What is Training Worth

24 06 2016

What is training worth?

In my career I have trained over 200 warranty administrators and zero horses.  The reason for that is that I know warranty like I know my own name and I know nothing about training horses.  In fact when they put me in the old folk’s home, I will probably just sit there and repeat labor operations and everyone will think I am totally nuts.   I do know that when I compare training a warranty administrator, it closely resembles the training my horses have or have not received.

We had a little horse named Elbert.  He was cute, good natured, and dependable.  He was a caregiver who wanted to please you and would take care of anyone on his back.   The problem with Elbert is that we wanted a roping horse that could win in competitions.  Elbert could not rope to save his life.  He just wasn’t wired to rope.

I compare this to many warranty administrators I have been called on to train.  The dealership has someone they just love that has all the wonderful qualities that Elbert had.  Everyone wants that kind of employee.  They just are mom to everyone!  However no matter how they try or are trained, they just are not wired to do all the functions that being a warranty administrator requires.

We also had a horse named Bo that my husband just had to have because he was a beautiful paint with this gorgeous long mane and tail that would fly in the wind as Bo ran through the fields.  That is all Bo could do, run through the fields.  In fact we couldn’t even ever catch Bo but boy was he nice to look at.

I don’t think I need to draw you a picture here for you to get the comparison if you have ever hired THAT kind of warranty administrator.

Next along came Gypsy.  There is a reason she had that name because she was a wild one. Not dependable.  I won’t draw you a picture on this one either because I know you all have had those experiences in the service department.

I really need to mention our horse named Nit Nat.  This was a 30 year old appaloosa that would trudge along and get the job done but it was painful for whoever would ride him.  You had to be patient because getting there was a long slow trip.

Finally we learned that if we wanted to rope and win that we had to have a horse that first had a natural talent for chasing steers, was built for the job, dependable, and “well trained”.   The key to all of this is that we didn’t have the ability (as evidence in all the above horses) to train a roping horse.

What we had to do was pay a fair price for the horse with the qualities we wanted and then spend a fortune on training.  Now I am not insinuating that you need to pay a fortune for training but you do have to “invest” in the proper training to have a winning warranty department just like we had to invest to get a winning competitor.

To think that you can take an Elbert, Gypsy, Nit Nat or Bo to do the job without training is crazy.  Now with any of those types you will have things that you need to live with.  The Elbert type will be able to do the job but not be a barn burner.  Bo, well let’s say you reap what you sew!  Gypsy will need to be harnessed, and Nit Nat you will need to be patient.

So before you hire think about all the qualifications you want your warranty department to have.  Evaluate the temperament, learning ability, and what skills the person already has or doesn’t have.  Do they have accounting knowledge and computer skills?  Do they know how a car operates and is built?  Are the fast or methodical and which do you want? How much are you willing to invest in their education?

Finally get them training!  In fact get them all the training that you can get your hands on. The manufacturer training is often not enough because it doesn’t bring into account the DMS function of the job or the accounting portion. It is also in“perfect world” training on “perfect” tickets. Often times the best training is the one that is done in your store on your real world repair orders. The training should also institute a system of accountability for the store.

The more training your warranty department has the more valuable they will be to your dealership.  This will also result in you not having warranty dollars lost either in an audit or write off situation.

If you are in need of training, call us!

Automotive Warranty Network

303-703-9107 and ask for me Lisa Reinicke. In fact call my cell 303-246-9018

We have some trainers ready to assist in any manufacturer

Perfect Repair Orders

25 04 2016

I guess I never will see a dealer who follows all the warranty policies, but I always expect that at least they try to follow the correct processes.  Well I guess I never cease to be surprised on my dealer visits.  How in the world do we get so mixed up getting the process right?

The manufacturer puts out endless videos, publications, training, and manuals, yet no matter what they do we are just too busy in the service drive to look at all the information available.

Then when it all turns to poop and claims don’t get paid, time out, or have to be jimmy jacked to get through the system, everyone blames the warranty administrator!

