skip to Main Content

Episode Description

On this episode of DSTR, we welcome shop owner Fred Haynes (multiple Honest-1 locations in MN) and his store manager Brandon Polhemus who provide thorough inspections with the most current info. Well, what if there’s more to it than that?

We’ll discuss:
  • How to use digital media in new ways to educate the motorist
  • Techniques more effective (and less interruption-driven) than using the phone
  • The ability to track trends is easy and beneficial to the shop and the motorist

Episode Transcript

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

Tom Dorsey (00:00:04):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey. And today we’re going to be talking about is it possible or is it better? Is it wiser to educate your motorists for your recommendations through using trends in the deterioration of those components and systems over time or the current condition. And more specifically, what we’re going to be talking about is the AutoVitals feature that supports that, and that’s our Carry Forward function. And if you don’t know what Carry Forward is, stay tuned because you need to hear this. You need to see what is available to you and if it’s going to make sense for your operation, if you’ve tried the Carry Forward in the past, especially the older version of Carry Forward. We’re going to be showing you some new stuff today and you thought it wasn’t for you.
Stay tuned because you want to see this new stuff. And if you’re currently using Carry Forward, well then you’re probably going to want to stay tuned. Go figure. Stay tuned. And today I couldn’t have a better guest joining us. Better Shop guest Fred Haynes from Honest-1 two locations in Minnesota is joining us. And Fred, I couldn’t have thought of a better person, Fred, to come on because Fred is a no BS type of guy and he’s going to tell you his opinion just like he likes to lay it down. And so we couldn’t have a better, I think, dynamic on this discussion and I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too much, but Fred and Uwe had I think a pretty good conversation back and forth that led to some new functionality that we’re going to be showing you today. Welcome Fred Haynes.
Thanks. And Fred’s joining. Fred is his general manager, Brandon Polhemus. Brandon, appreciate you coming on the show, buddy. Thanks for having me. Yeah, thank you. And of course our expert panel of experts are joining us as always, Iron Man, Uwe Kleinschmidt, and Bill fixing to get it done Connor, I had to throw you a nickname, buddy. I gave Uwe one. Welcome, gentlemen. Good morning. And so what I’d like to do is let’s give us kind of an oversight for folks that haven’t heard of the Carry Forward function, Uwe, if you could, and how this came about, what the changes are that we’re going to be talking about today. And really, yes, the Carry Forward feature is going to drive some efficiency in your inspection process for your technicians and that’s great. Saving time is saving money and it’s earning money, but most importantly, I think the underlying real result that Uwe was going for, and I don’t want to steal his thunder, is to be able to create trends and deterioration of the components over time and be able to leverage that in your sales process. So Uwe if you could kick us off us, a little background on why, where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:03:08):
If I just put myself in a motorist’s shoes because I am one and I am probably more analytic than other people, but I believe if numbers can be presented in a very simple way, then it applies to everybody. If you can see trends of deterioration or where a lot of people will look at it and say, oh, that makes sense, I might not want to push that further out. And since the Carry Forward feature was initially implemented, as you said, for technician savings, basically why we inspect what has the exact same condition as last time we just added after the discussion with Fred, a little feature that allows you to use it and basically have images from the last visit right next to images from this visit.
And I know Fred would love to have every condition inspected the same visit and not so much use all the pictures. And so that’s why we thought it’s a great topic to talk about what works, what doesn’t work, what works for one shop, what works for other shops and so on and so forth. But what I really also like to do today is just make very, very transparent what images by themselves, although we say that every single time can do in the motorist education, that’s how I would love to kick it off if that’s in any way possible. And so yeah, of course we prepared a few examples.
Tom Dorsey (00:05:04):
Yeah, sure.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:05:06):
Bill, what’s your take?
Bill Connor (00:05:09):
So we already know the benefit of educating the customer through pictures and so on. And that’s the number one thing we’ve been really working on with shops since 2013 is near as I can remember. And we’ve been struggling to go and get them to be consistent. So that’s where we went ahead and came up with the guided, which I now call the advanced authorization and retention tool instead of guided, we just can’t fit it on the button. And also after talking with some shops, we’ve added a function there where we can actually show them trends over time. So my thought is all inspections is really right from the first time we ever see a vehicle should be considered as a retention tool. We tell them a drop off, we’re going to do this two or three times a year to make sure your vehicle’s safe, comfortable, dependable, and we can show you trends over time and also predict the rate of wear in case you’d like to budget. Now if we can go and do that on the same inspection sheet where we’re not having to trust their memory from visit to visit, then we’ve actually kicked it up a notch.
Tom Dorsey (00:06:11):
Yeah, exactly. And I’d like to talk a little bit and set some context too, is really specifically what problem are we trying to solve, right? And Fred, if you could give us a little background on how you guy and I got involved in the conversation, what your position in that conversation was and how did we come out to the conclusion that we are going to add this functionality?
Fred Haynes (00:06:42):
Sure. So at the location where Brandon is the manager, we made the move to TVPX has it been probably six weeks or so now. We had been an AutoVitals shop for and all told we’re probably about 18 months or so and his shop is my model shop. So he’s the one that maintains my inspection for all my other locations. Awesome. And he’s very technically competent and really motivated to make this thing work. So he does a lot of great work there. And so the conversation was really in the move from TVP to TVPX was how that process works. So once we kind of understood what guided mode could do for us, the biggest opportunity we felt was a big time saver as well as just upping the professionalism and consistency of the inspections due to the fact that we could then pull standard texts for captions and for customer notes.
