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Episode Description

Phil Sylvester (Concours Motors) and Frank Scandura III (Frank’s European Service) join our host Tom Dorsey (AutoVitals) and talk about the TOP 5 DO’S AND DON’TS when you are training your staff.
Topics covered include:
– How to get Service Advisor and Technician buy-in
– What NOT to do when training staff
– What TO DO while you are training your staff
– Changing the engine while flying the plane
– NEW Digital Shop Academy Microlearning Training Courses

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):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to the Wednesday March 13th edition of Digital Shop Talk Radio. Believe it or not, this is episode six and we’ve got a great show for you. My name’s Tom Dorsey. I’ll be hosting, I am joined today by my co-host with the most Frank Scandura at Frank’s European in Las Vegas, Nevada. And we’ve got a great special guest for you today, and we’re going to be talking today about how do you get your technicians to adopt this program? How do you get your service advisors to adopt and to buy in and some ideas on technician training, service advisor training, incentivizing. How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. And so we’ve got a great guest with us today, Phil Sylvester, he’s a store manager over at Concours Motors in Ventura, California. And Concours has been with us since almost the very beginning. So is Frank, right? Frank’s been with us. Is it going on four years now, Frank?
Speaker 2 (01:06):
Four years I think. Yeah.
Tom Dorsey (01:07):
And so a lot’s changed in the way that AutoVitals, well, we learned a lot over that time, right? And so these two guys and a lot of other shops out there had to kind of blaze a trail. We didn’t really have our structure down, our training down what’s working. And so these guys had to actually go out there and be innovators and figure it out. And so we’re going to get some great insight today on what to do, but more importantly, probably what not to do, learn from their wisdom, learn from their mistakes, and they’re here to help you today so that you can get that buy-in from your staff and start taking advantage of the digital shop. So long intro, but again, I want to say welcome to Phil. Phil, if you could introduce yourself and say hi.
Phil Sylvester (02:00):
Good morning guys and girls. I’m Phil Sylvester, Concours Motors, Ventura California. Hope all is well for you all and look forward to sharing some info with you.
Tom Dorsey (02:10):
Yeah, thanks Phil. And again, we got Frank Scandura. Frank, if you want to kind of kick us off and just give us some background on, because you’ve got quite the process that you’ve created out there. And so how did you get, I mean, initially your technicians to buy in, your service advisors to buy in the baby steps.
Speaker 2 (02:30):
So it was quite a learning curve in the beginning for us. And anybody who’s tried to implement any kind of program with your team knows that they hate change and they’re going to push back and they’re going to do everything they can to avoid change. Henry Ford said if I asked people what they wanted, they would’ve asked for faster horses. And there’s so much truth to that. Most of us shop owners we’re already taking pictures. So before we could take a picture, we would say, come on Mr. Customer, you’ve got to come down and see this. And the customer would take time out of his day and stand under a car, have no clue what he’s looking at and say, okay, then we go to our digital cameras and different things and we’d be emailing pictures. And we never had any way to track any of that.
So when I first learned about AutoVitals and the reporting, I said, boy, this is it. I’m in. And I went out and got some tablets and handed them to the guys and says, Hey, we’re going to do inspections on these now. And I walked away and I don’t know how I survived that, but they didn’t throw the tablets at me and inspections were spotty. And that kind of evolved from, okay, well we need pictures. Let’s get eight pictures of every car we inspect. And no lie, one of my techs took a picture of four shocks and four tires in every single car inspected. Well, that’s all on me. So I needed to learn the program. It wasn’t the type of thing. It’s not like buying a scan tool, here’s what you need guys. And then walking away, it wasn’t like buying a timing chain tool set and where they had the information they needed.
