15 Critical Daily Functions to be Successful in Your Shop | Pt 3
11. SNAIL MAIL
A great deal of valuable information arrives daily via the US Postal Service. As an owner you should set aside a few minutes out of every day to be devoted to thoroughly reviewing all mail received. In addition to incoming mail, you should also review outgoing mail. This daily practice will provide you with many insights into your business.
12. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Shop owners should have a process in place to accumulate feedback on how satisfied their customers are. The most common is to have a third party outside of the business contact the customers by email or phone on a regular basis, and within a few days of the customer having picked up their completed vehicle. Others include utilization of a customer retention (CRM) program available through a vendor affiliation program or through AAA. Whatever the choice of process is, the results should be monitored carefully on a daily basis and the owner should make a couple random calls to customers on their own just to remain personally involved. Again, tracking this very important process on a daily basis enables management and staff to make instant changes, which could be very beneficial to both the customers and the repair shop.
Each of your suppliers is your partner. A daily routine of monitoring your purchase invoices will provide you with an overview of how frequently you are ordering and the average size of your order. It is important to continuously work to make your workflow operations as efficient as possible. If you are ordering parts every fifteen minutes or so, there is something desperately wrong.
Ensure that each day begins with technicians performing their work in the following order: all diagnostics first, inspections second, pre-sold work third, and up-sold work fourth. Preordering the parts for the sold work expedites the process and if all the diagnostics and inspections are performed early, then most of the parts required to complete the jobs can be ordered all at once. Review your workflows today for areas of improvement and then monitor them on a daily basis for continuous improvement.
14. METHODS OF PAYMENT
Few shop owners know how their methods of payment break down in terms of percentages of the total sales. For instance, how many customers pay by cash, pay by check, utilize which type of credit cards, or use one of your financing program options such as 90 days-same-as-cash or interest-free financing.
Our first suggestion is for shop owners to accept ALL major credit cards, regardless of the related fees, and to offer the financing options mentioned earlier. Fees are a cost of doing business and that cost should be factored into your overhead when you establish your pricing. Shop owners should monitor the patterns of payment in their shops on a daily basis and tie it into their marketing for maximum results!
When business slows, many owners begin sourcing methods to trim outgoing cash flow. One of the first areas where owners cut back is in the area of training. Many shop owners appear to be under the impression that there is no immediate return on the cash outlay. While that may be true for some types of training, other training, including coaching, can pay huge dividends immediately. Just as a technical hotline can provide instant answers to resolve a technical problem, calling your management coach can also lead to instant results and immediate cash flow.
An example would be an experience I had with a shop owner several years ago. It is an example I share quite frequently as it is easy for many shop owners to relate to. I had finished presenting our two-day Technician Time Management workshop to about 55 shop owners and was packing up my presentation materials when I noticed a fellow sitting at a back table. I stopped what I was doing and went and sat down with him.
He expressed that he was totally depressed, as he had hoped that his investment in this two-day workshop would provide him with a method to help him save his business. He explained that he was on COD with all of his suppliers, had exhausted all financial resources, and would be unable to make payroll due in approximately two weeks. I shared with him that on the following Monday morning he would be able to substantially improve his labor billings based on the information presented in the workshop, however, he indicated that while that was true, he would be unable to generate the large amount of cash needed to continue in business.
I shared with him that I had a marketing program that would generate the large amount of cash he required and that he could begin the program immediately. However, he would also have to change his business practices as we had described in the workshop in order to become and remain profitable. He stated he was ready and willing to do just that.
Long story short, he implemented the marketing program. He immediately generated enough cash to make his payroll and within just a few short weeks, generated over $60,000 in additional cash. The additional cash was enough for him to turn his business around totally and become a very profitable business.
My point is, had he had not made the investment in the workshop when he was down and out, he would not have learned of the marketing program nor the business techniques that were necessary for him to accomplish his turnaround success. Training and coaching can provide immense returns. Find a coach that can help you improve your business, no matter the economy.
CONCLUSION – Implementation is the key!
While many of the items mentioned in this article have existed for a long time, our observations indicate that most shop owners do not plan the time to monitor key business processes until the business has deteriorated to the point of urgency. Review this article again and select things that are easily implemented in your business, and then work your way through the list until you have a close handle on them all. It may make the difference between being profitable or not, and could determine whether or not you are in business in the future.
Have you started implementing any of these ideas in the month since we published the first part of this series? Have they helped? Please send your feedback/questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 800-755-0988 — we would love to hear from you!