NASTF Meeting Tackles OEM And Aftermarket Topics Of Today, Tomorrow -

NASTF Meeting Tackles OEM And Aftermarket Topics Of Today, Tomorrow

The NASTF meeting, held twice annually at locations where technicians gather, is a studio event broadcast internationally on the association's YouTube channel and is available there as a recorded event for future viewing.

The Spring 2014 General Meeting of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) was hosted by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Northwest Chapter on Thursday, March 20, in advance of the chapter’s annual Automotive Training Expo (ATE) at the Double-Tree Hotel in Seattle, Wash. The NASTF meeting, held twice annually at locations where technicians gather, is a studio event broadcast internationally on the association’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/nastfdotorg) and is available there as a recorded event for future viewing. The sixth annual ATE drew more than 600 technicians for 62 training sessions over the three-day event.

One NASTF session dug into the complex topic of J-2534 pass-through devices being used to link technicians’ computers to their customers’ vehicles. Mark Saxonberg, manager of Alternative Fuel Vehicles & Environment for Toyota Motor Sales USA; Bob Augustine, technical training manager for Christian Brothers Automotive; and Brian Herron, vice president of tool maker Drew Technologies, conferred for 60 minutes with panel moderator, Skip Potter, NASTF executive director, on the technical issues surrounding the past, present and future of those devices. The one-hour discussion revealed a 10-year struggle in implementing the J-2534 SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standard, which has led to current difficulties with this vehicle interface solution. Augustine asked the industry to set priorities to resolve current trepidation in use of the “J-tool.”

“First,” he said, “let’s all agree on whether this should be a local, computer-based or a Web-based system.” For more convenient viewing, NASTF has posted the “J-2534 Discussion” separate from the full event video on their YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/NASTFdotOrg). “Every technician and OEM should watch this discussion,” said Potter. “There is a lot to learn from this session.”

With the announcement in January of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between parties representing the automakers and those representing aftermarket service, a special panel moderated by John Lypen, director of industry relations for Motor Information Services, included discussions with Steve Douglas, senior director of environmental affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Aaron Lowe, vice president of government affairs for the Auto Care Association (formerly AAIA).

“NASTF is not mentioned in the MOU like it is in the Massachusetts legislation, but we hope NASTF will be the first line of defense [on issues between technicians and OEMs],” said Lowe in his opening presentation. “What we established in Massachusetts is a good solution [to right-to-repair],” added Douglas. “The big things are [year] 2018 and J-2534 [requirements].”

Donny Seyfer, co-owner of Seyfer Automotive (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) demonstrated the OEM Scan Tool Resource Center, which is now accessible from the NASTF website (www.nastf.org). Seyfer explained that many more OEM tools will be introduced soon to the center and that others will be rolled out as the research is completed.

Claude Hensley, owner of Lockman Locksmiths (Tampa, Fla.) and independent co-chair of the Vehicle Security Committee, presented final statistics of the 2013 NASTF Vehicle Security Professional (VSP) Registry, noting a total of 1,728 registered VSPs; where 935 were locksmiths and 762 were service technicians; and that there were 578,704 security product transactions in the registry for the year 2013, totaling more than 1.5 million transactions since the beginning of the program in 2008.

Charlie Gorman, executive manager of the Equipment & Tool Institute (ETI), presented for the NASTF Equipment & Tool Committee, reporting on a co-operative project with NASTF involving ETI’s Scan Tool Information Request (STIR) system, which will work with the NASTF Service Information Request (SIR) for toolmakers resolving OEM data stream availability issues. Rob Morrell, training manager for WORLDPAC and aftermarket co-chair of the NASTF Education Committee announced the committee’s initiative to simplify aftermarket access to OEM education resources. In its initial stages, the project intends to offer OEMs a revenue stream while satisfying the needs of both technicians and independent technical trainers.

John Cabaniss, director of environment and energy for the association of Global Automakers, announced a board commitment to expand the marketing effort for NASTF as it attempts to recruit greater support of professional technicians throughout the U.S.

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Phone Shoppers Made Easy

Although there is no silver bullet that will allow you to bring in every first-time caller, there are a number of things you can do to get more appointments. In this article, I would like to share some of the best practices your advisors can use that will generate immediate results.

By Bob
Cooper of Elite

With
vehicles being built better than ever before, and with service intervals
continually being extended, you are going to see your customers less often.
This means your service advisors are going to have to be razor sharp when the
phone rings. Although there is no silver bullet that will allow you to bring in
every first-time caller, there are a number of things you can do to get more
appointments. In this article, I would like to share some of the best practices
your advisors can use that will generate immediate results.
In order for
someone to buy from you, three things need to occur: They have to like you,
they have to trust you, and they have to view you as a credible expert. So when
your phone rings, the first thing your advisors need to sell is themselves; not
the service or repair. The best way of accomplishing this goal is with a
professional, courteous and upbeat greeting, such as “Thank you for calling
Elite Auto Care, this is Bob. How can I help you this morning?” By using these
words we’re showing appreciation, by volunteering the name of our company we’re
assuring the callers that they’ve called the right number, and by providing our
name we’re beginning to build personal relationships. By asking how we can
help, we’re asking a question that will allow us to control the conversation.
By being upbeat and using the right tonality, our likeability goes up, and the
customer’s anxiety goes down.
The second
thing your advisors will need to do is slow the conversation down so the
callers don’t feel rushed, and they’ll have to become good detectives by asking
a number of questions. By having the callers talk, it will take their focus off
of the price, and it will allow them to begin to feel more comfortable with
your advisors at the same time.
When it comes
to asking for the appointment, one of the best kept secrets I can share with
you is this: With rare exception, your advisors need to offer every caller a
choice of appointment times, and whenever possible, one of those options should
be for them to bring the vehicle in now. For example; “I can squeeze you in
now, or would 2:15 be better for you?”
When it comes to auto repair, customers love finality, which is why
providing the “now” option is a powerful sales tool.
Now here’s
the absolute best-kept secret for dealing with the tough first-time callers.
Every one of your advisors needs to be aware that many “price shoppers” are
asking for price just to start the conversation, and beyond that, with rare
exception, callers don’t know the questions they should be asking. This is why
it’s a good idea to ask your service advisors to write down a list of the
questions that they think an educated caller would ask. Once they have their
lists completed, and committed to memory, then it’s easy for them to respond to
price inquiries with a statement like, “Well Larry, I know price is important
to you, and it should be, but if you call five different shops today, you’ll
more than likely get at least five different prices. Some of the other
questions you might want to ask are how long they’ve been in business, whether
or not they have certified technicians and a drug-free workplace program, and
you might want to have them walk you through their diagnostic processes as
well. You might also want to ask them if they always explore all of the options
that are available to customers when it comes to any recommended repairs, what
kind of warranties they provide, and if those warranties are in writing.”  Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve closed hundreds,
if not thousands of tough first-time “price shoppers” using this technique, so
I know it will work for you.
 If you’re still not quite sold, then consider
this. If you take my recommendations, when those price shoppers start calling
other shops, you know as well as I do that they’ll more than likely ask some of
the questions your advisors suggested to them. Not only will your competitors
be caught off guard and struggle with the answers, but in each case, the
callers will be thinking of your advisors. This is when they’ll not only realize
how well your advisors handled the call, but they’ll trust your advisors, and
you bet; they’ll now view them as credible experts as well.
For help permanently
increasing your service advisors’ sales and CSI scores, learn more about the Elite Masters Service Advisor Training
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