So we had to create some information and then it took time just matter of fact, step by step, inch by inch, item by item. This is what we’re going to take pictures of, this is why. So now we’re up to I think 14, 15 pictures minimum. We do up to 10 pictures just on our walk around. And we’ve evolved all the way through that process to now the service advisors have their own tablet, each of the technicians have their own tablet and everybody’s got their spot in the process. And it was just a matter of just sitting down and saying, look, this is why. This is the value it’s bringing. I never did it for the ARO increase. That was never my goal. I did it because I wanted to clearly communicate to the customer what we saw and why we’re doing it. Part of our mission statement is automotive service and repair should not be intimidating. It is our responsibility to tell you what we’re doing on your car and why even if it means not performing any service work on your vehicle. That’s important to me. So that was the reason why I wanted it. Then to learn about the reporting, I thought on paper, every single car got inspected. I had all these inspection sheets. We had double, no carbon required two pages, one for the customer, one for our records.
When I got hooked up with AutoVitals, I learned not every car is getting inspected. So I was able to measure and verify that that was a problem. And then I thought everybody got told everything we discovered on every inspection, and I thought that because I told the team to do it. Now, any of us who have been doing this for any length of time knows just because it comes out of your mouth and goes into their ears doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I have now the ability to measure. So when we started to measure and started to look at this and I look at a report and I said, this says you sent out 32% of the inspections. You told me you sent them all, then the response is usually, huh, I thought I sent them all.
Tom Dorsey (06:14):
I pushed the button.
Speaker 2 (06:15):
So by having, well no, they didn’t even push the button,
Tom Dorsey (06:19):
Right? I thought I pushed the button.
Speaker 2 (06:22):
So by having that concrete report, I don’t have to say anything anymore. The numbers never lie. So just by going over those reports and going over that information, I saw the improvement and we’ve had an enormous increase in our ARO from the day we started.
Tom Dorsey (06:39):
Yeah, it was great. Like you said, you didn’t go into it for the ARO, but hey, thanks. What about you Phil? So did you guys do like Frank and just toss out some tablets and say, guess what guys? Here’s the new inspection platform, good luck.
Phil Sylvester (06:52):
No, actually,
Speaker 2 (06:56):
So it’s got a connection problem
Phil Sylvester (07:03):
From the traditional paper ARO. So we took our two best tech savvy service advisors and the best tech savvy technician, even though one of the service advisors wasn’t the most, how can I say it? He was a little hesitant about it also. So what we did was we put those two guys together and pioneered a program. We branched another service advisor, another couple techs and kind of wrapped our minds around it that way. Meanwhile, all the big things that we did was encouraged it. We set the example and all the other guys kind of bided in on it. I currently have a guy that’s 65 years old as a tech has been doing this forever. We hired him a few years ago and he took to the tablet program, no problem. We were a little hesitant at first that he was going to have some pushback, but man, he came right in there and he takes good photos and it’s really helped his whole process of inspection. And then once we got up and running, we got rid of the paper, we just pulled the bandaid off of it, zero paper, it’s not going to happen anymore. And used it that way. But it worked out really good in that respect
Tom Dorsey (08:35):
Because, and we actually learned from you guys, we started to recommend that right away is to say, Hey, here is a path to adoption is get, like you said, your most tech savvy tech pare them up just one tech, one service writer in the beginning and let them get rolling, get the feel, work the bugs out and then push it out to the, roll it out to the rest of the crew because it’s like Uwe likes to say, right at AutoVitals, we’re changing the engines on the plane while we’re flying it, right? And that’s kind of how you have to get adoption in the shop. You still got to be open for business, you still have to make your money. But then how do you learn this technology at the same time? And the best way to do it is to select a team, get them I even had in a couple of shops.
Here’s a neat idea, especially to get, overcome some objections that you might get from the staff because not everybody’s staff is going to be as open to it as say Phil and Frank’s, right? I think it more sounds more like Frank’s staff just didn’t have any choice, but make a competition, test them, challenge ’em. Say here, I’m going to give this a digital inspection to this tech. And you go ahead and work your paper inspection and at the end of the process we’ll see who was faster in reality, not just who can scribble on a piece of paper faster, but who actually got me a good comprehensive inspection done in the quickest amount of time delivered to the workstation, not hanging on a clipboard where I still have to go transcribe it, but then to be able to see the outcome, who actually gets more work approved.
