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There is no doubt that top shops are doing things differently. Join us this week to learn what these top shops are doing to build smooth and efficient shop operations. Join Eric Twiggs, Saul Hernandez, and David Wostarek as they discuss with Bill Connor how the use of coaching, peer groups, and The DigitalShop Tools to empower a high level of accountability and ownership amongst the team. Learn some of the tools and mindset it takes to become a Top Shop.

Episode Transcript

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

Bill Connor (00:06):
Good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and you’ve reached the Digital Shop Talk Radio. We’re gather on Wednesdays at 12 o’clock central to have our panelists share their wisdom with you. Today I’m here with Eric Twiggs, coach of ATI had the pleasure of working with him at our digital shop conference a few years back, and I still have people talking about the presentation we did together, so apparently we did some good there. I’ve also got Saul Hernandez, COO of Redhawk Automotive. Welcome Saul. I don’t believe you’ve been here with us before, but we hope that you’ll share with us today and also maybe come back on a future episode. We also have Awesome. We also have Dave Wostarek owner of Northwest Imports. I believe he’s been here with us before and glad to have you back. AutoVitals’ founder Uwe Kleinsmith is off this week and he’ll be back next week to go and join us.
So joining us this week to learn what top shops are doing to build smooth and efficient shop operations. That’s really important to everybody. Our panelist will share their thoughts on this topic and others about how the industry’s evolving. Eric and Sell will share how they use coaching peer groups and the digital shop tools to empower a high level of accountability and ownership in their shop teams. Listen today to learn how the industry is adjusted and will continue to do so. And as always, teamwork is required in the shop to provide great results. You’ll take away tips today to put the digital shop coaching and peer groups to work for you. As always, you’ll learn from our guest panelists who operate shops just like yours. So Eric, if you wouldn’t mind, how about getting us started? Tell us a little bit about yourself and let’s go ahead and learn a little bit about our panelists first, and then let’s go ahead and dive deep into these discussions.
Eric Twiggs (01:57):
Excellent. Thank you, Bill. So my name is Eric Twiggs. I’ve been with ATI since 2009, so this is my 13th year. I started in the industry back in 1993. So I’ve done everything from being a service advisor to a shop manager. I’ve been a district manager to where I’ve had as many as 17 locations and 500 people working for me at any given time. And I think in all of that time, I think I’ve mastered the art of what not to do. I feel like I’ve made just about every mistake you could make at a shop, and I think that’s helpful. So if you ever want to know what not to do, just ask me and I can tell you.
Bill Connor (02:35):
Awesome. So let’s go ahead and hear a little bit about you next, if you don’t mind.
Saul Hernandez (02:39):
Yeah, my name is Saul Hernandez. I’ve been in the industry for about 25 years. I’ve ran some corporate stores as well. I worked for Big O, I’ve worked for Firestones, so I am very familiar with the industry and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been with Redhawk now for about a year and a half, going on a year and a half now, and yeah, it’s been a fun ride.
Bill Connor (03:06):
Awesome. David, do you want to round out our group of panelists today?
David Wostarek (03:10):
Sure. I mean, I’m David with Stark. I’ve been in the industry most of my life. We started out working in independence and dealerships and stuff like that and ended up going out on my own in 1984. So I’ve been running a shop for a long time. I will say thank you Eric, because his input and you guys at AutoVitals, I mean, my coach over there have really been helpful to propel things forward because we’re going from something I’ve just been bopping along, being comfortable at to some massive growth the last year or so, and this year has been incredible.
Bill Connor (03:51):
Awesome. So the goal of today’s episode is before we’re finished, just for everybody to have some takeaways about some of the things top shops are doing to go ahead and actually go ahead and earn that title. I mean, they’re not given this title just by accident. They’re doing some specific things to go ahead and get there. So Eric, what I’d like to do is go ahead and stop, start with the number one thing that we always like to talk about and that is the digital vehicle inspection. How we’ve transitioned from shops that didn’t do any inspections to paper inspections and then the digital, and let’s talk about the value to that in the eyes of the customer, if you wouldn’t mind.
Eric Twiggs (04:29):
I think it’s huge and let people miss is that most of the studies you look at, the automotive industry will tell you that the CSI, the customer satisfaction scores are actually higher in the shops that are using the digital vehicle inspection. I just think that’s because people say, well, a picture’s worth a thousand words. I disagree with that. I think an edited picture is worth a thousand words. It just really clarifies what’s going on with the vehicle. And so we have to look at this as a critical tool to improve the levels of customer service in our shops.
Bill Connor (05:09):
So you’re saying a paper inspection really doesn’t do it anymore. Is this because customers are expecting more or
Eric Twiggs (05:17):
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I think the bar, so there was a time a few years back where if you had a digital vehicle inspection that you showed the customer, it was, man, this is different. Where now it’s expected. Most of the shops have it. It’s not like a novelty item. I think the bar, right? People want to know what’s going on with their vehicle. You want it to be so simple that someone that knows absolutely nothing about cars can look at the picture and see exactly what we’re saying. And I don’t think that the paper doesn’t accomplish that, and that’s why it’s just critical that we embrace this and it gets executed.
Bill Connor (05:59):
So David, has that been your experience also, or where did you start out and how was the evolution?
David Wostarek (06:07):
Well, we did the paper inspections for a long time. I mean probably sometime back in the, geez, probably at least 20 years ago. I mean, we did paper inspections and those were helpful, but they really don’t convey what you can with that digital inspection. And like Eric said, it is become, the bar has gone higher. I mean, we see digital inspections being done by just about anybody. That’s a force in the automotive industry. Dealerships have gone to doing that or videos. One thing I’m going to have to give a kudos to AutoVitals on is I’ve used some other inspections and I’ve also looked at inspections from dealers and from some of the dealers I guess in some of their videos and stuff. And your inspection gives the customer exactly what they need more so than anybody else’s out there. So I’m not going to say there isn’t any room for improvement. I’m sure there is, but so far it’s the best that I’ve seen.
