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Big Day Out Reading: Group diagnostics on the ‘Kick Ass’ KA

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It’s not really in us to say you missed out if you didn’t come to our ‘Big Day Out’ on Saturday 30 June, but well, you did! This years’ event was held at Reading College and the entertaining and highly knowledgeable Andy Crook of GotBoost and James Dillon of Technical Topics were the hosts.

In a change from the previous format, which included three in-depth training seminars, we wanted to make this event more interactive and, right from the off, the leading double act of Andy and James had the attendees literally on their feet and involved. Using a Ford KA with pre-installed issues, the purpose of the day was to work through these faults as a group, while challenging thought processes, discussing the psychology of diagnostics and formulating workable hypotheses, which were then tested and confirmed or disproved.

That’s not to say that everyone had the same opinion on where to start, or what to do next, but that was the point – everyone had a good time doing it.

Every element of the day was focused on taking this real-world example and helping technicians improve on customer interaction, diagnostic process, evidence gathering and recording, testing procedures, maximising time and money, and getting that all important first-time fix.

Ross Kemp of Scantec Automotive brought along his technician son Lewis as well as his partner and company secretary Elisa- Jane. Ross had this to say about the day: “Ive really enjoyed it. Its quite nice to merge the psychology with the diagnostics.

It’s quite interesting to see how some people answer the questions they’re asking like ‘what would you test next?’ There’s the theory or the real-world answer – with a particular vehicle I’d disconnect that sensor, it might only tell me half the answer, but it’s a thirty second job. So, it’s been very interesting as I’ve never seen anyone do this looking at the psychology behind diagnostics. They (Andy and James) make a good team”. Partner Elisa adds: They’re really engaging together. They have different styles of teaching and bounce off each other extremely well.” Getting delegates to suggest the next move and moving around the workshop to show which camp they fell into, went down well and kept everyone engaged.

The training session involved more than just the technical aspects of diagnosing and fixing the car. Managing customer expectations and charging for diagnostics were also discussed, to arm technicians and workshop owners with all the tools needed to promote a first-time fix and happy outcome for the workshop and customer. From quizzing the customer to the final bill and everything in between. James talked about how he produces a storyboard for the customer invoice. This storyboard can then be used to justify expensive diagnostic work and is also an audit trail for the technician, so you can go back through the notes and see where you perhaps went wrong and it sent you in the wrong direction. Although at times this thorough and detailed process may seem laborious, it saves you time in the long run. James explains: “Slow the fault-finding process down by preparing the customer at the start otherwise you put time pressure on yourself and being faster, actually makes you slower. By using a planned and methodical approach you’ll get to the answer.”

A few words of wisdom from the trainers:

“Measure the right thing at the right time, with the right tool and in the right way”

“Unconsciously incompetent – basically, you’re shit and you don’t know it”

“Our cognitive bias is to see the easiest solution as the most probable problem.”

“You have to understand what you expect from what you are testing and understand the context – what has your result proved without making any assumptions?”

What delegates thought of Reading’s Big Day Out:

“Just wanted to say thank you to you and the team for yesterday. We all had a great time and can’t wait to come again next year.”DA

“A great event from a great magazine. Really inspiring discussion and not one of your usual PowerPoint courses. It’s always nice to hear James Dillon talk and this was no different, truly passionate and thought provoking. A very enjoyable day out, and a bargain compared to the entry fee! Thanks guys!” MA

“Fun, engaging and interesting business/technical content delivered by Andy Crook & James Dillon today – was certainly worth the 4am start!” EJ

“Great day out guys as always. Great presentation, great food and some great people, keep up the good work.” RK

If you missed us this time don’t worry – there’s another Big Day Out event booked for Saturday 27th October at EMTEC in Nottingham. Email nicola@autotechnician.co.uk or call 01634 816 165 to book your ticket! Don’t delay, they go quick!

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