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Episode Description

Shop owners Sergio, Fred, and Frank talk about how to utilize the Business Control Panel to:
– troubleshoot declining KPIs
– analyze and track their shop’s daily performance
– measure efforts with staff and customer behavioral KPIs
– reward employees that put out outstanding work

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):
Today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about how to use the AutoVitals business control panel to stop managing your business in the blind. And as always, I’ve got a great crew of guests today, my co-host with the most Frank Scandura, and I’ve got Fred Gestwicki with Fix It With Fred. And joining us from Rick and Ray’s is Sergio Garza. And so let me take a minute to introduce these guys. Fred, if you’d start us off, if you could introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about your operation and how you came to AutoVitals.
Fred Gestwicki (00:43):
Well, I have Fix It With Fred in Canton, Ohio. We have a very large shop that we have a smaller amount of staff. We’re growing into our building right now, so we’re looking for growth in AutoVitals. As a part of that, we had another DVI company we used and we needed more than what they would offer, so we switched to AutoVitals and now the possibilities have been very endless for us. So we’ve really enjoyed the customer interaction and the efficiency in the shop that the AutoVitals system promotes.
Tom Dorsey (01:14):
Awesome. That’s right. Fred is a man on a mission, so if you’re in Canton, Ohio and you’re in the automotive repair industry, he’s coming for you.
Fred Gestwicki (01:22):
Come check it out. It’ll change your mind. I’ll tell you that. You wouldn’t expect what we have in Canton. Most customers are blown away.
Tom Dorsey (01:27):
Yep. Yeah, exactly. Welcome, welcome, welcome. And we got Sergio Garza from, excuse me, from Rick and Ray’s. Sergio, introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about your shop. Well, it looks like we got an audio issue with Sergio. Maybe I’ll get my crack tech technologist over here. Nema, get us some audio in with Sergio, but let’s get kicked off. Frank, you’ve been instrumental in kind of from day one as we were developing the business control panel. A lot of your input went into the development of that product. What are you using it for? What do you see the biggest value using the business control panel in your business?
Frank Scandura (02:20):
The biggest advantage for me is an easy way to gather my data, right? The guy that used to think every single car got inspected and every single inspection got presented to the motorist simply for the fact, because that’s what I told you to do. And the reality is that’s not the way it works. Going digital allowed me to really, really measure it accurately. And I learned most of the time the inspections weren’t getting put on the invoice. And so those were cars that didn’t get inspected because the technician said, well, I don’t need to inspect it. There’s no inspection on it. And then I learned how many inspections were being sent and I would ask my guys, are you sending all the inspections? Yes, boss, every one of ’em. And then we start running reports and it’s like 38%. Okay, who did you send it to? How did you send it? Because it goes otherwise. And they would look at me and go, I was pretty sure I sent ’em all.
Tom Dorsey (03:19):
I pushed that button.
Frank Scandura (03:20):
So by being able to measure it, show them the numbers, it is amazing how it changed the behavior, right? Because you could talk all day long. Those of us who have done this for a while know I could talk all day long, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It really doesn’t have the same impact as that visual element. Here’s the report. What say you? So it is just amazing at the transition just by showing them the numbers. And you can’t lie, right? If you’ve got accurate reporting,
Tom Dorsey (03:55):
Hey Fred, if you would give the audience kind of an intro, because I’m sure we got some folks, maybe they’re AutoVitals customers, they’re not using the business control panel yet and maybe I don’t even know what it is. And then there’s probably some people out there listening in that are thinking about going to AutoVitals. What is the business control panel, in your words, what do you think that it is and what do you use it for?
