Why Fixed Ops Training is Critical to Success

To be a truly great leader and manager of your department it takes a significant amount of time and focus.  Both things tend to be in short supply in most service and parts departments.  Days, weeks, and entire months can fly past in the blink of an eye.  Your attention is demanded by the myriad tasks required to keep the operation moving in the right direction, crushing the ability to focus on the ones that are important, such as recruiting the best and brightest personnel.

One of the most powerful ways to get a better handle on your time and focus in on high level management tasks is to ensure the team around you is competent and empowered.  Having and executing a training plan for every position puts managers on the fast track to success.  Here are some of the benefits of training in fixed operations.

Allows managers to manage

In the stores I’ve visited most of the questions come from the service advisors.

So, what does good training look like for advisors?  It includes a mix of web-based, instructor led workshops, situational live training, and role playing on real-life scenarios.  The learning and practice in that training will provide them the confidence they need to field the typical day-to-day issues that come up.  And the time a manager invests in that training will pay off ten-fold over the long run by giving that manager more time and allowing them to focus on what is important.

Remember – a well trained staff leads to an efficient manager.

Improves retention

Training will also improve retention – of both your customers and your staff.  Customers who are treated well are more likely to return.  If the department has taken time to train all customer-facing employees to follow a consistent guest handling process, there are numerous benefits.  Some of the most noticeable will be that the service provided is more consistent from interaction to interaction and from one advisor to the next.  If a trained process is in place it will also be easier for the customer to get in and out while feeling good about the dealership.

The staff will also be more satisfied with their jobs and be less likely to leave the position.  Training shows an employee that the dealership has an interest in making them the best they can be.  This leads to higher levels of employee engagement.  A recent Gallup study found that businesses with highly engaged personnel have up to 67% lower turnover, 21% higher sales and 10% better customer ratings.

Better fixed right first time rates

There are three parties directly involved with getting a vehicle fixed right the first time – the customer, the service advisor, and the technician.  We all know that a certified technician – who has been through days and weeks of manufacturer training – is more likely to get the job done right on the first attempt.

But what of the other link managers can control – the advisor?  Too often they haven’t received the training necessary to get the best information possible from the customer, information the tech needs to properly diagnose and repair the issue at hand.  Again, training the advisors teaches how to perfect their customer greeting, nail the questioning portion of the write-up, confirm their understanding of the issue(s) and get it properly documented on the repair order.

Overall, it is critical that dealerships invest in training for their fixed ops staff.  Every service and parts department needs a manager who has the time to not just manage, but lead.  Every department would benefit from lower turnover, higher sales, and more satisfied customers.  And every service department should strive to fix every vehicle right on the first visit.

If you are interested in more information related to training your fixed ops personnel, be sure to check out our website www.fixedops.org for web-based service advisor training courses or contact any one of our team members via phone or email.

Written by Adam Wright

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