About six years ago, he began noticing that the more forward-thinking collision repair facilities focused a portion of their training on teaching their administrative and customer-facing staff soft skills. The results were very positive.
Not only was there better overall communication in the business, but they also found that when technicians and everyone else in the shop listened to one another and communicated better, employee retention improved.
“If a technician is uncomfortable in an environment, the way it is typically handled is that person will leave,” said Peevy. “If technicians have better communication skills, they can sit down and communicate their feelings and often negotiate an environment they are happy with, and as a result they will stay.”
Peevy said one of the main challenges has been the lack of training available. This is especially true of online training since many of the staff members in these types of roles aren’t in a position to travel to places offering opportunities to learn about soft skills.
Since becoming president of AMi, Peevy said he has tried to build on that opportunity for shops to have access to training in this area.
OEM Certification Expansion
Another paradigm shift Peevy has noticed is in regard to the expansion of OEM certification programs. About six years ago, he said, car manufacturers began establishing shop networks.
“For many of them in the past, it was about selling parts,” said Peevy. “However, I’ve seen that changing as OEMs are trying to protect their brands.”
Statistics have shown that when someone is in an accident and has a negative collision repair experience, he or she will usually trade in the car once it has been repaired and then change brands about 60 percent of the time.
“OEMs are trying to keep brand loyalty and want to be part of the customer experience,” explained Peevy.
OEM certification programs are evolving from primarily focusing on the tools, equipment and training requirements to now putting new emphasis on the customer experience.
“I expect to see more non-technical staff training requirements in the very near future,” said Peevy.