Change is Coming

This blog isn't about the Hybrid I just bought, but instead how shops MUST change their current thought processes towards more education to embrace these vehicles or end up closing their doors.
First a little back ground; my recently departed vehicle had just shy of 300,000.00 miles and although still running like a top I was really starting to get worried about its future reliability @ that mileage.  One day I was scanning Facebook and I saw an Internet ad for the end of the current year Hybrid sale, and started checking into it.  Short story, No Interest for 72 months, substantial vehicle markdowns (as the year was closing out) and they gave me more than expected for my 300,000.00 mile vehicle, they made it too simple and forced me to buy it!  I now own a Hybrid, which given the miles I drive a year will pay the monthly (no interest) payments in fuel savings alone! 

This is where it gets interesting; I was at a client's recently and he noticed my Hybrid in the parking lot, asked if it was mine and then stated, "it's vehicles like that, that will put me out of business".  Startled I asked why and he stated "they never need anything".  Wow, one of my clients thinking that this extreme technology will never need anything, really?

OK, the engines (gas side) don't operate at the same load levels as vehicles without the Hybrid motors (electric) for the most part and that technology (engine) has come a long way in the last 10 years, but what about the technology within the electrical systems?  This should be an opportunity, not an end of the world as we know it thought process!  This vehicle has an advance electrical drive system, it has adaptive cruise control (coolest thing ever) plus more options than the Space Shuttle did (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration there).  The point was/is that this is an opportunity to educate ourselves and our staff in the next level of vehicle evolution, Hybrids, All Electrics or Hydrogen powered vehicles etc.

So, what needs to happen to avoid being "put out of business by these vehicles"?  Simply this, EDUCATION!  We (coaches and trainers) have long preached about keeping your staff in some sort of continued education, whether it is your Technical staff or your Service staff, the future is going to require it.  And although slightly behind the curve today to start, there is NO more important time to start than right now!  There are more and more technical classes out on Hybrids than ever before and yet I hear from many trainers or see at the conventions, classes' only partially full.  Please heed these words, if you don't get ahead of the Hybrid evolution right now, you will be behind it forever and eventually fail.  This is the future and whether you believe it is Hybrids (gas/electric), All Electric or Hydrogen propelled, you must embrace it and get your staff trained for it or go by the way of phone booths and Kodak camera's.  And the above words primarily revolves around the Technical training required; this doesn't even begin to address the Service staff training needs that historically are WAY behind already!

Our Service staff has historically taken second seat to Technical training for the last 20 years and although getting better, it is woefully limited to this day.  Your Service staff need to be in school as much as most Technicians do to keep up with the ever changing industry needs!  And yet, most barely get enough to know to repeat the customer's name during the conversation, much less why!.  The internet has become the "go to" for customer education (in the customers mind anyway) and that has closed many shops who didn't take the time to train their Service staff on how to handle those customers.  And forgetting about this lack of past training to deal with the Internet, are your Service staff members trained for the "now-in-your-face" Hybrids?  Are they now falling further behind possibly making your facility the next one on the chopping block?

Sure, these are easy questions to ask and certainly not easy to answer!  But the reality is if you don't start answering them, if you don't start training your entire staff on the new technology that is already here, where can you go, what will you be working on in the future?  As much as we would all like there to be small block Chevy's forever, even they have changed substantially!  

BTW-all of these vehicles are still going to need brakes, most will need cooling system service and repair, all still have tires to replace and basic electrical systems (door locks, lights, etc.)!

If you need help with your business and want to see and feel the successes you expected when you opened your doors, give us a call at:;

The ACT Group, 805-444-2598 or visit our website for more information @