Get Started in the Right Direction

Trace-Starr-newsletterAre you moving in the right direction?  With many dealers experiencing unprecedented growth due to increases in service business and manufacturer’s campaigns, service drives are overflowing.  Dealerships that previously did not have sound processes are accelerating in the wrong direction.

  Customers are entering the service department and not receiving the treatment that should be expected from a dealership. Service advisors are overwhelmed and thus cannot be held accountable to complete the tasks that are required of them.  If you are one of the dealerships that is currently in this situation, it is imperative that you develop a game plan.  If you currently are not overwhelmed, now is the time to evaluate your entire process and be prepared for growth.

 Many questions need to be asked to determine if you are prepared to handle increased volume.  Are you prepared to effectively answer an increase in incoming telephone calls?  Is your internet speed fast enough?  Are your technicians able to be productive throughout the day or are they waiting on work to be distributed, authorization from the customer, or parts to be delivered?  If you had a sudden increase of light maintenance work, would you be able to get your customers taken care of in a timely manner?  Do you have a process where your customers receive an active delivery every time they have their vehicle serviced?  If you are not able to answer these questions positively, you have to take the time to figure it out.  If you are currently attempting to get cars in and out and just performing maintenance requested, this can lead to a lack of work in the future.  Educating your customers on factory requirements, making your customer aware of the current condition of their vehicle, and performing an active delivery are mandatory for every customer.  Many of the customers that are visiting your dealership are doing so for the first time.  As the saying goes, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression.  With the dealership settings changing daily, if not hourly, it can be an extremely stressful time.  However, if handled properly, this can be an opportunity for sustained growth for the future.

 Although it is imperative, developing a game plan during high volume business is hard.  Making correct decisions requires proper investigation instead of “off the cuff” adjustments.  For example, a frequent question by management is do I need to hire an additional person to be able to handle the increased phone traffic that is coming in.   Examples of factors to determine include: Approximately how much additional service can be sold if the phone call volume is reduced that is managed by the advisor, how much will it cost to have a qualified candidate, does your current level of business justify an additional person, and how many hours per day would be needed for that person to work.  In decisions such as this, you need to do the math and determine if it increases net profit.

As we get ready to head into 2015, it is time for fixed operations departments to set objectives.  Instead of just adding a percentage to last year’s sales, determine a game plan to be able to anticipate spikes in business and still be able to take care of customers efficiently.  Make sure that processes are in place to be able to sustain growth by providing the customer an experience at your dealership that is better than they receive at other shops.  If you do not have the time to develop a game plan and you need assistance, the staff at M5 would be happy to help.  Give me a call at 615-308-6692 or email me at My passion is to assist dealerships in moving in the right direction.



About the Author