Bill Connor (07:10):
So in your opinion, going from paper to digital, can the digital inspection that you’re using now, can it go in and replace the feeling a customer would have of walking out into the service bay and having a technician point to what’s going on in a vehicle, telling what it is, what needs to be done in a reason, why can we do that digitally now where the paper, obviously it couldn’t speak to the customer for sure.
David Wostarek (07:37):
Yes. Okay. So for the most part, yes, most people are very happy to get that. You do have a few people that still really would like or do better seeing it, but for the most part, yeah, it takes it to a level. You’ve taken almost every customer out there and shown them their vehicle personally, and that gets better as they start to trust you in the inspection. But that’s part of that is you have to be able to sell yourself to that customer too. And so, I mean, the digital inspection’s a fantastic tool, but you have to learn how to use it.
Bill Connor (08:14):
And would you say the digital inspection, just like the paper inspection, the process really still needs to be along the same lines, is you really need to let the customer know you’re going to do an inspection and what’s in it for them to do it rather than just do an inspection say, here it is.
David Wostarek (08:31):
Yes, my service advisors are very good about that, and they’ll prep the customer in advance that we’re going to do an inspection of their vehicle, we’re going to send them results. I’m not going to elaborate. We’ve tried a couple of different ways on sending results to make sure we get the maximum effect out of it. But yeah, I mean if you send the results, if they know they’re coming and then those results, part of that is following through with what you promised. If you’re promising ’em upfront, they’re going to get information and then you give it to ’em, that’s automatically helping to build that trust.
Bill Connor (09:07):
And then at a certain point on your repeat customers, they just automatically, they, they’re expecting it and that’s just how it is. And what happens when you go ahead and miss an inspection,
David Wostarek (09:18):
They’ll let you know, Hey, did you guys do an inspection on my car?
Bill Connor (09:23):
Yeah, it’s amazing how quick they pick up on that.
David Wostarek (09:26):
Oh yeah. Once they’ve seen that, they want to see it every time.
Bill Connor (09:32):
So how about you? What’s your history with, obviously you’ve been at the shop you’re at for a short period of time, but obviously you’ve been in the industry for a long time. So maybe you can talk about a little bit about the evolution and what it means to not only you, but what it means to the end user customer.
Saul Hernandez (09:51):
Same thing as David was talking about. We were so used to writing everything down on paper. All our P MAs were on paper going to the digital with AutoVitals. It’s been a real eyeopener for my guys, my crew, my team members that I have because we’re all used to bringing, I brought a lot of team members from the industry where I was at and we’re all used to paper. So when we went to AutoVitals and started using the digital, it was just mind blowing like, whoa, what is this? And showing the customer the pictures, showing them the good, the bad, the ugly.
It’s been great. I mean, they respond really, really well to the pictures. Instead of taking ’em out to the shop, they could look at it at home and we could make the sale. We don’t have to bring them all the way down. I’ll give you an example. I just had a Honda Accord, came in for an oil change customer thought she didn’t need anything. We looked everything up and took pictures and she ended up doing about $1,800 worth of work just by showing every single picture a picture, editing the picture, showing what’s wrong with it, showing what’s going on with the brakes, with the arrows pointing the red. It’s made a big difference and we love it. It’s been really, really, really great.
Bill Connor (11:21):
So we talk about the top shops using the inspection to go and build that comfort level with the customers and trust. Do you see that it also builds a internal trust between the technicians and service advisors because the service advisors can see what the technician is talking about without having to go out there and stare at the vehicle?
Saul Hernandez (11:39):
Absolutely. We currently have a satellite shop where I could communicate with my guys from across about a mile down, communicate with them through AutoVitals and see what’s going on. It makes it so much and there is a big trust. I could see exactly what they’re doing and they could see what the technician’s doing. The technicians could see all the notes we’re putting in there as well. So it builds a trust. It really does.
Bill Connor (12:06):
So the term satellite shop comes up often when you describe a satellite shop. Is the difference between a satellite shop and a second location that a satellite shop, the service advisors and dispatchers and so on are at one location and just the vehicles go to the other to be worked on?
Saul Hernandez (12:23):
Correct. I currently have two master technicians that work on all the diesel and heavy duty line at our satellite location. No customers come here, everything’s in our main redhawk location. Everything goes through there.
Bill Connor (12:39):
So basically as far as top shops go, basically the digital vehicle inspection, vehicle health inspection, courtesy inspection, whatever you want to call it, is key to success. So is there a particular time during the customer authorization process that you want to go ahead and get that inspection result to them?
Saul Hernandez (13:00):
I try to do it within a 15 minute window, 1520 minute window through the customer. That way they could see it. We go over it with them, we break it down for them, give them, like I said, the good, the bad, the ugly. And usually about 15 to 20 minutes is our goal.
Bill Connor (13:20):
Saul Hernandez (13:21):
Bill Connor (13:22):
So this question is for both of you, and you can jump in there and answer it whatever you want. Is it a policy in your shop as a top performer to go ahead and the technician does the inspection, the service writer estimates everything that the technician found and righteously documented and then the inspection results go to the customer? Or do you send the results to the customer, see what they want estimated and then estimate?
David Wostarek (13:49):
No, we make the estimate first. I’m sure Saul’s going to say the same
Saul Hernandez (13:51):
Thing. Yeah, I do the same thing as David. Absolutely.
Eric Twiggs (13:55):
So glad you both said that.
