Training Doesn’t Stop
For both business owners and team members!
Successful business owners have many things in common. One of the most impactful to their success is the policy on training…for both themselves and team. But the most successful shop owners take it a few steps further. Their policy is not just the need for training, but that training doesn’t stop.
Today’s management systems and the vehicles themselves are sophisticated with advanced technology implications. Updates are continual. If a crew member took a class five years ago on a specific issue, it’s well past the time to enroll in the follow-up offered. If the owner took a class five years ago on best recruiting procedures, it’s also way past the point that more training is needed.
For Brian Notte, owner of Allen’s Automotive of West Rutland Vermont, it’s part of the interview and recruitment process, “I make sure a new employee knows that continued training is a requirement at Allen’s.” This policy has proven successful for Allen’s Automotive.
Brian finds that a great training resource for his employees are his vendors. Many times parts suppliers have their own training and its often free of charge. He requires that his techs are taking full advantage of these offerings. He’ll pinpoint areas that need improvement and assign specific training sessions to employees. This is in addition to one-on-one sessions between the employee and Brian.
Allen’s Automotive has been in business for over 40 years now. While Brian continues with the great community-based customer service it’s been known for since opening, he knows that he also has to continually bring new technology to the shop and team. “Everything is changing – and changing faster and faster as time goes by. It’s crucial we keep ahead of the curve and stay ahead of our competition,” adds Brian.
Another component of a world-class training policy for repair shops is the training needed for the owner. Just like an employee on their team, an owner needs to stay up to date with the latest management systems and procedures and bring those to the shop.
This includes management functions like recruiting, sales, production and marketing but it also includes knowing and using the latest shop operation technology like KPI management. An owner has to have a true picture of the numbers to make important decisions. Another area the owner should ensure is being fully used within the shop is their SMS platform. Don’t just use one function, make sure everyone in the shop (including the owner), understands its full capability. Talk to the SMS vendor and see what training opportunities they have. The business pays for this so why not use all of its power? This rule of thumb goes for any app that a shop is using. The smart thing to do is to conduct an audit of all apps used (and the shop is paying for) and investigate if each is being used to the extent its designed for. These vendors are a great training resource.
Plus the owner should always stay curious. Without that the owner will stagnate. Read industry blogs, newsletters and publications. If you hear about a topic that sounds interesting – or that needs improvement – investigate it. Do your research. Or even read a book on the topic. There are a lot of great reads available.
Since Brian is a DRIVE client, he always has his Service Advisor take a series of workshops from DRIVE specifically geared for the front desk. Areas that are covered include how to handle common objections to setting up that next appointment, how to deal with each type of customer and how great communication and manners enter into a Service Advisor excelling at their job.
Brian knows it’s important that he takes this on for himself also. A few recent DRIVE workshops taken by Brian are Developing Shop Playbooks, Keys to Understanding Your Financial Reports and a key recruiting and hiring workshop, Building Your Dream Team.
“Thank you DRIVE. I know what I need to do now to up my game with the interview process for my recruiting initiatives. And I always find the networking with fellow shop owners beneficial – it often sparks ideas that I take right back to the shop,” says Brian about the DRIVE workshops.
Brian Notte is setting up Allen’s Automotive not just for success today but well into the future with his dedicated implementation of training for his crew, himself and his business.
This will appear in Motor Age Magazine.