Toronto, Ontario -- May 14, 2019 -- The Prochilo family is well-known to the Canadian collision community, not just for Prochilo Brothers Collision, but also for the work of brothers Domenic and Paul Prochilo, and their cousin, Domenic Ieraci, to found their own franchise: Simplicity Car Care. As vice president of operations for Simplicity, Domenic Prochilo has spent much of the past few years bringing his in-depth understanding of the business of collision repair to driving the success of the bodyshops that have partnered with the brand. Collision Repair spoke with Prochilo to catch some of his insight on what he thinks is the most important aspect shop owners should be focusing on in the industry.
Collision Repair: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing bodyshop owners right now?
Domenic Prochilo: Currently the biggest problem for bodyshop owners is the lack of repair professionals. By repair professionals, I mean anyone working on the vehicles, throughout the collision centre. These are people who understand how to use procedure pages, who are able to write estimates using OEM procedures and people who have communication with the client very often. It’s almost like looking for a salesperson that can train in collision repair. Recruitment and training on the shop floor is another aspect where shop owners are having some trouble. If not now, it will definitely be a bigger issue for shops for the next five to 10 years.
CR: What do you think is collision repair business owners can do to bolster their business?
DP: I believe that shop owners should control what they can control and not to worry about anything else right now. One thing that we can control, is the client experience. I feel that is the biggest area of improvement in terms of a business’ profitability.
I don’t think there could be anything more important than the client experience and I’ll tell you why. The client has more control than ever on being able to communicate to the masses about their experience. From the comfort of their office, a client can rave about your business, further improving your Yelp score, your Google review score. But with a click and a swipe left they can detract others from visiting your site, just by sharing how unpleased they were.
The average person touches their phone 150 times a day. Technology is not something that is used or taken advantage of by just the millennials, but anyone can use their phone to communicate anything today. You’ll see that that will be a big differentiator in the business now and for years to come.
CR: What advice would you give for owners concerned with maintaining their success in the long term?
DP: The most important thing for bodyshops to stay successful in the industry is to take care of your people. Your people, being your staff whether they are beginners or veterans. Keeping your people engaged, and letting them know what you’re thinking, what your next move is, asking them for an opinion because outside of yourself, no one knows your business better than your people.
For example, five years ago our corporate stores launched our seven-day week campaign. A process that heavily involved the input of our staff.
If we just decided as corporate leaders that we were going to walk into a shop and say we’re going to be open seven days a week, there would have been a lot of pushback and it would have been a failure.
We shared our vision with our staff of what we thought this could do for our business and what it means to our staff. We opened engagement; it took us about 90 days of planning with all of our staff at our corporate stores. After that was said and done, the communication wasn’t over. We wanted them to bring it home with to their family and share it with them to get their acceptance as well.
Five years later our corporate stores are still running seven days a week and sometimes they’re even busier on Saturday and Sunday than they Monday through Friday. We are now available when our clients need us the most and we couldn’t have done that without the planning and the buy-in of our people.
CR: What kind of efforts is Simplicity Car Care working on right now to help bodyshop owners with staying successful in the industry?
DP: We’re heavily focusing on three platforms for 2019 which include, training and development, mentoring of our franchisees, assisting them with the selection and strategies of new hires and getting them focused on performance management and client advocacy.
Focusing heavily right now on training and development of our franchisees. We have the four pillars of our repair process and we hold regional seminars and workshops monthly, focusing on those four things.
Being able to have these workshops, seminars and having our franchisees all get together engaging with one another and learning together is creating that development of our franchisees and the improvement of our culture.
Also assisting our stores with HR initiatives. If one of our franchisees hires a new technician or a new office staff, we’ll help them with our training by having them conduct on-boarding at one of our corporate stores where there is one of our long-time serving staff trainers, and they will help shadow and mentor that technician or new office staff before they go back to the franchisee. If the training of a new hire isn’t strong and effective, then you risk the chance of losing that person to another shop or industry altogether.
We are also coaching our networks through performance management and client advocacy. Net promotion score is a big deal for our company, as we measure it daily and we share the results monthly.
In 2020 we’ll be dedicating the year to digitization and technology and using the new technology the industry partners are releasing to improve the client experience and the repair process.