ATcon is a management consulting firm for automobile and truck dealers specializing in Fixed Operations Consulting and Service Advisor Training. We generally avoid the segregation between service, parts and body shop. By utilizing a holistic approach to consulting we facilitate and enhance the potential for success and greater profitability.
Consulting companies have long made the mistake of categorizing themselves as service, parts, or body shop specialists. We believe our potential clients are best served and have the right to expect assistance in all of these areas, as well as recognition of the need for coordination between departments to achieve the desired results.
ATcon is known for its “clean sheet” approach to consulting. We understand fully that no business has the same situation. Therefore each consulting activity results in recommendations tailored to the individual client.
Find out not only if they can but if they WILL!!!!!!
The process of hiring the right person for the dealership can be a terribly frustrating and costly process. Despite our best efforts it seems that we either can’t find a person with the requisite skill or if they have the skill they fail to use it once we hire them.
Dr. Ron Trego has broken this code and ATcon is pleased to have been chosen as the conduit to bring the solution to you. Dr. Trego has, after exhaustive research and practical application, developed a tool which will allow you to screen any job applicant for the position of vehicle sales, service advisor (ASM), or technician for both capability and motivation to perform. This tool is so good that in many cases the actual level of performance can be forecasted. Think about this in terms of knowing how many flat rate hours a technician will contribute to you shop prior to hiring them!
ATcon is pleased to now offer this product in online form
Click on the link below for a more in-depth description of the tool, pricing, and ordering information.
It's the 4th Quarter your team (Department) is on the 25 yard line. All you need to do is move the ball a short distance. The goal post is in sight. You set the goal post last year when you did your forecast for the upcoming year. How has your team faired so far this year?
How many touch downs (months you exceeded your goal) did you have this year?
How many times were you sacked? (Months you were way off your goal)
What is your plan to finish these last few yards?
Are you going to just go out and play hard? Hope to score, or do you have a plan?
In most areas of the country the last quarter can be a tough grind (Kids went back to school; Holidays take up some of the customers time and money.)
What's your plan? Have you worked out some creative advertising? Are you holding new car or customer clinics? Are you using e-mail blasts? Web site advertising, or standing out in front of the dealership yelling “Come on in”?
If you expect to win the game you need to get your team ready and devise a play that will help you score.
For help with your 4th quarter or 2014 plans contact Bob Kellerman at (205) 834–6376 or email@example.com
Or visit ATcon at: www.atconsse.com
How do we gain our education in the automotive industry?
We have learned how to do our jobs from our previous experience, from co-workers. We learn from our supervisors, we learn from manufacturers' classes. But who should we really learn from?
We should get our training and knowledge from the most experienced, educated and important person in our business-THE CUSTOMER!
We need to learn to listen to our customers. They will tell us how to help them and how to treat them. Customers will tell us what they need and what they want. As an industry, we need to learn the most important education comes from those we serve.
Customers will tell you what they expect, how they expect it, and when they expect it.
We think we know what they want and need, based on what we want to sell them.
Gee, ever wonder why they sometimes get upset?
We need to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes, learn to think like the customer.
Sure we need to handle the technical aspect and costing of the service or repair, but we need to listen to the customer as to how we should handle it. They understand there will be a fee and time involved in the process.
What we need to learn is what they expect. If we can give the customer the experience they expect and desire, we will be successful.
To learn more about customer handling and a better plan for customer retention, contact Bob Kellerman (205) 834 – 6376 firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit us at: www.atconsse.com
Dear GMMDA Members and Staff,
We are so happy to have been afforded the opportunity to support your organization as a preferred vendor! As many of you are undoubtedly aware, we count many of you in our list of success stories. We have had the good fortune to work both on an individual dealership basis and through a couple of manufacturer driven programs with minority dealer clients in the past, and look forward to continuing to do so.
Please call us at your convenience to discuss any element of your Fixed Operations environment, and let us show you how we can help guide you to a solution. We are happy to provide complimentary assessments of your current situation; as well as a discussion of potential opportunities-via phone, email, or when possible, an introductory onsite visit.
