When I hear those words, “be prepared”, it reminds me of the Boy Scout motto is to always be in a state of readiness. When it comes to your service department, ask yourself, “is my department prepared?”
Each day you have those things you can’t plan for: employee calls in sick, unexpected tow in, the “re-check”, spot delivery, computer issues, unexpected meeting, and the list goes on. So, “be prepared for what” you ask? Well, let’s start with being prepared for those customers that have taken the time to call ahead and schedule an appointment.
When I go to the dentist, I am always reminded of the importance of being prepared. The office always has my charts out, reviews findings from the previous appointment, discusses any recommendations, insurance and personal information is verified, and any other concerns from my last visit are discussed.
During the morning rush, your service consultants can fall into the order taking mode and just check in cars without spending the appropriate amount of time communicating with the customer. With maintenance intervals pushing the time between services out longer, each visit becomes that much more important.
Many successful dealerships prepare what I call a Pre-write packet. The goal of this process is to give the service consultant everything they need to successfully and professionally greet the customer. Ideally, this would occur at the vehicle; in the customers comfort zone of their vehicle.
The first item needed is called the pre-work order. Depending on your DMS, it may be called by a different name. Basically, it’s a document that looks just like the repair order with Customer information, the VIN, approximate miles at time of appointment, and all items to be completed during the service visit. Many dealerships use this form for the initial work authorization and signatures. (This varies from state to state, so please check with your legal counsel prior to implementation)
Next, I would include a printed copy of the VIN inquiry (VISS, OASIS, etc.). This allows the service consultant to inform the customer of any required campaign/recall. With the media talking daily about recalls, it’s not a matter of “if” a customer will ask if they have a recall, it’s “when”.
During the appointment process, the approximate mileage was obtained. This is helpful to determine if the vehicle may have remaining warranty coverage, as well as the required maintenance due for this visit. A printed service history can help determine what maintenance has not been performed.
Finally, a “hang tag” or “hat number” to help identify the vehicle and keys.
Being prepared for your customer with a Pre-write packet will give you the tools for a quick and efficient write up. Show your customers that you are the prepared professional that they expect.
Want to learn more about this process? – contact one of our Coaches at M5.