Fixed Operations Needs Your Help!
In many stores I visit, the General manager only goes into service to discuss his vehicles getting through the shop or to ask generalized questions regarding some sort of feedback he/she has obtained. There are so many things that a GM can do to help your fixed ops team. Meeting with your Fixed Ops department managers weekly is a great start. Whether they admit it or not, they need your input and may need your help. You are the leader of the team and they all want your approval. Are you recognizing individual Fixed Ops employees for their performance? Do you know what to look for?
Here are a few things that may help you:
Get a weekly report from your service manager that shows how proficient your technicians were at turning hours. Be involved in the ups and downs of their performance and ask the service manager for input as to why there may be significant fluctuations. Be sure to acknowledge a technician for most improvement or highest production. If you discovered one was out sick or at a wedding then be sure to ask them about that as well. In this highly competitive field, caring is a true differentiator. Acknowledge the individuals performance in the service shop where the other techs will see it. In turn, they will strive for your recognition. Also, consider taking one tech to lunch a month for reaching a chosen performance objective. Make it fun. I guarantee you all of the techs will be talking about it.
Obtain a weekly report from your service manager that shows service advisor sales performance. Recognize the most improvement or the highest average job card sales for that individual in front of the other consultants in the service office. It shows that you are paying attention and provides another level of accountability. Use this opportunity to acknowledge good CSI, reviews, customer praise letters, and reinforce dealer values and culture. Remember, they see far more customers than anyone else in the entire dealership. You must be sure that your dealer culture is portrayed correctly to your guests and that your service staff knows why that is so important.
Ask your service manager what the cycle time is for your oil changes. Ask him what he thinks is an acceptable time. Recognize improvements with the express team. Reinforce the need to value a guest's time and perform quality service when they come in. Restate how important the express team is since they touch more vehicles per day than any other tech. Although the service manager likely does this, your interaction will add another layer of both importance and accountability.
Walk in your service garage with eyes open, not just through it. Is this a place you would bring a customer back into? Is the floor slick? Is there garbage, tires, or batteries laying all over the place? Do technicians have pictures of scantily clad dressed women on their box for customers to see? Is there other political propaganda visible? Is the eye wash station and other equipment easily accessible? Just your presence alone will make the technicians take note. They should be showing pride in both their work area and their workmanship.
If you have a shuttle driver be sure to engage them once a month with a short conversation regarding the overall demeanor of the guests they transport. They are in a vehicle with your guests frequently and may have some valuable feedback about your performance as perceived by your customers. Be sure that you reinforce the service manager as primary contact for both the driver and the guest. Failure to do so can result in the driver coming to you before they speak with their direct report. You are just checking the temperature and showing this employee that you appreciate them and the care they take with your guests.
Get a report from the parts manager for back ordered parts by date and customer. Ask what the scenario is for the oldest 2-3 clients from the parts manager and acquire current dialogue from the service advisor with the customer. Call the customer of the oldest 2-3 and introduce yourself while apologizing for the delay. Remind them of how grateful you are that they chose you and that your team has escalated the order to the highest level. I am sure that the parts manager is already doing this but the General Manager would make a huge impact.
Don’t just walk through your parts department, walk in it. Recognize cleanliness and lack of clutter. The aisles should be easily accessible, the boxes should not be stacked to the ceiling, exit doors not blocked, and warranty retention bins should not be overflowing. Recognize the parts counter associates for a job well done. Be sure to address anything that you see out of sorts or have questions about with the parts manager.
As a General Manager you are the captain of the ship. You have enormous responsibilities and are extremely productive in variable operations. Finding the time to recognize your service and parts departments should be a regular occurrence. Your voice and recognition carries significant weight with all employees. You will create unity, better production, better accountability, and your personal leadership will show company values that will reinforce your company culture. It is extremely common for all managers to get bogged down in their day to day routines. Your service and parts departments are no exception. With eyes wide open you can be more involved with the other side of your house, show them you care, and provide both the support and tools to achieve your goals. Your employees, your customers, and the owner will thank you for it.
From a comprehensive service department assessment to a tailored approach to your unique fixed operations needs we can help. You can reach us at any time by calling (813) 602-1964, visiting our website at www.fixedoperationsdevelopment.com or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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