Saul Hernandez (13:56):
Bill Connor (13:57):
And that’s why I wanted to bring that up is because there’s certain behaviors of top shops that are actually really what get them there. And that policy is one that we’ve really noted over many, many episodes that they’re assuming that it’s got to be fixed sometime or another, whatever it is, and they’re going to present everything the technician found and righteously documented to the customer through an estimate and then follow up on it if it’s not approved today. So that’s one of the things. And as I said, I want to go and dig out the behaviors of top shops, what are they doing differently and go from there. So Eric, do you want to go ahead and expand on that topic at all or do you want to go ahead and name off one of the other differentiators you found?
Eric Twiggs (14:46):
Well, I’d like to talk about the differentiators, and these are good examples of shops. I mean, look at Redhawk Auto for example. They were just recognized as the top shop in the two to $3 million category at the most recent super conference. You look at Northwest Imports, we have our typical gross profit lift average that our average ATI client experiences. He is quadrupling that as far as, and a lot of that’s because of how he’s using the AutoVitals platform. But the biggest thing, a lot of times people are looking for this hack. They’re looking for this one magic thing that’s just going to make ARO grow. But really it boils down to the basics. The top shops are brilliant at the basics. I mean just as simple as making sure we’re tracking the DVI percentage, what percentage of these dvs are getting to the customer, and it is really doing audits to follow up to make sure that’s happening. And if it’s not happening, they go back and they follow up and find out why. So there are no secrets, right? It is really about execution in both of these shops and all the top shops. That’s really their focus.
David Wostarek (16:02):
Yeah, execution. Definitely executing the overall plan. Sorry.
Bill Connor (16:07):
So David, I’m kind of curious about this gross profit lift is this lift because you’re more transparent with the customer and the perceived value of what you’re doing is higher and it allows you to ask for more for what you’re doing. What plays into that particular gross profit lift?
David Wostarek (16:27):
Well, as Eric said, there are a lot of moving pieces to this. I mean, it starts with hiring the right people. I mean, you got to have people that are on board that are part of your team. They have to feel like part of the team, I’ve heard it before, it’s Patriots over mercenaries. You got to have people that really want to be in your business and work for you. And then of course it’s you continually selling that to them. So when you’ve got the people on board, then you can take advantage of a tool like AutoVitals and AutoVitals helps us provide the clarity to the customer. The digital inspection as you’ve been stressing is an important part of it. But then having those people upfront and the service advisors that are those patriots and they’re there for the long haul. They’re not there to force the customer to buy everything right now, but to present it to the customer and help the customer make an informed decision of what’s right for them, that’s again, flows into that transparency. And just everything you do has to be as clear as possible to the customer and of course to your team mean. And again, that goes back to hiring those right people where they communicate properly and everything. And ATI of course helps with a lot of other coaching and training courses to help the communications.
Bill Connor (17:56):
So sell any differentiators along those lines that you can talk about?
Saul Hernandez (18:01):
I agree with David. You got to have the right team. Absolutely. If you got one guy that says, no, I’m not going to do that one, Apple’s going to spoil the whole trick. And we learned that our team members, you explain how the AutoVitals, they tell me what they want new on the AutoVitals, what they want to upgrade that gross profit lift. Well, how to get to that mountain on top of that mountain with this gross profit lift. And they want to be there, they want to work for the company, they want to do the new technology of the ds. You got to have the right team to do it. You got to have the right team. Just like David said, if you don’t have the right team, it ain’t going to work.
Eric Twiggs (18:54):
If can I add something to that Bill? Sure. Bill Saul is the classic example. I can go back and look at the ATI portal and when he started, can you see all of a sudden the numbers have gone up just since he’s been there. And then what’s interesting is that the shop that he’s the COO of has always historically been a top performer, but he’s come in and just taken it to another level. And I just think he’s a clear example of why it is critical to focus on getting the right people in place.
Saul Hernandez (19:31):
And here’s one more thing. The CEO, Tom Grady, our CEOI have a great relationship with him. We mesh great together, we work fantastic together. You got to work great with that CEO, with your CEO, with your owner, with me and Tom. I mean I talk to Tom about 10, 12 times a day. We go over AutoVitals, we talk to our representative every two weeks, me and him sit down and talk to her. You got to have a great relationship with that CEO as well. You guys got to be on the same page.
Bill Connor (20:08):
Cool. So top shops basically we know they’ve got to do inspections, they got to do a good job and so on. And so after they’re doing these inspections, they get these authorizations through the education they provided the customer. The next thing is the top shops actually focus on production. So after you get all these approvals, you have to go ahead and get ’em produced, get the job done completely and get it CSI check and get it out the door. So are you guys using the dispatching through the today’s vehicle page to manage your labor inventory or how are you getting the production out of your shop with the staff you have?
David Wostarek (20:48):
TVP certainly plays a big role in it because that’s exactly how we dispatch and I’m sure Saul probably does the same thing where you just order ’em on a guy’s tablets so the guy knows what his workload is, he knows what order to do ’em in. And again, you have the, if you need to, you can message back and forth through AutoVitals or we’re small enough that you can literally walk that 50 steps or whatever and get one office and say, Hey man, I got a problem here.
