Brian Bates, Training Director of the Elite NAPA Business Development Group, said the goal is to "provide good venues and attract instructors who provide valuable training without being too pricey. We aren't offering an ongoing series or the same seminar, but there is a lot of available technical training, so we're trying to provide useful training for local service writers."
On October 23 and 24, ASA-CO and NAPA sponsored a service writers' seminar at Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver.
"Paul Marquet did a great job teaching the two-day class on selling skills, and the partnership with Emily Griffith allowed us to use their facility to provide intensive ongoing education for the 18 service advisers in attendance," Bates recounted.
On November 17, ASA-CO and the business development group partnered with BG to present a seminar on phone skills. Jonnie Wright, President and CEO of The Buyosphere, presented "What's Your Kryptonite? Creating Superhero Service Advisers, Managers and Owners" to 52 industry professionals, about 75% of which were shop owners. Wright taught attendees how to improve conversion rates, ARO and overall sales while increasing customer referrals and reviews and building greater customer loyalty, brand awareness and employee morale.
Bates said the seminars went really well, and he has received a lot of great feedback from attendees. Three attendees from Cooper's Automotive indicated that they enjoyed the content and learned "ways to speak to customers on the phone and in person that we hadn't thought of which is useful since one of the most important parts of our business is customer service and retention. The business we are in is changing so quickly that we need to be able to upgrade our customer service/retention, along with equipment, knowledge of cars, and so forth."
Randy Pickering of Pickering's Auto Service, Inc. noted, "I believe the largest benefits will come from reducing the time on the phone by better directing the conversation and significantly reducing wasted time on phone estimates with such low return. Both of these are time traps that slow down and waste the service adviser's ability to perform exceptional customer service to the customers at hand. As an owner, I need to be continually listening to the phone conversations and messages we send to our customers and potential customers. We spend a lot of money to get the phone to ring, and we need to be intentional of the message of exceptional service and then match that level in our store."
The Elite NAPA Business Development Group that Bates is part of began two and a half years ago with five shops and has since grown to include 42 automotive businesses. The group is loosely connected to ASA-CO and is supported by NAPA as they promote a better industry. Association members and business development group members receive discounts on training courses to encourage industry professionals to join both groups.
Bates explained, "Our goal is to provide training to improve the industry, and increasing attendance allows us to reduce individual cost, plus classes are more energetic when you have more people. Additionally, we are working with the community to funnel quality students to employers by creating ongoing education partnerships with educations such as Emily Griffith. The partnership between ASA-CO, NAPA, BG, Emily Griffith and our business development group also allows us to work together to provide quality training that is affordable."
ASA-CO is currently preparing for their 2016 Independent Automotive Professionals Symposium which will be held on February 12 and 13 at the Denver Marriott West.