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Tag Archive: Service Manager

Wayne George

More Manufacturer Recalls Are Coming: Here’s Your Checklist to Make the Most of Them

recall

Experts believe that we’ll see more frequent and larger automotive recalls in the future, as regulatory agencies increase their scrutiny of the automotive industry. After a record-breaking number of recalls in the last few years—and today’s highly publicized emissions concerns—it looks like that is a safe bet.

Fortunately for dealers, though, owners report that they are pleased with service during recalls. The J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Customer Service Index Study found that “overall satisfaction among customers who take their vehicle to a dealer for recall-related work improved to 789 on a 1,000-point scale, up from 777 in 2014.”

It’s clear that while recalls may strain the service department, they present a great business opportunity for your dealership. Here’s my checklist to help your dealership get the most out of manufacturer recalls.

First, the basics:

  • The primary goal of every recall should be to retain all your current customers by providing them with exceptional customer service.
  • The second goal is to “WOW” any first time or former customers during this visit in order to make them or recapture them as service clients.
  • Every recall comes with problems, so get your team together and create plans that address anticipated issues.
  • Make sure every vehicle serviced is handled as you would a customer pay repair.

Now, how you can make a stellar impression and secure more customers:

  • Make sure your team has a plan in place that assures an email address is captured or verified for every recall customer that comes into the shop.
  • Specifically identify any new customers or former customers. These are people new to your area, customers that have never returned for service or customers you once serviced that have not been in during the last 6 months.
  • Have a promotional package of “Welcome” or “Welcome Back” materials that will bring these customers back to you for future maintenance. Do not sell any repairs or maintenance during this visit. Only complete the recall repair unless something is specifically requested by the customer, or if you discover a problem with a safety related item.
  • Be sure that your Service Manager (not a clerk or an advisor) contacts every one of these “newly found” customers after their visit. We want to know how the repair visit went and also want to take the opportunity to welcome them back for future service.

Have manufacturer recalls positively or negatively impacted your business? What steps have you taken to ensure you’re getting the most from these opportunities? Tell us below.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/11/more-manufacturer-recalls-are-coming-heres-your-checklist-to-make-the-most-of-them/

Steve Kain

What’s the Score?

Wrenches

Just imagine. It’s a glorious fall night and you’re the quarterback, racing for the end zone. Lungs aching from the run, you finally make it: touchdown! You look at the scoreboard to see the score: -/-. What?

That’s right. Nothing. No score. All that work, and no idea how much it may have affected your team! Did you win? Are you losing? Without results, you have no idea.

Don’t know the score? Then, you’re losing the game.

Far too often, I’ve found that dealerships leave their staff in the dark when it comes to performance. Not only is it confusing for your personnel, this tactic makes it hard to determine a clear strategy for success.

Monitoring the current state—and sharing it daily—gives you concrete data to guide your decisions and clear metrics by which to hold your staff accountable. It’s only when they see the reality of their performance that they can improve it.

Prepare for victory.

First, let’s consider how you can use a scoreboard to help with advisors. Things I like to track include, customer repairs and customer pay dollar sales in both labor and parts. It’s also good to monitor the closing percentage on both menu opportunities and additional service requests, follow-up sales, number of warranty repair orders and customer satisfaction numbers.

Next, let’s score the technicians. There’s a lot you can track here. You definitely want to know the daily number of repair orders, how many hours were billed and productivity per tech. Other things to consider are how many additional service requests were generated from multi-point inspections and the number of comebacks. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, monitor customer satisfaction numbers.

Moving on, I also like to look at parts and service holistically. The key to this is tracking fill rates. After all, isn’t there a much greater chance a customer will say yes to the advisor when the part is in stock? I’ve even found dealerships that pay incentives to parts personnel based on technician productivity, because service can be negatively impacted by time wasted at the parts counter.

But don’t base parts’ score just on others’ performance. You want to note both total parts sales and also the gross profit margin of parts sales both individually and as a group. And, like I mentioned before, keep an eye on the fill rate for parts requests. It may also be beneficial to track the dollar amount of special order parts in the special order bin because those parts mean both parts and labor sales.

Make your own playbook.

Don’t be limited by my suggestions! If you want to improve numbers in your dealerships, start tracking them and developing an improvement plan. If there’s a number in the dealership that you want to improve, just track it and it will change.

