Doering: I think there's going to be a big capital investment in technology because the margins are so high in our business. If we just look at the chains, the Amazons, I think there's going to be a significant investment around creating a better customer experience.
Recruiting and retaining technicians
Matthews: It's very, very hard to recruit a technician. These new kids that are coming out of school, they want their life to look different than some of my technicians that have been in the business for 30 years or more. They're very interested in, "What does my time [off] look like? How can I have the weekends off? What does my schedule look like? We're open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. That schedule that I've laid out for some of the older technicians doesn't look that attractive to some of the younger guys coming out of school. How do we attract these younger technicians that are coming out of school that are 25, 26 years old? They want to make big bucks, and they want to work six hours a day. And take lunch.
Doering: We've tried to sort of dig into one of the pain points for these technicians coming into the auto field. One of them that we identified and we're trying to address right now is tools. It's kind of a big ask [to have] these kids pay for their own education and then over the first 10 years invest a significant amount of money in tools. That's a barrier.
One thing they would have done differently at the start of the pandemic
Matthews: I dipped my toe in a little bit with a mobile technician. If we could rewind, I would have really invested the time and money in that mobile technician. That could have made a huge, huge difference in our bottom line.
Latino: I wish that we could have explored the pickup and delivery a lot sooner. I think it would have given us the advantage, not only over the aftermarket, but also customers would have known that we were out there for them.
Doering: We were lucky to have a platform ready for pickup and delivery, but what became very quickly evident is you also need to have the right integrations. You need to have scheduling set up properly and working, you need to try to keep the customer in one environment.
We launched a great platform that worked very well for the dealer and customer, but it sat in the form of an app which created some challenges. That's all since been fixed, but ideally I would have been further along with integrations when we launched.
The mobile tech also is one that we would have been thinking about [but] weren't far enough along to pilot. I think COVID has reinforced with us that that needs to be in the tool box for service. If we believe our customers should receive service how they want to, I think that there will be some customers looking to that. And I think as technology changes and software becomes a bigger part of what's done in the workshop and with electric cars, I think there's maybe an easier business equation around mobile tech going forward than the huge vans fully outfitted to do anything. We can be very tactical in mobile service in the future and deliver good customer value.