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How dealers can unlock growth in their service departments – Don Andres | Auto SCT Consulting & Training

Having a service team that engages customers is crucial for success in that department. Yet, many dealerships are still leaving money on the table by overlooking key opportunities. On today’s episode of CBT Now, we’re learning why with his new book titled Why Auto Service Departments Fail to Grow: The Real Reasons Why & the Simple Techniques for Consistent Growth is Don Andres, Author & Owner/President of Auto SCT Consulting & Training. 

Key Takeaways 

1. Andres emphasizes the crucial importance of engaging with customers beyond the initial write-up process. He illustrates this with scenarios where understanding customers’ schedules and needs can prevent chaos. For example, a simple commitment to meet a customer’s time constraint can create unnecessary pressure on the service team if not appropriately managed. Effective engagement means listening to the customer’s concerns and planning accordingly, which can lead to a more efficient and satisfying service experience.

2. Many issues in service departments are self-inflicted due to poor planning and lack of customer engagement. Andres explains that a typical day in the service drive can quickly become chaotic when service advisors overpromise and underdeliver. He notes that this stress often stems from not taking the time to understand the customer’s situation or not managing appointments effectively, leading to rushed jobs and dissatisfied customers. Addressing these issues by planning and engaging with customers can reduce stress and improve overall service quality.

3. According to Andres, continuous training for service advisors and personnel is essential. He argues that service advisors might start strong without proper training but become complacent and less attentive over time. Training ensures that advisors maintain high customer service standards, know how to handle each customer effectively, and stay motivated. This training should be ongoing and focus on both technical skills and customer service techniques to keep advisors sharp and customer-focused.

4. Properly managing and preparing for appointments can drastically improve service efficiency. Andres highlights the importance of reaching out to customers the day before their appointment to confirm times and understand their needs. This proactive approach prevents last-minute rushes and misunderstandings, allowing service advisors to be better prepared and more focused when the customer arrives. Effective appointment management also means balancing the schedule to avoid overbooking and ensuring each customer receives the attention they need.

5. Service advisors who excel in customer engagement and efficiency will likely be recognized and promoted. Andres points out that those consistently delivering high-quality service and building strong customer relationships often move up the career ladder from service advisors to fixed ops directors. He shares that customers who feel valued and well-served will leave positive reviews, further boosting the advisor’s reputation and career prospects. A clear path for career advancement motivates advisors and enhances the overall service department performance.

"Most of the chaos and stress in the service drive is all self-induced. We didn't think it was important to plan or figure out what's happening in the customer's lives, and now we're just simply reacting to that." – Don Andres.

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For over 11 years, CBT News has been informing and helping automotive retail professionals grow their businesses and thrive in their careers through an awarding-winning, on-demand streaming platform. With exclusive interviews featuring the biggest names in the industry, daily newscasts, up-to-date market data, and exclusive articles covering the latest trends, CBT News is your #1 source for auto industry news and content.

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