You Are Paid For What You Know, Not What You Do

by Bob Greenwood

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There is no doubt about it that the automotive aftermarket service industry has changed drastically. Vehicles now on the road are more sophisticated than ever, and that sophistication will continue to grow until all vehicles become a high-end computer on four (or more) wheels. Think about what technology is coming into our industry, from electric and hybrid vehicles to the autonomous vehicle. It is very critical to recognize the new aftermarket service business that comes with this change. Too many shops still promote what they do, when in fact what separates the progressive shops from the old regime is knowledge.

The client is looking for solutions to their vehicle issues. They want the right answer that addresses their needs, not a sales presentation. As a progressive and professional shop, you provide just that because you have the right on-going training throughout the business at every level that provides and maintains the depth of knowledge required to educate the client, counselling them and resolving their concerns.

Consider the required knowledge depth today in each position of the business from the manager/owner to the front counter service advisor to the technician, to the back parts person to the receptionist to administration. Anyone can pretty much say they do one of those positions, but what is the quality and depth of their knowledge to execute it to the top of the industry?

Understanding and embracing the title of this article is critical to developing your long-term business culture and executing your ultimate professionalism. This truly is how a career is built. The entire team in the shop understands this, has embraced it and takes accountability for their tasks in executing the end result to the client.

You know this is the right way to proceed, but there is still a lot of work to be done starting with ongoing, in-depth conversations. Take the time to have this discussion with your team. Do they clearly understand the difference and importance from what they do to what they know? Embracing this paradigm shift in thinking will allow each person to execute to the very best of their ability because they understand their education will forever be ongoing while connected with your company. They recognize that their depth of knowledge in their specific position plays an important role that completes the service circle, allowing the entire shop to embrace their professional responsibility to the client in managing their vehicle for safety and reliability.

Embrace the concept of daily “scrum” meetings (5 to 8 minutes long max) reporting to the entire staff the progress of the client service level. This is reflected mathematically in the average billed hours per R/O and the site efficiency measurement. As you progress towards an average of 2.5 billed hours per R/O for basic consumer vehicle service and consistently obtain between 75 percent and 80 percent site efficiency, you know that the entire shop’s knowledge base has grown to where it must be maintained.

The next five years are going to be very exciting times for the aftermarket at every level. Once understood, the opportunities are immense but truthfully, they will only be for the select few who get it. Push yourself to embrace the new aftermarket and enjoy this exciting business.