And we really liked that because if you look at my shops and I have shops of different volumes, the higher volume shops really struggle with keeping up with all that tip typing on each and every inspection. And not everybody who does service advising is an English major. So it’s not always easy to write something in a context that a customer will understand easily. And so it just looked like a big benefit for us. And so once we understood how guided mode worked, we turned that on and we didn’t fully understand that Carry Forward came along with that and just the process of going from no carry mode, no guided mode into carry mode, guided mode, TVPX, it was something that we learned a lot about I think as we went through that process. And that’s the feedback we’ve given to you guys is what could we do to make this easier, better, faster for people that have to implement it going forward?
Tom Dorsey (00:08:47):
Yeah, it can be a lot to chew, especially like you said, as you’re changing from the legacy TVP to the TVPX and these new functionalities on top of it. Brandon, let me ask you this, were you using anything similar to Carry Forward in the past? Did you try the old version of Carry Forward? How did you handle it from a dispatch perspective when you had a vehicle that came back in that had a recent inspection done?
Brandon Polhemus (00:09:17):
Sure. So we didn’t use the Carry Forward in the previous version very frequently. Obviously the functionalities between what it was and the legacy mode versus what it is, there’s obviously some pretty large variances, so I don’t even remember what happened, worked on the old one, so embedded in the new one at this point. But I think what the issue is that we’re dealing with now in the current guided mode and if there have been changes made, feel free to jump out and correct me, but as far as showing the progression so to speak, of a given component, it’s my understanding that currently if a tech updates the photos, right, so it’s in Carry Forward, it shows that hey air filter dirty, they can hit confirm and then if they update that photo with the new photo that the old photo is actually not supposed to be shown on the inspection, it’s the new photo that would be shown.
And I actually have a couple open tickets with tech support right now where a couple times it has and that is currently considered a bug. And so I guess my question then is if we are wanting to show the progression of a given component, then why are those old photos then not being shown on that inspection I guess would be my number one question. And then secondly, I guess my concern with the Carry Forward mode is it gives the technician, let’s be honest, the technicians can sometimes just want to get through the inspection, be done as quick as possible. It gives them an out to just hit confirm without actually rechecking something. And it’s happened to us a couple times where the technician is going through the inspection, just clicking through, clicking through, clicking through, and a different advisor had that car last time and now I’m dealing with it. And so I go and I pitch a job that we just did three months ago not realizing that we had actually done that. And so it’s like whoa, whoa, what just happened here? And so I think having the ability to have the Carry Forward mode as an option I think would be nice as a switch to be able to turn it off I think would be beneficial. But I guess that’s why we’re here.
Tom Dorsey (00:11:38):
Exactly. And you couldn’t el laid it out any better. Brandon, I think I’ll send you a gift basket after the show. Sounds good. So he’s teed it up for you buddy, tee him high and let him fly.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:11:51):
Sure. So this is pretty interesting. So we like to look at this from a motorist perspective first and what you’re trying to solve is how do I make a technician be consistent? So Carry Forward by its nature, I shouldn’t say invite, but at least gives the opportunity to skip by just hitting, confirm, confirm, confirm. On the other hand, let’s assume we had something built in which for example avoids exactly what you described. For example, if we know that the job has been sold, we wouldn’t allow to confirm you are forced in the guided tradition, you’re forced to do the inspection again. That would be an option. I’m just thinking for me personally, if I look at it from a motorist perspective, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to show consistency across visits. There’s nothing bad about it to say, oh, reinspect it and confirmed because it shows continuity from the last visit. So in other words, if we found ways to make sure that what you described cannot happen that technicians skip and then the service advisors and embarrassed to try to resell what you already sold last time, would you be more open to look into Carry Forward
As a benefit for the motorist?
Brandon Polhemus (00:13:45):
Sure. Potentially, I think, I guess if we are doing the guided mode inspection correctly every time,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:13:55):
Brandon Polhemus (00:13:56):
Almost renders Carry Forward needless because if you’re inspecting what you need to inspect every single time and you’re taking those photos and you’re doing, because the guided mode in essence forces the technician to hit every topic. And so if they’re doing that, I think the Carry Forward is almost rendered needless as long as they’re doing their job in the guided mode. And I’ve talked with a couple of our customers as we’re going through this, it’s like, Hey, would it make a difference if I showed you here’s what your air filter looked like last time and here’s what it looked like today. Does that make any difference to you? It was clean last time, it’s dirty now. Does that make a difference that it was clean last time and dirty now? And they’re kind of like, well no, it’s dirty now, let’s replace it. I think even seeing a progression again from a couple of the customers that I’ve talked to and then also attempting to step into that motorist’s shoes, which is difficult for me on my side of the desk for the last 20 years, but putting myself in no shoes, it’s like I just look at it, if a component has failed now who cares?
