LAS VEGASThe Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC) honored Bridgestone Retail Operations and Carquest Technical Institute at a ceremony Nov. 5 in Las Vegas with a National Excellence in Training Award for their jointly developed program, Logical Troubleshooting Process.
The Bridgestone/Carquest program was one of nine programs the ATMC singled out for recognition during the Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas.
The awards are given annually to highly effective or innovative training programs and are designed to call attention to the importance of training to the success of the transportation industry. The winners were chosen for their ability to meet the education needs of industry professionals through exceptional application of development, delivery and assessment training principles, the ATMC said.
The Bridgestone/Carquest programdubbed Troubleshooting 101 internallyis an employee training process designed to guide technicians with a standardized approach for diagnosing vehicle problems, Stacy Henry, director, education and development, Bridgestone Retail Operation, explained.
The ultimate goal of the program, Ms. Henry said, is to reduceeven eliminaterepeat visits for misdiagnosed problems or improper repairs.
Doing this should increase customer loyalty.
Our customers are our bosses, she said.
The new training module includes a six-step process that guides technicians to ensure they have accurate information, provide proper diagnosis and complete the correct repairs.
Essentially, said Jeff Cox, head of technician education, we're trying to address two fundamental questions: 'How do we document what the customers are saying?' and 'How do we translate this to the technician?'
One of the things we really wanted to improve was customer satisfaction and reduce comebacks, Mr. Cox continued. We started to dig into, 'Why do our customers come back?' and we got down to really two things: We don't listen to the customer and document that well, and then we don't take that information and translate it to the technicians so that they can start servicing the work.
The company came up with six steps that can be applied to just about any service that increases the communication between the customer to our customer service teammates, and from the customer service teammates to the technician so that they can then verify what's wrong with the car, make the proper diagnosis, repair it per the service standards that we have and then check and make sure that the vehicle doesn't have any symptoms anymore, he explained.
To do this, Bridgestone Retail brings counter personnel and automotive technicians at each location together for a half-day training session.
Additionally, the training will:
c Provide a standardized approach to servicing and diagnosing every vehicle, regardless of the type of service required;
c Focus on both technicians and customer service, differentiating itself from the majority of auto care industry training programs that are typically focused on distinct departments; and
c Provide a customized solution specifically designed to meet the needs of BSRO technicians and teammates.
Bridgestone is rolling out the program nationwideto all 2,500-plus Bridge-stone Retail outletsin 2015 after developing it throughout 2014.
Ms. Henry said after completing the pilot program, Bridgestone Retail experienced an increase in customer satisfaction and an increase in employee job-related satisfaction.
Mr. Cox said Bridgestone Retail ran a pilot program through its own stores this year.
We have developed what we call symptom sheets, so when a customer comes in with whatever problem they have, then we have a symptom sheet that guides our customer service teammate to ask the appropriate questions.... Automatically the symptoms get transferred over into the work order for the technician to then verify that those symptoms are there,...then we get into the diagnosis and pinpoint exactly what's wrong with it.
He said the company saw a nice uptick in customer service, and we saw a decrease in comebacks. We know that these six steps are really driving the performance that we're looking for.
The initiative, he added, really fits into the overall vision of our president. Our president is laser focused on creating a world-class experience for the customer. This really fits into where we're going in the future and this is a key strategy for us moving forward.
Carquest's input into the troubleshooting program involved the resources it normally provides Bridgestone Retail, including curriculum for training and assistance in developing the training materials, Mr. Cox said.
The other programs that were recognized by ATMC are:
c Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR) for HazmatU;
c General Motors Co., in conjunction with Raytheon Professional Services L.L.C., for Service Technical College;
c Genuine Parts Co./NAPA Auto Parts for SalesPRO Selling Skills;
c KPA for Hazard Communication GHS;
c Mack and Volvo Truck Academies, in partnership with WyoTech, for Diesel Advanced Technology Education (DATE) for Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks;
c NAPA AutoTech for EVAP Guru;
c Nissan North America Inc. for Nissan and Infiniti Basic Electrical Concepts; and
c National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium for Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training.
The ATMC is a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of training and professional development within the transportation service industry.
Tire Business reporter William Schertz contributed to this story. To reach Bruce Davis: [email protected] crain.com; 330-865-6145. Twitter: @reifenmensch