Fred Gestwicki (04:15):
Well, for our shop, we use a coaching company, we use ATI, and to get info out of their portal, you have to enter all the information, then go to reports. And there’s a benefit to that because that involves net profit and expenses and things like that. A lot of shop owners just build their own spreadsheets of their sales and the repair orders and their car counts. And the thing I like about the business control panel is from the user standpoint, it’s a one direction you only receive. There’s no fear you’re going to break it because you’re not entering anything. You just receive data, receive graphs, and the fact that every day I log in and look and see how we’re doing, I like the automation feature that you can set alert intervals. If your repair order goal is 500 bucks and you want to get an email, if you’re below 450, you don’t have to log in every day and check, you can, but it will email you.
So again, without any input, I just set up an acceptable range for a KPI and I get a notification when it goes outside of that range. And another thing I like is that it puts the secondary KPIs with the primary KPIs. So when your ARO starts to dive and you’re like, oh, no one has any money, magically, you can look through and see if your research time has dived down. You can look and see if the notifications are being sent. You can look and see if the other secondary KPIs that affect that primary KPI are causing that decline. So you can really hone in instead of beating your service advisor and say, sell more work, instead of that approach that gets nothing, you can tell them, I noticed that your edit rate has gone down, so we really need you to edit the pictures and that’ll raise your ARO. So it kind of ties your whole shop together without you having to put all the info in. You just get information.
Tom Dorsey (06:03):
Exactly. And that’s the key. And Fred nailed it, is that those secondary KPIs are behavioral KPIs. It’s what is the tech actually doing? What’s the service writer actually doing, and how long has it taken them to do that? Those secondary KPIs track and not that I’m aware of, I don’t think there’s any other solution out in the industry that’s able to go to that level and look at the actual actions that lead up to the results and give you that data so that you can interpret that to take corrective action and to just monitor that policies and processes and procedures are actually being followed and implemented into the shop correctly. And Fred, you hit the net. You said something that was, for me, I would see it as a huge value. If you’re really busy all day, if you’re using a dashboard, you might have a dashboard or you might have reports in your point of sale, but you have to go in there and look at ’em. You were talking about guys using a spreadsheet. When are they doing that? They’re doing that on Saturday afternoon at the kitchen table instead of hanging out with the kids. And so can you talk a little bit more about how those alerts that you set up kind of free you out from that dashboard mentality and then allow you to just look at what’s really important?
Fred Gestwicki (07:26):
All of our KPIs are important. We all know that in your business, whether it’s your ARO, your car count, your retention rate, there’s hundreds of potential KPIs that you got to watch. So for me, I look at the top 5 KPIs, the ones that I really, really worry about, my car count, my retention rate, my average repair order, my hours per ticket, those are four that come to mind. And I put those on automation. So when I go to the business control panel, I don’t look if my ARO is high enough, I know it’s, if it wasn’t, I would’ve got an email. I look to see if we’re on an uptrend or a downtrend and see if we can kind of cut it off at the pass. So the way it frees up for me, we’re able to just look and see that our AROs down 50 bucks from last week. What changed? Is it just magically people don’t have money normally? That’s the problem. No one has any money. And in reality,
Tom Dorsey (08:21):
Isn’t that the,
Fred Gestwicki (08:23):
That’s what you tell your advisor. Why aren’t you selling work? Nobody has any money. No one walks in here, I have a thousand dollars to give you
Tom Dorsey (08:29):
Key ticket it. All
Fred Gestwicki (08:31):
Right, no one has extra money that they just want to throw at their car. That becomes worth less money every single day. You have to convince them. And those tactics we use to convince them of their need are the edits or the notifications. So I like that it helps me hone in and fine tune and then if anything gets out of whack, I get notified before I go looking. So that’s what it is, is instead of being a reactive approach where you go looking and find out, oh man, my car count’s low, you notice everybody’s standing around and you go, look, you would get a notification before when I go to the business control panel, it’s not to be reactive to something that’s broken, it’s to go look and see how I can make it even better. If something’s broken, the business control panel comes to me.
