little tidbit to the topic before. But you have to watch the time because we have some goodies still to come.

– [Tom] Oh, yeah.

– So, there’s a simple psychology at work, right? Technicians who know their service advisors over recommend the topics they know the service advisor sell well. And everybody has a sweet spot, whether it’s a technician or service advisor. It’s both depends on where we’re being in terms of let’s get it done no matter what. And then on the other end, I know the sweet spots of myself as advisors, I over recommend on that end, right? Both is what we have observed. But moving forward inspection rate, right? We wanted to talk about for everybody in the audience, what are the basic steps you do in the beginning? First step is you look at the technician effectiveness report, to even see the quality of the inspection and the behavior of inspection.

– We looked at that before make sure you’re siting down the first time you look at it.

– You will see things you might have guessed before because you know your people, but now you have data about it. And there’s no emotions in data. So that’s the beauty about going digital. And so here is congratulations to the Ramsay Brothers, That’s an awesome inspection rate. But I know now that AR15 enabled that. I guess we have to look for Autovitals options.

– So again, in the interest of time, if you normally start out, then you don’t see something like this. And maybe the question when you started, have you looked into the BCP and then found that certain technicians try to skip it, and the BCP would uncover that and you would just present the data and technicians change because they don’t want to be singled out?

– [Ramsay] I actually don’t use the BCP for technician derived things too much. My BCP page is gonna be ARO, inspection rate, inspection sent, text opt in.

– Right?

– [Ramsay] Customer research time and edited pictures.

– Yup.

– [Ramsay] As far as the technician because I look at so many individual inspection sheets and audit it at a much deeper level. I don’t use the BCP for that too much. I’m certainly open to it. I love the BCP for the things that I’m using. I’m only a couple months in on using the BCP. Since all AutoVitals convention, I’ve started using the BCP. I identified numerous things that I have now been able to correct since then. So I’m absolutely, I have not really used it as far as a technician audit perspective, I use it as a whole shop. And it identifies problems for me. And then I just look deeper in.

– Great makes total sense.

– [Ramsay] One of the things with AutoVitals and we talked about this all the time, and I use my brothers, I think it’s a stupid analogy of chocolate chip cookies. But I think it’s so true when we get to the whole process of what we do. It’s like making chocolate chip cookies. How many steps, how many ingredients are you gonna take out of what the recipe is, and expect it still tastes like a stinking cookie? Like if you go and make chocolate chip cookies and you don’t put chocolate chips it, and you don’t turn the oven on, their dough balls man, they’re not chocolate chip cookies. This isn’t a program where if you do 70% of the work, you should expect 70% of the results. It is a scenario where if you only get it right in the back shop or you only get it right in the front shop, you’re never really gonna see the results. When you decide that you’re gonna mandate and hold people accountable to do the things that make them more money and give them more job security, it will auto pilot itself as much as it’s going to. It’s still going to require you to go in and audit and keep it on track, ’cause it will get off quickly. But it is not something where you’re gonna go in and do six out of the 10 steps and expect that you’re gonna get a 50 or 60% of the results increase. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to do the whole thing you have to monitor it from start to finish and make sure you stay on track, if you really want to get into some monster ARO increases. And that’s what we’re all after.

– Awesome, thank you. That’s an awesome analogy. I would have used the sport analogy right? You can be good in dribbling and free throws that doesn’t win you the game.

– [Ramsay] I always say you can switch the quarterback and the center but it probably playing gonna run the same way so same thing yeah. That was actually one of the biggest challenges we had, was initially what we figured out, and this what made us mandate, all yellow and red topics, have to be on the invoice, was our technicians were doing the inspections properly. And they were getting frustrated. Because the managers weren’t recommending, at the same rate that they were.

