Running a service department is simple. But running an excellent one is a real challenge. The payoff of upgrading your service department is huge. From skyrocketing repeat sales to securing fully accounted for invoices, launching an effective service department strategy offer dealers a lot more than they might have originally thought.
What makes an excellent service department?
Roughly 85% of your customers care more about having an amazing experience at your service department than finding the lowest possible deal when it comes to their equipment. Here are their main considerations:
- Highly skilled technicians. Customers appreciate being taken care of and don’t mind paying extra if they know the technicians are reliable.
- Regular full-scale evaluations. Refusing to track performance means turning a blind eye to lucrative opportunities and allowing inefficiencies to sneak their way into the workflow.
- Providing service that creates customer loyalty. Communicate with your customers before, during, and after the repair. They won’t complain about the price if they are confident in their purchase.
These basic principles are easy to name but difficult to do. Start by focusing on one of the above areas and work step-by-step until you’ve perfected that category. Here are some helpful ways to begin your department makeover.
How to Improve Service Department Performance
- Evaluate employee performance. Be sure to assign the right tasks to the right people.
- Create a financial management workflow. Most managers fail to properly track your technicians’ time.
- Get in the habit of filing warranty claims. Whether or not you believe manufacturers give you enough time to file them, the system may not change so you’ll have to adapt. Try to file warranties once a week to stay on top of the paperwork.
- Switch to flat-rate billing. Your techs can plan how much time they need to spend on a repair as well as how much they can expect to earn. You may also see an increase in revenue.
- Streamline equipment tracking. Create a procedure for equipment entering and exiting the shop to avoid any confusion. Build a customer communication reminder into this process so they can be updated along the way.
- Provide competitive compensation. Great techs require great pay. You’ll actually save more money in the long run when you factor in the potential losses that come from hiring less experienced staff. They have a greater chance of making mistakes that upset customers and create new problems than their more seasoned counterparts.
- Make continuing education a priority. High performance shops consistently make their technicians go through manufacturer training. It helps them improve their skills faster than any other resource.
- Delegate work appropriately. Don’t ask technicians to do unskilled labor. Pay them properly and make sure their time is used wisely.
Any one of these tips can lead you to service department excellence. Apply them one at a time and record your findings. Chances are you’ll start seeing results sooner than later.