And once you run that, you’ll see that it’s really no contest because if your guys are beating the digital inspection on paper, it’s because they’re not doing a full inspection. They’re pencil whipping it turnaround time from taking that paper to creating a copy of it in your estimate inside your point of sale takes time also. And then how do you get that to the customer’s eyes even if you can or are you just calling ’em on the phone? And so if you look at it from start to front and the results, digital’s going to win each and every time. And if your technicians payroll’s being impacted by that, their checks are growing, you should be on the down slope, you should be coasting into adoption.
Phil Sylvester (11:10):
Without question that this digital process has been the best thing that we’ve done. We have had increase in ARO and more so customer buy-in versus it’s just been a great process. And the technicians have bought into it very well so
Tom Dorsey (11:27):
Far. Yeah, because for the tech, once they get the tablet down and they get their process and they get the flow around the vehicle and how they run each of those inspection sheets, they’re pretty much cooking with gas. I mean there’s not a lot of surprises in their day anymore. Service rider, it’s a whole nother matter because the process changes by individual and circumstance and things like that. But like you said, once they start seeing the results on their checks then, and like Frank had said, it just gets better. They started out, okay, we’ll do the minimums. Hey, now we’re doing 10 pictures, now we’re doing 15 pictures, and now we’re right in the sweet spot where they know to capture how to capture it. And they see that conversion of service, you’re setting your service rider up for success and you can fall down into approved work, right?
Phil Sylvester (12:23):
And don’t be afraid of your lazy employee either. Sometimes they have the best shortcuts,
Tom Dorsey (12:32):
At least map their process, get them involved in how the inspections set up, the topics that are on it, the recommendations and how those things are laid out. Because like Phil said, you might learn something. What about service?
Phil Sylvester (12:46):
Tom Dorsey (12:50):
How do we do that?
Speaker 2 (12:51):
And then back this up just a minute, right? So I was training a technician, we promoted the shop foreman and I said, let me show you the front counter side of AutoVitals. And I learned a couple of things. The techs need to see what happens up front and the advisors need to see what happens in the bank because if they don’t understand, there’s a huge disconnect and the tech will send a message and then walk up front, did you get my message? I don’t know how it works. So make sure that’s part of your training that you show them how the messaging works and how everything works. And when I was showing my shop foreman in the program, I said, Hey, let me send you an inspection so you can see what it looks like. And he gets his phone, he is going, huh, I need to take better pictures. Boom. That was the big impact. And we do that today when we get an inspection, it’s not that good. Okay, you said this problem existed. I’m sending you the picture. I want you to see what the customer sees. And I never get an argument about, well, I took a picture. You figure it out because you’re showing it to them. They think they’re taking a great picture, they’re hurrying, they’re rushing, whatever the case may be. But it’s a huge impact to make sure everybody knows what each other’s doing and why.
Tom Dorsey (14:04):
That’s great advice right there is see product and then just challenge, what is this? Sell this to me. What is this picture you just took? How about you guys? Phil, noticing the technicians. You
Phil Sylvester (14:22):
Broke up a little.
Tom Dorsey (14:22):
Come and recommend best practices to you guys.
Phil Sylvester (14:30):
I’m sorry, you have to repeat that. We had a little static there. I didn’t hear you.
Tom Dorsey (14:33):
No, I was saying Frank’s saying guys are coming up and being able to see the results and then be able to either identify areas that they need improvement or even be able to recommend best practices to you. Kind of like how you were saying the lazy guy has some good secrets. Yes. You guys experiencing that in your shop as well?
Phil Sylvester (14:56):
Absolutely, yes. Like what Frank was saying, I didn’t realize all the time what the tech was seeing on his side. And I’d have questions like, why are you not giving me X, Y, Z? And once we got together and shared information back to front, let him see what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, that changed everything. So not to beat a dead horse, but what Frank said is 150% true. You definitely have to share information, why you’re doing it, how it works, what the customer’s going to see, what we should be expecting, all that. It has to go up and down the chain.