If it wasn’t last time, it’s bad now let’s fix it. And the thing is, let’s say for example, certain suspension component like a tire rod end. If the tire rod end was tight last time, my guys typically aren’t going to take a picture of a tight tire rod end. So showing them a video that it’s loose now, there’s nothing to compare. I think the only components that you could I guess see a progression on would be things like fluids and filters and maybe tires. But I guess my opinion on that is that if a component was good last time and it’s bad now, I guess I just don’t see the, I guess to me it doesn’t make any difference that it was good last time, it’s bad now let’s fix it. And again, if this is a bug that’s being fixed or tweaked, if they currently can’t see what the air filter was last time, what are they comparing it to
Fred Haynes (00:16:09):
You? Okay, if I interjected a little bit? Sure, go ahead. So for me, simply speaking, I can’t really put myself in Brandon’s shoes because I’ve only done that job on a handful of occasions and it was pretty scary when I did been a motorist more often. And I think the challenge is who is it for? Because I see value for the service advisor to be as informed as possible about what the history of that vehicle has been. Right? So they understand what they’re going to present to the guest.
Tom Dorsey (00:16:53):
No, you mean no one has it as on back order or discontinued,
Fred Haynes (00:16:57):
Which John seems to be, hold on second, we have a There you go. There he goes. Anyway, so I guess I’d say that for the average motorist, that kind of analytical interest in seeing that progression is probably going to be far and few between. And that if there’s value, I think the value probably lies in how we present it to the service advisor as an option for them to have the conversation with the guest. Now philosophically, I’d also say that I think the energy we have ought to be put into as much as possible what we can take care of now that I think that the more you get into, the more you get into a lot of detail around what’s coming or what might come, it kind of dilutes the focus on the things that somebody really needs to take care of to keep ’em safe and comfortable and keep their vehicle dependable.
And I guess just the nature of the cars we see there are a lot of sick cars. Cars with five and six 30 seconds tread on ’em are something that is wonderful. It’s the ones that have belt showing on a regular basis that are the ones that we really need to get people alarmed about. So there’s a bit of that as well. So I see value, but I think it’s primarily for the service advisor and not as much for the motorists in enabling the service advisor to understand the history of that vehicle more readily. So if they had an ability to show some of those things and there was a case, great. And yeah, and just echoing, I think one other thing that Brandon didn’t really mention was I think in terms of implementing, so just the practicality of implementing that change, that all the complexity that came with guided mode plus new application plus Carry Forward was a lot to bite off and it wasn’t always clear where our challenge was. Was it related to Carry Forward, was it related to just the new app or was it how guided mode was supposed to work? And so I could see an advantage to, even if you did decide that boy guided mode is something that’s, excuse me, Carry Forward is something I think is wonderful, I see an advantage to shops trying to ramp up to be able to start with guided mode and then add Carry Forward as a second wave if you will.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:19:29):
Yeah, makes total sense. Thanks Bill, do you want to chime in because this is really interesting topic show good and then show failed. There’s nothing in between and I think from a retention perspective there’s a lot in between, especially for wear items like brakes and tires and fluids as you said, but I don’t want to take your thunder away.
Bill Connor (00:19:59):
Sure. The measurements over time is important. I hadn’t even weighed into the equation what Fred talked about letting the service writer be more comfortable of change over time. But you’re also going to have things that if we could show customer change over time by showing the progression of pictures, that’s a good thing. And we’re also going to have instances where the customer, they’re going to have that tire that’s worn on the edge is almost through to the rubber. They come back through three or four weeks later or a month later and now it’s in the steel belts. To go ahead and show that change very quickly over time can be huge for getting that customer that doesn’t really like to maintain their vehicle to get off their doggone wallet and start making a donation into it before they changed that may pop into a will pop. So again, I hadn’t even waited into the equation about the service writer, but for the customer looking at just in the eyes of the customer, if we got them stubborn folks, sometimes having that one picture right next to the other one is going to do more justice than just showing them a brand new inspection that with no comparison. And it’d be interesting to see as we go forward with this new feature that we’re talking about, what the change in the mindset is by the consumers going and using it along with the staff.
Brandon Polhemus (00:21:18):
And I guess just circling back to my question, my original question is, is the ability then to show the pictures from the previous inspection alongside of today’s inspection, is that coming?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:21:32):
Yes, that’s what Bill is going to show later. Okay,
Brandon Polhemus (00:21:35):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:21:36):
You. We’ll ride deep into this Carry Forward discussion. Tom, I’m sorry that I’m taking a little bit of your steering away here. No,
Tom Dorsey (00:21:46):
No, no. You do your thing buddy. I like this.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:21:50):
And what I would like to do is let’s start at the basics. Let’s just look any on what is a good picture before we go into the sophisticated ones and then what is Carry Forward, right? Because obviously we are all aware of it because we had some discussions about it. I don’t know how many in the audience.
Tom Dorsey (00:22:18):
Yeah, and actually real quick too is we were getting some questions because some folks aren’t up to speed on Carry Forward. So after the show, you can get over there and there’s some videos and some collateral in there that you can read and get kind up to speed. And then of course reach out to your advisor in your next check in or give ’em a holler if you’ve still have some additional questions.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:22:44):
Thanks. So if you don’t mind Dustin, can you share the infographic because we should really start at some basics if those basics are not really done properly, Carry Forward can backfire big time. And so what you see here is two inspection results left hand side, I called it any digital inspection, right? There’s a picture and there’s an arrow and there’s a timestamp. And now putting all our motorist hats on, what do we see? Not sure even what that is, right? Because of the scope of the picture and the scope of the picture, you see probably the C takes the most attention because you don’t know really where the arrow points to.
