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How technology has changed the way we service cars (and my own humble beginnings in the industry)

How servicing cars has changed since “the good old bad old days”

Back when I was sixteen, I was lucky enough to find an Apprenticeship at a BMW Dealer in Melbourne. It was a good experience in a lot of ways, but it was certainly very different to now.

Back then the idea of customer service in the car servicing industry didn’t really exist. If a car needed extra repairs there was no prior communication with the customer, the Dealer would do the work and at the end of the day the customer would be slapped with a fee that was much higher than they’d expected.

It was these kinds of business practices that really led to a distrust of Mechanics. How many times have you put off servicing your car because you thought your Mechanic would rip you off?

Even as a young Apprentice, this didn’t sit well with me and it was one of the things that made me decide to start my own workshop. I wanted to start a business where I could run things according to my values. I wanted to come to work every day and have positive experiences with my customers.

 

Raising the standard of car servicing

My parents came here from Italy in 1952. I’m Australian, but I recognise my heritage and I think in part it inspired my love of European engineering.

I grew up in Camberwell, and that’s where BM Tech was born, in my parents’ garage. It was just me on my own back then, working on one car a day.

My brother-in-law Nick and I working on his car at our home back when I was an Apprentice.

When BM Tech started to grow, I moved premises from my parents’ house to a factory in Box Hill. I also started bringing people in to help me run it. I think it’s important to hire staff with the same business values as you. A good customer experience starts with a happy workplace, and a lot of my Employees have been working at BM Tech since the early days.

I really wanted to push the boundaries of customer experience. We were one of the first Service Centres in Australia to offer free loan cars, after-hours drop off and pick up, and free cleaning. These days we offer just short of a full detail with every service. While some of these things might feel commonplace these days, back then it really was the leading edge of customer service.

Recently, BM Tech won “Best Automotive Workshop in Victoria” in the Larger Business Category. It was great for my staff and I to get recognition for the 30 years of hard work.

Chris Caruso and I. Chris was my Apprentice at the Dealership where we all began, and has been with me ever since.

How technology is changing the way we service cars

We are always looking to improve and offer more to our customers. These days a big part of that is educating customers on how technological advances are affecting how their car is serviced.

When BM Tech began, cars needed more servicing. You could tell when a car needed a service because it wouldn’t be running well, and would often be using too much fuel.

Negley Aspeling and I. Negley was my Foreman back in the day and we are still friends today.

Thanks to advances in technology, modern cars tune themselves, and they generally don’t go out of tune. This can give people a false sense of security because a car can be overdue for a service but still be running well.

Some manufacturers say that it’s fine for cars to go a lot longer between services, but I disagree. If a car always has long gaps between services, the oil can get dirty, which causes engine problems. That’s why we recommend getting a car serviced halfway or in between oil changes, even if it doesn’t get driven much.

A car service is an investment, and the bottom line is, if you service a car regularly it should last for a very long time.

BM Tech has evolved so much since the early days in my parents’ garage but I think the vision I started out with has stayed the same, even as BM Tech has grown.

Joe Brogno, Owner and Founder of BM Tech

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