Huddle Up, Team

How to harness the power of other people as go-to resources

It’s easy to understand why your business might not be service ready 100 percent of the time. In some instances, you thought you were ready but ran into an issue or a challenge impeded your progress. Still, an important part of service readiness is to have “go-to” resources that will get you back on track and a process that defines when to use these resources.

I’m betting most of you are blowing that off saying, “I use Identifix or SureTrack or some other experience-based diagnostic system, so I’ll just check off No. 4.” But hold the phone just a minute.

While those systems are useful, they provide more service information than tech support. You might also use International Automotive Technician’s Network (iATN) as a tech-support tool. This system is more in line with what I’m proposing because you can initiate virtual or real-life communication with thousands of other techs. This way, you’ll get to know certain members of iATN, resulting in a list of validated experts for various issues or makes of vehicles.

However, the tech support I’m talking about here is one you create within your own shop and the relationships you develop in ongoing training programs. Obviously, there’s not one technician in the industry who has faced everything. All of us need support to refocus our thoughts, give us new direction and describe a better way to apply a test, analyze data or even to point out the obvious.

I suspect you have a team of technicians or service advisers and managers who bring different levels of experience to their jobs daily. You just need to take advantage of this experience, and harnessing these resources is your job as a shop owner or manager.

My first tip is to define clearly when and how to use a team tech-support approach. For example, when you dispatch a drivability job to a technician, I’m sure you’ve quoted a diagnostic fee or expectation to the customer. Using one hour of time, the goal is to analyze the data from the vehicle, come to a diagnostic decision, repair the situation and confirm the repair – all at a profit.

In that hour of time, you have to account for all four of those expenses. For our discussion, if the technician is not certain where the data is taking him within 15 minutes, I suggest he stop and call for a tech-support huddle. When he calls for help, the entire team huddles for a couple of minutes to listen to the challenge and the results so far.
It will amaze you when you see the rest of your team share their experiences in adjusting the diagnostic process so the assigned technician can get back on track and come to a profitable and timely solution.

The second tech-support tip is when participating in an ongoing training program, you’ll quickly find the expertise that can assist you in the room. Form a relationship with that shop and technician and include them in your tech support arsenal.

Not quite what you were thinking, was it? Tech support is more than a diagnostic system. It’s also about harnessing the power and knowledge of the people around you. Give these tips a try and be service ready every time.