Bill Connor (00:23:42):
So let’s go ahead and break that down into what the customer would think. The picture on the left is the equivalent of the customer walking out into the bay, the technician pointing to something, not uttering a word and the customer wandering back off trying to figure out what it is.
Fred Haynes (00:23:57):
And it’s really hard for I think folks that are experts in the field to divorce themselves from what they know by looking at a picture versus what a motorist is going to understand. And classic example, this one’s a simple one, classics are oil leaks. So the lay person oil leaks look like dirt most of the time they don’t understand that that caked on mess is there because there’s oil underneath there that’s making it all stick. And so I tell my guys that you have to think about, don’t assume that people understand what it is that you’re showing. You need to explain it like you would to your 12-year-old kid or 8-year-old kid on how it would not to talk down to them, but don’t assume they know anything.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:24:43):
And so let’s just say what are good practices for and impactful pictures? So number one, probably zoom in heavily. So either you do that as a tech or the service advisor later looks at it and zooms in so we get rid of this seed and background and whatever else is sky on the picture. And then without any doubt, a simple error without any description makes it really hard to know what we are looking at. So if you go to the right hand side, this is kind of a double whammy because number one, it’s a picture of a tester which already says what the call to action should be and it’s highlighted in red and the notes below in my opinion is really awesome. So it says how it’s supposed to be, it compares it with the actual, and then it says what needs to be done right, short, clear to the point that there’s nothing left for interpretation. Would you guys agree?
Fred Haynes (00:26:15):
The only thing I’d add Uwe, yes. Only thing I’d add is I encourage my guys to go one step further and this is really what Bill has preached is that in lay terms, what does that mean? Just because that number’s different. It doesn’t say what that means. They don’t know what cold cranking amps are necessarily or what’s going to happen. And the result of this from a safety comfort, dependability perspective is you might try to start your car and it doesn’t start. So that to me is also an important thing to say on here to keep your car starting every time you want to start it, we should replace your battery today.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:26:51):
Tom Dorsey (00:26:52):
And to that point also, and just remember folks, you can add in, hey, a video educational content, what does CCA mean or what does cold cranking amps mean to support that? So you don’t have to try to write it all out on the annotation on the picture, but you got supporting information in there as well to tie the bow.
Bill Connor (00:27:14):
So really to sum it up, the picture really has several things that have to be on it. It has to be a well let picture that’s in focus and zoomed in. It has to have an area of focus to find and then it has to cover what is the component, what needs to be done and the reason why the customer should part with their hard earned money. And if you go ahead and do that, you’re going to be spot on every time. And if you can do like Fred is done, he spent a lot of time putting this information right into the conditions on his inspection sheet, then it’s really highly consistent across all inspections.
Fred Haynes (00:27:49):
And I think that’s part of when I referred to being an English major is explaining something like that in just a sentence or two or three isn’t necessarily easy. You have to think about it a little bit and say, well what makes the most sense? And so guided mode in our mind is spectacular because look, when a battery is in that condition, how you describe that to a guest doesn’t change. So let’s describe it the way that our best person ever would if they had the guest out there and now everybody gets to benefit from that language.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:28:27):
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. John is bringing in if the caption is too long, it takes over the picture. Good point. Let’s just talk about what other features are available to find the right balance, you can actually write on the picture directly with a new image editor so you can define, so good best practice would be Dustin, if you could scroll up again, you could now say for example, next to replace battery next to the air wall, write a little text, write on this available background there and say what the specifics are and then in the caption you summarize and make clear what the recommendations is or recommendation is. So you can basically split up the information into what’s the problem described directly on the picture and then all additional information like what CCA in this case and what’s the recommendation you would put in the caption. Thanks John.
Fred Haynes (00:29:57):
Yeah, and whoever said that’s absolutely right. I mean that is a challenge and I think that’s where thinking through what you want to put in guided mode in that caption text and taking the time to make it three sentences that don’t overwhelm the photo, that’s not the easiest thing in the world to do.
Tom Dorsey (00:30:16):
Yeah, Adam’s got a good point too. He’s telling his text or remember that the bottom of the photo is going to have a caption, so try to focus up a little higher when they’re taking the picture to give that additional room. That’s a great point and you can do that too. It’s not a best practice. I mean you can take a wider shot and then you can always use the crop. The service writer can use the crop functionality, but it’s additional steps and if you can get your text to really practice on getting that photo centered properly where it gives you that additional room at the bottom, it’s kind of almost like a placeholder. It’s going to be more efficient. Thanks Adam.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:30:59):
I think that is a feature request we should show to detect the preview of how the ultimate pictures going to look like and guide it because the notes are already there, right? Yeah. Carlo, are you listening?
Tom Dorsey (00:31:15):
He’s probably hiding under his desk buddy.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:31:17):
He’s got his hands like this.
Tom Dorsey (00:31:19):
He is running for the hills right now. He’s like, don’t it’s Labor Day weekend. No, I will not have that available on Monday because you’re going to go, yes, I want it Sunday. All right, not to get off onto a tangent, but so let’s pick it up right there. I think yes, it starts at the fundamentals, yes, it starts at the quality of the image and the more information that we can convey in an effective manner on that image is going to be the best practice. But once you have that, because I don’t think Brandon’s convinced, I think once you have that information, I guess from my perspective, and it works for me, I know the way that I shop or the way that somebody needs to convince me is two things. If you can show me something where I say, oh, you noticed that thing or somebody’s watching or looking at it, it’s kind of like my mom, my mom, she could just show me a picture of my room and I go clean it.
