If you want to focus on “controllable” expenses, then take a long look at policy adjustment and shop supplies. Implement a log for each of these and require your manager to review it with you weekly, and once everyone knows you are watching these accounts they will start to go down. Policy adjustment should not exceed 1 percent of labor sales. Now, let’s focus on producing revenue.
Your plan for achieving 100 percent service absorption should focus on what you are going to do differently to increase sales and gross profits. It’s not just about advertising and marketing; it’s about processes—processes that give the customer reasons to come back. These processes include how to take an incoming phone call and convert it into an appointment, how to make an outgoing phone call to sell repairs and maintenance, properly informing customers of all repairs and costs, and advising them when their next maintenance service is due. Implement processes that will exceed the customer’s expectations on every visit to your dealership.
Now, here is an exercise for you complete tomorrow morning. If you are in management, stand at the service department’s entrance when they open up for business. Say “good morning” to everyone and grab yourself a cup of coffee and just stand in the service write-up area and observe. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do your advisors look and act professional?
- Are your customers enjoying their dealership experience?
- Do you have a clean and comfortable waiting area with hot coffee, tea and hot chocolate?
- Is there a shuttle service available for rides to work or the shopping mall?
- Is your service manager/director working as a greeter in the service drive with your advisors?
- Did your service manager/director conduct a sales meeting to review today’s sales goals with your advisors before the customers arrived?
- Did every technician have a vehicle parked in their respective stall with the RO, so they could start turning wrenches immediately, as opposed to waiting for their advisor to give them their first RO?
- Are your parts personnel pulling the necessary parts for your technicians and delivering the parts to their stall?
- How long are your customers waiting in line to speak to an advisor?
- Who’s answering the phones during this busy time of the day?
- Does every advisor give every customer the opportunity to accept an additional purchase?
- Are all of your customers advised of the manufacturer’s maintenance requirements?
When you see an employee do a good job and putting smiles on customers’ faces, just walk over, shake their hand and say, “Thanks, I appreciate your effort.”
This project will take about an hour of your time, and if you haven’t done this in a while, then you might want to bring a legal pad and pen along with you to take notes.
These processes will require no special tools or equipment, no new software, no additional advertising and probably no more people, all of which require no additional expense. However, to master the processes a little extra training might be required.
Vol 5, Issue 1