– Yup. So, pardon the busy graph. So let’s digest it a little bit. The next step after technicians have shown that they follow the picture policy and do the inspection rate would be to create what we call quick wins. If you start with I don’t know 50, 70 point inspection sheet and wanna have immediate results on the whole spectrum of inspection topics, that might be too high of a jump in the first phase. So, I just used here for the same center. Again, the Sold Canned jobs for Brake Fluid Service and for replace air filter, those were the ones you scored extremely high in the technician effectiveness report right? And here you see, and Nate you already said you’re not using the Canned Jobs as religiously as the report assumes. But, you can see here that independent of car count or the car count doesn’t have a big influence of how many of those jobs are sold. There is an inconsistency in sold jobs, right? You would assume on average with that high of finding ways for brake fluid servers for example. That with the same car count, you should be able to sell the same amount of brake fluid services. That’s the assumption, right? And then you see how it goes up and down. And so this is what you said before, if the technicians do their job, and the service advisors are not in lockstep, you might get results like this. So I’m not sure what the exact root cause is. I just looked at the data and saw there’s certain inconsistency. And I would love to hear how the motivation to the techs in identifying those things that they’re getting sold and, goes along with showing them what the service advisor sell or don’t sell. Am I making sense with my question? That was a long speech.

– [Ramsay] Basically, the way that I reassure my technicians is, I reassure they know, and we make it clear to them that I’m auditing the manager as well. I think that the answer to your question is, is basically I’m reassuring the technicians. and that, “hey I’m watching them.” Just like I’m watching the techs. I’m watching their managers and making sure that they are recommending what they’re supposed to. you’re looking at my worst shop so, Truth be told that manager is not there anymore ’cause he doesn’t do a good job selling. That’s how you maintain the technician buy-in. And you don’t want to throw your manager under the bus. And tell the technicians that he sucks in life. But, by all means, Again, this goes all the way back to the interview now. I’m talking to the technicians and we give them that example of how, I can monitor how many times you’re recommending something, and then how many times your manager is recommending that to customers. And then we take it a step further, what percentage of the time is he actually executing on selling that item. Because that’s important too. Because, like you said Uwe, with a manager, there’s a sweet spot with him. And that is, what they’re good at selling. Some of them are good at selling transmission services ’cause they worked at ARMCO before. Some of them are good at selling brake flushes or whatever. And when you audit down to that depth, you now understand what they are and aren’t good at and you can then coach them. So that you can correct these numbers on what they are and aren’t good at and continually improve everything. ‘Cause I mean flushes are something I look at every single week because flushes are the gravy of the gravy in our industry. And I don’t understand why nobody does it. I’ve never met a shop owner. I talked to Pineapple Leprechaun mass wake up, up north there I think they still have snow but I talked to him all the time we talked about how I talked about the number four store in the country for Meineke only sold 28 thermostats. But you got to coach your guys. And you’re constantly reassuring your technicians that you’re watching the manager also. That’s how you keep the technicians on board. And when they have a down week and they’re frustrated because your manager isn’t selling anything that he’s recommended.

– So do ever use the data to pair to make pairings like to put a tech that might be struggling with a service rider that’s high speed and then kinda through that pairing they kinda rising tide floats all boats?

– [Ramsay] Absolutely. I look at that shop level also. ‘Cause I’ve got three shops that are all within 10 minutes of each other. We absolutely look at what is a shop’s capability? And that’s based on customer volume that’s based on your managers capability, and your technicians capability. And I’ll absolutely move pieces around for when a guy is really good at XYZ, and that manager is really good at XYZ. Then, pairing them together only makes everybody more money.

– So Tom, when you’re looking at a graph like this, and you go ahead and see that we’ve got these valleys in here, where there isn’t anything being done, this is where I start working with them on the quick win process. Define exactly what the technician should be doing exactly the picture, exactly the way to mark it up. And if you got a weak service rider, it may not make any difference because they’re gonna estimate it. But the results that go to the customer is already gonna be prepared by the technician is already gonna be pointing to it, it’s already going to say, “this is your brake fluid it’s contaminated. It needs to be serviced and here’s why”. So getting the staff to work together, we’ll go ahead and fill in a lot of that plug but that’s why we talk about quick wins. Define exactly what everybody should be doing. Make sure it’s done on every inspection that goes through there. Let them have the quick wins, let them stack it up. And then when they got that knocked out, just choose a different topic for the next week. And it just really works.