Alright, Coach—are you ready to get those score boards up? Tell us your objectives and share how you plan to rally your team to a victory this month.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/11/whats-the-score/

Steve Hall

Two Quick Tips for Service Managers

Auto Mechanic

It seems these days everyone is pressed for time and running a million different directions. Because of this, your team can feel disconnected and often times alone in their jobs. They don’t get quality time with their supervisor and never get to really hear what is going on in the department or business. They have questions like, “are we doing well or not,” and “am I doing my job to your satisfaction, “or ”am I about to be the next ex-employee?” Most of the time employees don’t actually ask these questions; instead the questions just keep floating around in their mind.

It’s a shame when valued employees feel this way. After all, it doesn’t take a lot of information or interaction to make these questions disappear. With this in mind, today I would like to give you two quick tips you can implement, with no added expense. These two items can possibly help your employees feel more informed and secure in their jobs.

The first tip is the monthly wrap-up and kick-off meeting. According to Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in the book First Break All the Rules, one of the key components to employee retention is making the employee feel they are part of the information stream within the business. One way to help your team with this is to hold a monthly kick-off meeting.

On the first day of the month, bring your departmental team together for a quick three to five minute kick-off meeting. Think pre-game speech for the professional sports team. This meeting can be held right in the service department around the lifts and vehicles during normal business hours. Have the attendee’s stand, so the meeting stays short. For the wrap-up part of the meeting, let them know how the prior month finished up. Cover items like departmental gross profit, or shop hours versus objective, and be sure to cover CSI. Don’t forget to congratulate a few employees that had stellar performance

For the kick-off portion, set the goals for the month that is starting. Be sure to acknowledge upcoming employee anniversaries and milestones. Include anything that is upbeat and challenge the employees to reach the goals that are set.  Giving just a couple minutes of your time, combined with the key information that is shared, will make the whole team feel like an integral part of the organization. This meeting costs nothing, but has a lot of value. By doing this you can bring the team together, and win together.

The second tip I would like to share today is coaching from the sidelines, not the locker room. I think that is worth restating. Do you coach from the sidelines or the locker room? Let me explain what I mean. You would never see a NFL coach hanging out in the locker room while the game is being played. They are found watching the action as it happens and coaching everyone on the team to perform better.

Now, put this into your everyday work life in the service department. Game time for the service department is every morning from about 7:30 to about 9:00. Where are you during this time? Are you hanging out in your office running reports, answering e-mails and reviewing numbers? That would be considered “in the locker room”. Should you be on the “sideline” watching the game and coaching the team while the action is happening? Yes.

Is there really anything more important to a leader than helping their team perform better?  Wouldn’t this also help the employees better understand how they are performing in their jobs? Keep this in mind each and every morning and spend the time directing the team, when the game is actually happening, then perform the behind the scenes work during the non-peak times of the day.

Remember that your team moves at the speed in which you lead them, and to lead you must be in front of them. Don’t focus on the wrong items. Put your efforts into your people and unleash the power of the team.

service_mgmt

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/05/two-quick-tips-for-service-managers/

Jeff Cowan

The Myths of Writing Service Part 2

Writing Service Part 2As you remember from my article last month, myths can be very dangerous things. They can and will impede your ability to grow, expand, and succeed. I discussed some of the biggest myths surrounding the writing of service and will list a few more here today that have come up and continue to come up in the many meetings I am asked to speak at throughout the year.

Myth: Service writers do not need the same amount of training as the car sales staff.

Fact: A Service Advisor who works with just fifteen customers a day will generate more gross profit for a dealership in a month than a sales person does who delivers thirty vehicles in that same month. In addition, due to the volume of customers they will talk to in a month, they will have more impact on your survey scores and customer retention than any other employee in the dealership, including the dealer. So why would they not need the same amount of training or more?

Myth: Women service writers who are mothers are risky due to parental responsibilities.

Fact: Tell that to Abigail Adams, wife to President John Adams. While John was overseas for many years, she stayed behind and ran the farm, ran John’s businesses, and raised 6 kids, one of which grew up to be our nation’s sixth president. One of my daughters is at the child bearing age. She and ten of her close friends have all had children in the past twenty-four months. While one of them quit her career and became a stay/work at home mom, the other nine not only continued their careers, but eight of them actually increased their hours or took on more responsibility. Why? Because they quickly realized that if their kids were to have a life equal to or greater than their own, they had to work harder and smarter. If all things are equal and I have the opportunity to hire a male service writer versus a female service writer with kids, especially young ones, I will take the female with kids every time. Think grizzly bear with cubs.