For heaven’s sake!  The admin didn’t write the ticket or fix the car or charge out the wrong parts!  Just give us a good ticket and watch us get it paid and quickly!

Warning this blog may be a little sarcastic and silly for some readers


So here are some great examples from my dealer visit to just one store.

  • The recall states “replace 2 door handles and install retainers on the remaining handles. Yet no retainers charged out. There were also no notes from the tech at all, and no time punch.
    • When I asked about the retainers and why they were not replaced to complete the recall, the tech said it was his mother in laws car and she didn’t need the plugs and besides she gave him a bad CSI score. ( She must not be his favorite) and so it is OK if she falls out of the back door because he didn’t install the correct parts
  • The vehicle inquiry specifically states “Prior approval needed”. No approval obtained
    • The advisor ran the vehicle inquiry but he said he didn’t have time to read it so he missed the prior approval
  • No time punches on any RO. They didn’t know they needed to!
    • Really! Technicians have had the requirements of time recording since they were writing repair orders on tablets of stone using chisels!
  • Testing performed and no results listed anywhere in the story or attached
    • This is actually a common mistake. Remember that all testing performed needs a result listed in the story
  • Add on repairs done that are not critical and not approved
    • It was actually the drive manager adding on all the appearance items. I was wondering how he missed this in his training.
  • Customer complaints like: “customer states perform TSB”
    • The customer’s name was Suzy and she just happens to know all about cars and TSB’s – she just didn’t know which one to ask for.
  • Out of warranty repairs with no notes
    • When I asked the service manager about it, he knew nothing, just like Cornel Klink. “I know nothing!”  But then added “can’t you just goodwill it?”
  • No manufacturer’s defects listed. Just replaced the parts with notes such as “replaced transmission, enough said”
  • Missing Misc expenses because the advisor didn’t read the bulletin. Missed opportunities like filling up the customers fuel, pick up an delivery, car washes
    • Can you imagine the CSI score if you say “Mr. Smith, I know this recall is an inconvenience, so the manufacture is paying for us to pick up and deliver your car, fill it up with gas, and we will give it a good clean up for you” I know I would give you a 100% instead of “it sucks to miss work and take you my darn car”
  • Charging out whole boxes of clips and airisole
    • When I talked to the parts manager he just didn’t know how to charge out misc supplies and he would figure it all out when they took an inventory, ( if he is still there)
  • No fluids charged out on parts that clearly should have had fluid added.
    • I guess they figured that all the extra boxes of clips would make up for this deficit




And the best part of the whole trip was that the warranty admin would fix it all.


Here is the take away:

Advisors, it is your name on the repair order.  You get paid for parts and labor.  Please make sure you review your repair order for completeness.

Review the VIN inquiry for coverage’s and note the coverage.  Make sure all approvals are obtained.  Are the correct parts charged and on the correct lines.  Write symptom based customer complaints, not what your feel needs to be done to the vehicle.

Technicians, you are getting paid to tell the manufacturer what you did to the vehicle.  Make sure comments are complete with all testing, results, and the manufacturers defect listed.  Time punch correctly by punching in on the job as soon as you get the keys and off when you have parked the vehicle when the repair is completed.  Most of all federally mandated recalls need to be performed exactly as instructed with all parts listed to be replaced.


Do I hear and amen from the warranty admins out there?


Customer Signatures

5 04 2016

This has been updated a bit so thought I would share again


Customer signatures for warranty.
Whether you are using ERO (Electronic Repair Orders) or paper repair orders – one of the biggest and easiest charge-back for an auditor is missing signatures. It is a slam- dunk- give me the money.
Most manufacturers require customer signatures on the final copy as well as on the hard copy write up. All manufacturers require that the customer sign the hard copy PRIOR to the repair. It is important that the signature is on the statement where the customer is approving that  you can  do work on their vehicle, not just signaing a statement approving an estimate for the customer pay work.  In some dealerships there are two statements, one for approving estimates, and one for approving that you can work on their vehicle.