Bill Connor (21:19):
So that’s interesting. We got a lot of shops that they use. The internal of communication in the calculations have been done over and over again that every minute has a revenue opportunity of about $5 an hour or $5 a minute based on today’s pricing. And tomorrow would probably $6 a minute. But the internal of communication say steps number one. The other thing is is that shops, especially the top shops, are finding out that the digital communication with the timestamps on it also helps provide accountability. So if something has a verbal communication in a shop, they still want it to go ahead and be sent through the system. So there’s that accountability part. So can you talk about a little bit about cell on your end as far as your dispatching communication, how you used to do it, how you’re doing it today, and is there any quantitative time savings that you can actually put your finger on that a staff member might save? During the course of a day,
Saul Hernandez (22:16):
I used to dispatch everything, but now that AutoVitals has, I put it on a screen. We have two TVs, one TV here and one TV at the other location. So they’re able to see what’s in order, what car came in first and AutoVitals has it on there. So that technician has its own vehicles. We assign it to them and once it’s approved, of course the service advisor calls them and tells them well messages them go ahead and do the work. And so they’re able to look at the screen and go, okay, that car is first, that car is first, this is urgent, this will be done tomorrow. So they look at it through our screen, through our TV screens that we have outside through the AutoVitals.
Bill Connor (22:57):
So one of the other things I noticed in top shops also is that when and are you guys open a five day a week, six day a week? I’m not quite sure which.
Saul Hernandez (23:08):
David Wostarek (23:08):
Open five days. Go
Saul Hernandez (23:11):
Bill Connor (23:11):
Both the five days. So it’s kind of interesting across the industry when we talk about top shops getting the production done, and when I look at shops like yours and I look at the business control panel, you guys have technicians that are working five days a week and even including Saturdays and Sundays that they’re not working, not producing. When I look at their numbers, that’s still showing their average in between seven and 10 complete build and produce hours per day. So that’s what I’m talking about. The top shops, they seem to have a really good handle on dispatching and communication and they actually maximize with their staff. And even though they’re probably looking for more help all the time and always recruiting, the people that they have working for ’em are actually producing at a higher rate than other shops that are not taking advantage of tools, so to say. So Eric, are you seeing the same thing as far as production numbers?
Eric Twiggs (24:03):
Oh, for sure. Yeah. I mean there’s a major difference in the top shops and the standard. It is similar in these shops. I have other shops where literally there’s some shops in America, if someone was, let’s say they were 90% productive, they would be a hero like, oh wow, great job. Where in the top shops, if you’re at 90%, you’re the slacker in the bunch because it’s the standard, it’s the expectation. It’s like, look, we’ve got these tools, we’re investing and training you. Here’s what the expectation is, what’s getting in the way. So it’s that high performance culture, it’s setting and communicating expectations and knowing that you’ve got a tool like the digital vehicle inspections with AutoVitals to help you to accomplish that. I’ll tell you this, the big issue we’re facing now isn’t so much like a car count problem. People think, oh my gosh, the gas prices, oh, that’s really not the big issue. The big issue is getting the work out. And so if you don’t have the processes and systems like these guys are talking about, that’s when you get behind the eight ball.
David Wostarek (25:11):
Yeah, I mean I would agree with that and especially in our case, some of the stuff as far as shuffling things around, we do a lot of European stuff and some of these things. I’ve had stuff sitting out there where a part gets backordered for days and actually that happens probably multiple times a week. And you’ve got to be able to quickly reorganize the work on that technician so that he stays busy, like you were talking about on hours. My goal is to get those guys where they’re all hitting 10 hours a day. If they’re hitting 10 hours a day, I’m happy.
Bill Connor (25:46):
So is there some tips that you can go ahead and share with others that are listening either now or later on about using the digital tools we have to go ahead and reduce bottlenecks? So is it just the chat communication? Is it using today’s vehicle? What are some tips that can actually take away about using the digital tools to go ahead and actually get their guys producing more, taking away footsteps, taking away wait time and things like that?
Eric Twiggs (26:17):
Are you directing that towards me?
David Wostarek (26:19):
I think it is to all of us. All
Bill Connor (26:21):
Of us.
Eric Twiggs (26:22):
I’ll start. So let’s get started. I think definitely one of the things I think you have to have a consistent means to follow up. A lot of times we think that, Hey, I told everybody to do this, so it’s definitely going to happen. Well, that’s not always the case. So the top shops, they have morning huddles every morning. They’re meeting from five to seven minutes with the team. They’re communicating what’s expected as far as hours for the day. They’re giving kudos from what happened the previous day. So that’s a critical piece. They’re doing the daily morning huddles and then they’re also doing weekly one-on-one meetings.
Bill Connor (27:04):
Let’s go ahead and kind of break these down into chunks also, so that way we can go ahead and share some tips on what would actually happen in a morning huddle. So Saul, if you want to start us out, if you’re doing a morning huddle, what are the things you expect to go ahead and understand during that short time period?
Saul Hernandez (27:22):
I usually, when I have one of my guys, I talk about like Eric said, what happened? What’s going on? What’s going on with this vehicle? What we did wrong yesterday with this vehicle? I put the sense of urgency in them. That’s mostly what I talk about is having sense of urgency. Let’s get these cars out. I explained to them every time a card says there, we’re just losing money, we’re losing money. When it sits there on the rack, you’re losing money. So we go over through every invoice.
Bill Connor (27:57):
So just having approvals isn’t enough. You got to go in and actually get ’em done. That’s good. Oh yeah,
Saul Hernandez (28:04):
We got to get, the way we do things here is we don’t want vehicles to sit here. We want to get that vehicle straight to that customer right away. And I want answers. I want answers in the morning, in the huddles. I want to know why this vehicle stayed, why is this part taking so long? A lot of why’s, why is this going on? And they have answers for me and it is just I put a sense of urgency in them. I don’t do it a rough way. I’m nice about it. We all get along great. We’ve got great team members, but I tell ’em I love sense of urgency. You got to have a sense of urgency to get these cars out of here.
Bill Connor (28:42):
So David, are you doing anything different? I’m assuming that you do the same type of morning huddle. Are you doing anything different?