So it’s kind of almost not, I don’t want to say it’s kind of embarrassing me to make a decision, but a lot of times it affects your decision making if somebody’s paying attention. And I think the other is that you run into situations sometimes, Brandon, I don’t know, maybe you can kind of elaborate on this, but you get folks who just tend to kick things down the road and you’ve tried stuff and you’ve told them and you said, Hey, you know what? It’s going to cost you so much more if this thing fails and then it’s putting all the where additional wear on these other components and the bill’s going to be bigger and you still can’t move them. I think that having the ability to just show that what’s the expectation, or at least you can nail ’em down and say, you know what? This thing’s going to be metal to metal in a month. This thing is going to be in two months, you’re going to be back in here on the end of a tow truck, something like that to help you just move the needle or just help them to look at it from a different perspective.
Brandon Polhemus (00:33:25):
You are correct in saying yes, there are probably some customers that could be impactful on my other fear, especially considering things like pictures of tires and things where you have multiple photos in one category, it can also come across as a little bit of a mess. Now you’re showing your tires, now there’s eight pictures and it may make it confusing because in the four corners you take your exterior photos and all that kind of stuff. Now you got eight pictures of the outside of my car. And so just from a clear concise inspection, I guess I still, and again, you’re right, you aren’t going to have those customers, they’re just not going to do it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s their mindset. Could that change? Some of it maybe. But if they still have that mindset of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I think they’re just going to wait until it breaks. And if you categorize your inspection appropriately, right? Hey, this is either you can fix it today, great, or yeah, I can wait until next time your choice, have that as one category and then have a, you’ll get a die category. And that I think can help emphasize some of it. And that customer either A, is going to know that this needs to be fixed today for their own safety and for the reliability of the vehicle or they’re going to again just kick the can down the road and they’ve got roadside assistance, so who cares what the tow costs?
Tom Dorsey (00:35:03):
Yeah, man, well everybody’s got a handful of those customers, so
Bill Connor (00:35:07):
Tom Dorsey (00:35:08):
Go with some people. Some people get more a deeper bench than others, but
Bill Connor (00:35:14):
So let’s think about that a little bit different though.
Tom Dorsey (00:35:17):
Say it again Bill.
Bill Connor (00:35:18):
So let’s think about that a little bit differently. So let’s say that there’s 10% or 20% of the population that’s motivated by seeing that where we don’t know what the hell customer is going to be in that percentage. So should we go ahead and shortchange ourself for all customers and go ahead and miss out on them? So that’s one of the other things when you can’t really predict the motorist mind and you can’t go and have the technician go ahead and choose one or the other, shouldn’t you go ahead and opt toward educating that 10 or 20% that might be in that elusive bucket?
Fred Haynes (00:35:53):
I don’t know what that percentage is. I don’t think any of us can profess to know what that percentage is. I mean my opinion is it’s probably lower than that and maybe it’s a Minnesota thing too. So there’s this thing called Minnesota nice, everybody’s heard, right? I’m not from Minnesota so nobody would ever accuse me of that, but we have a tendency to kind of make things nice and then I think you also get desensitized sometime by the condition of some of the vehicles we see. And so we know looking at that component that it’s something that is not safe and they’re going to either hurt themselves or somebody else. We don’t necessarily convey that effectively in our vernacular up here all the time. And so I think there’s an enormous opportunity as I look at what our inspections look like in being utterly clear about why what we’re pointing out to them is something they should fix.
And to me that’s like if we can do that, and I think if we do that, I think that is far more beneficial than say showing somebody something deteriorate over time, which is again why I think guided mode is so spectacular because honestly, if you looked over all of our inspections, you get things like your cold cranking apps are down 50%. We recommend you replace your battery and we assume that the person understands what that means and they don’t necessarily understand what that means. You have to hit ’em over the head and say, your car’s not going to start and you’re going to have to tow it if you don’t fix this now and let’s do it today so that you don’t have to come back again. And we see examples like that all the time and so at least we’re not to the point yet. I guess I would say in our maturity level, I don’t feel like we’re at the point yet where we’re able to reap that benefit. We’re still focused on making sure that with every vehicle we do a great inspection and we’re utterly clear about what the vehicle needs today and I think if we could do that, we’d be overwhelmingly more successful than we are today.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:38:15):
I think that’s an That makes sense. Awesome point. What I would like to say though is there’s another element of it, two elements actually. Transparency has never hurt and in times of Google this is actually required so it doesn’t need to go to the extreme. As Brandon rightfully pointed out, if I want to make my case and it takes eight pictures, I am in bad shape because that’s too complex. But if two pictures make my case because it’s the last visit in this visit, I believe I’m in good shape and the caption formulation and what wording is on the pictures will make that case and that’s one thing I would like to add. The other thing is I’m just curious, there’s actually two questions. How do you manage retention? Is it purely on servers in the wall or also do you have maintenance items where the future attention section on the inspection basically triggers the next visit? And number two, there is a case to be made that if you have to work on that portion of the car anyway and you add what might not be completely worn yet will be added, you save actually money instead of coming in again, you just put it added to today’s visit and save X amount of dollars,
Fred Haynes (00:40:03):
Right? Yeah. And that is definitely a conversation we have. The question is, as a service advisor, what’s your objective? Are you trying to get them out of there with spending as little money as possible and band-aiding the thing together so that maybe they come back in two weeks or are you trying to fix their vehicle so that it’s not going to be back in two weeks and they’re not going to go someplace else to fix it? And I kind of prefer as an owner the second approach, don’t do something that’s not going to necessarily fix it, fix it, get the thing done, make them happy, make us happy, move on. And so we definitely want to note those maintenance activities and where things are coming, but maybe what I’d like to see is that we tend to go look, if the tires are at four 30 seconds and we say three 30 seconds is when we absolutely positively recommend them. Maybe we do say, hey, these are very close, these are something you might let me take care of it for you today. You can do the same thing with breaks, you can do the same thing with fluids and such and don’t discount. You mentioned don’t discount the convenience factor. Turns out that most motorists don’t want to visit the shop every couple of weeks.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:41:23):
So that also
Bill Connor (00:41:27):
Plays into the overall program that you really want to do and that is is that give the customer an overall snapshot of their vehicle, estimate everything that the technician finds, either do now or maybe even the next service, present it to the customer and then handle their objections and don’t let the customer go and back you into the corner when they first call. How much is this? How much is this? How much is this? It should be ma’am, sir, I’ll be happy to help you understand that. But what I’d really like to do is see if we can maybe bundle some of these overlapping things together to help you save money. Now you’re going to go ahead and get to be able to present everything to him.
