CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customer Service

10 WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS IN YOUR WORKSHOP

 

01/10/2018

Running a garage workshop can be very rewarding, but even when things are going well managing a business can be stressful. Anxiety can keep you awake at night as a series of questions run through your mind. Are your customers happy? Will they keep coming back? Can you cover your costs and repay your debts? Do you have enough cashflow? Are your employees happy? Will you be able to keep your best team members? Is your equipment good enough and futureproofed, and if not when and how will you replace it?

Mental pressure can be as tiring as physical effort, making you anxious and weary. You can’t change any of these facts because running a garage business is stressful, what you can do is learn to manage stress more effectively so you can perform at your best and enjoy life.

The less stressed you are, the better the customer service you will provide.

Here are ten top tips

1. Don’t forget the good stuff.

When you consider all the things that need to be done to keep the business turning, it’s easy to feel negative. Instead, try to remember all the things that are going right and to think positively. Maybe even write them down – the process of listing the positive things about your business could remind you that there are many of them you’ve forgotten and begun to take for granted. It’s easy to forget all the good things you’ve achieved while you’re being distracted by issues that need attention.

You could even pin your list up on the wall. Then, whenever you feel anxious about things that still need to be addressed, you can look at your list and remember that many things that used to be challenges are now achievements.

2. Prioritise your tasks.

Prioritising your workload not only makes for an efficient workshop, it also helps you to feel calm. One of the common causes of stress is the feeling that there is just too much to do, which means you sometimes flit between tasks and achieve little on any of them. Don’t try to solve all your issues at once.

Prioritise your tasks. Rank them in order of importance, just focus on one at a time. By doing this you’ll make your way through the list more efficiently and effectively – with your mind and focus on the job in hand.

Some people don’t like doing this because it makes them realise what a long list of jobs they have to do! Even if that’s the case, it’s still a more calming and productive experience to tick them off one at a time than to try and think about all of them at once.

3. Write down your worries.

As a business owner it’s always hard to switch off from work when you’re at home. You eat, sleep and breathe your business – that’s what makes you successful, but it also drains you. You can easily find yourself constantly thinking about your business and the things you should be doing. If you worry too much about work when you’re at home you’re not actually achieving anything for the business and you’re not enjoying your free time, which you need to do in order to get the rest you require for when you’re back in the workshop.

A simple, quick way to escape your thoughts is to write down any problem, and/or possible solution you’ve been thinking over. Psychologically, you’ve parked the thought and ‘saved’ it. You can feel secure in the knowledge that the issue won’t be forgotten about and you can come back to it when you are feeling fresh.

4. Target low-hanging fruit.

When you’ve listed your worries, rank them in order of how difficult they are to solve. You may be surprised to see that the biggest issues may be the ones that are most easily resolved.

For example, technicians can be rapidly stressed by not being able to access the information they need to carry out a task – this may simple to fix by improving the speed of your internet connection. By resolving an issue you can swiftly remove a stress factor that repeatedly affects everyone in the workshop.

5. Take regular breaks.

The simplest advice is often the best. When you hit a problem, you can sometimes go round in circles and the only way to solve it is to come back at it afresh. A short break where you step away – even for just 10 minutes – can be all you need.

6. Look after yourself.

Eat well and exercise. Good health is important to everyone and if you’re running a business it’s essential. Drink lots of water. Get enough sleep. Your body is better equipped to handle the stress of running a repair workshop when you’re healthy and refreshed. Exercise also has an additional benefit in that it releases anxieties and stress soon after your begin. If you feel stressed it’s often better to exercise than to relax.

7. Identify the cause of your stress.

If things are getting on top of you, take a moment to stop and reflect on your situation. Take a deep breath and ask yourself exactly what it is that’s bothering you. You can’t get your issue in perspective and address it if you don't know what it is.

8. Talk to someone.

Discuss your problem/s with your boss/colleagues/employees/family. It is in the other people’s interest, as well as yours, to fix these situations. Talking to someone stops you from bottling up issues – sharing your issue often goes someway to solving them too as you now have two brains looking for solutions.

9. Invest in training.

Easier said than done as it can cost money, but training can also save money – as well as reduce stress in the long-term. So, if you find a particular kind of repair especially stressful – or if there is a particular skills gap in your garage that is increasing pressure on you – consider more training.

10. Don’t overpromise.

Be sure the customer knows that their vehicle will be ready, for example, by the end of the day, not lunchtime. You will have happier customers if you ‘under promise and overdeliver’.

The garage environment

Remember, it is of course important to look after yourself, but the less stressed you are, the more you will be able to invest in delivering outstanding customer service.

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