Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Power of Onstage Presence

I was working in a shop the other day; what a great day it was! Customers came in to have work done on their cars and the phone was ringing off the hook—it was wonderful to see. Customers were in the waiting area and walking around outside waiting for services to be completed on a beautiful sunny day.

Two of us were in front managing sales and workflow with four technicians in the shop. The work for the day was filled with tires and mechanical services from a car count of 18, and sales at the end of the day were 10K+ with an average ARO of $555 per car. Management was thrilled.

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI members: Do you know how to build a culture of “yes” and Online Presence? Start with ATI’s Onstage Presence Builder.

Onstage Presence

Allow me to share what made all the difference in the world: controlling Onstage Presence and providing professional telephone skills. What I mean by Onstage Presence is when you maintain proper decorum while you are up front, in view of, and can be heard by customers in your facility. You must be polite, patient, and pleasant — welcoming to everyone — from the waiting area to telephone calls and walk-in customers. It is vital for the service advisors managing the workflow — estimating, presenting, closing sales, and handling phone calls — to maintain their composure in front of all the watching eyes. At no time should a customer see any negativity, anger, frustration, or impatience from the service advisors while being cared for and their vehicle is in the shop.

Dennis Snow, who wrote Lessons from the Mouse, shared the Onstage Presence philosophy that customers should never experience the negative side of doing business. The customer should only experience the positive, magical, and pleasant Onstage Presence while they are with you. Backstage Presence is where all associates can air and solve issues that need attention, just never in front of the customer.

Onstage Presence in Action

Here’s an example of a positive Onstage Presence: We were jamming with the cars, making sure we kept our cool and maintained a positive, energetic environment in which customers felt taken care of. So much so, that I was offered a job by one of the customers. She was very complimentary on how we were managing the amount of work and how the phone was being handled with such care and offered me a job right then and there. She was looking for a manager to train her staff to take care of her customers professionally — the same way she felt she was being cared for.

She came in looking for one tire and left with an appointment for four tires to be installed the following day. There were three interruptions during our time; I made my proper excuses to her to manage the phone as we continued to work together. Here is what she experienced:

1. Meet and Greet

I introduced myself with a smile on my face and joy in my voice. I was careful to get her name and repeat it back to her.

2. Interruptions

The phone rang just as we were going out to the car, so I excused myself to answer the phone:

Thank you for choosing ____________ whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?

I got the name and then said Hi __________; what may I do for you today?

I got the information from the customer and then said  _____________, I will be happy to assist. May I get your number and call you back in 11 minutes — I am with a customer right now.

I took down the number in the phone log and called back when I was done with my present customer.

3. Reservations

If the customer was making a reservation, I took care of that right away.

The Impact

What my customer shared with me is that she never felt like I placed more importance on the phone caller’s needs than I did her needs. She also noticed that I was consistent with my phone process and how professionally I handled the phone calls.

She offered me a job managing and training her people on how to have proper Onstage Presence and on how to provide professional, consistent phone skills. I truly felt appreciated and was fully energized to provide exceptional service all day.

Don’t get me wrong — the day was not all roses; we had our fair share of issues and problems that occurred. What we made sure of is that those problems and issues stayed Backstage — never Onstage; they did not need to reach the customer. My customer’s experience that day was so powerful she has sent several referrals to the business. The day was glorious.

Get ATI’s Onstage Presence Builder to cultivate your own “Yes Attitude” culture. Use the strategies with your team to maintain a positive, patient, and pleasant Onstage Presence. Your customers will receive an exceptional experience and go away feeling like they matter to you, the business, and the associates. Remember to smile and whistle while you work… be joyful!

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LeAnne is an Executive Coach at ATI and has been coaching since 2003. LeAnne loves assisting others in the achievement of their personal and business goals. She helps people find the goals and dreams they really what and aids in structuring and implementing a plan to achieve those goals and dreams.