September is here. Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, is here. What awaits for the fall and winter is still yet to be seen. Things are starting to become somewhat normal again. I am traveling again and like everything else, it is certainly different. Airlines, hotels and restaurants are having to call the "audible" and adjust the way they do business. It is actually quite refreshing to see. Customer service has improved for the most part and businesses seem to appreciate your patronage instead of taking you for granted.
Now, with that being said and as promised in the previous newsletters, I will continue to write about what I know best and try to give you tidbits, keys to success and open your minds a little bit more. Please understand it is basd on my expertise in automotive fixed operations but the concept can be applied in any business. So, without further adieu: "The Other 3 C's"
Anybody that has been in this industry knows the basic 3 C’s of a repair order. This is how the service department primarily functions. Concern or Complaint is the reason the car is here. Cause is what happened or why it happened. Correction is what we did to fix it. However, there are 3 more little known C’s that can make really make a difference in your service department. They can be the difference between success and failure. These other 3 C’s are hardly known, seldom talked about and rarely practiced. The difference between a very successful service department and a not-so-successful one is the balance and possession of all three and to be able to execute them and maintain them at all times. They are:
Commitment, Communication, and Consistency
In only very rare instances are all three present at all times. The stores that are able to possess all three, are heads and shoulders above their competition. By truly understanding what they are and how they can make an impact in your business, you will be on the road to success.
It may not be as simple as it seems and possibly the most misunderstood. Are your people truly committed? I am not talking about showing up every day and taking care of the customer. I am talking about true commitment. Do they prepare for the day? Do they have goals and a game plan? Are they loyal employees or just tenured employees? Are they there just to make a pay check or do they truly care about what they do? Are they professional? What about training? Is this their career or just a job? Are they masters at their craft? Do they go that extra mile? Ask yourself these few simple questions of your employees and you will know if you have true commitment.
Communication is the key to any business, especially in ours. How is the communication in your store? I am not talking about calling customers back when promised, although that is a big part of it. I am talking about full communication, between each other, customers and other departments. Is the parts department in communication with service? Do they notify the advisors on special orders? Do they communicate with technicians on parts arrivals? What about customers? Is there a special order process in place? Is there a sales to service hand-off? What about a “We owe” process? Do you have production meetings? Are there shop meetings? What about all inclusive parts / service meetings? Do your advisors communicate with each other in their absence, out to lunch, day off etc.? Are their meetings with your GM or dealer on a regular basis? Are your advisors informed of special promotions, or sales events? Do they have input on promotions? Most importantly, are your customers kept informed? Are they updated on the status of their vehicles? Are they notified on parts arrivals or completions? Are they notified on special promotions or sales events? Is there a follow-up or marketing strategy in place? Take a minute and think about how well your store communicates, in all aspects.