Monthly Archives: September 2010

Passionate About Success in Service? Are You Using “Old Thinking” in New Times?

I was reading a post on another site when  I read something I found quite profound. It was a comment by another gentleman.

 He said “If you are not passionate about what you do, if you do not believe in it with every fiber of your being, it will be reflected in your achievements.”

In my role as a Trainer, this is the single biggest reason I see people fail in this business as Service Advisors and Service Managers.

1st, they don’t want to be there. This is “just a job.” For many it is just the “means to pay the bills.” The amount of effort they put into the day is just enough to get them through it. Yet, when questioned, many people say “I need my job.”

Really? Lots of people need a job.

The truly successful Service Advisors see themselves not only as Advisors, they see themselves as  Caretakers of the Customer. Not as Order Takers or Receptionists.

2nd, they don’t believe that what they do has real meaning. The Truth is, in our roles as Service Managers and Service Advisors, it can be a thankless and grinding task.

You are not going to rescue a child from a burning building or invent a cure for a life threatening disease.

However, if you are looking for something that involves working with people, thinking, communication skills, sales, action management, technical knowhow, Customer Service knowledge and the ability to remain calm during stressful situations then you are going to love this position. It has all of that and more.

 I like to think of the Service Advisor as more of a Traffic Controller than anything else. Just as important as the Air Traffic Controller is to the Tower, the Advisor is to the Dealership.

The average Advisor has more to do with the overall profitability of the Dealership than any other single person employed by the Dealership.

It is an important role and if you don’t have that mentality, then you should find another profession. And, once in a while. there will be someone who recognizes your efforts and Thanks you. Sometimes they bring donuts, sometimes they just look you in the eye, and say “Thanks for taking care of me.”

Lastly, Resistance To Change. Why is it in our business everyone thinks that once you are trained, nothing else need be done?

What single business on the planet remains static, frozen in process and procedure? What single business on the planet has a constant supply of the Customers who are exactly the same as they were the year before? With all of the same buying habits, demographics and metrics? Not one that is still in business. Because every single business that thinks that way goes out of business.

 Look around you. In the past 5 years, Dealerships have Decreased! and Aftermarket Competition has Increased!

Why are you using old thinking in new times?

Change is inevitable. Become a Change Agent. Read everyday about your Profession. Find and attend Training relevant to your areas of opportunity. Ask your Customer what is important to them. Become proactive and not reactive.

Have questions? We have answers! email us at, call us at 888-553-0100 or write us at DealerPro Training Solutions 540 Office Center Drive Ste 286 Gahanna, OH 43230.


The Future of RV and RV Fixed Operations

How do companies escape trouble at work? If the company were Cinderella, they could just call that fairy godmother to swoop right in and save them.

 Unfortunately, those characters don’t exist but luckily for RV Dealers, RVMAX Training Solutions does.

“Let’s be clear. We are not a consulting company,” RVMAX CEO Don Reed said. “We are a training company. We don’t sit in a hotel conference room and tell companies how to change their processes. We go to the dealership and physically show them how to improve their business.”

RVMAX Pro is the nation’s leading high-performance training group exclusively for RV Dealers. It is a performance-based service advisor, management and system implementation training program. With a staff of over 20 field trainers in the U.S. and Canada, they assist dealers in increasing their hours per customer pay repair order through sales training for service advisors, service managers and parts managers.

 Man on a Mission

What started as a hobby quickly progressed into a lifetime career for Reed. “I’ve always enjoyed camping,” recalled Reed, who has been in the Auto and RV dealer industry for 26 years. “I started with a pop-up trailer and gradually worked my way up to a Class A. That’s when I decided to add RV’s to my own auto dealership.”

Reed started in Missouri but sold his dealerships to operate an RV/Auto Dealership Group in Alaska. Alaska’s extreme environment and road conditions prompted Reed to start focusing on his service and parts operations. That focus eventually earned his team the prestigious Winnebago Circle of Excellence for Service and Parts.


Reed utilized his knowledge from Alaska and formulated a training program. His team evaluates dealerships, performs a financial review, analyzes service and part performance and compares results to where the dealership needs to be.

RVMAX identifies opportunities for profit improvement for the sales, services and parts department.

“Some dealership managers are not happy to see us,” Reed said. “ They see it as someone else playing in their sandbox, but that is not how we operate. We don’t point fingers. We just provide tools to make success happen for the dealership and enable everyone to perform at a higher level.”

It is a team effort between RVMAX Training and the dealership. “Sometimes we have to drag people out of their comfort zones to make positive changes happen,” Reed said. “But warm and fuzzy comfort is not conducive to growth. If you change your actions, you change your results.”

Their success speaks for itself. Dealers reported happier employees, profit improvement, seasonal backlog reduced due to increased shop productivity and a happier, more successful group. “Our goal is to transform service technician productivity from 60 percent to 100 percent,” Reed emphasized. “It’s a huge benefit to the dealer to cut a two week appointment backlog in half and allow quicker turn-a-round. That provides for a happy staff and most important, a satisfied customer.”

Data agrees. After using RVMAX Training, dealers successfully saw anywhere from 40 to 86 percent profit improvement. “We are a performance-driven company,” Reed explained. “We hold employees accountable for performance to increase sales, profits and to maximize customers’ experience, which is key.”

