Editor's Blog


Is It Even Possible?

May 8, 2011


Years ago it was in vogue at many shops I’d work with to have a mannequin dressed up in the perfect company uniform in some open shop area.  

The funny thing - well, to me it was funny - the “guy” was always abused in one way or another. Crooked hat, limbs missing, drawn on mustache and much, much worse that even I’m embarrassed to share.  

Why the abuse?  

To me, it was the staff’s way of rebelling. They were never given a voice in the attire the company demanded, let alone the reasons that most addressed the personal WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). WIIFMs come in two flavors. One is a reward (something good happens) and one is a consequence (something bad happens) for compliance.  

The other big thing about the mannequin was it was unguarded and an easy target for fun and for downright malicious foul play.  

The temptation with today’s technology is to put “Nanny Cams” all over the place and you could. Do you have extra time to watch videos 24/7/365 for pranks like these?  

The real problem is they are playing a game. Which reminds me of the great line my consulting partner shares with our mutual clients, “Give them a really good game to play, or they’ll find their own and you won’t like it.”  

So true!

The Fix

To fix this scenario and start moving the game in the direction we want them to play, we start with some simple things like proper attire and keeping the truck looking right. I fix this with shops by creating a dress code that’s in writing and is very specific about each item of clothing so it’s objective and not subjective.

Then, we back it up by getting their Techs to dress the right way and stand in front of their perfectly outfitted truck looking neat and clean and we snap a digital photo and wait [more to come on this].  

We do engage senior techs on what is and isn’t negotiable about the dress selected and the stocking of the trucks because we want these influence brokers at the shop to play with us and not against us.  

What we explain to all in ongoing meetings is the “Why” behind the dress standards and the “Why” behind keeping our trucks looking right and being neat and orderly.  

Bottom line to both is it’s all designed to serve the customer better, help the company be more profitable, the techs be more productive and to make more money.  

The way we look and the way our vehicles look first to last call when done right builds confidence and trust with our customers.  

But most of all, it’s to the Tech’s benefit to dress right and keep their truck right. If they want to participate in a rewards program they need to maximize their hours by ethically selling the right things, perform a professional job right now in a way that will generate minimal callbacks and maximum customer satisfaction.  

And we also stress that their demonstration of complying with these simple standards shows that they can compete to move to the next level on the Organizational Chart.  

Now, they have a positive WIIFM.   But, there will always be fence testers so we just wait because someone will test us on our dress and truck standards. And when they do we just open up the manuals that speak to the dress standards or truck stocking and we pull out the photo and simply ask the following, “How is the way you’re dressed today like this photo or the way it’s described on this page in the manual?” or “How is the way your truck looks today like this photo or the way it’s described on this page in the manual?”  

Discussion is over.   All that’s left to do is engage the Steps of Discipline that any owner must be willing to do with each and every staff member each and every time.   Do this and watch your compliance and standards rise!

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