Nick DiVerde is the general manager of the shop management solutions group at Mitchell 1, a leading provider of shop management systems to the automotive aftermarket.
In his current position, DiVerde establishes product and business direction for the shop management and estimating product lines for both the Mitchell 1 and ShopKey brands.
DiVerde brought his publishing expertise to Mitchell 1 in 1990 and began a successful career in marketing and product management with the company beginning in 1995. In his nine-year product management tenure, DiVerde introduced a number of groundbreaking advancements for the company, including the web edition of Mitchell 1’s flagship OnDemand product, as well as the industry’s first DVD-based repair information system. DiVerde served as director of marketing for two years, during which he oversaw all marketing activities including advertising, public relations and customer retention.
DiVerde holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from San Diego State University. He also holds a professional certification in business management from the University of California at San Diego.
Please provide a brief overview of the company.
Mitchell 1 was founded in 1918 on the simple idea that people needed information to fix cars. The first Mitchell brand name that aftermarket professionals came to know was Mitchell Manuals, which set the standard for shop manuals and estimating guides. In the 1990s, the industry embraced Mitchell OnDemand as a better way to access vital service and repair information â€“ on CD-ROM. Today, the Internet is the preferred delivery method for our OnDemand data, and Mitchell 1 helps shops run more efficiently with our industry-leading shop management system, as well as a host of new services designed to help shops grow their bottom lines. You’re also likely to see products we develop marketed under the ShopKey brand, which is distributed by our parent company, Snap-on Incorporated.
Can you bring us up to speed on all the various products you’ve got on the market today?
Our primary product lines fall into three categories:
First, there’s our Automotive Repair Solutions, which is anchored by Mitchell 1 OnDemand5.com. This Internet-based library of information helps technicians be more productive by giving them the information they need to service more vehicles. That includes illustrated diagnostic and repair procedures, color wiring diagrams, technical service bulletins and more.
Next, is our Shop Management Solutions, which I manage. Mitchell 1 Manager/ManagerPlus is a complete business management program that tracks the activities in a shop, from estimate to invoice, and includes the management tools shop owners need to ensure their businesses run profitably. Manager/ManagerPlus also integrates a number of key aftermarket catalogs, including ACDelco, CARQUEST, NAPA, Oâ€™Reilly, WORLDPAC and more. These catalogs help shops order parts electronically from their preferred vendors, which saves time and ensures the right parts are delivered the first time.
Finally, there is our newest product line, Mitchell 1 Business Performance Services. This product line features Mitchell 1 CRM, which offers comprehensive marketing programs for shops that include customized postcard and e-mail campaigns, call tracking services, custom Web services, and dedicated marketing agents to ensure shops are maximizing their ROI.
It seems that Mitchell 1 is frequently adding new features to its products on the market. Why is it important to continually improve the product and add new features? Are the new features added based on customer feedback?
Consistent with our philosophy of delivering software on a subscription basis, is a need and responsibility to continually add value to those products. Continuing to improve our products helps our customers stay ahead of their competition and Mitchell 1 to stay ahead of ours. While our information products require constant improvements to keep pace with new vehicles, we also update our shop management programs each quarter with enhanced functionality, more business management reports, and additional parts ordering options.
Customer feedback plays a significant role in shaping each product update. Our shop management customers, for example, have a number of ways they can communicate enhancement requests â€“ by phone, e-mail and through our popular Web-based user’s forum. In the shop management forum, users exchange ideas with each other and Mitchell 1 staff on how to get the most out of the many product features.
We also find that observing problems our customers experience can also lead to new products and features. For example, we noticed a growing number of customers asking for our help in retrieving or repairing their shop management databases. So we introduced Data Protection, a service that automatically backs up user’s databases and provides a quick recovery path to restore the database if that should become necessary.
What do you do to keep your customers educated on these new products?
Mitchell 1 has multiple contact points with our customers to help us get the word out whenever we launch new products or enhance existing ones. Our shop management subscribers receive a software update each quarter, which not only delivers new features and functionality, but also serves as a conduit for information. Of course, our field sales representatives and customer service representatives help spread the word.
You recently held a Management Training Workshop in Orlando, FL. What did the workshop entail and how did the event turn out?
We have a number of ways to help shops get the most out of our shop management products and field rep training, in-product videos, getting-started guides, and phone support. But our shop management workshops really help owners, managers and service writers to unleash the power of Mitchell 1 Manager/ManagerPlus and ShopKey Shop Management products. The two-day, instructor-led program teaches shop professionals how to get the most out of our software so they can get the most out of their businesses. The workshops also provide a great opportunity for Mitchell 1 staff like me to learn about shop owner’s challenges and ambitions.
Are there plans for more training workshops this year, and if so, when and where?
We have three more workshops scheduled this year: San Antonio – June 7-9, Seattle – August 9-11, and Cleveland – October 4-6.
They’re subject to change so watch www.mitchell1.com for details.
From what we understand Mitchell 1 is not only interested in keeping technician customers well-trained, but also in getting future technicians trained. Tell us about the Automotive Technology Outstanding Student Scholarship.
As much as we hear about shop’s ongoing challenges to maintain staffs of quality technicians, it made sense for us to encourage promising students to pursue careers as technicians. The scholarship is administered by the North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) and is awarded at the organization’s annual summertime conference.