Mike Anderson (of Collision Advice) is exciting. And the Doctor says it’s highly contagious.

Whether you take it as passionate, moving, electrifying, or emotional, it doesn’t really matter. Any way you slice it, Mike is “excited” about teaching others and helping them to succeed. And he’s really great at it. If you knew him from the days he owned Wagonwork Collision you probably see him as a peer. Now, you’d see him as much more than that. No matter how great of a shop owner he was, he’s an even better teacher.

Spending a day with him is fun. He jokes a lot (mostly about himself) and sometimes screams out “I love this stuff!” I mean, he literally screams it out and usually when the audience is distracted and they all jump out of their seat; myself included. He makes the topics he discusses – usually very serious – more light and enlightening. In my opinion, it makes it easier to digest and retain it, as well as envision practical application. It’s very empowering.

It isn’t always an easy subject matter. As a former shop owner of a completely non-DRP business structure, he talked about his mental transition through his consulting experience into more of a “fix-it-right” mentality. Whether shops are independent or DRP-dependent didn’t matter to him as much as quality of repair. And on that point, I couldn’t agree with him more. In my years with WMABA, I’d come to that realization through working with many different types of shops. I also don’t care what your business model is; just that it includes doing a safe repair for the consumer.

Digging further down into the meat of the meeting, he went into supplement ratios and complete teardowns and how they can affect the cycle time and profit of your business. Joel covered them earlier in the cover story, so I think you’ve got that part down.

What I want you to grab a hold of from Mike’s seminar are ways of improving customer relations. Such as that 68% of people prefer text updates to phone or email. Do you think it would be wise to look into that? He also cited a survey that says consumers put trust, empathy and direction above price, which was down in 6th place! So, do you think that setting clear expectations on the front end of the repair process to establish trust, and taking the time to listen to the customer about how the accident took place would gain empathy? Wouldn’t that make you 1st and 2nd in their book, even over the insurance company?

Another way to improve customer relations and establish a long-lasting relationship is through communication. Sounds a lot like a family, right? If Mike’s right, your customer could forget about you completely in 18 months, so you need to get in front of them on a regular basis. Do you have a Facebook page with regular updates? Do you ask them to give you an email address to send them a newsletter? Have you checked your website ranking on Google? Do you not know how to do any of this stuff and need to go out there and get some help?

These are all things you’ve heard before, but maybe never took initiative on. Mike challenged you – even if you weren’t there – to think like a business owner. Think logically and not emotionally. If you can explain your charges in a methodical and documented way, then they may not come around immediately but you can continue to have the discussion with them until they do.

If you put 10% of your time into building business, it will pay you back ten-fold with happier customers who have positive things to say about their experience and tell their friends and families about you. That’s always better than relying on someone else to send you a customer you didn’t get on your own. If I could copycat anyone’s thoughts, I’d do it Mike’s way.