Shop Management | Operations - Service Repair

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How to find three managers wrapped into one

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 09:00
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This month’s article was written with the help of ATI Director of Client Fulfillment George Zeeks.

I get it. You started this business and grew it all by yourself. Now you want to have time off, some time for yourself and your family. Who can you trust to run your baby? It’s an incredibly hard decision, and this won’t make it any easier. Keep in mind that every coach at ATI never ran a shop with the owner present. It’s just not the way we do things. You pay us very good money to run your shop, and you shouldn’t have to be there. If you want time off and to have a shop running so that you don’t have to be there then you need three managers, all wrapped into one, to give you the best results. Let’s listen to our Director of Client Fullfillment George Zeeks explain how you can accomplish one of the toughest challenges in any business owner’s life.

Shop Evaluation Checklist
If you would like a checklist to help evaluate your shop to see if you are ready to reach that next level, you can go to

The retail manager

This is the easiest and most routine manager you can have. They keep the bathroom clean. The coffee area running right. The magazines neat and orderly. There is not a lot of creativity needed here. Just an attention to detail and keeping the basics in mind. The daily deposit is run and correct every day. The cash drawer is right and on the money. The biggest issue is that many of you haven’t trained your manager to do these things because they are too basic and you assume they will know what to do. Nothing is too basic. You wouldn’t believe how many owners don’t reconcile the cash drawer every day. They don’t even make a deposit every day. This is a huge first step in becoming an owner who is not in the business every day. This can be a challenge, but nothing compared to the next level.

The sales manager

This is the manager that can not only sell stuff. This is the manager that can manage the sales of service advisors in many cases. The basic principle of every business is that you have a product or service and you sell them to your customer. They must relate to your customers in the most basic way possible and relate why the customer needs your goods or services. Most owners do not do a great job of this due to fear. A lot of owners are afraid that people won’t like them if they give the bad news. Customers don’t want to hear bad news and being the bearer of bad tidings is a difficult task. Suck it up. That’s the job. We have to let people know what is wrong with their car. If it’s a lot of money, then they really need to know. Maybe they would want a new car? Maybe they don’t have the credit for the new car? We have a responsibility to tell them what is really going on, so they can make the right decision. The key is to have someone who can explain what is going on in a way that the customer can understand. I have, personally, never believed in selling someone a repair on their car. I have always believed that we need to cover everything that they need in a way they understand and then it becomes a logical choice to do the repairs or not. You need to build value in what you are going to do. You have to explain the pros and cons. You must cover, in detail, the features and benefits of what the repairs entail. The customer needs to understand what is involved, what it costs and why does it need to be done now. Anything less than that and you are taking shortcuts that will cause pain to the customer or the business.

The sales manager also manages the promises and the end result. Is the car done when promised? Are we communicating with the customer along the way? Many shops have said that we get way too many phone calls from customers. Maybe that’s because we don’t set the proper expectations and then follow up on them. The customer must be kept informed so they know what is going on. Anything else can turn into a disaster. The sales manager also has the responsibility for the next visit. A lot of people don’t want to hear this, but this is the foundation of any business. Employees don’t quit the business; they quit the manager, and so do the customers. The sales process doesn’t end until the customer picks up the car and is happy. Anything else is a fraud and will cost you your future.

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