We are driven in our consulting activities by three basic beliefs. First, every client’s situation is unique, and advice should be given only after a clear understanding of the current situation is achieved. Second, training and onsite assistance is only effective if sustainability is clearly evident. Third, the prescription for improvement should be wholistic in nature; recognizing that for successful upgrades to flourish, the service functions also must rely on cohesion and cooperation with the parts department.
Again, we are very thankful for the prospect to help your members, your organization, and your customers. Please contact us if we may be of service in any way, (800) 692-2719 or www.atconsse.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
In the last week or so I have been privy to a couple of startling instances regarding a very basic element in the customer handling area; the providing of an accurate estimate prior to purchase. One such example was a friend of mine who was quoted a price of approximately $800.00 for the installation of baffling under the deck of his new pontoon boat, only to receive an invoice for $1400.00. The second was a company owner who called to cancel his phone service, only to be informed two months later that he had incurred a $4800.00 fee for early termination of the contract. When asked why he had not discussed this charge with the company owner, the “customer representative” stated that he did not originally set up the account and assumed the decision to cancel had already been made by the business.
I can only begin to imagine what would be the result of this type of failure to fully inform the customer of the cost of a product or service in an automotive dealership. I do know one thing-the policy account is more than likely going to suffer and someone’s going to “hear” about this.
We have, as an industry, probably paid more attention to “getting it right” when it comes to customer relations than any other business. Admittedly, some of this has come through increased regulation, but most of us fully understand the value of our reputation in the retaining of our client base.
The question becomes-are our sales, parts, and service staff taking this element seriously? I don’t believe for a minute that our staff generally sets out to cheat or mislead people. I think many of these instances stem from a number of factors: rushed sales presentations, lack of accurate/easy to access pricing guides, poorly defined estimate preparation policies, or insufficient training/leadership.
Want to know how well your service writers are doing in this area? 1) Get your wife, best friend, or other trusted acquaintance to call and ask for a price on a relatively complicated repair (clutch, heater core, or seatbelt replacement). 2) Ask your customers picking up their vehicles if the final price matched their understanding if the charge. 3) At minimum, call your customers responding to the manufactures CSI surveys if/when they indicate they were not provided with pre-work estimate of explanation of charges.
Nothing provides a perception of professionalism and competency as an invoice that exactly matches the initial or revised estimate.
Ask yourself this question-Would you do business again with the two vendors described above, and what would you tell your friends about your experience?
We all want our business to be successful-we want to grow our business, increase our profitability and retain our customers.
All industries track customer satisfaction through CSI, CSE, SES, etc. In the automotive industry, the manufacturers have different practices for surveying our customers. Some dealers also survey the customers before the manufacturers, some after, some do both.
I feel sometimes we OVER-survey our customers. We call, the factory calls; we e-mail, the factory e-mails-sometimes customers participate, sometimes not. I believe we may lower survey returns by over surveying customers.
But how often do we survey our employees? Who has a better understanding of our processes, failures and successes than the people who do it every day?
I know we all want our employees to be the best that they can be. But do all employees come and tell you when they have an idea or concern? Some do, but most don’t.
Why not survey your employees? Let them tell you what they like and what they don’t?
Employee surveys can be anonymous or not. Sometimes they know more that we do.
Our most precious commodity is the employee base that services our customers. We spend time and money to train them. We always let them know when things don’t go well, why not listen to their comments/concerns?
Let’s hear from them! Remember it’s their business also.
For employee training or process improvement, contact
Bob Kellerman (205) 834 – 6376 email@example.com
Or visit us at: www.atconsse.com
Unfortunately I have heard things that make me think “did he/she really say that”.
I was in a dealership last month and listened to an advisor giving a customer a long not so good review of the technician’s findings. The repairs were fairly expensive and the advisor spent the time to prioritize the work and then reviewing it and informing the customer the vehicle has high mileage and what are your plans as to” keeping it or replacing it in the near future” he reviewed the work and gave his advice as I would want him to do if the customer was my mother.
When I spoke to the advisor later in the day I complemented him on the job and he just looked at me and said “isn’t that the right way to do it?” he made me really proud of our profession that day.
