Shop Life Columnists

I Am a Lube Technician

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I understand that there are other readers of this magazine other than operators and owners. There are many of you out there in management and technician positions that read these articles and I wanted to start writing some columns that are geared towards you. 

At the same time, owners reading this should take this opportunity to think about their techs and how they can help them succeed and grow.

In the end, without you technicians and your professional development, these shops do not go!

As a technician in our industry, one thing that many make a mistake on in operations is the thought process that all of you are replaceable. That is not necessarily true, as there are some of you that if given the right training can become valuable members of the teams. Now, we all know that there are a few guys in every shop that just don’t get it.

Hey, that is why we are widely considered an entry-level automotive position. We teach you how to do this job and you then teach others. Righty tighty, lefty loosey. Here are a few things that you can look at doing to separate yourself from the herd.

Be a professional.

Every shop has guys who are goofballs and don't take their jobs seriously. Do not be like them. Watch the experienced techs who produce the most income for the company and try to be like them instead. 

Try to learn what it is that they do to be successful. This is especially good for sales positions and higher level maintenance positions. Train yourself on how to present in front of customers. Pay attention to your language, verbal and nonverbal, introduce yourself, and offer to be helpful. Address each customer politely and respectfully, look them in the eye when speaking to them, and be confident. Treat customers way you would want to be treated.

Don’t just be professional; Look professional.

Keep your uniform clean. You should wash your hands or use gloves, especially before touching a customer's car. Customers do not want to see a mechanic covered with grime and engine oil. They see this and they assume that you will get this in their cars. Is that not when people start looking for oil in the cars? 

Appearance does matter. Keep your shop just as clean as you do yourself.  Everything has a place, from tools to inventory to shop supplies.  When a customer drives up, what do you want to look like? The greasy dirty shop or a well-maintained facility? You are in direct control of these things and can be the difference between someone staying on your lot or just driving right on by to your competitor.

Train yourself and train your teams.

We are in a fast paced industry that does not always have the greatest reputation.  If you are unsure of something, make sure to ask someone who does know. Do not guess, because guessing can result in thousands of dollars in damage.

These are not our vehicles and these customers trust you to take care of them. You need to train yourself and train your teammates on the way to do things the right way. This can be done by computer training, hands on training or even better, by holding everyone accountable. Again, something that you can do to stand out from the crowd.

Respect for customer cars also goes a long way in delivering a WOW experience and retaining new customers. 

No one reading this who wants to be successful will ever say that they have enough cars. Always keep it clean, use seat and fender covers (if you have them available), and floor mats. If you get fingerprints on the hood or a drop of oil on the engine, wipe it off before returning it to them. Remember what we said above about professional appearance inside and out.  

As a technician, you get to make a choice as to whether this is a career for you or not. You can learn to work on cars and to present products to customers and those skills could take you to other industries. But if this is your choice for a career opportunity, remember that be professional in yourself, be professional in your appearance, and take care of the person who really signs your paycheck—the customer!

If there are any specific areas that you would like to read about to help you in your daily shop life, email me suggestions and I will see what we can do!

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