David Wostarek (28:50):
Oh, actually probably a little bit different in the fact that I’m not Saul, so I don’t actually do the morning huddles myself. Service advisors will do that with the guys. But the one thing we do emphasize in ours is like, okay, we got the work for you. It’s up to you to turn it out now because giving you everything we can if something and emphasize if there’s a bottleneck, if there’s something you don’t have, we need to know that ASAP so we can take care of it. And again, it goes back to like Eric was saying there with that high performance mentality, they have to have that mentality that I want to achieve. I want to be able to do this kind of work and get this kind of production. And so when you have them already thinking that and your sales team upfront is thinking the same thing when they get together and talk, there’s not a lot of conflict in that respect. It’s all logistics. How do we make it happen?
Bill Connor (29:49):
So to go ahead and sum that up, you’re looking for is there any bottleneck that you can remove? Is there shop supplies that need to be ordered? Does anybody know of any equipment needs to be maintained? Is a special tooling needed that I don’t have? All those things you want to go and air that out so you can go and lay out and get everybody going for a particular, a good productive day. And so Eric, I think the next thing that you mentioned was a weekly meeting. Are you saying the top shops, they generally have daily meetings, a daily huddle, and then they have a weekly meeting also.
Eric Twiggs (30:25):
So a couple of things. They do a weekly one-on-one meeting with most of the shops. Most of the top shops will do with everybody. A lot of the shops across America, they do it with the key people. But that’s really critical to just following up to make sure these processes are happening. And so now the challenge is a lot of times if you say, okay, we’re going to have this one-on-one, usually the thought is negative. Oh my goodness, I’m in trouble. I’ve got to meet with David. What did I do wrong now? So some of the shops have changed it to we’re going to have these you and I meetings, right? This isn’t something that’s punitive. So we want to talk first. We want to talk about what are the wins, what went well, what do we need to celebrate? And then we get into the accountability items. Okay, well how are we doing? I know we talked about we’re going to do this this way. How’s that going for you? And just so there’s that weekly check-in just to make sure that things are going. They should be, and I’m telling you that’s one of the big separators between the top shops and the rest of the shops is the consistency with doing these one-on-one meetings, whatever you call it, whether you call it a UNI or one with one, but they’re doing these meetings consistently.
Bill Connor (31:45):
So we have a lot of shops that are top shops across the AutoVitals network that are doing the same thing. And what they’re doing is they’re using the business control panel and the behavioral KPIs in there. So inspection rate, edit rate number, recommended actions per inspection, average hours per ro. And they go over the metrics and they go ahead and share them with their people. One of the biggest things that we’ve found is that when they start looking at motorist research time, the amount of time the customer is actually looking over the inspection results, they can use that number as a marker to go and say, if this number is good, then all these other ones are probably good to go and get there so they can go ahead and kind of focus on other things. So are you guys, Saul or Saul or David, are you using that same type of philosophy in doing one-on-ones?
David Wostarek (32:39):
Oh yeah,
Saul Hernandez (32:40):
David Wostarek (32:41):
Yeah. It’s like the one-on-ones are a big key piece to the team because that’s that communication that you have with each and every one of those guys out there. I mean, again, small enough, there’s only eight of us here, so you got that many people. You want to have a good personal connection with everybody. And the one-on-one, like Eric said, you get to share the good and the bad and everything and it should be a two-way street. I want them to tell me if there’s something I’m not doing that I need to look at, I want to know about it too. And so it is meant to be an open door and if there’s things they like, I will say the trend has been more towards the good things that are going on and that has changed dramatically as the more we’ve done. But, and I also, in my case, I also do, when you’re talking about the weekly meeting, I do a team meeting more like biweekly where we just celebrate how good things have gone. I make sure we got lunch, everybody stops, we talk and just build that community thing over a meal together and those kinds of things. Building that team is important.
Bill Connor (33:56):
Do you find when you’re doing the one-on-ones that it’s a lot less painful for employees to do that when you’re using pure D data to go ahead and show them rather than saying, I feel this?
David Wostarek (34:08):
Yeah, pure D data definitely helps. You can’t lie about it when it’s recorded.
Bill Connor (34:16):
I think I heard a phrase somewhere. Nowhere to hide.
David Wostarek (34:20):
Yeah. Yeah,
Saul Hernandez (34:22):
You show it to them. Like David say you show it to ’em. Hey, it’s right here. Well, I swear I’m doing it. Well, I got it right here.
Eric Twiggs (34:33):
I always tell people, look, you can get mad with me, but you can’t get mad at math right here. We’re looking at this together.
Saul Hernandez (34:42):
And so
Bill Connor (34:43):
It’s along the lines of this is what the numbers say. How can I help you to go ahead and improve this? Is that the conversation the way it goes?
Saul Hernandez (34:50):
David Wostarek (34:52):
Yeah. That’s the way you want to go.
Saul Hernandez (34:54):
Yeah. I don’t beat my guys down. I always tell ’em, what can I do? Like David says, what can I do to help you? What can I do to improve this? Are my counter guys doing something wrong? Am I doing something wrong? What can I do for you? I had a gentleman, just a gentleman, excuse me. I had one of my team members, my Gs, he was about 20%. And I’m thinking, what’s going on? Well, I’ve come to find out his tablet wasn’t working. He was too scared to tablet. He’s using the other guy, the other team member’s tablet and his numbers are really high. Well, yeah, let me know. He was just too scared to tell me he broke his tablet.
Eric Twiggs (35:42):
Can I add something here? Go ahead. I think a lot of times that people think that if you’re holding someone accountable that you have to be this tyrant. You’ve got to yell, you’ve got to throw chairs across the shop. You don’t have to do that. Literally, you can have a conversational tone just like we’re having right now. And if you do the one-on-one correctly, they will leave that meeting like, oh my goodness, I need to step up. They’ll actually feel more accountable if you use the approach Saul just mentioned, what do you need from me? What can I help? You need the tablet fixed. Okay, let’s fix the tablet. Alright. They’ll feel like they’re letting you down and that’s powerful. So hope people understand that holding people accountable doesn’t necessarily mean terminating the person and yelling and cursing.
