Previously, I’ve stated that one of my goals is to raise the image of automotive technicians and repair shops to a higher level of respect and professionalism.
Good technicians don’t often get the credit they deserve. Technicians must learn about many complicated systems. Most clients don’t realize the tech needs to apply that knowledge to dozens of new models and sub-models with new and different computer programs and technology that’s introduced each year. Medical doctors are well-trained, educated and knowledgeable, but their job would be more difficult if they had to deal with multiple models of human beings with many different styles of brains, hearts, lungs, etc. The automotive technician and shop owner should be respected and considered a professional, but a big obstacle remains—too many shops and technicians are not well-trained and lack professional skills, image and ethics.
When a shop overcharges and underperforms, or tries to compete with other shops by working for ridiculously low prices, or acts outside the law, all shops get tainted with the same brush. Let’s compare dentistry to the automotive trade when pointing to an industry that’s shown respect by society.
To be a dentist and open an office in my province you must belong to the Ontario Dental Association. If a dentist acts criminally or unethically, the Dental Association has the power to revoke that person’s privilege of being a dentist. Wouldn’t the auto service industry be thought of with much more respect if the only shops in business were the shops that worked competently, honestly, and presented themselves professionally?
Does your shop have a professional image? To be thought of as a professional, you must look, act and speak like a professional. Imagine walking into your dentist office and finding clutter and garbage covering the counter tops and the dentist and staff wearing uniforms covered in the filth of the last two working days. The public and the dental association would look at this as an unacceptable way for a dentist to represent the trade or the profession. If you’re a shop owner who’s serious about portraying professionalism, take time to review your image.
Be a professional
Having a professional image takes in many aspects of our business. How we dress, how we speak, how we answer the phone, how we take time to inform/educate our clients. The language we use can be very important for building value in our performed services. Phrases such as “check it out” should be replaced with “proper inspection” or “diagnostic routine,” while words like “free diagnosis” or “free inspection” need to be eliminated altogether. Shops that give away time, don’t charge proper parts mark-up, and try to compete with others by advertising prices well below profitable levels are holding the entire trade back! The longer this continues, the longer it’ll take to correct this problem. Technician and service advisor wages are some of the lowest in skilled trades because of the challenges good shops face when trying to charge a fair and profitable price.
I encourage all shop owners, technicians and service advisers to take a good look at your shop image and decide how it can improve.
I’d like to hear your comments (good, bad or outraged) and questions. Send me an e-mail at [email protected].