Author Archive Jill Trotta

Part I: How’s Your Intake?

Have you ever thought about your process of intaking a customers vehicle and how it is delivered to them after their repair/service is complete?
I know I keep harping on the way the front of the shop is run, how the phone is answered and now how the customer is treated once your great phone skills get them to come into your shop. As shop owners and managers, we invest a great deal in keeping up technically, getting the proper training, tools, and the right technicians to professionally and accurately diagnose and repair your customers’ cars. Falling behind technically is expensive and apparent when it is left to lapse. Day after day in the applications I review, the phone calls I make, and the customer data I review is that many customer issues originate from inexperienced or untrained staff in the front of the shop. Service advisors are just “nice”, and sometimes not trained...

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Advisors Are from Mars and Customers Are from Venus

Automotive repair professionals speak car, OBD II codes, air fuel ratios, Denso vs. Bosch, Japanese vs. European technology, etc. Car owners speak work schedules, soccer, kid play dates, and pick-up times. It’s no wonder there’s so much miscommunication in automotive repairs. I know cars. I can speak car. I can speak OBD II, Japanese vs. European, and all the other daily conversations mechanics have with each other about cars. Customers speak fear, anxiety, and inconvenience. Most of the time a customer’s biggest problem isn’t that their car is broken. It’s the possible repercussions of being without their car and the toll this will take on their life and the lives of their family.

When a car breaks down for a working mom or dad, it’s more than a car that breaks down as it causes a major LIFE breakdown. Kids don’t get where they need to go, pick-ups are missed, and...

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Master Your Phone Skills!

Real World Examples: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

RepairPal Certification Manager Jill Trotta, talks to dozens of repair shops every week, and RepairPal generates thousands of consumer calls every month for our RepairPal Certified shops, which we record for quality and training purposes. One common theme when listening to these calls is, across the board, auto repair shops can benefit greatly by improving their inbound phone skills! Here are some examples, scripted from actual phone calls, of the good, the bad, and the ugly for your listening enjoyment.

Why So Much? Isn’t Diagnosis Free?

Any mechanic who has seen a check engine light knows that it could indicate anything from a simple repair to a complex diagnostic issue. As a technician, service advisor, and service manager with over 23 years of experience, the one thing that I found most difficult to communicate and sell to customers was diagnostic time. To make matters worse, customers often compare the service they receive at a quality shop with the deceiving convenience of parts stores. These stores use a handheld code puller to pull the code and sell parts on the spot, based on a code without performing any diagnosis. Customers who then install the part and feel they have resolved the issue may ask, “Who needs a technician?!” Don’t you wish it was that easy! It would take a lot of the cost and stress out of auto repair. Diagnosing computer-controlled vehicles can be costly for the consumer as well as...

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What Tool in Your Shop Generates the Most Income?

As one of the certification managers at RepairPal, I interact with 15 to 30 shops per day on the phone. The purpose of my call is to make contact with the owner or manager, introduce myself and guide them through the RepairPal Certified application process. When I make these phone calls I am on high alert as I am evaluating the shop. Often, I am struck with how poorly the phone is answered: rushed, mumbled sometimes, and immediately put on-hold. On average, 10% of the calls I make will be answered in a way that makes me (their potential customer) feel welcome. The results of my unofficial, unscientific survey on the general phone skills of automotive repair facilities are that they are lacking.

Let me explain my views on phone skills. In my 23 years of experience I have come to believe that an investment in the person...

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