I was traveling recently when I noticed a young man standing in the same line as I was for the San Diego flight. Like many of you traveling and spending a lot of time in airports, I become a “people watcher” to pass the time.
As I have “aged” (a kind word for getting old) I find myself watching younger people, especially the kids. I think that children, who are mostly excited to be traveling and filled with boundless and seemingly endless amounts of energy, are the most fun to watch.
They seldom sit still and the relentless amount of questions they ask of their somewhat harassed and harried parents is simply amazing. Children also have one more thing that you and I need to have a lot more of…
A Positively Charged Environment.
They seldom get down. To them, it’s all part of the adventure we call life. They don’t worry about what they can’t change (something we do all the time), they have faith in the people around them and their ability to see every situation through, they edify everyone who is a role model in their lives (just ask them who is the best Mommy or Daddy and they will tell you) and they will wave and smile at you for no reason whatsoever.
Next time you are traveling, wave and smile at the kids you see and watch them wave and smile back. Imagine what your Customers would think if you waved and smiled at them for no reason.
Anyways, this young man, teenager really, was standing next to me and what he was wearing caught my eye. His shirt had something like “megadeathtoallwhopassthiswayandreadmyshirt” written all over it (or something like that), but his carry on bag said it best…
“Prepare for Doom.”
I kept thinking about that over the weekend.
And I wondered why a seemingly bright young man with his full life in front of him, would wander the planet with a message like that plastered all over his body, a personal billboard if you will.
Did he believe the message he was broadcasting? Prepare for Doom. Really? Doom? There is no other alternative?
And that got me to thinking about getting ready for a day in the Service Department. What if your day started off with the thought “Prepare for Doom?” Would you have a good day or a bad day?
What would your Customers think if you had a “Prepare for Doom” coffee mug? Or one of those daily reminder posters prominently displayed behind your writeup area that said “Welcome to our Dealership. Prepare for Doom.”
What would your Customer think was going to happen to them or their vehicle? Would your Customer believe that they were about to have a good Service experience or a bad Service experience?
There are many reasons why Service Departments struggle with achieving goals. Everything from old buildings that need a remodel to personnel who need a recharge.
And by far the number one reason that Service Departments don’t achieve performance goals is because they don’t believe they can.
They have a “Doom and Gloom” outlook.
They don’t think they can therefore they don’t. Henry Ford said it best. “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
And here is a little secret. This way of thinking did not start overnight. It did not “just happen.” This type of thinking is the culmination of day after day reminders from everyone in the Dealership and acceptance that is Ok to think this way. It is a reflection of what you have faith in.
So the question is, do you believe in Doom or do you believe in a Positively Charged Working Environment?
Here are 3 Ways you Change “Doom and Gloom” into a Positively Charged Working Environment.
- Smile. Smile a lot. Smile twice as much as you think you need to. Smile when you see a Customer whether you are greeting them or not. Smile at every person in your Department. Smile at the lot guy, the parts guy, the cashier lady, the sales greeter, the Customer, the Customer, the Customer. Smile at the Dealer Principal (who in many cases will stop and ask you why you are smiling as they are not used to people smiling at them), smile at the sales department, the used car manager (who will immediately become suspicious and page the Service Manager), smile at anyone who comes within a smiling radius of several hundred feet. I travel a lot and visit a lot of Dealerships and I can tell instantly when I am about to have a good Service experience because when I walk into the door, EVERYONE SMILES AT ME! Hey, here is a simple test. START FROWNING and see how your day goes. Bet ya a hunski that even if you think it can’t be worse…WRONG! Smiles cost nothing and mean everything to your Customers and everyone you come in contact with.
- Edify. Edify means “to instruct so as to improve” and comes from the latin word meaning “to build.” When we edify it brings everyone to a level of EXPECTED PERFORMANCE. And once everyone begins to see what the expectation is, they begin to live up to that expectation. Edification is simply commenting on a person in a positive manner about a positive observation. It is not necessarily a compliment although it can be. Think of it this way. A compliment is an hor d’oeuvre and an edification is the main course. It might sound like this. “Mr. and Mrs. Jones I’d like for you to meet Bob, our Service Advisor. Bob is one of the best Advisors I have ever worked with and I am 100% confident he’ll be able to take care of you and your Service needs.” Now that is a simple statement that has a lot of implied meaning. You just called Bob “one of the best” and that you have “100% confidence” in him and his abilities. Any person would want to live up to that Expectation. Why? Because all of us like to believe we are the best and we all like to have someone else validate that thought. Especially if it’s the Boss.
- Review Successes Frequently. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from Dealership personnel that we train and work with the following phrase… “I only hear from the manager when I do something wrong.” Really? The only time we talk to our people is when they are screwing up? What message are sending them? That you only screw up? Reviewing recent Successes is the best thing in the world for curing low morale and the perception that “the only thing we know how to do is mess it up.” The oldest management axiom in the history of man is “Praise in Public, Critique in Private” and yet, we do neither many times causing the second oldest axiom in management to have an effect…”What the personnel don’t know, they make up and always assume the worst” which leads to…you guessed it “Doom and Gloom.” There are many ways to review recent Success. Regular brief Service meetings in which you recite recent Customer Service Successes with all personnel is one way. Reading letters from Customers aloud is another. Tracking and posting results is another. Hey, meetings don’t have to be long. They can be 5 minutes. And constantly “talking up” your personnel will go a long ways rather than constantly “talking down” your personnel.
These 3 Strategies will begin the process of changing…changing how you think and how you act. They are simple. They are straightforward. They are easily implemetable…and just as quickly forgotten. It takes time plus application of these 3 strategies to change Doom to Positive. Start your day with a smile. Find someone to edify. Review recent Success with all of your personnel. Do it today.
It becomes a Positively Charged Working Environment when you believe that it is possible.
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