The service department tends to be the busiest place in a dealership, and service managers must stay in tune with what’s going on. While meetings and discussions can be useful, at times they only result in vague ideas the service staff never acts upon. Just like in any organization, a service department is only as good as its leader. Sometimes, you have to get in the trenches to really understand employee problems, obstacles, and frustrations.
To get on the employees’ level, service department managers may find it helpful to visit with their employees in an active and participatory manner, one-on-one. I’m not talking about individual meetings. Rather, I mean managers should shadow employees in areas integral to efficient operations. Service managers can learn a wealth of information from shadowing employees, as well as stay in tune with departmental operations and dynamics. This helps to spot problem areas, and increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
For example, if you have a service receptionist, perhaps spend a few hours listening to how they take field calls. Listen to the types of questions customers ask and how your receptionist handles them. You may find that customers get frustrated when the receptionist can’t get a service advisor to come to the phone. You may also discover frequently asked questions that you can train your receptionist to handle on their own, rather than simply transferring the call.
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