Increasing Customer Labor Sales and Repair Orders - Are you Realizing your Potential?
In today's business climate getting customers in the door and making money are two things on most retail automotive managers’ minds. If you are like some of us, you may be discovering that doing the same things you have always done are NOT bringing the same results. For example, are the same old things helping to increase customer paid labor sales and repair orders?
Three things drive customer paid labor: getting more customers in the service department; maximizing sales to customers already in your service department; and getting customers to return to your service department. Below are four questions for each of these areas that might help you to identify some actions or processes to consider:
Getting more customers in the service department
- Do you have a marketing plan that outlines clear and measurable objectives?
- Does your plan identify (and track) marketing activities that target your active, inactive and potential customers?
- Does your marketing budget reflect your desired objectives?
- Do you measure the effectiveness and ROI of each marketing activity?
Maximizing sales to customers already in your service department
- Are you scheduling appointments that set clear customer expectations and maximize your shop capacity?
- Do your service advisors perform a walk-around inspection with the customer every time?
- Do your service advisors have a method to follow-up with customers about the status of their repairs and recommend additional needs identified by the technician?
- Do your service advisors sell the value of repairs/maintenance and the services you offer with every customer—in person—at the end of the day?
Getting customers to return to your service department
- Do your service advisors invite customers back and schedule future appointments at the end of every visit?
- Do your service advisors personally contact customers to schedule appointments for declined and recommended repairs?
- Do your service advisors build relationships by keeping in touch with their customers periodically?
- Do you hold customer appreciation events that get people to come to your dealership even when they don’t need service?
Probably the biggest question that managers need to ask in order to really maximize their results is:
“Are the processes being completed consistently and are the employees held accountable when they are not?”
If you are not sure, find out! Here are some simple ways to get started:
Ask different employees doing the same job to describe how and why they do it that way—again note inconsistencies in process and behavior of the employeesMeet and greet customers in the service drive and customer lounge to gage their reaction to the process—ask for their input about the process and behavior of the employeesDetermine if everyone is working toward the same goals and targets, such as, scheduling targets, labor sales targets, CSI scores, and gross profit percentage—if not set (and communicate) goals that everyone should strive forReview process descriptions and job descriptions and update as necessary, to reflect the correct process steps and how the employees must be carry out the stepsCatch employees doing it right at least 50% of the time—it is easier to change someone’s behavior when they know you will recognize their effortsConduct “mini-sessions” with employees to role-play any process changes—get the employees input and buy-in to trying new ways of doing the processGet help! Ask an outside source for objective feedback and assistance in evaluating your process and/or training your employees
- Spend time all areas of the service department observing during peak periods—note inconsistencies in process and behavior of the employees