What Can a Shop Owner Expect from Employees?
Author: Cecil Bullard
If you’re reading this, you’re likely an automotive repair shop owner or manager wondering what you should be expecting from your team of employees. Two key things you should expect from employees in any business are:
- Perform all the duties of the position in such a manner as to insure the company meets or exceeds its goals while maintaining customer satisfaction.
- Meet predetermined goals for the position without causing undue stress stress on management, the business or clients.
For each position, the expected duties will be different. For each business – sometimes each manager – employee duties will vary greatly. These variances depend on what the company is focused on and what the manager is comfortable with. Companies and managers often forget that this question coincides with others. Specifically, what should employees expect from the company besides a paycheck and place to hang their hat? Let’s look at two different positions and expectations for both:
What to expect from technician employees
In general, technicians should inspect and diagnose the vehicles and report information to the sales/service team. When the work is sold, they should perform the work in such a manner that it lasts at least (insert number here) months or (insert number here) miles or for as long as the original part did.
Technicians must complete this within the parameters of the systems and processes that are installed in the business. This includes: show up to work on time, wear proper apparel and maintain company-determined grooming standards, ready to perform their duties. The duties that owners can expect from their technician employees are:
- Inspect, diagnose, and repair the vehicle in whichever method is determined best for the client and business.
- Keep their areas clean and safe.
- Obtain the necessary tools and education to stay certified to industry standards.
- Properly fill out all paperwork necessary. (Inspection and diagnostic sheets, estimates, labor descriptions, final work performed, parts requisitions, documentation required by authorities, etc.).
- Attend and participate in all meetings deemed necessary by management.
- Generally learn and follow all systems and processes that are in place with a positive attitude.
In addition, owners should expect their technician employees to be loyal to the business. This means they should not talk bad about the business, its products, their coworkers, or its ownership. Technicians should uphold all standards of the business taught to them by ownership and management to the highest level possible. They should properly represent the company in everything they do while at work and in their personal lives. This should all be clearly spelled out for technicians in their employee manual.
What to expect from service advisor employees
Service advisors are the conduit between technicians and customers. They are there to help the customer understand what is necessary, why it is necessary, and what the consequences of not doing the recommended work are. On the flip side, this involves clearly and concisely stating the customer’s concern to the technician. They need to sell enough to meet their goals while maintaining 95% or above customer satisfaction.
Other responsibilities include:
- Follow all of the processes and procedures determined by ownership and management to be necessary.
- Fill out all paperwork to properly estimate, sell, and document what has taken place. (Reports, estimates, customer discussions, sales paperwork, labor descriptions, necessary documentation deemed necessary by authorities, etc.).
- Meet sales goals while maintaining positive relationships with customers.
- Communicate appropriately with technicians and customers, without sacrificing clarity or satisfaction.
- Attend and participate in all company and management meetings to help the company be successful and meet its financial goals and obligations.
Service advisors must also show up to work on time in the proper apparel and meeting company-determined grooming standards. They will ultimately be in a leadership and management role dealing with technicians and customers. This requires them to learn and master communication, leadership, and management skills to guarantee consistent performance and profits. The loyalty expectations outlined for technicians also apply to service advisors.
Employee and procedure manuals
This doesn’t include everything expected of employees. When outlining expectations for a technician or advisor job, it is best to keep it shorter. However, all job descriptions or expectation meetings should be accompanied by an employee manual. The employee manual needs to clearly define the company standards.
Additionally, a procedures manual is required. This manual will list the procedures the employee needs to master for their position alongside a schedule or timeline. Employees will be monitored for progress with procedures checked off by a supervisor or trainer as they master them.
Final thoughts on what to expect from employees
The problem with most managers is that they haven’t defined what they’re asking their employee to do. Therefore, employers can’t properly communicate requirements to the employee or even train them in an efficient manner. If the employee doesn’t clearly understand the requirements of their position, how can they be held accountable?
The idea of telling an employee to be productive or go and sell without defining the why, how, how much, when, and what are the benefits (or consequences) is ineffective at best and destructive at worst. In today’s industry it does not work.
What the company can do for the employee besides provide a place to work and consistent paycheck is clearly define these measures. Teach them what success requires, train the employee to be competent in all required tasks, closely monitor and manage performance, and get training in areas they may be deficient.
The hardest part of all? Letting the employee go when they cannot or will not perform the duties of the position within acceptable standards. But hopefully by reading this and clearly defining what to expect from your employees, you won’t have to be a shop owner that faces that often.