David Wostarek (36:28):
Actually that part’s counterproductive. If you’re going that route, you’re sending a wrong message and you’re going to drive good people away and you’re going to be stuck with the people you don’t want and the wrong team.
Saul Hernandez (36:39):
Bill Connor (36:42):
What do you tell the shop that’s struggling with the fact that I’ve done this inspection on the car, it needs a lot of work on it. I’m scared to go ahead and present this whole thing to the customer because I think I’m going to go ahead and scare ’em away. So any tips along those lines? Do we go ahead and present the whole thing to ’em? Do we break it down in chunks? Do we only tell them the things that they might approve? Where does the top shop fit in this?
Saul Hernandez (37:09):
I usually tell ’em the good. I usually tell ’em the good stuff first before I hit ’em with everything else. And I tell the guys, present everything. Tell ’em the good stuff first. Then slowly start, Hey, well just inform the customer. But don’t just tell ’em all the bad stuff.
David Wostarek (37:26):
And especially when they’re large, it is really important to break it down into this is the stuff you need to do today and these are the things you need to plan for. And these are planned for near future, longer term, that kind of thing. And advise the customer, because I will say right now the climate’s really good. I mean, I am completely blown away by how many people just come in and three or $4,000 doesn’t scare ’em. But you still are going to have people that need to have it broken down. So if you present the whole thing, but then make sure that you do it in a way that they know you’re not trying to force them to buy everything. And of course you got to have the hope that they actually read any kind of emails you send them. Because one of the guys had the lady call back the other day, I don’t have $8,000. And he’s like, no, no, I’m not trying to make you spend $8,000 today. This is everything the car needs.
Bill Connor (38:25):
But if we’re giving them a snapshot of the condition of their vehicle today and what it’s going to need in the future, it’s really kind of interesting today is that when you go ahead and present the whole bundle to the customer, we had this fear in the past about what that would turn ’em away. And I don’t think that the customer has really had that fear anymore because they’ve been out in new car price shopping, seeing what’s going on in the marketplace, and they’re like, I’m fixing what I got.
Saul Hernandez (38:50):
I just had had a Chevy Impala and the customer, we let her know you need an engine. And she goes, oh, lemme call you back. She went and priced out a car. She goes, I am not paying 50, $60,000 for a vehicle when I could fix my car for 10 grand. And that wasn’t the first time. I have two vehicles in one week. I’m doing a Dodge Ram 1500. The guy goes, I’m not spending 70, $80,000 on a new truck when I could fix it for 11 five. It’s a great thing that this is happening.
David Wostarek (39:29):
Good for us,
Saul Hernandez (39:30):
Good for us, bad for the dealer, but it’s great for us.
Eric Twiggs (39:34):
Hey Bill, I think it goes back to what we talked about. Remember when we presented together a few years ago, we talked about this. The bottom line is that people won’t do what they don’t understand. So a lot of times when the customer’s hesitant, it’s because they really don’t understand what you’re saying. And again, with the AutoVitals tools and being able to edit the pictures, you can provide that clarity and that understanding. And we just need to present with the right mindset. When they feel the value, they’ll find the money. And we just need to understand that as we go into these transactions.
David Wostarek (40:10):
Eric’s got that right. I’m sorry.
Bill Connor (40:13):
No. What we found out over the years is that a hundred percent for sure, people won’t buy what they don’t understand. Eric and I talked about that several years ago at the conference. They won’t buy what they won’t understand, and it’s the shop’s job to go and provide that understanding at the right time in the authorization process and then listen to the customer’s objections and then reeducate as needed. And we went from an industry where we were fixing what was broke to now the mindset that it’s our job to deliver safe, comfortable, and dependable vehicles as well as we possibly can. So there’s been a really big shift in the industry of the top shops from a repair shop to this whole different mindset.
David Wostarek (41:00):
Oh yeah, I would agree with that. And the clarity is so important because I was going to give this as an example. We’ve actually had customers who came in here, they’ve been told they need these things by a dealer or whatever, and we’ll look it over and we’ll give ’em virtually the same list. And in some cases I’ve had ’em where our estimate’s been higher, but they’re buying it from us because we gave them the confidence and clarity to know what they really needed instead of just saying, Hey, you need to spend all this money.
Bill Connor (41:36):
So again, you’re using the digital tools to adjust that customer perceived value to a point that their value proposition has been met and now the approved knowledge you got to do is actually get the production part done. So top shops, can you think of anything else on your list there, Eric, that that top shops are doing? We’ve covered a couple different topics so far. Let’s see if we can go ahead and squeeze another one in there.
Eric Twiggs (42:08):
We talked about the morning huddle, we’ve talked about the daily morning huddle, weekly, doing monthly meetings with the team as a whole. And they’re talking, they talk to everybody. And so the advantage, because there’s a special thing when you’ve got comparisons and the peer pressure and when you’re talking about results and you’re talking about things. So that works well because really the big thing is that you have to get good at being a broken record and you have to get good at finding different ways to say the exact same thing. You can’t say the same thing the same way every time. So the meeting rhythms help you to find different ways to say it. And when you’re constantly repeating the message, that’s when you start to get better execution.
Bill Connor (43:02):
One of the common things we have in shops that aren’t top performers is they got to fear of sharing their business data numbers with their staff. So Saul and David, if you wouldn’t mind going ahead and taking on that particular mindset, is there anything we can go ahead and share with them to help them understand is the world’s not going to come to an end through educating their staff?
