When you first come to work every morning, do you spend time planning your day, or do you dive right in and start working? Depending upon your role in the dealership, it may not matter that much. However, service advisors really don’t have a choice. Your service department opens early and it’s busy as soon as it opens. Ending your day with the beginning of the next day in mind is key to starting the day off right.
If you’re a service advisor, jotting down a to-do list for the next day isn’t really sufficient. There’s so much that can be done to prepare for early appointments. Being prepared means you can deliver a stellar customer experience first thing in the morning, even if you haven’t had a chance to finish your first cup of coffee.
Best practice is having service writers perform a day-end checklist. Advisors that completed these tasks before they went home arrived at work every morning ready to dive in and perform at the highest level!
1) Review open Repair Orders (ROs)
After you’ve said goodbye to all the customers who picked up their vehicles, review your open ROs. Have you contacted all these customers to update them on the status of their vehicles?
At the end of each day, being proactive about letting your customers know the status of their vehicles will eliminate many incoming phone calls from them the next day. This means fewer interruptions while you’re with clients, and fewer phone calls to return in a game of phone tag. It also makes your customers happy because they don’t have to call you to find out what’s happening.
One of the best ways to let customers know about their vehicle status is texting. If your service department has a texting function integrated with its DMS, encourage advisors to use it. In general people are much more responsive to texts than to phone calls. Think about it: if you’re at your son’s baseball game or in a meeting at work, are you going to pick up the phone? Not likely. But you can easily read and respond to a text.
2) Review morning appointments
Print out service histories for all of your next morning service appointments. Look at what the client is coming in for and review that vehicle’s history to see if there are any recommended repairs that need to be addressed, recalls in effect for their vehicle, or other opportunities. Print out your RO estimates and attach the service histories, highlighting or otherwise noting the items you’ve found.
Reviewing appointments ahead of time also gives you a sense of how many big jobs vs. small jobs you’ll have. This allows you to form a game plan in terms of who will be working on what, and in which bays. Having a game plan in advance saves valuable time in the morning, which your clients really appreciate.
3) Update closed and work-in-progress ROs
Review all closed and work-in-progress ROs, and update notes in the CRM and/or DMS. During the rush of the day, notes are often scribbled by hand onto ROs but never transferred into the DMS. Also notes from conversations that you’ve had with clients should be recorded that day before you forget the details.
All items such as declined services and attempts to reach a client should be recorded. If you’ve made a repair recommendation, record the price quoted. If the customer is a possible candidate for a trade-in, make a note and alert the appropriate sales contact.
4) Have loaner cars ready
Last but not least, review how many of the next day’s service appointments are in need of a loaner car. Make sure you have enough to meet the demand, and go out to physically inspect them. The cars should be vacuumed, washed, gassed up and ready to go. This is one of those no-brainer items that often gets overlooked, but makes a huge difference in the customer experience. When your customer is eager to get to work in the morning, making them wait for a loaner car is unacceptable.
Taking care of these details at the end of your day will ensure that you’re prepared for tomorrow. Trying to tackle these tasks at the beginning of the day, when cars are pulling into the service lane and customers are waiting, increases the likelihood of mistakes, missed opportunities and unhappy customers.
What tips do you have for ending the day with the beginning of the next day in mind?
Author: Josh Blick
Josh Blick has been Dashboard’s CEO since 2007, and has led the successful launch of the Executive Eye product, expanding the company’s client base from under 50 dealerships (in 2010) to nearly 700 dealerships today. Mr. Blick has directed Dashboard’s projects with the largest Automotive companies in North America, including a who’s who of premier Dealership Groups such as Van Tuyl, Hendrick Automotive, Asbury, Group 1, and Sonic Automotive. His primarily skillset resides in integrating the world of Software Development, Automotive Dealers, DMS systems, as well as 3rd party Automotive vendors.