– So quick win just for the audience to reiterate the definition, instead of focusing initially on all topics and the high quality of all topics. You select a few which basically meet three criteria, it happens often enough. So the calls coming in where it happens with observable often enough. It’s easy to do for the technician and it’s easy to identify by the motorist, right? If those three come together, you have a quick win. And so brake fluid service is one of those result. Another one is alignments. With tires, for example. And so in the in the beginning you would try to score quick wins, which also brings back shop and front office together. Because of their score together. That is awesome.

– [Ramsay] And we’ve never had a problem with techs recommending breaks or ball joints. When we give away the AR15s. And we do that stuff. That’s 100% what we do. It’s air filters, cabin filters, flushes alignments. And it’s what we call singles. Like we’re gonna hit a single on the car, get a pair of wiper blades. So get the quick turn things. We never have a problem with guys going, “Oh yeah, they need brakes to need brakes,” like that’s as excited as you have a technician get. So it is the quick wins or the things that get you from the tickets that are 30, $40 for an oil change or an inspection, and get them up over $100. Those are the opportunities that we really want to focus on. It’s not the cars that are coming in. We’re already getting 1800 bucks, we’re trying to get 2000. It’s the cars that are coming in, that we’re not getting anything on that we have to hit get those little wins on.

– There’s one other thing that we need to add to the mix for a quick win topic. And that is it should be something that has labor attached to it. Because if it’s an air filter that has no labor the technician, really is like blah. But if it’s something that’s got time attached to it, that should be part of that mix for a quick win also when you’re defining them. So it’s gonna be something in it for everybody, including the customer of getting a better well serviced vehicle.

– Yeah, that’s fantastic. That’s how you put points on the board. You hit singles, right? Consistently, get that batting percentage up. That’s how you win games. And today I mean, what a fantastic show really from a takeaway perspective? Because we’ve talked about whether you are brand new, and you’re thinking about doing this, or you’ve been in it and man, maybe you’re thinking about refactoring, maybe you thinking about hitting the reset button, after hearing some of this stuff and getting some of these things in place. Start out building that strong foundation with policy and communication and then auditing, right? Set yourself up for success. And make sure that your technicians and your service advisor pairings are doing the same. And then, really focusing on a plan to catch those quick wins. And implement that and continue to monitor it and talk about it on your, even daily on a one-on-one basis and definitely weekly in your shop meetings to reinforce that policy. Giveaway hours and, whatever else fits your culture, to incentivize right? And then you get them in and you plug them into the program and they see everybody’s pulling the same way. It’s not gonna take them long. I mean everybody wants to go along, get along and be successful and be praised and make good money. They’re not gonna fight you. You just got to tell them which way the rivers flowing. They’ll jump in.

– [Ramsay] You know, and one of the reasons why we went with the AR as opposed to money, is ’cause the wives can’t yell at them for spending the money on the AR, if they just bring the AR. That’s beautiful, I want it. What are you gonna do?

– You thought about everything?

– Yeah, cool. We are out of time, but I have a few other things that I Wanna show do we wanna extend? Or what are we gonna do?

– Yeah. I’m not gonna kick you out.