Tom Dorsey (15:36):
So that’s a great takeaway for you if you’re new to the program, thinking about getting on the program and how do I get this adoption? Show each role, show the other side of the coin there. Show the technicians what the front sees and what it looks like and why it’s important for them to be diligent. Take good lighting in the pictures, use the on tablet editing to help the service advisor to understand what those pictures represent and leave very detailed and good notes. There’s no excuse. If you can just talk into the tablet and leave notes. Do it. Right. So what about the service writer? What about the front? Because the front’s got a lot more moving parts. How do we get especially, I mean a service writer has already got his hair on fire most of the day. How do you even get ’em to just decompress and focus?
Speaker 2 (16:30):
Go ahead Phil.
Phil Sylvester (16:32):
I found that the advisors, at least the newer advisors, maybe some of the older ones have a little pushback, but the newer ones were very welcoming to it. They like the technology side of it. I was just upfront with them, don’t expect perfection at first. We’re going to struggle with this or that When we do, let’s vent about it or let’s fix it, but let’s get moving the ball’s going this direction, keep all going that way. So it was a more so of a leadership or encouragement at our shop at least to get everybody going that direction and including myself.
Tom Dorsey (17:15):
Yeah, right. No, and you’d said something earlier, that’s a great point is you have to learn the system yourself so that you can lead by example. Absolutely. If you’re doing it, then you can hold people accountable to it. And then you heard it here first. I think the other tip that Phil just gave us is fire all the old dogs and hire some new fresh blood.
Speaker 2 (17:33):
I had to do it, I had to do it. I had to. I
Phil Sylvester (17:36):
Don’t know if I said that.
Tom Dorsey (17:37):
I don’t do that.
Speaker 2 (17:39):
We had somebody that did refuse, refuse, refuse, this is too hard, it’s too much. Why can’t we just use paper? Why can’t we just use paper? He kept using paper in his desk and he kept doing things his way and it came down to you got to go. You can’t. Because the more he tried to fight the new system, the more he tried to fight the new process, the more frustrated he got in general, the more frustrated we got that he started getting short and customers and all these other things. And it’s like, no, we’re not playing this game. And the other thing is that reports, reports, reports, right? This discovery about motorists time on the inspection is enormous. It just blows my mind. And it’s amazing too. Now I’ve got my guys, I said, look at it, look at it, look at it. Because this is critical.
It’s got a direct effect on their confidence in what we’re trying to tell ’em, and it’s got a direct effect on what they’re willing to purchase. And it never fails when they get ahead of the customer looking at it and they don’t take the time to make sure tore looking at the inspection, they blow the sale, it never fails. They just don’t understand what we’re talking about. We’re in an age where it’s just no more. And as far as bringing new people in, I tell ’em that little square tile on your screen is your repair water. So just think of it as a repair order. You’re going to pick it up, look at it by clicking the wrench, you’re going to see what notes are on there from a technician. You’re going to make decisions on what you’re going to do. The only difference is you don’t have to go running all over the building with paper in your hands trying to figure out what’s the next step. And that has helped a lot. So it’s just process of we’re not on paper anymore. This is how we’re doing it. This is what you’re going to see, this is what you’re going to do, this is what you’re going to present. And it’s just pretty basic anymore.
Phil Sylvester (19:33):
Tom Dorsey (19:34):
How’d you guys do it
Phil Sylvester (19:36):
Without it? We just recently switched over from RO Writer to Protractor and there was a little delay getting AutoVitals back up and it was hard. It was like, oh man, what do I do now? I don’t have AutoVitals, I don’t have this. And I had customers asking me, Hey, where’s that cool report you send us? And I didn’t get my inspection on this time. And I was like, well, we still did it, but it didn’t come out from computer changes and stuff. But it is, without the only way to go, in my opinion, you cannot operate without it. I don’t know why people want to think about anything else other than having some sort of digital inspection process.
