Although they’re not at the forefront of your dealership, you should never underestimate the value of your technicians – while they’re not necessarily out the front, striking up conversations with potential leads on a daily basis, they are absolutely vital to the success of your business. But, what makes a ‘good’ technician? What are the skills that all automotive technicians should possess? Whether you’re taking a look at the skills held by your current service department, or in the process of hiring a few extra heads, the experts at SnapCell have created our ultimate ‘must have skills’ checklist for any technician in the automotive industry.
1. Customer service skills
While your technicians aren’t necessarily directly selling your cars, they are still selling a service – and furthermore, they are still selling your brand. It’s important that you don’t forget that. Your technicians are ambassadors for your business, and the way they engage and communicate with customers can have a huge impact on your dealership’s reputation. With that in mind, they need to be personable and have exceptional customer service skills.
Here are our five tips for technicians wanting to improve their customer service:
Steer away from the jargon
While technicians want to prove themselves as automotive industry experts, they don’t want to frustrate, annoy or confuse customers by filling the conversation up with jargon. Instead, communicate in plain, easy-to-understand English and try to forget the technical jargon.
Look, customers simply might not understand the problem quite as easily as the technician working on their vehicle. Patience is a vital ingredient for those wanting to demonstrate good customer service. So be patient, show empathy, and don’t rush the customer.
Educate, don’t patronize
Let’s be honest, one of the first questions customers will typically ask a technician who has worked on their vehicle is ‘why?’ – ‘why did this problem occur?’ or ‘why does this keep on happening?’ Technicians need to be able to educate the customer, to help them really understand the problem. Of course, not every technician feels comfortable, nor have they necessarily got the time or immediate capacity to be put on the spot and explain the work they’ve done to a customer in-person.
By using SnapCell’s groundbreaking Multi-Point Inspection tool, MPIexpress, your technicians can create a digital deep-dive inspection of the fix or repair work and send it as a video, to the customer for them to view at their convenience. And the best bit? SnapCell videos take minutes to record but still provide high-quality, professional-looking content. This forward-thinking approach will help to build trust between the customer and your dealership, which in turn will help improve the overall customer experience.
Personalize the conversation
In this day and age, personalized communication is no longer just necessary, it’s expected. And your technicians are no exception. They need to be getting just as personal as every other member of staff working on site. So, whether your technicians are sending videos via SnapCell, interacting with customers via SnapCell Live, or physically speaking to shoppers in person, they should remember to:
- Remember their name. Such a small detail, but something that can make the biggest difference.
- Remember what their vehicle is. As with their name, remembering what vehicle they’re working on is vital.
- Access the vehicle’s history, so they can refer back to it.
Showing a customer that they are listening, isn’t just for your front-of-house team. When liaising with customers, your technicians need to be able to show they are actively listening to them. They can do this by:
- Avoiding distractions, like incoming emails or messages
- Nodding appropriately, when necessarily
- Making eye contact
- Repeating the problem back to the customer, but in their own words
Remember, technicians are there to repair and fix all vehicles, including the likes of cars, trucks, motorbikes, and motorhomes – all of which can cost a lot of money and might be a big investment for the shopper. With that in mind, customers need to be able to trust your technicians, and that trust needs to be earnt through efficient customer service.
It’s worth noting that any of these tips can be applied both in person and virtually. After all, in an industry driven by the digital revolution, customer service shouldn’t be compromised just because they aren’t meeting your technician face-to-face. Therefore, if your technician is liaising with the customer via live video (SnapCell Live), they should continue to practice any of the above to ensure they continue to provide the same high level of customer service, as they would if they were physically meeting that shopper.
2. Problem-solving skills
There might be multiple solutions when it comes to fixing a problem or repairing a vehicle, it’s up to the technician to identify the problem and choose the most suitable solution.
Furthermore, customers might be feeling pretty stressed when they come in to get their vehicle fixed or repaired. And therefore, they are trusting your technicians to diagnose and solve the problem as quickly as possible. The technicians who really take their work up a gear, are those who not only resolve the current issue but work to prevent it from happening in the future – and furthermore, communicate this with the customer.
3. Time management skills
While a good technician needs to know how to repair and fix cars, they also need to show efficient time management and organizational skills too. After all, a technician is likely to have multiple projects on the go at any one time. Therefore, they need to be able to manage multiple deadlines and plan accordingly. Better still, they need to ensure they need to be able to keep their workstations clean and organized, not only to streamline their working day effectively but also, to maintain safety on-site.
And, in addition to focussing on fixing the problem, technicians need to be proactive in informing customers of their vehicle’s progress, while answering any necessary in-coming questions. A massive time saver for these situations is SnapCell. SnapCell Messenger gives technicians the opportunity to liaise immediately with customers, one-to-one, via an easy-to-use, instant, messaging system.
4. The ability to use the latest technology
In today’s automotive industry, there’s more to being a technician than just turning a wrench. Changes in technology are completely transforming the industry, and furthermore, the way technicians work.
Nowadays, technicians are likely to find themselves needing to use high-tech diagnostic tools and programs, as well as utilize forward-thinking software like SnapCell, that will enhance their role and streamline their working day.
Modern-day technicians need to be tech-savvy and motivated to stay on top of the industry as it evolves.
5. Have a good work ethic
You might be surprised to hear that work ethic is actually a skill. Not only is it a skill, but it’s a skill that all automotive technicians need to have. While we’ve spoken a lot about the industry transforming and changing with technology, technicians shouldn’t lose sight of having a good, old-fashioned work ethic. They need to be able to roll up their sleeves, lift up the hood of a vehicle and get working on it, without hesitation – and without worrying about getting grease on their overalls.
Additionally, there might be jobs that require technicians to work late and they should be prepared to do this occasionally.
6. The ability to pay attention to detail
Technicians need to be committed to fixing the problem – and to do this, they must be able to demonstrate a special attention to detail. There’s no denying that customer safety is at the hands of your technicians, which is why they simply cannot afford to avoid any easy-to-miss mechanical and electrical malfunctions.
7. Mechanical and electrical skills
We might be saving the most obvious until last, but of course, any automotive technician must have mechanical and electrical skills. Automotive technicians are knowledgeable in their profession and need to be experts in the industry. Ultimately, repairs and issues can occur within every compartment of a vehicle – whether it’s the brakes, electrics, or engine – whatever it is, they need to have the expertise to quickly diagnose the problem, determine the issue, and repair the vehicle. And remember, they need to be able to complete each of these steps, while effectively communicating with the customer throughout the entire process.
Does your dealership have a service department? It’s time to use SnapCell
Clearly, it’s not just your sales team that can utilize SnapCell. In fact, your service technicians should be making the most of the app too. And with more than 160,000 auto repair and maintenance centers across America, there’s never been a more critical time for your dealership to invest in new technologies that will help you get one step ahead of the competition. From SnapCell’s MPI Express to SnapCell Live or SnapCell Messenger, there are plenty of innovative features available on the app, that promise to enhance the role of your technicians. Schedule a demo and try SnapCell for free today.