"Why Technicians Don't Want to Work for Free"
Ken Hite, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, ClearMechanic.com
There has been an on-going debate for decades regarding technicians and their pay. The debate continues, and technicians are more out-spoken regarding working for free than ever before. The reality is that it's becoming increasing difficult to find skilled, certified and qualified technicians to fill all the vacant positions.
Every day I read various comments from technicians regarding their pay, or lack thereof. The primary culprit appears to stem from multi-point inspection processes. Technicians feel they should be compensated for conducting a multi-point inspection while owners and management feel otherwise.
Ownership and management will speak to the process of conducting a multi-point inspection as part of an internal process, a process that protects consumers and the shop from missing a necessary repair or potential failure that could have severe consequences for both the shop and consumer.
The technician sees the process in the same light as ownership and management, yet they want to be compensated for it. The disconnect in this process is two fold: A) a very low percentage of multi-point inspections result in jobs for the technician (because the jobs don't sell through to the consumer); B) there are times when a technician conducts a multi-point inspection and the job is given to another technician, leaving the inspecting technician without compensation.
Owners know that multi-point inspections are good for business if done consistently and properly. However, technicians don't like to spend 15-30 minutes on average to conduct a multi-point point inspection, only to see 30-40% of their repair recommendations and efforts result in a sale. Low sell-through rates result in wasted time and disgruntled employees.
What's the solution and how do we get ownership, management and their technicians on the same page with a common goal of sourcing a vehicle properly and simultaneously obtaining 60-70% sell through rates?
The first step is to recognize why consumers don't purchase the majority of your repair recommendations, as well as why they don't return to your service center:
1) The Better Business Bureau ranks automotive repair in the bottom 0.1% of all service related industries.
2) Consumers are skeptical of the automotive repair industry.
3) Consumers have a very difficult time understanding verbal repair recommendations over the phone. Consumers are not technical when it comes to automotive repairs, and thus have no idea what an O2 Sensor is, or what a Thermostat is, or what a Serpentine Belt is, and so on.
The key is to address these cited reasons through visual evidence. In today's automotive repair environment, you must visually demonstrate through inspection photos, videos and expert illustrative diagrams that a repair is necessary. Simply denoting on a multi-point inspection form "Red", "Yellow" or "Green" will continue to result in very poor consumer sell-through rates, poor service retention, poor CSI and the dreaded mass defection of your customer base. It will also result in a continued defection of skilled, certified and qualified technicians to go out on their own. Treat every customer like they are a service waiter, which traditionally results in a sale. The technology is available to treat every customer as if he / she is standing over their car with the technician reviewing the repair recommendation.
Ken Hite is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ClearMechanic. You can reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about ClearMechanic at www.clearmechanic.com.