Continued Sustainment on Service Department Changes

By Joe Keagy:

How do we properly coach advisors and technicians for continual improvement?

As trainers and consultants, many of us have trained advisors and technical staff. We are invited into your dealership to install quality processes and help the staff implement them. Sometimes this takes several weeks of implementation.

A quality consultant will follow up with the staff and management to ensure sustainment.

Too many of us depend on one-time training to set the structure and process of our department and then we tend to relax. Job done, correct?  Were more profitable and organized, what is left to do?

As consultants, we return to follow up in some cases only to find out that the structure is crumbling.

If you find your store in this situation then there is a missing component to all the investment you made.

The missing component is accountability. Yes, you need to install the processes and coach on them. Many times it is best to have an outside expert perform this, but what happens when the job is complete?

Many of us have quality, capable managers to run our Fixed Operations departments. What they lack is time and leadership skills in some cases.

It is human nature for people to regress to a level of comfort they are used to. It is also human nature to get bogged down by the day-to-day challenges we all face in a fast-paced environment. Many times, it only takes one individual to lead the campaign to go back to what “worked for them.”

It has been said that to create lasting change, we need to change the culture, or we need to hold individuals accountable for your process until it becomes a habit, second nature if you will.

I would stress to you that once processes are installed and training is complete, that Managers and Dealer Principles communicate daily with each other and their staff to address concerns, obstacles, and coach daily on the plan.

Once habits are formed, and employees know what is expected daily the real change begins.

Monitoring progress daily and sharing that information is a major part of the change. Holding your employees accountable and showing them the results of their efforts will bring about lasting change.

Until they believe in what they are doing and see the benefit to the customer and to their livelihood they are less likely to embrace the change.

Once this is accomplished what do we do next?

Correct…we continue to coach and communicate daily.

My rule for a service manager has always been to be on the drive every morning for at least three hours assisting and leading by example. It doesn’t take long before what you are working so hard to achieve becomes “the way we do things here.”

As we hire new staff into the existing structure it becomes easier to train to “how we operate.”

Lasting results in customer satisfaction, profitability, and most importantly, employee satisfaction then become a reality.
Remember, change is easy. Lasting change takes investment in time, hard work, and proper mentorship.

We can work with your team to develop and implement ways to increase profitability, customer, and employee satisfaction. If you would like to learn more, please call or email me at (267) 897-5364 or

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