Tom Dorsey (09:20):
Yeah, that’s awesome, man. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Frank, are you, what alerts do you have set up? I mean, you’re doing the same thing. I would imagine you’ve got quite a bit of alerts set up for your primaries. I
Fred Gestwicki (09:33):
Do. I have four. I’m sorry. Did you say me or Frank?
Tom Dorsey (09:37):
Well, let’s finish off with Fred. Go ahead and tell us what those, because we get a lot of questions in which alerts should I be setting up. And so for somebody who is looking to get started using the business control panel and set it up like you guys do or somebody who might be considering it, what are you tracking and which KPIs are you setting up? And I’ll make this open to both you guys. We’ll start off, Fred, finish off and then Frank follow up. But also another question that we get is how do you introduce those into the staff? Are you doing that in team meetings? How often do you have those meetings and how do you take from what you see when that business control panel comes to you and then communicate that to the rest of the staff to get some results? Fred?
Fred Gestwicki (10:25):
So for me, I have five KPIs this year. Car count growth is my goal. We’ve had a lot of other things that we’ve worked on for a couple of years and we got them where we need ’em to be. So for example, average repair order, we’ve got ours about where we want it. I have average repair order, email collection rate, text opt-in rate, new customers and retention rate. Those are my alert set KPIs. What I’m focusing on, and I turned the goals up a bit, so I want to make sure that I’m meeting the goals that I set. So originally with the VCP last year, I had it on a different set of KPIs. My focus was different. And the things that I would suggest is pick your interval, work with your product advisor to set those up. Don’t just try and do it yourself the first time because chances are you’ll do it wrong and it’ll email you every day and you won’t know why and it’ll piss you off and you’ll turn it off. That’s what I did. And then I hit up Al and he showed me how to do it, and now it’s great. Now, when you say introducing these KPIs, you don’t want to have the first time that you tell somebody about hours per ticket, be you yelling at them,
Your hours per ticket suck and you’re like, what are you even talking about? Well, you don’t know what that is. You want to keep those KPIs in their eyes all the time, in their mind all the time. So they’re familiar with what’s normal. So when it becomes abnormal, they can understand what abnormal means. So we use a production board, we write everybody’s hours, everybody’s sales, the average repairer for the week and how many cars we write that on every single day. It’s right in our dispatch area. So they see the KPIs every single day. And when the techs say, Hey, I noticed this week our average repair order is a hundred bucks less than last week, that’s when you know you’re getting them to understand the KPIs. Now, as far as on a team meeting, we only bring KPIs into the team meeting if they’re out of place because we’re introducing those KPIs during the morning huddle every morning we get together and we dispatch and have a quick powwow and we talk about the previous day’s numbers. So a daily meeting, mention how the previous day was, how the week’s going so far. And there’s a tab right on the TVP for team meeting that brings you up some of the reports and the BCP, so you can get right to that information to have it ready. So our approach is keep it in their face all the time. And then if something gets out of skew, you’re just talking about something they’re already familiar with.
Tom Dorsey (13:00):
And that’s genius because I mean, I could see the transition from going you telling them about the KPIs to then them alerting you about KPIs because like you said, they’re constantly in the loop and then to, hey, there hasn’t been an alert about KPIs because we’re now proactively preventing the KPI deterioration as a team, Frank. And I would imagine that that’s the next step that I’m going to hear out of a shop like Frank’s as to where he gets that so ingrained into the process that we avoid the issue to start with. Tell us all about it
Frank Scandura (13:39):
Because I can. Alright, so the business control panel, I check ARO and weekly revenue because I know if the marketing’s working, the phone’s ringing and if those numbers drop, then the advisors aren’t doing their job. And I’ll often tell ’em, if I hear you saying no to a customer, I don’t need you. And if we have too much work, we need to put more guys on us. Just don’t stop work from coming in because service advisor will bury himself and work and to tell the customer, oh no, no, no, I can’t get you until next week or the week after, next week, next week and then start putting work back. Those people aren’t going to wait. In today’s day and age, people don’t wait anymore. We don’t have that luxury that we had years ago. Too many choices. And then I map it out to the edit rate, which is critical edit rate inspections sent are the other two that I want to know because if we’re not editing the pictures or we’re not sending any inspections, we might as well not be here because you’re not doing anything. You’re just below the, and I can map it out for ’em and I could just show ’em, here’s the dips, how they follow each other with numbers as I put ’em on the screen. And you know what it is, I’m just so old right now that I just don’t have any time for anybody’s nonsense. This is what,
Tom Dorsey (15:02):
So are you doing something similar to Fred? I mean, so you’re putting that up on a display so that it’s kind of constantly in their face. And then are you doing shop meetings? Do you do a daily standup kind of like Fred’s doing or are you doing a weekly? How’s that working for you?
