Anatomy of a Service Visit

Mark Poffenberger NewsletterAs the advisor walks Mrs. Jones to her vehicle, the cashier separates the invoiced copies of the completed repair order into baskets. The service file copy is attached to the work order and put into the basket marked “Jerry”.

Repair Order #760429 is as unique to the dealership as a fingerprint is to a human. It will never be duplicated and for all intents and purposes, it is now dead as “Jerry” accepts the payment type into the DMS.

“Jerry” is a very good Service Manager. He knows that everything that is measured improves, so “Jerry” measures EVERYTHING! His buddies in his performance group call him “Quincy”, after the 70’s TV character because the way he dissects and logs every repair order, every day.

The Dealer Principle has no idea of what “Jerry” goes through on a daily basis to deliver the numbers he does. He knows “Jerry” makes him a lot of money in the Service Department and this helps to keep him on the far left page of his 20 Group composite and that’s worth more than money… “bragging rights!”

“Jerry” awakes every weekday at four in the morning to be at the dealership by five o’clock. He has done this for many years. “Jerry” needs those two hours before opening to meticulously log every line of every repair order so that come “jailbreak time”, he can be on the service drive to direct the morning traffic. His team is always well prepared, but he is there to quarterback and call an audible when events do not go as planned.

While some may take longer than others, all repair orders eventually die; “Jerry” is only interested in how they lived.

Every morning he grabs the stack of tickets from his basket and settles in to start his review. He has a checklist of visual items that he has long since memorized:

  • Is there a clear promise time?
  • Was the customer given an initial estimate?
  • Was there a menu opportunity?
  • Is there a completed multipoint inspection?
  • Are declined repairs and maintenance listed on the repair order?
  • Is there a customer signature?

When one or more of these items are missing, “Jerry” calls them “diseased” and puts them onto a pile to be discussed with the appropriate advisor and/or technician, so that their next repair order may live a better life.

Once the visual inspection is complete the real work begins.

“Jerry” takes each ticket and meticulously logs all the information that he uses to measure the “quality of life” of the repair order.

He has a minimum of 13 entries for each repair order:

  1. Repair Order Number
  2. Advisor Name
  3. Operation Code
  4. Operation Description
  5. Labor Dollars
  6. Technician Flag Time
  7. Labor Cost
  8. Parts Dollars
  9. Parts Cost
  10. Vehicle Year
  11. Vehicle Mileage
  12. Labor Type
  13. Customer Zip Code

“Jerry” understands that it’s not only effective rate that must be managed daily, but many other things like work mix, discounting, labor operation usage, average age and mileage of vehicles serviced, as well as where his customers come from geographically. “Jerry” doesn’t do this because he doesn’t trust his people; he just understands that even the best people make mistakes. “Jerry” is looking for opportunities to get just a little better every day. “Jerry” knows that this type of information gives him an edge over his competition.

Repair Order #760429? It was clean until the tech flag time. Jason was in a hurry and “fat fingered” the entry, paying the tech three hours instead of .3 hours. It makes its’ way into the “diseased” pile.

Two hours a day, five days a week, over five hundred hours per year, “Jerry” spends gleaning the data that is essential to managing his business. That is nearly three solid weeks of additional time “Jerry” spends at the dealership every year just to get the facts that he needs. He goes to bed early so that he can get up early.

So far his third wife doesn’t seem to mind much.

If only there was a way to get this data in minutes instead of hours each day.

As “Jerry” navigates the thorns of everyday Service Department life, it would be nice to find a ROSE.

We found one “Jerry”… and it’s coming your way very soon.

The only question is, what are you going to do with all that extra time?

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