– Let’s just keep going. And again for the audience, and for everybody, this episode is really focused on the technician. How to enable the technician motivate, incentivize to do an awesome job in the digital shop. Next week is service advisor week. So we’re gonna do a similar in depth discussion about the service advisor. Before we wanna let you go, I would like to show you what the new version of the tablet what we called guided is gonna help the technician with and, here is a few tablet screenshots. And if you already know the existing system, then you know conditions in our existing systems, our drop downs, which takes a few milliseconds longer than this. Here you see all conditions on one page and just tap. And then the page automatically advances to the next page. So it’s even less taps. And you’ll see everything in one, you don’t need to scroll through some drop downs to figure out which one you’re gonna tap. It’s much easier to digest and react on. And then, one of the biggest observations we made before and have now changed this is number one text of creative spelling we know that. Number two, it takes a lot of time to type. And so, what in the new system is going to be available is the customer notes are pre-worded already. So a tech can look at it and then either take it. Because it hits exactly and describes what he found, which in most of the case should be the case. Or just edits it over because there’s some something else he wants to add right? We estimate that to be an up to 10 minutes savings per vehicle for technicians who are doing religiously a thorough job today. And for everybody who today doesn’t have the time takes the time to enter the notes. Well now you have no notes. It also saves the source advisor’s time. The other one is picture quality. We will show here in the upper left corner, a reference image. And that reference image shows two things: Number one, what’s the picture you should take? And where to point the arrow. We try to make it that simple. And then once you have taken the picture, the arrow appears automatically and your finger just need to move it or rotate it or whatever you wanna do with it. So that in combination makes doing an inspection in the future even faster and interestingly more thorough. Because we give some guidance on how to take a picture and the customer notes are pre-worded in the right language. So the service advisor might not even force to or edit anything. So that will speed up the process, increase the consistency and creates overall better inspection results.

– So Uwe real quick, you got a couple questions too. Conner is asking you have the ability to create hand technician notes.

– Hand technician? I am not sure I follow that.

– So what you’re saying? Will we have the ability to create template notes for the techs to choose from when typing their notes?

– So the template notes is the pre-formulated notes I just showed, yes.

– Yeah and so that is in the guided version. You’re gonna have those suggested notes. You can select them and keep them. As is you can edit them. I always recommend putting a little flavoring in there, so that it doesn’t look like a canned message, because people start to ignore them. So you wanna personalize them and just and it’s saving time from a text perspective and from the service advisors perspective to get it done and get it out the door. So yes. Terry, those are in there if you’re in the guided end of it. And really folks that are thinking about this, waiting for the release. Think of the guided version of all the stuff we’ve just been talking with Ben, Nate and Josh is really, that is the guided version. It’s the path to do and to establish those fundamentals and that foundational best practices, and that strong base to grow from. So when it’s out when you get a chance, I’m we’re kind of taking bets around here to see what’s going to be the reaction from folks today. Turn it on and try it out, or do they turn it on and leave it on? Because it forces a process consistently that hits all the best practices. And it’s not gonna take any more time. We’ve talked about the time of doing inspections today and hopefully gave you some different perspective on that. ‘Cause it’s not about the time it’s about the results.

– [Ramsay] We’re gonna leave it on.

– Leaving it on right? Because it drives the boat. It’s an autopilot. You lean back in the lounge chair and drink some tattered flag bourbon, and, dream about the next 10 centers you’re gonna be opening up down the road. So that’s how winners do it.

– Oh, if the SBA was processing loans right now, We’d have another one

– Exactly. And so all of this stuff, so we’re gonna have this recording posted up so you’ll have access. Don’t worry if you didn’t catch the first half or what not. Get in there and follow these takeaways, step by step, download that technician effectiveness report. Use that to get an understanding of what’s happening now and establish your picture policy to address that. And your inspection audits to address what you find in there. Rerun that inspection audit of course. Communicate that and the technician effectiveness report and communicate that in your shop meetings and really make it transparent. And where it is in relation to the goals that you’re trying to achieve, and the goals that each individual staff member is trying to achieve. Take advantage of all that training collateral. Whether you’re a Meineke Center and you’re using the Meineke version of the initial boost video. Or you’re gonna use the AutoVitals initial boost video to get started. That’s right there on Go there and there’s tons of stuff. And matter of fact, if there’s something that isn’t there, and you want it to be there let us know. We’ll make it and put it up there. This type of feedback and collaboration is what helps us all to get better and to succeed as the winners that we are. And then get out there and establish those quick wins. Have a game plan, have a game plan. Whether you’ve been with AutoVitals for 10 years already or you’re just getting started. Put that quick wins game plan in place, build that muscle memory ’cause as we showed, and we talked about today, that’s just like Ben couldn’t say it, I can’t say it any better. Hit them singles, right? Hit them singles. That’s how you put points on the board. And that’s what your quick wins policy and protocols are gonna do for you. Uwe anything else that you want to add to that from a takeaway perspective? What folks should be doing as homework? Before we talk to service advisors next week.