The Debut

 RVMAX Training is now looking to train the customers. Reed’s team decided to transform the SMART (Schedule Maintenance at Regular Times) Menu at the dealerships from print to online. “We want the customers to know how to properly maintain their RV,” Reed expressed. “Why wait for it to break? Customers can save money, make camping more enjoyable and it becomes a profit center for the RV dealership.”

The online SMART Menu is not just for the customers’ benefit, but also the dealer. “With the online option, the dealer can walk a customer through the menu and teach them how to keep their RV in great condition. This shows dealers care to take time to educate customers.”

Each SMART Menu is custom-designed for the dealership and is available on the dealer’s website. Reed said it is not a one-size-fits-all program. RVMAX will adjust the menu to specific inventory each dealer offers. Online Smart Menus also separate the dealer from competitors while giving customers access to the menus from their personal computer.

RVMAX Training also recently launched RV MAX VT – an RV-specific online video training program with 37 different training modules for RV service managers and advisors. It is convenient, time-efficient and successfully ensures each team member is properly trained.

The Future

 With upcoming early retirement from the baby boomer generation, Reed sees a bright future for the RV business. More people are coming on board and existing customers are holding on to their RVs longer, keeping the service and parts industry happily busy. “It’s going to be a busy time in the near future,” Reed said, “but having our hands full will definitely be a good problem to have.”

 Reed will demo his new SMART Menu at the upcoming RV Convention on Tuesday, October 5th, 2010. For a free demo please visit

Or call 888-553-0100 for more information.

Get “What You Expect” when you Crunch Your Service Numbers

“What You Expect”

(This is a follow on blog post from a previous post titled “Crunching Your Service Numbers.”)

This is part of the daily “Must Do” list for every Service Manager. You cannot go through the day without checking progress. To do so would  be a sure recipe for disaster. Just ask the Captain on any ship or the Pilot of any airplane.  They will not start the engines without a plan much less leave the harbor or take off from the airport.

As a Service Manager, you need to do the same.  

There are several Daily Checks the Service Manager must make.

As a refresher, here are the Daily 5 mentioned in a previous post.

  1. The Service Advisors HPRO from the day previous. (Hours Per Repair Order)
  2. The Service Advisors EFL from the day previous. (Effective Labor Rate)
  3. The Service Advisors Labor Gross Profit Margin from the day previous
  4. The  Service Advisors Parts Gross Profit Margin from the day previous.
  5. The Service Departments overall results in HPRO, EFL, Labor and Parts GPM tracking for the month.

 And here are 5 more.

  1. The Technicians Total Flag Hours.
  2. The Technicians Productivity. (Flag Hours vs Clock Hours)
  3. The Technicians ASR Ratio to Number of Repair Orders.
  4. The Technicians Comeback Ratio.
  5. The Technicians overall Monthly Tracking for Hours Produced, Productivity, ASR and Comeback Ratio.

Here are the standards. 

  1. Total Technician Flag Hours. An efficient, trained Technician should, at a minimum, flag the same amount of labor time as they are clocked in. This means if they are clocked in for 8 hours, they should flag 8 hours of Labor Sales. Anything less than that is reason to investigate.
  2. Technician Productivity is the amount of Flagged Hours compared to the amount of Clock Hours. If the Technician clocked in for 8 hours and flagged 8 hours of Labor Sales that would mean they are 100% Productive. If they clocked in for 8 hours and flagged 10 hours of Labor Sales that would be 125% Productive. (A note regarding Production and Efficiency. It is  better to look the Technician as a “Producer” rather than measure Efficiency. At the end of the month, you won’t be able to deposit Efficiency.) In a Domestic Store this number should be between 110-130% and an Import Store this should be between 120-130%.
  3. Technician Additional Service Requests to Number of Repair Orders. If your Technician is completing an Multipoint Inspection on every RO, and they are not the Used Car or Pre-Delivery Technician (or any other “Specialty Technician”),  then the Ratio should be between 60-80%. If it is less than that on a consistent basis, the Technician will need to be instructed on conducting a proper vehicle Inspection. Remember, the vehicle is what it is. If it leaks, it leaks. If it is broken, it’s broken. If it is worn out, it’s worn out. There is never a need to write down on an MPI anything other than what is actually  physically wrong with the vehicle.
  4. The Technicians Comeback Ratio. This is a standard that many Shops and Managers have as a moving target based on the Technician they are reviewing. There must be a bottom line number that apples to everyone. The Standard is 10% or less. And 10% is a lot if you are the SA or the Manager dealing with the upset Customer who had to come back. Additionally, many shops do not accurately track this. The Standard is that the Customer is returning to the Repair Facility for a repair to the vehicle that has been previously diagnosed and repaired by either replacing a part or making an adjustment, repairing any component, completing a service or any other service or repair in which the Service Advisor and the Technician advised a Customer to have a repair, adjustment or service completed.
  5. The Monthly Tracking for Hours Produced, Productivity, ASR and Comeback Ratio are numbers the Service manager should be looking at Daily and comparing them to months previous. It will help identify trends before they become problems. It also is an excellent tool to Counsel and Praise Technicians and Service Advisors.

Add these to the previous Daily 5 and you should be on track to get “What You Expect.”

Want to hear more about the “numbers” and where your Dealership stacks up? Send an email to or call 888-553-0100 for more information. Check us out on facebook and twitter. Watch Don Reed videos on youtube.