Frank Scandura (15:18):
I do daily with the advisors and weekly with the entire team. I think I like that idea of letting them access that report themselves and watch it and monitor it themselves. Show them how to do that. I like that a lot. Thanks Frank. Self-policing my friend. It helps. Yeah, it’s probably better for them to watch it make an incremental change instead of wait for me to notice it and say, Hey,
Tom Dorsey (15:41):
Yeah, see that. I mean I would see that as the evolution of that, right? Is to say, Hey, here’s how we see these things and this is what they mean. And then pretty soon you’re going to get guys that own their job and have responsibility and want to do the right thing and do a good job. And so then they’re going to start to react to those KPIs instantly as they see those dipping or just going the wrong way or not maybe high enough to be on trend to hit goals. The other thing that is I think really powerful about the business control panel is that’s you set that black bar where you expect them to be and that’s what you’re shooting for. That’s your goal. And then everybody sees, are we headed towards that bar? We headed away from that bar and if we’re headed away from it, we know we need to pick it up and we can do that now. I don’t need to wait for Friday for Frank to come and berate me about it. I just turn it up and then turn that needle, get it point in the other direction. And guess what? Frank never gets an alert and that’s a good thing, right?
Frank Scandura (16:42):
Absolutely. One other thing that we learned recently that I don’t think anybody even at AutoVitals expected was the research time by motorist. And then Uwe actually picked up on it and he goes, one of your guys has got a 402nd average research time and another guy’s got 200, whatever it was, we talked about it at the conference, but look at their ARO differences. 1, 2, 3, 4.
Tom Dorsey (17:06):
Hey, perfect, welcome Sergio.
Frank Scandura (17:10):
So they’re moving welcome zero. What I discovered was the advisor with the higher research rate would say to the customer, did you look at the inspection yet? No, I’ll call you back. Then he would call ’em back and say, okay, open it. And he’d go item line by line, increasing at research time, increasing at educational time, increasing at ARO. And the other guy was blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You look at the inspection yet, totally different place. And I never ever, ever would’ve picked that up without that research time.
Tom Dorsey (17:47):
That’s incredible because like you on paper, they look like they’re doing the same thing. Looked
Fred Gestwicki (17:51):
Like they were doing the same thing. They were pretty close. Frank to go along with what you were just talking about yesterday, we had a lady that her research time was eight seconds, so she called and we learned from you at the conference, make sure they do it, make sure they research it. So I answered the call, Hey, did you see that inspection? And I saw the eight on the TVP and she goes, yeah, but I’m just scared as to what I’m going to find. And I told her, I said, well, why would you want to call and have me tell you what’s broke and how much all at once? Why don’t you hang up, look at the link, take your time, read it, call back when you’re ready and we’ll talk. And she’s like, yeah, but I’m scared. I’m like, do you want me to help you be more scared and tell you?
