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It’s 7:59 A.M.: Make Sure Your Advisors are Prepared

By: Paula Bliss

It is 7:59 a.m. and the service lane opens at 8:00 a.m. The advisor rushes in, pushes the start button on the computer, throws his coat on his stool, grabs his clipboard and announces he is ready as he heads into the service lane to greet his first customers of the day. He rushes through the walk around and takes the customer to his desk where he has to log into all of his accounts while he apologizes for the delay by telling his customer how slow the “system” is.

Are the customers waiting … and waiting?

As he waits for the applications to load, he moves the three drop off envelopes aside to get to next. As he now works with his first guest, another one arrives and he waves and says he will be with them soon. The first guest reminds him they are supposed to get a loaner vehicle and they need to get to work. It is now 9:30 a.m. and the advisor has made it through the early appointments and even “walked” two waiters. It is time to get to the drop offs, even though one of the customers has already called to find out the status of their car.

Does this sound familiar? Do you have one or more of these advisors in your service drive? Does this hurt your customer experience and affect your profitability? The answer is often yes.  There is usually that one service advisor who arrives just before opening, is ill prepared and seems to just catch up by lunch, if then. The impact on your customer and your profit are significant!     

Show your Customers You Appreciate Their Time

For many of our guests, perception is reality. The lack of preparation, the rushing around, the lack of follow-up and the delay in getting to their vehicles are open displays of how we were not expecting them and that we do not appreciate their time and promptness. The rushed “walk around,” or lack of one, does not allow for proper communication with the guest and eliminates the opportunity for any proper sales presentation. The hurried delivery to the waiters lacks any resemblance to an “active delivery” and definitely did not include addressing any future service needs.

Finally, for those unfortunate drop-off customers that were not even written up until almost lunch time, they will have to wait for any information because the shop is already busy from the morning load that was written up on time. Despite the extremely negative impact, it is surprising that this scenario exists in many service departments and is allowed to continue.

If this hits close to home, it is time for some coaching on preparation and time management. Chances are the advisor is like this in his personal life and this is a normal way of existence for him. As a service manager, you must recognize this and be able to coach the advisor to build his work habits even though he may never change his overall disorganization skills. Remember that this behavior is deeper than just his actions at work and you need to help the advisor to develop the process to be prepared for each day.

Let’s Move in the Right Direction

Here are a few easy tips on how to start moving in the right direction:

  • Practice things such as pre-writing repair orders
  • Conduct a scheduling review the day before
  • Prepare loaner vehicles and alternate transportation ahead of the guest’s arrival

The list goes on, but the key is that this type of advisor will not correct these issues alone. It will take active participation from the service manager. The sooner the better! Your CSI, customer retention, profitability and service lane reputation depend on it!

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CBT News
CBT News
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