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Better Shop Management Through Best Practices

Posted 11/01/2006
By Rachael J. Mercer

Best Practices"Business as it's always been done" is no longer the way to stay successful in the automotive business. Instead, it is important that your shop put into place "best practices" that more efficiently utilizes your time and effort. Ultimately, best practices help develop higher customer satisfaction levels-making them worth every bit of the effort your shop puts into them.

The best practices that Bach focused on in his Wednesday morning Congress session were developed by some of the industry's leading organizations-including Carter & Carter International, Boyd/Gerber group, Saturn Corporation and CCC Information Services. Bach explained that while the initial list of "best practices" contained more than 400 items, the most accepted best practices have been reviewed and compiled to develop a simple, effective, easy-to-implement list.

Bach presented attendees with graphs that demonstrated how much best practices can affect your business financially. Best practices are designed to establish a consistent, repeatable collision repair experience in a timely manner for all associated parties. Implementing these practices helps keep professional relationships and communication lines open between vehicle owners, shop owners, insurers, parts vendors, office staff and technicians.

Best practices provide shop owners with ways to control the repair process. Suggested best practices include setting proper expectations with the customer up front, explaining the repair process, keeping in constant communication with the customer, meeting the expectations you've set and remaining in control of the repair process. Bach showed attendees ways in which common practices differ from best practice standards, and demonstrated the frustration that customers, insurers and vendors can feel when common practices fail to meet everyone's needs. Bach explored ways in which these common problems are created through lack of communication and misunderstanding.

According to Bach, "[best practices] allow the customer, technicians and office personnel to know what to expect, and when and how to deliver, while work moves smoothly with little or no stoppage in the process."

Bach spoke to attendees about the best practice standards for scheduling, customer management, parts management, and technician management.

"Higher productivity, higher profit levels, and higher cycle time performance are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of best practices," said Bach. "High customer satisfaction is another incentive to best practices and ultimately leads to more business and profits-which you'll know how to handle because of your knowledge of best practices."

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