She’s like, nah, not really. She hung up, she spent around 450, 500 seconds on that and then she called back, approve the work. It’s like a $2,100 repair order and she was no longer afraid. So we used what we learned from you, Frank, and it instantly took somebody that’s always one of those victim type customers and gave them a different approach where she wasn’t afraid anymore. She knew that she would find out before we told her. You gave her the power to make a decision based on the information available to her. And we thank you. You taught us that at the conference. The example you gave of the two advisors is exactly what I thought of when I heard her voice and she was all scared. And I’m like, I’m going to tell her, yeah, you need Calie converters. Sounds great, doesn’t it? I’d rather her read it, Google it, find out there’s stupid money, and then call and then be ready to hear two grand. Yeah,
Tom Dorsey (19:27):
I mean, that’s awesome. That’s a customer for life right there, right? Yeah. You got her over that fear. You got her into kind of a process or an expectation when she does business with you to say, oh, it’s not, I know exactly what to spec. I know I can go in and I can learn about these things and I don’t have to make a decision right away. And I can ask those follow-up questions so that I’m as best informed as I need to be to be comfortable. And if I’m comfortable, why would I go anywhere else? Right? Hey, Sergio, have you been following our conversation? Have you been able to hear us while
Sergio Garza (20:04):
We’re working on your, can you hear me now?
Tom Dorsey (20:06):
Yeah, man. Welcome buddy. How’s tricks in Texas?
Sergio Garza (20:13):
Well, I would listen, Frank and Fred are our expert guys. They whip out these KPIs and there’s a lot of things that if you’re a newbie or someone who’s considering using one of this product that you guys are using, there’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot to absorb. There’s a lot to buy in. It’s not just you buying in as an owner or as a service writer, but once your technicians buy in and service writers buy in, and of course everyone buys in. You work towards little by little building this a better shot. Now, anytime you measure, and this is something I’m also part of AutoVitals, an ATI, and anytime you measure anything, you improve upon it whether you want to or not, just because you’re measuring it. And because AutoVitals has tons of ways to measure and you can get feedback almost instantly for last week, even for yesterday, you are able to have a conversation.
And at first I thought those, the little modifications to the pictures, I thought they were kind of silly until I realized how important they were. And this is something that we had to learn. This is something that we, I mean, you’re actually changing Arrow, green arrow, yellow Arrow. And when I went to California, Uwe said, the more time you spend preparing that inspection, the less time you spend over the phone talking about it because it’s almost automatic. So you get these aha moments over and over and over and then you discover. Right now we’re working on your retention campaign page and we’re looking to see how we can create a, because we have, if we do everything correctly, we have a ton of information that’s on the table, so to speak. Say you have an estimate that you build. And our estimates are in saved 34, 45, 62.
And of course sometime we don’t get to do all of it the first day. So we have a lot left on the table because of the inspections and because of the line of inspection that we have, we’re able to market that off the retention campaign page. And we’re doing some spectacular, more than just a phone call. We’re doing some spectacular marketing and it’s working. Our average ARO is going up, our hours per job is going up. Our buy-in with our, and it’s a conversation we have every single day. Not always about the same thing, but because you’re monitoring, you’re able to take your shop to the next level. What’s funny is over the course of the year, the year and a half, your customer’s expectations become so much higher that anywhere else they go, you guys don’t have what Rick and Ray’s has. Nobody has what Rick and Ray’s has.
There’s a lot of things we’re doing that no one else does. And we could have never ever envisioned this without. It’s a daily process. You have to have buy-in KPIs, you’re monitoring, you measure and if you want to or not, you improve. And so we’re able to modify that and coach and listen and as long as you’re coachable, because when we first started, we knew everything. We were the best salesmen, we were the best service owners. Are you offering everything? Of course we are. And then we looked back and you haven’t offered this lady an air filter in four years. Oh, that’s not important. Of course it’s important. So as long as you’re coachable and you’re humble and you’re able to take advice and actually apply it, I mean the sky’s the limit. So with AutoVitals, you’re able to establish a pattern of divisive measurements.
