Would you like to know a secret?

John Batten explores what's required to create great technicians, and how to do this in your business

By John Batten |

Published:  18 January, 2019

The focus of my article this month is how to swing the scales in your favour for 2019, turn good into great, great into brilliant, or brilliant into OMG technically this year we’ve nailed it!
    
Read on and I’ll share our secrets of the garages we work with, and how they reduce their diagnostic time whilst increasing their first-time fix.
    
Have you ever thought: “Is there a recipe for technical success?” Equally, have you also asked yourself, “Why is it that some garages can fix vehicles others can’t?”
    
These questions are worth pondering. In fact, they’re questions that if you’re serious about your first-time fix rate (in a timely manner) are worth getting to the bottom of. I’ve discovered the answers, and the great news is, that almost anyone with the will to achieve this, can. How come I’m so confident? Well, I’ve been guiding technicians through the maze that is career development for longer than I care to remember, and enjoyed watching hundreds of them achieve success.

Are you successful?
what makes a great technician and what is success? While I could produce an endless list of the specific attributes and skills that a super tech would possess that might be considered a prerequisite for success,
I think the answer is more straightforward and can be summarised in three points regardless of their technical level.

  •  They care about the quality of the work they produce.
  •  They’re lifelong learners.
  •  They’re searching for perfection but satisfied with constant progress.


So long as a technician possess these qualities then success is guaranteed. Well almost.

Ingredients for success
Those qualities, while necessary, aren’t enough to guarantee technical success and we’ll need to add one or two vital components to get the ball rolling.
    
What are these components? A training program for skills development, a work environment conducive to technician development, the necessary tooling, the necessary information, and lastly continuous personal development (CPD) for the technician.
    
Obviously the right tools, information, and a suitable training provider speak for themselves but let’s take a look at what a work environment conducive to technician development looks like. This is best done with real world examples, so here’s one I prepared earlier.

Cedar Garage – See the difference
Cedar Garage in Worthing was the winner of Top Garage 2018. The team at are currently working their way through our technical training program. Like many businesses they have a diverse workforce with a range of technical abilities, each of them displaying the three points required for success mentioned.
    
The technical team is lead by business co-owner Matthew Copp, and he implements the Auto iQ technician development program within the business. It’s a straightforward system that delivers great results consistently. Let’s take a look at the steps.

  •  Matthew attends each course in the Auto iQ program for his own development.
  •  He takes the learning back to the workplace and practices the techniques until perfected.
  •  He then runs his own regular technical sessions (an hour or two in length) for his team to raise awareness of the skills required and kickstart their development.
  •  Each team member then attends the Auto iQ training program.
  •  Each team member puts the new skills to use in the workshop assisted by Matthew with on the job training where required.


Like many of the hands-on business owners that train with us, Matthew started out in the workshop relishing the challenge of fixing the unfixable, and loving the learning that training and each successful diagnosis bought. The magic starts to happen though once that knowledge is spread throughout the business. Other technicians in the workshop become interested in the possibilities that this knowledge brings, as well as the positive outcomes this can have on their own careers, and so the momentum builds.

The self-fulfilling prophecy
OK, so we’ve started the ball rolling but where does this lead to? Quite simply, a VERY positive outcome.
    
As each team member develops their skill-set, the weight on Matthew’s shoulders to repair all those challenging jobs reduces. This in turn gives Matthew more time to increase his skill set and pass this onto the team. It becomes a virtuous cycle of success for everyone involved.
    
Quite simply it’s about opening a door, letting your techs walk through it and then helping them on a path to success. The great thing is though that this is one of those situation where everyone wins.
    
The customer benefits from a first time fix. The technician grows and enjoys their career. The business owner retains happy technicians and profits from their competency.What’s not to like about that? Not a lot!
    
Just in case you we’re wondering Matthew isn’t in this alone. Kevin, his business partner is working his way through our business development program making similar strides forward with his front-of-house team.

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