I guess it’s a good sign I’ve been too busy to update my own blog until now. There’s much going on in the automotive world to stay on top of including the “Dieselgate” debacle, the unending stream of recalls, incredible car auctions, and keeping my customers’ blogs and web content up to date.
Recently, I’ve teamed up with DrivingSales and DrivingSalesNews to provide fixed operations articles and blog content for their sites. It’s an area of automotive retail that has been sorely neglected until now as dealerships focus their efforts and staff training in the sales department primarily.
As an automotive dealership or even a standalone repair shop, how well do your staff members know their jobs? Are they trained in-house or do you require certification for them to be hired? Do you put as much emphasis on your frontline staff to be trained and portray an air of excellence in their field, to the same degree you would expect your technicians to be professional and trained experts? Is your service department running efficiently or could it fall off the rails at any moment?
The most important part of your service department is definitely your staff. It all starts with who you hire. While service staff – from service advisors to technicians – are in short supply and high demand, they are your foundation when it comes to your business. You really do reap what you sow when you hire your service staff. One negative attitude in the shop will affect the whole bunch of technicians, and one advisor who cuts corners or couldn’t give a rip about improving their numbers will affect the rest of your staff like a cancer. When you have a vacancy, seriously consider the implications each applicant will have on your business. Don’t take unnecessary chances on people with a poor track record.
Once you have a competent, positive staff in place, keep them driven and focused, and reward them for positive practices. Provide incentives that reward positive customer feedback as well as successful performance according to sales.
Keep your staff learning. It’s easier with technicians because ASE certification must be renewed every five years. With your service advisors and support staff, have them cross-train with the position above them. Invest in their training so they can see the possibility of personal growth from their current position. Make their training a positive experience, not a punishment. If you pay on a commission or sales-related basis, compensate your staff for successful completion of a course, whether that may be mandatory manufacturer training programs or ASE certification programs.
When you show your staff that they are integral to your success as a service department or repair facility, they’re going to reward you with their best work.