Any time this industry shows technicians the respect they deserve is worth noting.
In the latest, most public example, Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO), is launching its new marketing campaign starring employees of its Firestone Complete Auto Care retail tire and automotive service locations. The new campaign, which includes television, radio and digital commercials, features 13 technicians sharing their expertise and passion for providing trusted tire and automotive care.
This is a great example of stepping up for those who make this industry great. Some might say that you can talk up the techs all you want they will always feel under appreciated. I say so what: the men and women who work in the bays form the very foundation of this industry.
And even though we do know that technician expertise is not enough to take a business to the optimum level of success, without it your are going nowhere. If car owners can’t trust their service providers to execute effective repairs that will keep their older car on the road and generally reliable, they will opt to replace it with a new one in the (sometimes mistaken) idea that this will keep them out of the service bay.
Of course with this recognition of the importance of technical prowess comes responsibility to ensure that ongoing training is accessible to keep skills up to date, that tools and repair information are accessible and used properly, and that there’s a fresh crop of young technicians entering the field to meet the needs of tomorrow.
Most of this is not in the hands of the technicians themselves, and frankly it’s too important just to leave it up to any single group within this industry.
But there are areas that professional technicians will take ownership of; most I have met are hungry for training, but are frustrated by their inability to get the training they want when they need it.
And they are incredibly frustrated any time a repair goes wrong. They may be occasionally vocal about placing the blame elsewhere in the moment–on the part, the car, the car owner’s maintenance habits, other shops–but the truth is they take failed repairs personally.
In a world where the blame game has become the norm, this persistent truth borders on noble and is everyone in this industry should pay attention to what it tells them: skilled, caring technicians make this industry great.
So, as an owner, here are three things you–and frankly everyone in this industry–should have a hand in:
- Ensure that you not just encourage but insist that technicians are familiar with the original equipment repair websites. The Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS) agreement gives you access, but not for free, so this will take an investment in time and money, but there are many who believe that increasing the usage of this information is critical to the perpetuation of this agreement into the future, not to mention the success of this industry. Visit www.OEMRepairInfo.ca.
- Insist that training is a regular part of your shop’s culture. Sometimes this might mean scheduling training at times that are inconvenient, Some training will be better than others, and some of it might be remote or self-study, but making a regular part of the month will pay dividends in terms of skills and morale. If you have to bribe your techs with an incentive or prize to ensure they participate, then so be it. It will be worth it.
- Have their back. They have earned our unwavering support.
Information and this industry’s ability to manage it is what will ensure this industry’s prosperity, and these two points will go a long way to ensuring that each shop stays current and is also seen to be staying current.
This industry cannot move ahead without the commitment and skills of its technicians.
Collectively reminding ourselves of this fact bears repeating at every level, every day.
— Andrew Ross, Publisher and Director of Content