Tag Archives: Customer relationship management

3 Key Components of Outstanding Service Departments

When examining the best service departments across the country, you often find that they all share common best practices that create additional service sales and gross profits for their dealerships.

These best practices combined with daily monitoring, observation and coaching results in professional sales organizations that can sustain a dealer during times of slow sales or downturns in the economy.

One of the most overlooked skill sets in dealers that struggle with decreasing repair order count is service phone sales skills. While you would be hard pressed to find people who do not have the ability to be courteous and project a good image on the phone, it is easy to find personnel who have not been trained to sell service appointments.

One phone survey company* found that service advisors do not offer appointments or attempt to sell an appointment on 57% of the calls they field even though the opportunity sell an appointment presented itself.

If this is happening in your dealership and your service team fields an average of 100 information calls a day, it means there are 57 missed opportunities, every single day. A properly trained Advisor can be expected to convert 30% of those calls (or more) into service appointments.

So the question is, what would your service drive look like with an additional 17 service appointments every day?

Once you’ve trained and coached on phone sales skills you can then begin to train on Advisor communications skills. This is another area that the most successful dealerships continually monitor and coach their employees to near perfection.

Communications skills are not only important to Customer Satisfaction Index scores, they are critical in Customer retention. Advisors that have weak listening skills and a complete lack of follow through on promises, become the source of nearly every Customer complaint registered at your dealership.5waystoincrease

One Advisor will interact with an average of 10-15 Customers per day. Based on that number, one untrained Advisor can impact 44 Customers a month in such a way as they could possibly decide not to come back.

If your store sells 150 cars a month, and your retention is in the mid-range of 40-50%, you can expect a net gain of 31 new car Customers a month from your 150 sales in the front end.

Does it make sense not to train your Advisor in communications skills when so much is dependent on him/her being a professional in every sense of the word? Of course not.

Lastly, those dealers that are doing it right have a complete marketing plan in place. They make a decision to budget funds for service marketing based on repair order count while taking into consideration recalls, campaigns and industry trends.

Recently there has been a flood of recalls that have not left any manufacturer on the sidelines. Many dealerships took advantage of those recalls by highlighting their ability to service their Customers while attracting new business through strategic traditional marketing as well as social marketing.

And they have “hit it out of the park.”

Not only did they service their own Customers, they were able to attract new business with the goal of converting then to regular service Customers. Take an average dealer writing 45 repair orders a day, factor in about a 30% warranty repair order write-up rate, adjust for “just recall” warranty repairs of about 30-40% from that warranty rate, and your team has the chance to make 3 or 4 recall Customers into regular service Customers every day.

So the question is, did you want to allocate funds for marketing, train for opportunities and coach for results…or did you just want to keep doing what you’ve always done and keep getting what you’ve always got?

Make a commitment to your service team and follow through with sales training, communication skills training and a marketing budget in line with your stated Goals and watch your Profits soar!

by Leonard Buchholz
*PhonePops

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Techno me, Train me or Tank me…which is it?

It is an age old diametrically opposed argument. On one side, we have technology. On the other side, we have personnel.

I can’t sell anything without a great Multipoint Inspection.
I can’t sell anything without a professional Sales Process.
I must have both in order to be effective.

In recent years there has been a migration to technology because we have come to expect that our Dealerships will be modern, fully equipped Service Centers that have the best tools and equipment because that’s the image that has been built through extended advertising.

It’s also why people have come to believe that going to the Dealer is always more expensive.

What has happened (IMHO) is that technology has become a crutch to be used instead of a professional Sales process and effective person to person communication skills. And becomes the scapegoat when the technology does not produce the Sale.

If I had to choose between the two, I’ll choose the professional Sales Process and Communication Skills because our business is still a person to person elbow rubbing “Hey, how are you doing?” smile on your face take care of the Customer business.

If you have a Service Department that is staffed with people and not extraterrestrial aliens or vampires, then they can be trained to present Multipoint Inspections using a Sales Process that produces consistent results.

In fact, over the past 11 years, we have been dong this very same thing in Service Departments all across the country and have helped them produce dramatic and spectacular results…using the same technology (Electronic MPI, Electronic Menus, Electronic write up, On line Appointment Scheduling, CRM Software, you name it…)  that was already in place and did not generate the expected results because they are simply tools when it comes right down to it.

The perfect example of the difference between training and technology exists in our own collective history. Remember OBDII? What happened when “Software Download” and “Electronic Diagnostics” took over our industry? In the beginning, there was a period of time when the plug in connector was viewed as a precursor to volcanoes and the return of the dinosaurs. The end of the world!

We had to train all of our Technicians to use the new technology. When we completed that re-training, our success in diagnosing the vehicle and repairing it the first time increased dramatically. (Which coincidentally has lead to a considerable decrease in warranty repair work.)

But there was still the Customer.

Why didn’t all of this new technology which made concerns easier to diagnose, lead to a decrease in defects per sold unit and increase the reliability (to name a few of the benefits), lead to an automatic increase in CSI, increased retention and more maintenance visits at the Dealership?

Because you can’t train a computer to smile, ask how you are doing, make a friend, build a relationship, remember their preferences, make recommendations based on priorities, remember that they are always your Customer and not a problem to be dealt with and lastly, you can’t teach a computer or build a software application that has Pride and Professionalism.

That is why you still need a smiling, professional Service Advisor.

Hey, you can keep paying those monthly fees for “stuff that don’t work” or give us a call. It’s up to you.

Why would you need something “new”?

The Business Process Management Life-Cycle

The Business Process Management Life-Cycle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly every week someone says “What’s new?” in the Fixed Ops Training world as if there is something wrong with what works.

And every week, the answer is the same. When it comes to Fixed Ops Training, Coaching and Mentoring…”Not much.”

Oh to be sure, there are “new” things in Fixed Ops every day.

There are at least a zillion ways to keep in contact with the Customer. And there must be a bazillion CRM companies that can manage a “lost souls”campaign. And, yes, there are several manufacturers that have launched in-Dealership Training programs.

But “new” Fixed Ops Processes, “new” Fixed Ops Training, “new” Fixed Ops Coaching…not much is new. Why?

Why do you need something “new?”

What would “new” do for you that “tried and true” does not?

Nothing.

And the reason why is most of the time we don’t use what he have available! Try asking yourself these questions and see if you still need something “new.”

1. Do you have a Daily Monitoring Process for your Service Advisors, Technicians and Managers?

2. Do you Counsel and Coach (hold your people Accountable) for those Daily results?

3. Do you spend at least an hour in the Service Drive every day?

4. When was the last time you listened to your Advisors/Parts Counter take a Customer phone call?

5. Are all of your Personnel aware of Stated Goals for the Dealership/Department?

So, if you answered No to these, why would you need something “new?”