In another store I heard an advisor give a customer a review of the findings of their diagnosis for a Service Engine light it seems the cause of the failed Mass Air Flow Sensor was poor maintenance. If the customer had done a fuel injection/throttle body service and replaced the spark plugs the Sensor would not have gone bad. So the recommended repair was replace the sensor, air filter, spark plugs, clean the injectors/throttle body and also so the transmission doesn’t fail due to driving around with a service engine light on they will need to perform a fluid exchange and better also flush the rear differential and brake systems. That will do it for this visit but when we are done you will need to comeback in a few weeks “we may have to re-flush the transmission”
I spoke to this advisor after the customer agreed to almost a $2,000.00 repair bill; the advisor said “hey I gotta make a living”
I am all about us making a living in our industry but do we need to do it this way, I have to wonder is this a Pay Plan issue? A training issue? A Management Issue or more?
For help and advice about Pay Plans, Advisor Training and Processes Development, please contact Bob Kellerman firstname.lastname@example.org 205-834-6376.
I have heard quite a bit of conversation and questions about how should we do business with, and how we employ, Generation ‘Y’.
I clearly cannot be considered as a member of that group. I do, however, spend a lot of time at dealerships that seem to be working on the processes which generate satisfied customers and employees who fit the mold.
Seems to me, we have listened to what our customers have been telling us over the 40 plus years I have worked in this industry.
They expect us to give them fair, honest and efficient service.
I do understand they are looking for someone to explain “Why” to them, “Why” they should do a Service “Why” they need a repair.
I know the Generation ‘Y’ are said to be “me and now” oriented- should not all generations be given the same level of service?
Clearly, this technical generation, they are more comfortable in a “tech” environment.
We need to consider what their preferred form of communication may be.
Would they prefer a phone call or an e-mail or text? They are very connected individuals, whatever makes them most comfortable.
I feel what they want most is help making the right decision.
Maybe instead of being considered a “problem”, we can learn from the experience, and help create a solution.
I hope to continue to do both.
For any concerns or questions you might have while working with all generations of customers and employees, please contact Bob Kellerman email@example.com 205-834-6376.
I am blessed with four wonderful grandchildren! Recently, I have been lucky enough to be spending time with my 3 year old grandson.
He has learned the question that we often seem to forget - “Why?”
No matter what we tell him, his response is “Why?” Of course, he is the normal 3 year old in asking that question - but he makes me wonder, “Why?”
I meet with many Fixed Operations “Professionals” in my job and I hear lots of reasons why we don’t or can’t get things done; why we don’t, or can’t, do a walk around write-up, or why we don’t, or can’t, properly perform an active delivery.
So I have adopted my grandson’s reasoning “Why?”
Why can’t we do a walk around write-up? Why don’t we perform an active delivery?
The answer is clearly that management has not bought into or committed to the processes.
Won’t or can’t are non-management excuses. When I speak with the managers, especially when the dealer is in the room, they all seem to understand the concept and value.
But when we get down to the lane or office I hear all of the “why we can’t” instead of “how we can.” I hear “it takes too long,” “we don’t have a drive…” I can dismiss these excuses because I have run inner-city stores where the customers are in a rush - talk about not having a drive. I have succeeded in stores where the customer parked with the meter running half a block away and found time to do a walk around and active delivery, etc.
To me, the true value of a manager is the person who figures out how to instead of why not.
Are you a manager, or a follower? Do you allow your staff to decide whether or not it can be done, or it’s too hard to do?
Develop a plan and train the staff. Make everyone know “this is how we do it” and hold them accountable to doing it your way.
It’s not that hard to be a manager, but it takes some real dedication and effort to be a leader - which are you?
If you need help developing a plan or training your staff, ATcon can help.
Contact Bob Kellerman at firstname.lastname@example.org and 205-834-6376, or our office at 800-692-2719.
What is customer retention and how do you track it?
What is good retention?
Is a customer who comes in for every mileage service a retained customer?
Is a customer who comes in every time you mail out a discount coupon a retained customer?
Is a DIY customer who buys 5 quarts of Oil and a Filter from you retained?
There are many answers to these questions and just as many ways of tracking retention depending on “Who you ask”
But a fact everyone agrees on is that Retention begins with Satisfied Customers.
How are your advisors doing satisfying your customers?
ATcon is the leader in Advisor training programs based on the simple principal “People buy what they need from people they like and trust.”
Whether you need to train your Advisors or just a tune up
Contact Bob Kellerman email@example.com 205 834-6376
Or our office at 800 692-2719