After you have listed all the customer complaints, they must sign giving you the authorization to work on their vehicle. This is just…

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My Husband Needed a Savior

30 03 2016

My husband is quite the traveler for our company.  With all the weeks he has to spend away in hotel rooms he has his own little routine.  He finds a good hotel with a restaurant, good TV, and clean sheets.  Next is to unpack and inspect the room service menu.  His favorite go to dinner is usually fish and chips, it’s something he doesn’t get at home.

While he waits for his yummy dinner, he gets all set up with a good show to watch which is usually a movie we haven’t seen together and one that I have no desire to see.  He knows he will get to watch in peace and quiet without me asking questions or saying how dumb the show is.

Once the food arrives he strips down to his undies, gets in bed and puts a bath towel over his lap to catch the drips and settles in for dinner and a movie

Given his pension for fish and chips he always puts the room service tray with all the stinky plates outside the door for them to pick up after his is finished.   So true to his habit he opened the door and leaned out to put the tray out for them to pick up so his room won’t stink.

But tonight he had to reach out farther than usual and just as he set the tray down, his door closed behind him and he was stuck outside his room in nothing but those beautiful boxers!

In his panic he quickly tip toed down the hallway darting from corner to corner in case someone should show up he could find some cover in a doorway.  Finally he found a house phone close to the elevator which had a chair where he could crouch down and hide behind.

He quickly called the front desk explaining that he had locked himself out of his room and needed help.  They responded that it was no problem, just come down and they would give him another key.  He stuttered as he explained to them that this was impossible due to his mistakes he was exposed and not presentable to go before the desk cleark.  He needed a savior to rescue him.  A male savior to be exact.

So one was sent who quickly rescued him and let him into his room, where there he could cover himself so he could go to the person at the front desk to get a new key card.

This story however funny reminded me how we all need a savior.  We have made mistakes and we are unacceptable to go to the front desk to meet God.  It took someone to help us and cover our sins, to make us presentable so we can go to the front desk of God.  Our mistakes were exposed and uncovered.  It took a sacrifice to come to us, to cover us, to prepare us to go before God. Someone to cover our mistakes up and free us to walk unashamed before God.





Customer Signatures

26 02 2016

Customer signatures for warranty.
Whether you are using ERO (Electronic Repair Orders) or paper repair orders – one of the biggest and easiest charge-back for an auditor is missing signatures. It is a slam- dunk- give me the money.
Most manufacturers require customer signatures on the final copy as well as on the hard copy write up. All manufacturers require that the customer sign the hard copy PRIOR to the repair. It is important that the signature is on the statement where the customer is approving that  you can  do work on their vehicle, not just signaing a statement approving an estimate for the customer pay work.  In some dealerships there are two statements, one for approving estimates, and one for approving that you can work on their vehicle.

After you have listed all the customer complaints, they must sign giving you the authorization to work on their vehicle. This is just like going to the doctor’s office: you always must sign that you agree to the procedure.
Next let’s say that you finished doing a proper write up with all the customer concerns listed, you have printed the hard copy, and your customer says “oh wait!! I forgot to add that my widget is falling off”. In these cases you need to hand write the new concern about the widget falling off by using the verbiage “ customer added widget is falling off” and then have the customer initial next to the added line and sign the bottom of the hard copy. I have had some advisors say, “I am just going to reprint it and have the customer sign the corrected copy”. The problem with this is that it still shows as a duplicate print and an asterisk as an added repair. So make sure you cover all bases and have the customer sign next to the added repair even if you reprint.
Here are some other important facts for obtaining authorization via the customer signature before ANY work is started on their vehicle:
1. If your dealership is using a pre-write, pre-invoice, or write up sheet, signatures are a must on these documents as well. This becomes your legal document.

  • It must identify the vehicle by VIN and miles. (yes the entire VIN).
  • It must have all customer complaints listed and a copy must be given to the customer.
  • Any complaint on the printed hard copy beyond what is on the pre-write sheet is considered an added repair and must be treated as such.

