Top Tips For Running An Effective Automotive Service Department

Jun 16, 2021Tips & Tricks

Technician carrying out car service

Whether it’s influencing sale numbers, or encouraging customer return, having an effective automotive, there’s no denying, your service department can have a huge impact on business. After all, your service department should be at the heart of your automotive business and is critical to the success of your organization. They’re often the ones that secure profit, helping to bring back customers a second, third, and fourth time. Their value cannot be underestimated, which means it’s vital that you are doing everything you can to make sure your service department is run efficiently.

Regardless of the size of your company, when it comes to running an effective automotive service department, it’s all about one thing and that’s service. Not only the service they are providing as a department but also the service you, as a manager, are providing your technicians. It sounds self-explanatory but there’s more to running an effective automotive service department than simply booking in a repair and fixing it.

So, how can you ensure your service department is running effectively? The team at SnapCell has used our extensive knowledge and experience of the industry to put together our top 10 tips on how to get the best out of your service department.

Remember, a few tweaks can make all the difference.

Treat your staff well

Number one and probably the most important, is to treat your staff well. It really is as simple as it sounds.

It’s a no-brainer, a well-respected technician is bound to work hard and better still, actually want to work for you. So why wouldn’t you treat them with the respect they deserve? After all, if the service department is the heart of your business, then your technicians are the veins that keep that blood pumping.

Like any other staff member, your technicians will desire recognition, so give it to them. You’ll want to hang on to good quality technicians, so if you can afford to offer a promotion, pay rise, or bonus as an incentive then do. Of course, simply rewarding them with praise if they’ve done a good job will go a long way.

Organize parts and paperwork

To keep the running of your service department running smoothly, there must be effective processes in place. Find a way that suits the team, to repair orders and keep check of the job status, so your technicians can get on with the job with minimal effort. This applies to equipment and parts that are entering and leaving the department too. Be sure to track everything, to make sure everybody’s job is that little bit more seamless.

Of course, having an organization system that works will prove totally priceless when technicians are off sick, or the team changes. Work needs to be tracked, traced, and picked up, regardless of who’s in.

Customer Communication

Communicating with your customers is key, not only for the effectiveness of your service department but also when it comes to business reputation and if you want to see your shoppers returning.

Ultimately, if you keep in touch with the customer and keep them updated with progress, they’re less likely to get frustrated when you hand them a hefty bill or tell them you need to do more work than anticipated. If you don’t communicate with customers then you could charge them a minimal price and the chances are, they’ll still be annoyed.

Poor communication with customers can be easily avoided thanks to the SnapCell app.

Made specifically with the automotive trade in mind, SnapCell allows your technicians to keep in touch with customers, at just the press of a button. Your technicians can record short videos to send to customers while keeping them regularly updated on the progress of their service via the app. This means the customer is kept continuously in the loop and can track progress from wherever they are, without having to regularly visit or call your dealership.

Revisit Job Descriptions

Is it time you gave your technicians’ job descriptions a bit of a refresh? Perhaps it’s been a while since you had a look at their role, or maybe you’ve never revisited them, ever since you employed them. Has the number of technicians increased? Have your staff taken on more responsibilities? Over time, not only are your staff learning new skills, while developing their role but your business is growing too. This must be reflected in their job descriptions, even if it’s temporary. Ideally, reflecting and refreshing job descriptions should be done at least annually, not only for the benefit of your business but for the benefit of your technicians too.

Remove Any Hurdles

You’ve revisited job descriptions, now it’s time to have a look at the day-to-day operations of your service department, so you can identify if anything is preventing your team from doing their job. For example, are members of your service department spending time fixing their emails, sweeping the floor, or unblocking toilets, rather than carrying out those all-important jobs on customer cars.

Simply put, you won’t make money if you continue to allow your technicians to take on any unnecessary jobs outside of their job description, so make sure they’re not.

Talk Marketing With The Team

Be sure to involve your service department when it comes to marketing your business and any future promotions. There are many reasons why this is so important, the first being that you don’t want to promote any offers that are impossible for your team to deliver. After all, any promotional ideas that will involve your service team really should be discussed with them, as you might be making unrealistic promises when it comes to parts or time.

Of course, involving your service department in these types of conversations also makes them feel empowered. It’s no secret that empowering your team will lead to staff retention, hardworking employees, and ultimately, better results for your business.

Plus, you never know, some of your best promotion and marketing ideas could come from these conversations.

Get The Right Staff

Ultimately, if your service department does a job wrong, it could be the last time that customer returns to you for business. Hiring qualified, top-quality staff, is essential, if you’re wanting to continue to make sales and keep customers coming back for more. The service department team is no exception to this. Technicians at your dealership should be thought of as specialists, which means they should have the knowledge and be experts within the automotive industry.

Of course, you’ll find that some aspiring technicians are bursting with passion but don’t necessarily have the qualifications behind them. If you have the capacity, these technician types should be welcomed too. There’s nothing wrong with having a balanced team of experienced old-timers and beginner technicians, in fact, it would be actively encouraged.

Invest In Your Staff

Remember, it’s not just about investing in the development of beginners, it’s important not to forget that your more experienced staff members feel respected and valued too. Invest in any necessary training and encourage your staff to grow alongside your business.

Some vehicles are extremely complex, with characteristics varying from brand to brand. With this in mind, you might feel that some of your technicians require specific training, to offer certain services and to ensure the work is done correctly. This can help boost business reputation too.

Track Work

Do you track the work of each of your technicians? If not, now is the time to start.

Tally up the number of hours your technicians are paid for, alongside a track of how long it is taking them to complete each job. Not only will this highlight which staff members are working most efficiently but it will keep the communication between you and your team running, which is hugely important. It will also encourage the labor hours to keep flowing among your technicians and allow you to create goals and targets for your team to work towards.

Of course, keeping a track of work also allows car dealers to better compare labor rates, to ensure you are paying their staff a competitive wage.

Respect Your Customers

Like we’ve already said, your service department goes beyond simply servicing a car, it means serving the customer too. Whatever the size of your business, the number of sales you get heavily depends on how the customer feels. Regardless of the type of service, the customer should always feel respected and that needs to remain an absolute top priority.

It’s important that anyone in a customer-facing role listens to the consumer, discusses the work with them, and above all, remembers they while they are not the expert, their opinion needs to be valued. Don’t ignore what the customer is saying to you. While they aren’t the ones working on the job, they will be able to tell you the symptoms, which will lead to the technicians being able to do the job more effectively.

If you’re in the automotive industry then get in touch with SnapCell today. Our team of experts can help you boost the effectiveness of your service department while staying one step ahead of your competitors.

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