Savvy tire dealers and service shop operators earn technicians' trust because it benefits their businesses two important ways.
Ultimately, this trust reduces operating costs and boosts long-term profitability. Here's why.
Technicians who trust you are far more likely to become loyal employees. Loyal workers reduce costly employee turnover. Meanwhile, employee trust builds a more positive work environment in an atmosphere that fosters increased productivity. That, in turn, boosts profitability.
In my last column, I stressed that earning motorists' trust was essential to the long-term health of any automotive service business. I argued that prioritizing high-quality maintenance and repairs surpassed all other approaches to earning customers' trust.
Recently, some conversations with owners and managers reminded me that mutual trust between technicians and bosses is equally valuable to the long-term health of dealerships and service shops alike.
My field experience suggests that the single key to winning technicians' trust is choosing jobs wisely. This theme is consistent among the dealerships and service shops that operate healthy year in, year out.
It also reflects an argument I've stated in this column several times: Service providers realistically cannot be all things to all motorists.
It's difficult—if not impossible—to pay bills and make a decent profit when you insist on catering to the dregs of the marketplace. I've stated it many times before: These are motorists who never become long-term supporters of your dealership or service shop. They simply want proper repairs done in record time and at bargain-basement prices.
As the joke in the bays goes, they want everything finished yesterday. Worse yet, this breed of motorist often demands quickie, patchwork repairs. Later, they torture you when that quick fix fails.
Experience shows you're not likely to retain capable, conscientious techs when you constantly demand technical miracles from them on behalf of cranky, high-strung, tightwad customers. On the one hand, good techs can be very resourceful people who produce creative solutions when they're properly motivated. However, wielding the proverbial bubble gum and baling wire—not to mention working at breakneck speed for pennies—is very stressful for technicians.
Simply put, ongoing stress does not engender trust. Instead, it produces frustration and indicates disrespect. A lack of respect breeds resentment and fuels discontent. These aren't emotions that foster productivity, profitability and worker loyalty.
Surely, good techs take pride in working mechanical miracles when they believe the situation warrants it. But they'll likely feel taken advantage of when you constantly demand and/or expect mechanical magic—especially for ingrate motorists.
Contented techs expect to be given adequate time to diagnose and then repair problems correctly. They expect to be paid accordingly. Techs realize—often more keenly than management does—that there's a segment of motorists who gladly pay for accurate diagnosis and thorough repairs.
You earn techs' respect when you attract this high-quality caliber of customers who value your services and, in essence, are the future of your business.
Garnering the respect of technicians breeds trust, and that forms the foundation of worker loyalty and long-term relationships. Furthermore, trust helps you build intangibles such as an esprit de corps that your competitors' service departments may lack.
Ultimately, these intangibles help your techs outperform more talented crews at competitors' businesses. Eventually, it becomes second nature for your technicians to tend to those myriad smaller details that make your business exceed customers' expectations. The techs behave this way because you've motivated them with respect and earned their trust in return.
Meanwhile, let me know how you're earning techs' trust in your business.