– I just got some text messages from shop owners who want to be on guided. So I think,

– Okay, you would just hit a single. See that? Hit a single

– Takeaways. I would love to get some feedback from the audience whether this in depth type of discussion is what you were looking for. If you could put that in chat as feedback and also answer the poll, which is up right now. Because, we really wanna give as much detailed information. So you can take it home and implement. And I can just reiterate what Tom already said. Technician effectiveness report, inspection rate. And then look for the quick wins. That will be, the top three takeaways. If those are the ones you take away from today, we were successful.

– Fantastic. Bill, you got anything to add there? Oh, I’m sorry let me cut you off, buddy.

– No, no, no, I’m good, I’m good. So the main thing I’d like to add is if you go ahead and get everybody to work together as a team and understand what their part of the puzzle is, that’s gonna really help. So it’s not an us against them, between the front of the shop and the back of the shop. Create wins for everybody. The technician, service writer, shop owner, and more importantly the customer. And then you’ve got something that’s gonna be a well thought out process, that’s gonna stick forever.

– Yeah, that’s awesome.

– And you’ll know when you’ve done it right, because if you forget to do an inspection, the customer will say, “where the hell’s my inspection”?

– We get that all the time right? That’s when you know you can ring the bell. That’s when you know you can ring the bell. It’s one of those funny things. I don’t know if you guys seen that Jerry Seinfeld deal on Netflix? Where he’s talking about, it’s great and it’s bad at the same time. But it’s one of those things where, you know you’re at the place, you know it’s bad. it’s unfortunate that the customer didn’t get the reminder that we weren’t consistent there. But you know it’s great, because, boy you can ring the bell that you’ve made that connection and that you’ve set that customer’s expectation and the rest is just consistency and follow through. Fantastic Bill appreciate that. Hey, Nate, Ben, Josh, you guys got any other pearls of wisdom. I mean, you’ve been dropping them like carpet bombs today, on this audience. Anything, any parting shots you wanna leave us with?

– [Ramsay] Stop pretending or justifying in your head that by allowing them to not do it, you’re doing them a favor. Just make them do the shit for their own sake.

– Yeah. There you have it. And the results, you can’t argue with those results that’s for sure. Dude, I wanna thank you guys again for coming on man. It’s always awesome to have you guys on it’s just that we are excited to follow your success you know, looking forward already to the next time having you guys on, and really seeing where this thing goes together and it’s fantastic. For folks out there you know my co-host Adam, I see him in the chat there John Long. Come on the show. Give us ideas topic ideas like Uwe said in that poll we just ran. We wanna go and deliver the deep dive that you’re looking for to help your operation. No question is a dumb question. Ask them early and often that’s how you get the answers and that’s how you get what you need to be successful. Get in our Facebook forum and collaborate. All these folks are connected right there. And you got questions outside of this show or outside of times when you’re when you’re in 20 groups or communicating directly. Ask them open that Facebook forum. You’re gonna get a lot of guidance and help there folks, just waiting to help you. Thousands of them. So take advantage of that. And then next week, you gotta get in. If you’re not subscribed, get over to Get subscribed so you get the notification. We’re talking the next level, we’re talking about building the foundational best practices at the front counter. And how to get that service advisor buy-in. We’re gonna have both these guys back, Uwe and Bill Conner. Looking forward to it gentleman. Thanks again for tuning in. Thanks again to Nate, Ben and Josh in this great panel that we had. And thank you very much to Dustin. Our producer and show organizer. Without his work, we couldn’t get this thing done. Great job, really appreciate you guys coming in. ♪ Hey ♪

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