Saul Hernandez (43:25):
Go ahead, David.
David Wostarek (43:26):
Okay. I was going to say one, the more they know about what’s going on and where they are, where you want them to be, the better off they’re going to be. Now there’s a balance to that. I’ve gotten feedback from my guys sometimes that they get too many numbers. They don’t really want all that detail, they just want to get a bigger overview. But still sharing the numbers with them really gives them a touch of reality. And I mean, I’m talking about, I’ve shared stuff from what we need to do to make sure that we’re making a profit, what kind of profit we need to be making so that we can be planning for the future and that kind of thing. And those kind of things. I haven’t found them to be a problem. If anything, again, that gives them more clarity of what needs to be done.
Saul Hernandez (44:22):
I do, just like David said, I do the same thing. I share everything with my team members at the end of the week. They’re coming up to me going, Hey, what do we do for the week? We have certain goals that Tom and I want to hit at the end of the week. And they’re constantly asking, Hey, where are we at? What’s going on? What’s the numbers? And we let ’em know. We let ’em know. We don’t hide anything we want them to know. Again, that puts a sense of urgency in them. If we’re short on sales, right Dave, we’re short on sales, they’re going to go, Hey, we’re short on sales. We’re only at say 20 grand for the week. Hey, let’s get it going guys. This is where we’re at. And I’ll show ’em the numbers. I won’t hide it from them. They need to see where we’re at and where we’re going. It’s a roadmap. They need to know.
Bill Connor (45:10):
Speaking of goals and accountabilities, I know a lot of shops have actually transitioned a little bit on their morning scrum to go ahead and their technicians are looking over to work orders and they’re telling the service writer is based on what I have here. I need this many number of hours approved for me to go and work on. So they’re actually setting their goals and working them on a daily basis, not just looking at it at the week. And then you’re using today’s vehicle page technician view to go ahead and look halfway through the day, my goal was 10 hours today, I’ve only got three marked completed. Do I need to update my tablet or do I need to light a fire under my butt? So being able to go ahead and do that and be able to see that almost in live time is a lot better than waiting till the end of the week to find out that you missed your target.
Saul Hernandez (45:56):
We post, I’m sorry, go ahead. Go ahead.
Bill Connor (45:59):
No, I was going to say that’s a lot of things that people have added to their morning scrum to go ahead and get the technicians, service advisors to work as a team to go and define those daily goals.
Saul Hernandez (46:10):
We post our hours or they’ll come up to me and let me print out their hours for them every day. That’s the first thing they do in the morning. Hey Saul, what am I have for the day? What am I have for the week so far? What am I have for the day? How did I do? Like you said, do I need to put a fire underneath me to give me going? I need those hours. So we post them. We post it for them. Absolutely.
Eric Twiggs (46:30):
Can I add something real quick? So just to drive this point home of sharing the numbers, like the top shops, I have quite a few shops that have been on stage recognize that the super conference is being a top shop. And one thing they all have in common, their COO has full access to their financial portal with ATI. So we have with ATI, we have an owner’s view that where you can see the full thing the owner sees, and there’s also a service manager option that’s a little limited. It’s more for service advisors. But I’ll tell you the top shops, they’re all open about having the importance of having that second in command person seeing the full picture. And it goes back to what we’re saying is that the top shop leaders aren’t afraid to show the numbers. I think that’s very, hopefully somebody takes that as a takeaway from this episode.
Bill Connor (47:26):
Yeah, that’s really interesting because we run into that also. The top shops are sharing all the numbers and they said it has two benefits. One is it helps for employee retention because an employee might go in and see how tough it is to actually run a business and just decide to stay forever. And number two, if they get to the point where they run their own business, at least they don’t go out and become the price whores of the neighborhood because they know what it takes. So there’s that extra benefit program. So we’re getting down toward the end here. So what I’d like to do is we’ll start with Saul and then move to David and we’ll let Eric go ahead and finish up. What I’d like you to do is define three of the top things that you do in order of importance that you know do that other shop owners should really pick up on and actually exercise in their operations
Saul Hernandez (48:16):
Training. We do a lot of training with ATI. That’s number one. Tom, our CEO has our master techs doing EV training electric vehicles because he wants to stay ahead of the game hybrids. Number two for us is Google reviews, customer service, Google reviews. We have 724 Google reviews and it’s 4.8 stars. A lot of our business comes from Google and Ds, ds. Those are the three main things that we focus on. Training, reviews, dvs taking care of the customer.
Bill Connor (49:05):
So in your case, the most important thing to you, if I understand correctly, because you said DVI three times is everything starts with spotting the customer’s needs and then presenting it to them.
Saul Hernandez (49:16):
Absolutely. Yes, sir.
Bill Connor (49:19):
Cool. David.
David Wostarek (49:22):
Okay. Well, I’m going to probably add to that. I mean, the training and all this stuff’s important, but for me, probably the one thing that’s been really able to propel things, number one top is the one-on-ones. I mean, keeping that communication with the team members is critical. If your team is communicating and you’re all on the same page, it makes it a lot easier to get those other things out there. The digital inspections, I don’t think I could live without ’em. I mean, I don’t know of a better way to have something that brings clarity to the customer. Those would be two of them. What would I go with? I would probably go with that, the training as being my third one. But yeah, it is that training thing you got to keep, because right now we’re going to enter ATI’s tech mentor program and everything. Because training, let’s put it this way, you’re finding good employees as hard as it is, and being able to train our own is I think going to be a key issue for the future.
Bill Connor (50:30):
So your takeaways would really be your one-on-ones using the data. So there’s nowhere to hide and your internal build your own program.
David Wostarek (50:40):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, well that digital inspection, it goes both ways. One, clarity to your customer, and number two, it gives you something to work with on a one and one if you need to.