Tom Dorsey (00:42:05):
Absolutely. Are we able to show that new functionality? Are we ready to display that
Bill Connor (00:42:19):
Bill? Are you I’m always ready. I’m like an EverReady bunny. I just got to figure out what monitor I got it on.
Tom Dorsey (00:42:27):
Okay, you realize eight is eight monitors stockbroker.
Bill Connor (00:42:33):
Hopefully you go ahead and see a tablet on the screen. We
Tom Dorsey (00:42:36):
Do reducer. You nailed it.
Bill Connor (00:42:38):
Awesome. First time too, isn’t it something? And so what I’m going to do is I’m going to go ahead and move this out of the way and I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to tap on the antifreeze topic here because it’s in Carry Forward mode and you can see here that everything the technician needs to know about the condition from the last visits there and if it’s still in the same ugly condition, they can basically press confirm and go on the next one. And now the power steering is in the same condition so they just confirm. Now in the brake fluid, you can see last time it came in it had 3% on it and instead of just confirming it, if the technician is going to go ahead and educate the customer, they got two choices, they can go and replace this image and then it gets what Brandon was talking about or if we want to talk about what Bill was talking about, what we can do is say add an image. So in my case I’m going to add an image, I’m going to try and find a moisture detector in my shop and I’m going to go ahead and take that new image. I’m going to drag an arrow over onto it. If I can go ahead and move this over where I can get my finger on it. I’m going to point right to the new note here.
This brake fluid has got extremely worse since last time you were in. This is a do it now and then I’m going to go ahead and add that and what it’s going to do is it’s going to go ahead and give us both images side by side here for the service writer to go ahead and be able to show to the customer and then now I can hit confirm. So that’s the new functionality that Brandon and Fred haven’t been exposed to yet. If we can politically correctly use the word exposed, but that’s what we’re talking about
Tom Dorsey (00:44:23):
Really Cool. What do you think Brandon? That’s no longer a bug buddy. Yep,
Brandon Polhemus (00:44:30):
That is definitely an improvement and I guess the only that’s just going to come down to training with the techs is making sure they make them because if they’re going to have the ability to make that executive decision, we got to make sure that they know when to make that executive decision, which I guess is depending on who’s the technician is can be scary, but we’ll have to work on that. But that is definitely an improvement over the current functionality.
Bill Connor (00:45:03):
So here’s what I really like about that is the technician can obviously see what the condition was last time. They could see all the notes. If it’s in good shape now and it was ugly last time, they can go ahead and say it’s good now. But that might help them determine whether the customer is cheating on you and going somewhere else. They also have the ability because now they see the condition they can make that. So-called executive decision. Do I go in and show the customer a comparison of AB or do I go ahead and just replace the image and move on?
Brandon Polhemus (00:45:33):
The other question I would have that would be kind of nice to add into that functionality is if that job was sold last time, so if last time it came in and we had hey, the brake fluid was bad and again this is from a lazy tech standpoint is okay, breakthrough is bad, they click confirm, right? Just because just clicking through just to get the job done, if there was a note on there that said just in parentheses afterwards after the canned job that comes up sold or completed or whatever, it alerts them that okay, this was done last time, let’s recheck, make sure that everything is good to go and then we can take an updated photo saying, hey, nice job, this is still good to go, right? They flushed that brake job last time versus if they just are clicking through confirm and the advisor doesn’t realize they did it last time either and all of a sudden they’re selling a job that we just did three months ago. I think having some level of safeguard there or an alert will avoid even though it’s an honest mistake, I guess lazy slash honest mistake, avoid the trap of coming across as just trying to sell something just because we need to sell something more so than something we actually need.