Myth: Service writers who work in economically challenged areas cannot sell as much as service writers who work in affluent areas.

Fact: Many times, they can sell more for one simple reason; the more financially challenged a person is, the more important their vehicle becomes to them. Financially challenged customers know that if their vehicle does not run and they cannot get to work, then their financial situation will only get worse. I have worked in countless service drives with countless service advisors where their customers were financially challenged and the sales made were either equal to or greater than those in service departments where the reverse was true. The difference is that the financially challenged customer requires a service advisor who has a slightly different skill set and outstanding follow-up and over the telephone selling skills.

Myth: Women service writers have a tougher time in service because men prefer to talk with men.

Fact: This is not a gender specific problem. A service advisor who is strong at taking control of the customer and exudes confidence, can and will be able to handle your customers. While this myth used to have some validity twenty years ago, it has none today. If I were to list the top ten service advisors that I have worked with over the past twenty-nine years, seven of the top ten would be women.

Myth: It does not take as much skill to be a quick service writer as it does to be a full shop service writer.

Fact: Arguably, it takes more. Think about it. A quick service writer is many times the first person a new customer will work with in service after purchasing a new vehicle. Their ability to handle your customer and convince them that your shop is the only place to go for service, has to be near perfect, if not perfect, to get the job done. Although the path to full shop writer begins many times in express, the express writer should be trained to expertly handle any scenario that a full shop writer would. Again, they are likely to be the first point of face to face contact in the dealership after purchasing a new vehicle. Express should be trained to impress every time on every level.

Myth: It is impossible to train veteran service writers to adapt to changes in their customers’ demands and in new technology.

Fact: Not if you have established a culture of constant change in your department. The service writer or employee who cannot adapt to change and evolution in retail sales will become a dinosaur within five years. When you consider how rapidly your customers and their buying habits have changed in just the past few years, and how rapidly technology changes, any employee who can not keep up is costing you money. In the future there will be two types of sales people; those who sell technology and those who use it. The rest will become obsolete.

Myth: Service writers can handle setting their own check-in times, checking in your customers’ vehicles, following up on those customers throughout the day, closing those customers over the telephone, closing out their own repair orders, contact customers who have been waiting for parts, cashier their own customers, actively deliver vehicles back to each customer as the vehicle repairs are completed, send a thank you note to each customer, contact customers who missed their check in times, contact customers who previously declined repairs, contact customers they have not seen in over six months, while at the same time getting and maintaining high survey scores and customer retention.

Fact: Only if they write ten to fifteen repair orders a day. Just like on the vehicle sales side, you want to free your service writers (sales people) up as much as you can, to talk to your customers.  Sales people make you money when they are talking to your customers.  The more time they have to talk to your customers, the more money they will make you. From the beginning of car sells through the early 1960’s, vehicle sales people answered the dealership’s incoming sales calls, did their own financing and helped people when they came in for service. When dealers realized that those activities kept their sales staff in the building and not out on the lot where the buyers where, it ushered in the era of the telephone receptionist, the F & I department and service staff, and significantly more vehicles were sold. The more you can do to support your advisors by freeing them up to talk to your customers, the higher your retention, survey scores and sales will be.

Myth: Service writers will not sell or are not good at selling additional products like special wheels, extended warranties, details, etc.

Fact: Not true. To sell anything on a service drive requires three things; a great product, great training in how to present and sell it, and a great pay plan.

If you are consistently not hitting your sales, retention and survey goals, it is a sign of great weakness not to try something new. Trying something new can be as simple as taking a look at what you or your staff say can’t be done, and testing to see if the reason is based on fact or myth.

You should make this a common practice and part of your monthly routine to dispel myths that may exist in your work place. I get blamed from time to time for being too willing to test and eliminate these myths and reasons that hold my business back. I am told I need more patience. The fact is, I do have patience for the time it sometimes takes for myths to be tested.  What I do not have patience for is the lost customers and revenues that myths produce.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/03/the-myths-of-writing-service-part-2/