Implementing a unique approach to training, investing in equipment and taking advantage of new technology are just some of the ways an automotive repair company is keeping on top of changing trends and ensuring high customer satisfaction, one of its leaders told a recent conference.
Joe Hyde is the director of automotive technology at Christian Brothers Automotive (CBA). The company has 243 locations in 31 states across the U.S. He spoke at the recent Mobility Innovation Conference hosted by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association about his company’s perspective on how they are approaching the changing times in the aftermarket.
The company believes in “providing a robust support team, training, resources and, of course, technology for store owners and their team members across the nation,” Hyde said during the session Repair Shop Perspective: How Christian Brothers is Staying Current with Technology. “And our goal with that is for our owners to be confident that they can have the skill set that they need to run the business before they ever step foot in the shop.”
He said they take a different approach around training staff. While acknowledging there are many great opportunities for training throughout the industry, CBA takes a more hands-on approach and has invested in creating its own curriculum.
Joe Hyde, Christian Brothers Automotive
“We really want to put the technology into the hands of those team members who are using it the most,” Hyde said. “And we try to adhere as much as we can to a 75/25 per cent rule when creating that training, meaning 75 per cent of that training is hands-on and 25 per cent of it would be theory in operation, or as some like to call it in the industry, the ‘preach and teach’ method.”
With the amount of changing technology in the industry, a dedicated budget is needed for training and investing in its employees, he added.
Then there’s the equipment to consider. “Choosing the proper equipment to service today’s modern vehicles is critical to the success of addressing the technology challenge,” Hyde said.
CBA has standardized tools throughout the company. This ensures techs in different areas of the country are using the same equipment, which standardizes customer service. It also allows techs that want to relocate to another location to not have to go through a learning curve or learning new systems.
“We really feel that this provides not only a superior guest experience, but it increases our team member satisfaction and retention,” Hyde said.
With scan tools, the company opted to go with OEM diagnostic software and programming whenever possible. They’ve invested so deeply that they built and deployed their own OEM diagnostic tablet.
“This tablet allows our franchise team to provide consistent diagnostics and programming utilizing the OEM software,” Hyde explained. “And by using the OEM software, we can provide a consistent, manageable tool that provides the same level of diagnostic and programming capabilities as the dealer might provide.”
The company also takes advantage of augmented and virtual reality technologies, with Hyde calling them “instrumental” in taking on training concerns and the technician shortage being felt today and expected in the future.
“And, in fact, we’re already seeing companies with a large footprint in the industry utilizing these technologies to streamline their repair processes, logistics, support and even parts inventory,” he added. “And so again, choosing the right piece of equipment is something that really helps set us apart when it comes to attacking those challenging technology initiatives.”