And as long as you apply, it’s like any tool, as long as you use it correctly and improve upon using it. Because also AutoVitals stay stagnant. It’s always changing, it’s always improving. It’s always got some new feature. And you have to listen to Fred and Frank. They sound like they’re college professors. Someone who’s new to this, what the hell are they talking about? Well, once you are into it, you understand what we’re talking about and what we’re mentioning. Our per ticket car count, we used to think car count was it. We would sell our souls for car count. It’s not about car count, it’s about make every car count. And how do you do that? You have to do that with a good courtesy inspection. And it has to be a, it has to be. And then once you get a good courtesy inspection, you better make sure your service advisors are going through and doing everything correctly. Every opportunity is missed. If you don’t do it correctly, God forbid you take the time to do a courtesy. And we do them for free here in Texas. We take the wheels off. I know Frank says never we
Frank Scandura (25:17):
Doing them now.
Sergio Garza (25:18):
Yeah. Well, so we found out,
Frank Scandura (25:23):
Sorry, we’re almost out of time, but I want to say that the data is here. The data is there. And when I hear shops arguing that they don’t need to edit the pictures, they don’t need to waste time putting certain on it. It’s ridiculous when you could see the shops that do it consistently and get more sales from it, stop fighting the system, just haven in and give in and do it. Stop fighting. So we started a new program where every new customer gets a more thorough inspection, including a brake inspection. We call it our baseline inspection for new customers. And I’m now paying the technicians for that and not charging the customer. So even old dogs learn new tra Sergio.
Sergio Garza (26:13):
No. And that’s the deal. Frank said something else, he said, never say no. And that’s something we had to learn how to say no because we found out that if we get a little bit rushed, we don’t pay attention to the, and when we don’t pay attention to a hundred percent, guess what? Our average, our old drops and once. And so we still have to learn about everything is a process. I’ve always been a believer load up. You have a sausage machine, you load up that machine with as much work as you can and it becomes a sausage manager to navigate around that. But man, our car count has dropped almost to two thirds what it was a year ago. And we’re making more than, I mean because of AutoVitals, and not only that we’re exits scheduling, they come in, oh, right, here’s the keys, here’s the estimate that you told me. I’m ready for it. And hallelujah. And it’s a $2,200 ticket that you didn’t even have to. And that happens every single day.
Tom Dorsey (27:14):
That’s it, brother. You know it’s because you know what? You sold it. They approved it, they just didn’t approve it for today. It’s still approved. It’s inevitable. It’s eventual that they’re going to come back in and you build that personalized maintenance plan, get ’em to commit, like you said at the exit schedule. That’s money in the bank, baby. You’re just waiting for ’em to come back in and pay you.
Sergio Garza (27:34):
It’s like I said, you set the expectations for your customers and we’re not cheap. And if they go somewhere else and they’re not going to have the experiences that we give them, but they’re just going to gravitate right back to us, man. No one else does what we do, as long as we’re able to take care of them and explain to them and educate them. All we’re doing is educating and get ’em excited about it. They get excited about an outlet they see ont. Why not get excited about your 22,000 car in any service? So that’s all I got. I know. Time short.
Tom Dorsey (28:08):
Yeah, guys, I hate, man, we could go all day. I hate to break it up, but we’re out of time. Appreciate everybody. Really appreciate, Sergio, you hanging in there and being patient and we got you in. And of course you dropped bombs for us. It was awesome. Fred, as always, Mr. Brother Frank, I’m going to be out there next month, so I’m going to track you down and looking forward to seeing you. Really appreciate all you guys do, helping us out and coming on here and helping other shops by sharing some of your experience. And again, let’s continue the conversation on Facebook. Get up there if there’s any questions that we didn’t cover, if there’s any topics that you’d like us to cover in future episodes, let us know. And until next week, this has been Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey and thanks again for tuning in.
Sergio Garza (29:02):
Have a great day. Stay
Tom Dorsey (29:03):
Warm. Thank you. Go make some money, Sergio.
Sergio Garza (29:08):
Thank you. Bye-Bye.

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