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Updating and Refining Your Shop and Yourself

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KEYWORDS service

2021 was a challenge. It affected everyone, whether you are an owner or a technician. And, since many of you wear both of those hats, I suspect you stayed busier than normal — whatever normal is anymore. 

Now that we have turned the calendar to 2022, it is crucial to block out time with no distractions to examine all aspects of your shop.

Owners

A good place to start would be to critique your shop’s overall atmosphere as viewed by the customer. The goal here is to make your customers feel good about patronizing the shop.

Is the shop attractive to the customer? Are there any alterations you can employ to further enhance customer service? This might be as simple as looking at potential updates such as a new paint job on the exterior of the building, a refreshed or redesigned sign, an upgrade to the landscaping or an improved parking lot.

Or, do a deep dive and make sure that you are taking advantage of all the latest technology that is available to communicate with your customers in whatever manner they want. While at it, verify that your website and e-commerce systems are state of the art.  

Don’t forget about the waiting room or doing a service desk project, a visual impression that inspires consumer confidence. For instance, customers have become accustomed to seeing a flat-screen TV on the wall. It can provide customers with a distraction while waiting. Also, with regard to automotive service operations, this is an opportunity to run brief promos from various parts manufacturers as well as tips on preventive maintenance.

Every professionally operated shop makes an effort to keep the shop uncluttered, well-lit and organized. Visual impressions can have a profound effect on how customers (especially first-time customers) view the operation.

The same goes for your equipment. Are your scanners updated with the latest data? Is software for your alignment equipment and A/C equipment updated with the latest applications? Is the shop ready and capable to address advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) service, both in terms of hardware/software as well as technician training? Have you given your technicians all of the tools and equipment they need to succeed?

Technicians

This is the perfect time to finish that class you started online or to look into the next steps for the next accreditations you desire. Have you really looked at all of the technical training that’s available from your vendors? What other training can help you and the vision you have for the shop?

Is it time to invest in new hand tools to replace those that no longer work quite as well as you would like?  Do you have a plan in place to upgrade your diagnostic equipment instead of waiting until the last minute?  And, as much as we all hate to think about it — is it time to get rid of some of your way-too-old work clothes and invest in new ones?

Viewing the new year as an opportunity to refine and update your plan is vital to keep abreast of the ever-evolving automotive industry changes and advancements. Planning for the year now is far more advantageous than playing catchup as the year progresses.  

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