Tom Dorsey (20:24):
Well, they just haven’t seen the results you guys have. And it’s like anything else, it’s fear of unknown and it’s change. And gosh, change is hard, but it’s like anything, it’s like when you put a point of sale in the eighties when everybody was going into point of sales and getting away from handwriting tickets, you did it for a reason. And the reason was to bring efficiencies and better record keeping and organization. And this really takes it to that next level because now when you’ve eliminated paper from your process, and like you said, when you’ve established it because your customers say, where is my inspection? That’s gold. And as a matter of fact, I mean just think about it from this perspective is they’re saying, where’s my inspection? They’ll never go to another shop because they’re not going to get one there either, right? They stay loyal to you because of the transparency and you just have to keep working off of that to set expectations and build a maintenance plan with your folks and they come in and give you money, everything on a regular basis. It’s like an ATM machine for you. But like I said, it takes the best practices to get there. Did you guys, because I know Phil, you were coming to workshops, you had the luxury of being down the street from us at our corporate office. And so you guys would come into workshops regularly over the years, how did those benefit you? And have you then gone into the online training that we’ve developed out of those workshops and out of the feedback that you guys have given us on how to improve our training,
Phil Sylvester (21:57):
We buffered a little bit. So you were asking have I come to the workshops? Yes, I have that AutoVitals is super helpful. And what was the second question?
Tom Dorsey (22:06):
And then because we developed a lot of online training resources, since you’ve been coming to workshops, have you guys gone through any of those online courses, watch the training videos? Have you got a new hire coming in? Are you sitting ’em down in front of our training videos or are you just pushing ’em into your own process?
Phil Sylvester (22:28):
We do a hybrid. We get ’em based on the overall view. I find that people learn good, but I always back it up with the training videos because we have, you learn every time from them training videos. Every time I watch, I pick up something new that, and the webinars are super helpful for things. And going to the AutoVitals conference, Frank had shared some great information that we’re actually improvising as well with people that are very successful at it.
Tom Dorsey (23:11):
Yeah, I was going to say, I think there’s a lot of people out there that owe Frank a tip or something, right? Because I had another guy telling me that after Frank’s class, they went back and implemented an a hundred dollars ARO increase in the first month. So you can always learn new stuff if you think that you’re using the program to its full, get to a workshop, get out the conference, get into our webinars on Tuesdays and hear from other shop owners because they’re going to give you this type of insight like you’re hearing here today. And you might go, Hey, let me try that. And then there you go, you’re off to another improvement. Matter of fact, I think I can share this. Dan Garlock, ATI shops been with us for as probably as long as both of y’all had sent in, said thank you to Uwe and said, man, you’ve been pounding me to focus on picture edit and I can’t believe the results that they had gained.
I don’t remember the exact numbers. I mean, it was incredible. I mean, here’s a guy who’s already at a super high ARO, he’s a sophisticated operator. He is running at capacity and top performance. And then still to be able to put a 30, 40% increase on ARO by making those picture edit steps and following those best practices. I mean, that’s a testament man to telling you that you’re not getting the most out of it until you fully go through the training and you listen to the best practices and work to adopt those in your shop. And I don’t know if you’ve caught our webinar yesterday, but we introduced the Digital Shop Academy. And so that’s the next evolution of what we’re learning from you guys and your needs for training. And so the AutoVitals Digital Shop Academy is going to be micro learning.
It’s Bill Connor, and Jim and Alice have been doing a great job for putting together two minute videos on how to edit a picture, how to use the voice to text, whatever it is. And now what we’re going to do is we’re going to create modules, hired a new tech, here’s the micro training that you need to give to them. They can even look at it right on the tablet on the job, I’m doing this. Oh, there’s the video. I can reference it real quick. Here’s how I do it. And we’ll see that adoption come even much faster. And so we’re creating those for the tech role, for the service writer role, for the owner role, how do you use that BCP, how do you track and tech performance, service writer, sales performance, that kind of thing. So really want to get you guys to check it out. You go on help and just search for the academy on there and you can see those micro videos and incorporate those into your training process. And then of course, give us feedback. If there’s something that’s missing that you want to see, something that you’d be changed or edited in some fashion, let us know. We’ll create that collateral and get it up there so you guys can use that in your training programs. Have either of you guys had a chance to check out the micro trainings yet on the Digital Shop Academy?