It is terrible to sit with the auditor who points out to you that “oops” all your pre-writes are signed but they are blank. So that means your customer signed approving NOTHING.

2. Be careful on drop offs!

  • When a vehicle is dropped off, all complaints beyond what is on the drop off sheet are considered added repairs and must meet add-on requirements.
  • Also the drop off letter or envelope must be signed by the customer.If the customer does not sign the drop off with the listed complaints: then you must document (which means you type in comments) the customer contact along with the time, date, and who you spoke with. Then what complaints they are adding by stating “added by phone”. Now walk that hard copy to the service manager to sign for the customer.
  • If you received an email from the customer, be sure to put that in your story and attach the email. It is also suggested that you type in comments that there is an email from the customer approving repairs.

3. In stock vehicles must be signed by service management approving the repair. This includes PDI’s, CPO’s, and new and used vehicle repairs.

4. Towed in vehicles:

  • You must obtain customer signatures on the hard and the final copy at pick up. Remember also anything beyond the reason it was towed in—IT IS AN ADD ON. We see so many claims get charged back for this.
  • Document every conversation with the customer.
  • In many stores we recommend that the cashier, service advisor, or whoever is the last person to see that customer and will give them the keys, will be the last stop in making sure all customer signatures are present AND all add-on’s are properly signed by the customer. Missing signatures after the vehicle is gone- means that the money is gone as well!

Put someone in charge so you don’t get charged!

The second C- The Cause

26 02 2016

Listing the manufacturers defect.
We often forget that the only reason the manufacturer is paying for a repair is because they did something wrong in the manufacturing of the vehicle that caused the break down.
Sometimes the advisor forgets this because he is just trying to please the customer and get a good survey. The customer just wants his car fixed for free so it doesn’t matter if he ran over something or not, he doesn’t feel getting billed is justified; after all he bought a NEW car! The technician often times is already into the repair before he figures out the repair probably should not be going to warranty but continues on or he won’t be paid at all for what he has done.
But to be covered by warranty the repair must be due to a defect in materials or workmanship. That means that in the story the technician must make clear what the defect is and that the defect wasn’t caused by outside influence. I have been in many meetings and the technicians say “it’s just defective”. So let’s look at the correct sequence and terminology to verify the repair being covered under warranty.

1. Re-verify that the customers concern is evident and can be duplicated. Most of you do that, but you forget to write it down! This is the first comment that should be in the story.
2. Determine the main cause of the customer’s concern and the part that needs to be repaired or replaced to correct the concern. Which part caused the failure?
3. What the manufacturer is looking for is why. Why is the repair the manufacturer’s responsibility? What is the manufacturing defect?

So let’s look at that number 3 for a second. Let’s say you are the one making the car and you are proud of what you make. You have been so successful that you now have extra workers that help you make the vehicle. You get parts from several different stores to make your cars.
Now out in the market place people want you to fix their car because they say it is defective. Wouldn’t you like to know what is defective? Is it the way you are assembling them? If it is you would want to know why, so you don’t do that anymore. ( and fire the helper that is messing it up)
What if the parts are coming apart? You would want to find another source to get those parts so you could stop having that problem.
That is exactly why the manufacture wants a precise cause of failure.
Let’s take, for example, a wiring repair. When you state the cause, such as “loose connection” then state the color, circuit, and harness, the manufacturer can trace that down to the very robot that did that (or the man that feels like a robot).
Sometimes the cause just isn’t that easy to confirm. Let’s take a transmission. Sometimes the manufacturer doesn’t want you to open the case. In these instances, it could be that in verifying the concern it is the shift points and measurements that are going to be the cause. Be sure even if you attach a sheet that all of this is in your story.
The same may be true of modules and self contained components. In these cases the cause will be the codes that are pulled along with the additional comments of “internal defect”.
For vibration and noise, make sure to indicate how you determined that this particular component was found to be noisy. What did you do to isolate the sound to make sure this part is the one that is making noise? (My grandfather was a tech and he hated fixing noises. So he never found a noise. He would always say “noise, what noise, I don’t hear a noise.”)
For body components such as weather-strips and moldings state if it is due to poor adhesion, warped, wavy, delaminating, etc to describe the defect.

