Mike Anderson at CARSTAR: "Grow Your People"

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 14, 2022)—"Compete" is one of the three "C" words being emphasized along with "connect" and "conquer" at the 2022 CARSTAR Conference, and Mike Anderson gave attendees a hefty dose of advice on how to compete in his keynote address Thursday morning.

In short, shops need to change the way in which they compete, and that all starts with their personnel. 

"Whoever can grow their people can grow their business," was a repeated line from Anderson, one of the most experienced voices in the industry. 

But having the best people goes beyond just training or knowhow, Anderson said, it's about being able to keep those talented people around by adapting to changing times. Recruiting is important but even more important is growing the people you already have within your organization through training, retraining, retention bonuses and rewarding loyalty. One example Anderson cited was offering flexible working hours as the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted mindsets about scheduling and workers in other industries have more flexibility than ever. It's part of building a culture, and culture, he said, is the "golden commodity."

"It is not who gets the car, it is who has the people," Anderson said.

Part of having talented people is having educated people, and Anderson said that there is another pandemic facing the industry, one of uneducated people writing estimates. Shops have more information than they ever need to be aware of from OEM repair procedures to calibrations, and employees often simply do not have the time necessary to do the research they need.

"The one thing you can never get back is time," Anderson said.

The emphasis on culture was echoed by Arlo Johnson, senior vice president overseeing OEM certification and vehicle calibrations for Driven Brands, in a roundtable discussion with media.

"We are coaching up shops to understand how to build the right culture," said Johnson, "so they can onboard younger people, move them into their organization, and give them a career path that they can be successful here." 

Another component of adapting to the times is that customer expectations have shifted and continue to shift by the day. Customers expect to be able to access shops digitally and to have access even after hours. Customers expect to have a seamless, low-contact experience. Shops should be doing whatever they can to deliver as much convenience as possible, Anderson said, and those that do are going to dominate. 

The CARSTAR Conference concludes Friday. 

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