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Inspire Better Shop Communication

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If, as a shop owner, you've ever watched an employee struggle on the shop floor and thought, 'We need to talk,' then you understand: Communication can often be lacking within body shops. 

With that in mind, below are tips from accomplished collision repairers about how shop owners can spark better communication within their facilities. 

Stress teamwork. Express to employees that, if each shop department focuses on accomplishing its tasks, then the entire staff can ultimately benefit. 

Seek staff members’ feedback. As California shop owner Shaun Arroyo notes, it’s always beneficial to speak to employees in an effort to shore up any procedural deficiencies. After all, they’re working in the trenches each day, while shop owners often must tend to front-office duties. 

Hire a business coach. Industry coaches or consultants can offer valuable, unbiased insight and observations, says Aaron Glaser, who operates Glaser’s Collision Centers. 

Explain clearly defined expectations. Before your staff members can register impressive KPI figures, they need to know the benchmarks their boss seeks. Explain those consistently, during production meetings. 

Consider buying walkie-talkies. As Arroyo notes, even used walkie-talkies (which can be purchased for around $400 apiece), can effectively aid interdepartmental communication. 

Use non-verbal cues, too. Many successful shop owners agree: writing notes on vehicles still works well― a red-yellow-green system can help shop workers quickly assess, by looking at car’s windshield, if a vehicle is ready for repair work. 

Post DRP scorecards. By sharing your staff’s performance with regard to insurers’ KPI metrics, it can offer employees a goal line to set their sights on. 

Have team-building lunches. Potluck lunches and chili cookoffs have helped Glaser’s shop staffs unite because, he says, they offer a brief escape from work and also fuel conversation that helps employees relate to each other.

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