When you are doing engine work, it is especially important to explain the root cause of failure. In some instances one component will cause another to fail. Be sure to explain that in your story making sure the part that caused the failure is clearly stated.
Remember also that if more than one component caused the failure, it is likely that you have a run on or add on repair and need to get management involved before completing your repair.

So here is the favorite for the week. “Customer states fuel leak”. “Replace fuel pump. Enough said!”

The 3 C’s and here is number 1

26 02 2016

The 3 C’s
Concern, Cause, Correction

They have always been required, so how come we keep messing them up?

All my administrators have asked me to PLEASE write about the 3 C’s.

Since this could be a lengthy TIP, I have decided to break it up into 3 weeks.

This week we will do “Customer Concern” The first C. ( I feel like Count Dracula- one C-haha- two C’s haha- 3 C’s)

A great customer concern is important for several reasons.
1. It shows the customer that you are listening and care about getting their vehicle fixed correctly
2. It communicates to the technician just how to diagnosis and drive the vehicle to duplicate the concern. It is also a starting point for the repair. It can also save a lot of excessive diagnosis time that the manufacturer has been bugging you about.
3. It increases the chance to get the vehicle fixed right the first time
4. It communicates to the factory areas that may need improvement
So how do you write a great customer concern?
First of all, never pre-diagnose the condition yourself! Even if you think you know what is wrong. Even if another shop has told the customer what is wrong with their vehicle. Remember that your technicians are the experts, not you and not the other shop. We see repeat repairs everyday where the customer concern says “fuel pump leaking.” So the tech replaced the fuel pump and now the vehicle is back because it has the same performance problem.
Here is another example (real ticket line A) Customer states “tie rods worn” Another one recently was from a customer with the first name “Cindy” that said “customer states, purge valve leaking.” I just could not picture Cindy stepping up to the counter saying “Hey you know what, my purge valve is leaking.” The bottom line here is to get answers to what symptoms the customer is experiencing. Don’t assume and don’t take someone else’s word for it.
Also be careful of the language that is used. Don’t use words such as “bent, damaged, or broken” . These types of words imply abuse or damage by the customer and since these are not defects in the factory workmanship or manufacturing they won’t be covered under warranty. If the parts are really damaged they should be charged to the customer not the factory.
Here is a good example. The advisor writes up the job stating, “Left front seat cushion is torn.” But in reality the seam is really splitting and coming apart. Be sure to question the customer correctly by asking questions such as “was it torn by you or is there a seam that is coming apart?” Then look at it to verify.

Secondly, ask questions that are symptom based to clarify the concern they are having. Then write the concern in a sentence that will include all the answers to those questions.
For example:
1. When does it happen and how often? Bumpy roads? All the time? Turning left?
2. Where does it happen- in what area of the vehicle- Front? Rear? Right? Left?
3. Can you hear it, see it, or smell it?
4. What color is it- if fluid leak
I can’t tell you how many times that we get a write up like- “door won’t open.” So now the tech has to try all 4 doors to find out which one you’re talking about. Then the tech doesn’t write which door either. The administrator has to guess or run out to ask one of you which one so they can code it correctly. Then after all that, the auditor comes out and charges you back because the administrator embellished the story because no one put the correct information in the story in the first place.

Most manufacturers have a job aid for customer concern issues like drivability, squeaks and rattles, or water and air leaks. We would be happy to supply your dealership with these directly from your manufacturer’s website so you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding it. We also have some generic ones that work very well. I am attaching an example of one for your use.

Please contact me at lisar@awninc.com and we will get these out to you.

Here is my favorite customer write up:

Customer states “ There is a whining noise coming from the passenger’s seat only happens when my wife is in the car.”

Next up, The Cause!