Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Can You Hear Me Now? How to Amplify Your Influence!

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Linda” brought her 2010 Chevy Lumina to a shop in San Francisco. Jason, the shop owner, assured her the job would be completed by five o’clock, and that she would receive a phone call updating her on the vehicle status. 

Jason forgot to make the phone call, and Linda arrived at the shop at 5 pm, expecting her car to be ready. The job wasn’t done, and Linda was irate!

Jason paid for a rental car and gave her an additional 10% off the bill. She came back the following evening and picked the vehicle up.

“I’m still not satisfied! I want an additional $250 off!” She said. Jason responded: “The 10% off and rental car is the best I can do for you.”

“OK Jason, I’m going to tell all of my friends to give you a bad Yelp review and never to do business at your shop!” Jason replied:  “I’m sorry you feel that way, but that’s my final offer!”

The customer did as she promised, and her network of friends gave the shop sixteen negative Yelp reviews. Within six months, Jason went out of business.

ATI Fundamental #10 teaches us to Honor Commitments. On the surface, the failure to honor his initial commitment to Linda is what put Jason out of business.

As we dig deeper, we will find that there’s another issue that impacted him.

He didn’t realize that the microphone is always on.

Ideas to grow your businessDo you know how to amplify your influence and elevate your business? Discover valuable, easy-to-implement tips and strategies in ATI’s shop owner events. Register today at

The Microphone Is Always On

In his book, Key Person of Influence: The Five-Step Method To Become One of The Most Valued and Highly Paid People In Your Industry, Daniel Priestley describes the internet by using the metaphor of the microphone.

He concludes that the microphone was a game-changing innovation, but it doesn’t guarantee the success or failure of the user. It only amplifies who they really are.

For example, you may be the only one who knows that I can’t sing.

But, if I grab the microphone on stage at the SuperConference and start singing, everyone will know about my abilities!

It would be pointless for me to blame and bash the microphone. It only amplifies who I really am! (BTW, I think I sound great in the shower!)

Likewise, it would be pointless to blame and bash Yelp in the previous scenario. It’s only an amplifier. Instead of looking to find fault, I suggest embracing the new rule of customer service.

The New Rule of Customer Service

Back in the day, we use to say that a satisfied customer will tell 3 people about her experience, but an upset customer will tell 11 people what happened.

This was known as the 3 to 11 rule. 

Today a satisfied customer will still only tell 3 people. But someone unhappy can tell 1,100 people with one swipe of their smartphone!

I call this the 3 to 1,100 rule!

People are naturally motivated to amplify a negative experience. Your customer who still uses a flip phone will morph into Mark Zuckerberg when it’s time to leave you a 1-star review!

They will instantly become internet savvy and will find a way to bash you!

Someone who is merely satisfied isn’t as inspired to share their story. For example, let’s go back to the first saga of Linda with the Lumina and Jason the shop owner.

Let’s say Jason got the job done on time, and the work was satisfactory. Do you think  Linda would have told each of her sixteen friends to leave him a 5-star review? NO!

People won’t amplify an average experience. If you focus on becoming exceptional, you can amplify your influence!

Become Exceptional

The key to becoming exceptional is to make your next hiring decisions with the knowledge that the microphone is always on.

Looking for a new service manager? As you sit across the desk from the prospect, ask yourself the following question: “Would your customers rave to their 1,100 followers about your prospect’s levels of service?”

If your gut answer is NO, then keep looking!

Looking for a new technician?

Before making a desperation hire, make sure you check employment references from at least three previous supervisors. Ask them the following question: “How would you rate his overall performance on a scale of 1-10?”

If all three rate a 9 or higher, it’s a good chance he’s exceptional. If they won’t answer your question, it could be that the technician had more comebacks than a Rocky movie!


So, there you have it. I challenge you to make your next hiring decisions with the realization that your brand can be amplified to thousands of people whom you do not know!  

Doing so can position you to amplify your influence.

If you accept this challenge, I will accept the challenge of not singing at this year’s SuperConference!

At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.