Fred Haynes (00:46:50):
Yeah, I had a thought if I can add Bill. Sure. So that particular scenario you just showed, if I had shown a marginal condition say in my do it now or do it soon, kind of a bucket and there was a picture I’d almost want to make it on the next visit mandatory to take another picture, make sure that they look at that particular component again, take another picture of it so that I have a clear, not make it optional, it’s not a judgment thing. Look, I want, if the brake fluid was on the border last time, you darn well take another brake fluid picture. If the brakes were close, you better darn well take another brake. If the tires were close, you better take another tire. I can’t think of a lot of examples where I wouldn’t want that to happen. In fact, I’d love it to happen.
We focus more on one thing. We want to convey value to the guest, A lot of trust I think that could be built by showing them, look, we’re actually putting time into looking at your car and care about what’s going on with your vehicle. And so we talk about anywhere between 14 and 17 pictures that should be taken every single time because those are things that are readily able for us to look at and to show the guests and really convey value that we didn’t just pull it in, do what you brought it in for and pull it back out. We actually looked at this thing, so if we could add that if there’s one of those items that from the last visit was one of these marginal things, maybe it ought to be mandatory that you take a new picture of that thing and then that way we’ve got clear evidence that they actually either took care of it someplace else or it’s gotten worse or it stayed the same.
Bill Connor (00:48:35):
One of the other interesting things is that even if a topic was a fail last time and you did the work, now this time you go ahead and verify that your fix is good to go.
Fred Haynes (00:48:46):
There’s value there too.
Bill Connor (00:48:47):
That why there’s value there also.
Fred Haynes (00:48:48):
Absolutely. I agree. I agree completely. That makes a ton of sense to me.
Tom Dorsey (00:48:54):
Yeah, it makes sense. So what you’re saying Fred, is it would override any settings that you had as far as mandatory topics go and it would say anything that last inspection was either in the yellow or it was marked as needs future attention or it was marked as needs a meeting
Fred Haynes (00:49:10):
Deferred or whatever, whether
Tom Dorsey (00:49:11):
It was sold or not. It’s going to require, it’s going to override any settings and make that a mandatory topic for next.
Fred Haynes (00:49:17):
So you can click those flags to basically say that topic is mandatory. I want you to always take a picture of the four tires regardless. But there’s a lot of topics where we don’t require a picture oil leaks, we don’t take a picture of the underside of the vehicle every time or of the muffler every time. If they found that the last time or we did, then yeah, we should absolutely be requiring an update. That’s something that would add a ton of value in my view. Brandon, what do you think?
Brandon Polhemus (00:49:46):
Yeah, I think the danger with at least currently and potentially even with this update is the ability for if we’re requiring a photo right now, them just hitting confirm and using last time’s photo fulfills that requirement without it actually fulfilling the requirement of a new photo. And that’s I think having that requirement of a new photo. And again, from where what we’re trying to do, at least in our locations is we have mandatory topics and in guided mode. I mean it kind of is what it is. I mean you’ve got to work your way through the inspection and as long you’re mandating that this topic gets completed and this topic has a photo, you’re always going to have an up-to-date photo of a component, good, bad or otherwise.
Fred Haynes (00:50:38):
And I think for at least those 14 topics, but those items where you did find something last time you reported it, I think it should be mandatory. There shouldn’t be any way not to take a new photo of it whether I fixed it or not.
And then at that point we can as a service advisor make a decision about, okay, now are we past the point where I need to do that Again, I don’t know if there’s a threshold there. You don’t want this thing to go on forever and ever, but I can imagine that there’s some sort of a threshold where if it was marginal and we fixed it last time and we take a new picture, do I need to take a new picture on the next four visits over the next 12 months or is there some point where I stopped doing that on that particular component? Does it get pretty onerous?
Brandon Polhemus (00:51:24):
Bill and or Tom and or Uwe is in this particular functionality where you add a photo, how many historical photos will the customer be able to see? Right? So right now we’ve got two, we’ve got break fluid, now we got break fluid really bad. Are they going to see the previous 3, 4, 5, 6 visits where the break fluid was okay and really see the whole progression over the past couple of years or is it just going to be the last two? If it’s just going to be the last two, then I think my original argument is still, I dunno, somewhat valid in that you’re not really seeing a progression over a longer period of time. You’re just seeing from three months ago to today.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:52:05):
So good question. I think we have to make it optional whether it’s just two visits for the whole because there are some cause that have growing breaks. In other words, if the consistency of doing your inspection is not established yet, having this whole history with changing, for example, brake thickness is going to backfire and then the comparison to the last visit is probably better than showing kind of an inconsistent history, if that makes sense. It’s all about the majority of the process. If the pictures are not fulfilling basic requirements, we shouldn’t even do any history because if one picture is not telling the story, two incomplete pictures confuse people more than it’s good. That would be the first step. That’s why we introduced the reinforcement of what a good picture looks like. And then the next step is let’s start with previous visit and current visit and then the next step would be a whole history. That’s how I look at it. But I would like to go back to Fred’s proposal to really make sure I understand it. Let me call it dynamic, dynamically mandatory. Would you, if I understand you correctly, the moment it fulfills the yellow criteria, it is automatically mandatory. The moment it is good from last time it’s not.
Fred Haynes (00:53:57):
Is that, so the two scenarios would be either I’ve marked it as mandatory and that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter. Or I’ve noted something on the prior visit that should make it mandatory on this visit to take a picture of it. Again, the question would be, okay, what makes sense beyond that? I can see, I mean there’s probably a lot of ways to handle it and maybe some configuration really based on how mature and ingrained your process is, right? Because in order for this to work really well, you’re right. I mean you have to be taking great pictures and doing good inspections for at least the last couple of visits on the vehicle.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:54:39):
That’s correct. Okay.