Speaker 2 (26:25):
Not yet, but I will say that if you think you’re using the program until its fullest, I don’t even use it to
Tom Dorsey (26:32):
Its fullest.
Speaker 2 (26:32):
Right? And if I’m not using it to its fullest, there’s room for everybody to learn and improve.
Tom Dorsey (26:40):
That’s right. Full disclosure. Absolutely. I’m looking
Speaker 2 (26:43):
Forward to that micro training up, so I’ll look into that. Definitely. Thank
Tom Dorsey (26:47):
You. Yeah, you guys check it out. Check it out, Phil, when you get out of here, just go to help out out of aisle search for Academy and you’ll see, and it’s got a really neat search bar and table of contents there. And then they’re doing a great job building out that content. And so share it, folks that can benefit from it, give us feedback what you’d like to see in there. And we’re really looking forward to seeing how you guys implement that into your training regimen, especially when you’re bringing in new hires and people that you need to ramp up and get up to speed quickly, because that’s what that’s going to be designed for. And also another great thing is we’ll have a bucket for new release stuff. So then you can just go in and see the micro videos on the new release in preparation a Monday when you come back in and there’s a new update and buttons are in different places and processes have changed a little bit, and that’ll get your service riders and your tax ready for Monday.
Phil Sylvester (27:42):
Tom Dorsey (27:45):
Yep. That’s how we roll here. That’s
Speaker 2 (27:47):
It. Good
Tom Dorsey (27:48):
Stuff. We try to maintain that bar of excellence and that’s why shops like excellent shops, you guys tend to be long time customers, right? Is because, I mean, it really is a symbiotic relationship that we have with you in things like this, like digital Shop talk radio where we get to come in and get your input and we really take it to heart and try to develop a product to meet those needs. So I really appreciate your guys’ time today, Phil. I know you guys are slamming busy and I really appreciate you taking the time to join us. Absolutely. Insight and how you guys are maintaining. I mean, you guys rock and roll. We’re always bragging about you at AutoVitals because you guys are an impressive group and we have a great team, man. And that’s where it starts. Have a vision, build a team, and then just go get it done. Yep.
Phil Sylvester (28:40):
Yeah, I couldn’t do it without these guys, period.
Tom Dorsey (28:42):
Speaker 2 (28:43):
Agreed. Yep. So true.
Tom Dorsey (28:45):
Yep. Big pat on the back Concours and Asian Auto Tech, man, you guys are killing it. And then Frankie, as always buddy, thank you very much for coming in and co-hosting with me today. I’m going to be flying to your town here in about two hours, so I’m looking forward to catching some dinner with you maybe tomorrow night or something and seeing you. Sounds good, man. And saying hi. So again guys, thank you very much. Really look forward to having you back on in the future and enlightening more prospective digital shop owners to see the light and to achieve the success that you guys have had. So thank you very much.
Phil Sylvester (29:22):
Thank you. I appreciate you having
Tom Dorsey (29:24):
Us. Yeah, man. Thanks for coming out. So great. Thank you very much. This is episode six, Digital Shop Talk Radio. Tune in again next Wednesday, same time, same channel 10:00 AM Pacific Time. Find us Facebook streaming maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know. I think we hired the two millennials that don’t know how to use Facebook, but hopefully we get this thing popped up on Facebook and next week you find us on Facebook. If not, you can go to help AutoVitals search podcast and you’ll find the recorded versions and you can watch ’em anytime. Until next week, I’m out. Thank you very much. Have a great day. Take care, guys. Yeah, thanks guys. Good show man. Bye.

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