Bill Connor (50:51):
Yeah, so everything really starts with that inspection. And then the incredible amount of data that we actually gather in the background for behaviors, and I keep saying this every episode I talk about this, is using that behavioral data is things that we never had before in the past. Things that we could actually measure and quantify to go ahead and help guide people in a direction that’s best for them and the shop and the customer. So Eric,
Eric Twiggs (51:20):
So I do three things. So the first thing is I always focus on the wins first, the victory, the successes, the progress. I just think that’s so important as opposed to just beating someone up until they get to a number. I think you have to recognize progress and start with what’s going well. So I focus, the shops that I work with, they have a win log, meaning they write their wins down before they come to the call. So I had people who didn’t have any wins when we first started and now they’ve got 9, 10, 11, and I better not forget to ask ’em about their wins. They’re going to interrupt the conversation and tell me about it. So wins is important. The other thing is just communication. And I just believe in really making sure everybody understands how, right? Just really being clear. So I like to, if we’re talking about the AutoVitals process, I like to do a meeting on the AutoVitals process, for example, and I’ll record it and I’ll send it to people.
So I want to make sure we’ve addressed the how everybody’s clear on the how instead of me just saying, you know what? You need to improve your DVI percentage. And that person’s thinking, well, how do I improve my DVI percentage? So I want everybody to be clear on that. And then the last thing, it’s all about accountability. I’m known as the accountability coach, and one of the things I’m going to follow up with you, okay, what are you going to do between now and next time to improve your DVI percentage? And they know on the following call that we’re going to talk about that because really it’s all about accountability and it’s not about blaming. It’s about asking yourself the question, what do I need to change to get to a better result? So those are the three things for me.
Bill Connor (53:02):
So basically you’re saying that they have to understand why you’re asking to do something. Yes. How to go ahead and do it, how you’re going to measure it. And then last but not least is maybe a time line for the time due date for the expected result. Is that kind of correct?
Eric Twiggs (53:19):
No, that’s it. You hit the nail on the head. When are we going to have this done? And then Saul mentioned earlier, what do you need from me? What support do you need from me? I think that accountability piece, this is the year for team Twiggs. It’s the year of nowhere to hide coaching, and that’s really what it boils down to.
Bill Connor (53:41):
Awesome. So you guys are top shops. You’ve obviously been digital for a long time. My question is, when you onboard a new employee, whether it’s a service advisor, a technician, is there a timeline to go ahead and between when they first get introduced and when they start producing efficiently, efficiently, and then when they become a master at it, is there kind of a time window that somebody should be able to expect when they onboard ’em properly?
Eric Twiggs (54:14):
I mean, I’ll throw that to one of the guys. So David, I mean, what do you see in there?
David Wostarek (54:22):
Usually the thing is that the AutoVitals is so easy to use that if you’re bringing in a technician that knows what he’s doing, they’re going to pick it up within the first week. They’re going to pick up most of how to use this thing. And yeah, they’re still going to learn after that, but at that point, they should be giving you really good, clear inspections, especially if you go, the key is have someone yourself or someone that knows how the inspection process works to go over them with it. Especially in our first few cars, they look at, granted, I’ve been kind of blessed. My last hire was already was at a dealership where they were doing a digital inspection. Ours was a major upgrade over what he was used to in the dealer. So it was already ingrained. So if you’re hiring people like that, it’s a lot easier. If you’ve got the guy who’s never done the tablet before, you’re going to probably take a few weeks of walking and through it to get him up to full speed. But still, I mean, if they got any kind of snap, I mean, heck, I would think by the two or three weeks, even if they’ve never done it before, they ought to have it down.
Bill Connor (55:32):
So it’s a lot easier bringing in a new employee to your existing digital shop that it was for you to go and transition your shop to digital in the first place.
David Wostarek (55:40):
Oh man. Hands down, getting the guys to buy in initially, it’s like, man, you’re making me work harder and everything. Because the nice thing about bringing that new guy in is he can watch and say it’s like, man, well that guy’s producing 50 hours and it’s a lot slowing him down. What’s my problem? They realize they have to learn it versus if you’ve got the whole team there and they’re all trying to learn, it’s like they’re all going, wait a minute, we never did this before.
Saul Hernandez (56:08):
I went through that where everybody had a learn, we’re like, whoa. It is tough. Like David said, now that they know it’s easy to bring somebody in and train them, usually about a week or two weeks, like David said, AutoVitals is fairly easy to use. We’re very, very easy to use.
Bill Connor (56:29):
So is it easy to go ahead and say that that initial pain of transitioning the whole shop was worth it in the long run.
Saul Hernandez (56:36):
Bill Connor (56:37):
Hands’ down
Saul Hernandez (56:37):
Man. I would agree from my perspective as well.
Bill Connor (56:42):
Awesome. So we’ve come down to the end. I’d like to sincerely thank all three of you for joining us here today. If you’re open to visiting us again in the future for a different topic, we’d certainly love to have you back. You’ve shared lots of great information for sure. For those you that are listening, either now or in the future, grab some of these episodes and share them with some other shop owners around you that might be struggling. If you go to, you can register to join us live. You can also find this is episode 170, so there’s plenty of other episodes for some really shop top operators in the archives ready to go ahead and be harvested. If you prefer to listen to us on your drive time on the way home, you can search for us on your favorite podcast platform by searching for the digital Shop Talk radio. So once again, I’d like to thank you guys for being here and for those that are listening, go out there and make some money and while your customer is in the process. Thank you guys.
Saul Hernandez (57:43):
Thank you. Thank
Bill Connor (57:44):
You. Pleasure to be here. Awesome job.
Saul Hernandez (57:47):
Thank you
Bill Connor (57:48):

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