Bill Connor (00:54:42):
So the other thing to take into play is that when the condition is wholly changed and the service or the technician taps on it that the condition has changed the topic from scratch without any pictures. Without any, because they’re just doing that inspection over when they go ahead and change the condition rather than can confirm or change the note or change the picture.
Fred Haynes (00:55:07):
Interesting. So if they pick the same condition, yeah, the question is, so if they pick the same condition or a worse condition, perhaps it requires as you look at the past picture and the new picture, if it goes the other direction, maybe there’s a difference. I don’t know what the answer to that is. We’re kind of thinking out loud here.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:55:29):
No, Adam just made also a proposal in the chat. I would simply say if we have an indication that there is an unexpected change from bad to good, there has to be some flag because either he was cheating as Tom called it, or there was just an inconsistent inspection process.
Fred Haynes (00:55:55):
That’s true. But you also have to guard against the bad to bad and they didn’t look at it again. So I mean I could just simply say, look, if there’s a picture again, take another one.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:56:04):
Right, right.
Fred Haynes (00:56:05):
Yeah, but you’re not wrong
Brandon Polhemus (00:56:09):
To make that point. I think that’s also why I like guided mode for a multitude of reasons where the Carry Forward thing, it can potentially make it messy. If you’ve got a guided mode and you have required topics and required photos and the technician is doing what they’re supposed to do in guided mode, it kind of eliminates all of these questions.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:56:33):
Fred Haynes (00:56:34):
At least for the mandatory topics. Yes. Right. I mean it’s the non-mandatory topics that I think we have to really focus on and those tend to be in a lot of cases, some real things that people need to focus on that people should be made aware of.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:56:54):
We have one more topic, Bill, I think you’re ready to present and that’s how to use the audit feature. The new audit feature in the TVPX we released last week, is that correct? Or I can just give a quick because we are running out of time in three minutes. I have it on the infogram. Dustin, if you could share, so we were talking about you have to have impactful pictures and so here we now have introduced the ability to go through images and captions on the TVPX. So there’s a new submenu item which is called audit technician slash service advisor. And so just like in the inspection results view, you can select the service advisor or technician name, select up to 90 days going back probably the last seven days is the most used mode and then you see all the inspections and can rank them. See it’s really that simple. You click on the image, you rank it, right? This is an interesting picture to rank probably one star. And then you can write an assessment and in the overview you can then see a summarized ranking of all images for this particular person and have a talk with the person. Really simple, select the technician or service advisor, select the time range, rank the images, write an assessment, and present the overall findings to your staff.
Bill Connor (00:58:42):
One of the other things you’ll find when you use that audit tool is you scroll down through there, you’ll see that the topics were either approved or not approved for the customer to see with a red or a green check mark. So it’s also good to go and spot check those things also.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:58:57):
Thank you, Bill.
Fred Haynes (00:58:59):
For what it’s worth, I think this is a terrific step in the right direction. I’d love to get a view into where you’re headed with this. If there’s any way to do that, that would be awesome. It’s something that I rely on very heavily in my operation is to sample and look at things to really understand whether we’re doing all the stuff that we’re supposed to be doing. You can’t
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:59:20):
Just look at the data necessarily, have to actually look at the inspection. So I think it’s a great idea. Thank you. Yeah, let’s keep discussing that and continue in the Facebook forum and let Tom wrap it up.
Tom Dorsey (00:59:37):
Yeah, sure. Great discussion. Right, and it’s funny too because now I think we even have bigger buckets on both sides of the fence. We got some feedback in the chat, best invention ever. And then we got Brandon on the other side holding down the people. I’m not going to say you’re a naysayer, Brandon, I’m going to say that you’re slower to move. You take a little bit more convincing and you like to know where you’re headed, right? You want to make sure there’s no potholes out there in front of you. But no, I really appreciate Fred, Brandon, you guys coming on. I thought that was a great discussion around this topic. I think it’s going to give us a lot of food for thought and direction on how to expand and improve, which benefits all of us, and that’s what we’re all about. So can’t thank you enough.
Looking forward to hearing the follow up through the Facebook form. Like Uwe had said, if you’re not subscribed, get in there. Just search Digital Shop Talk or AutoVitals on Facebook. It’s a closed group request to join. I’m going to ask you a few questions, make sure that you’re not from the IRS or something tracking us down. You’re not from a competitor, but we’ll get you in there and then you can continue that conversation online. Tune in next Wednesday, same time, same place. We’re going to be talking about some talking to a couple more great shop owners and I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag yet, but you’re not going to want to miss this next episode. Dustin, I appreciate all your help buddy. If you have any other questions, go ahead and get those in or take ’em to the Facebook form.
Like I said, if we didn’t get a chance to answer everything, really great responses and questions inside of the chat. I really appreciate all of that engagement and like I said, if we didn’t get to it, don’t let us forget it. Just post it up on Facebook. We’ll go through and move a lot of that conversation over there as well and send you direct response recordings are coming out, so check your inbox if you didn’t get a chance to see the whole episode and if there’s anybody that you think would benefit from this, make sure you forward it to ’em and let them watch that recording. Thanks again everybody. We’ll see you next Wednesday.

Back To Top