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Cleaning up service behaviors

By David Koshollek

DavidKoshollekBlogBy now you have your spring cleaning done. You cleaned out your warranty, wreck and take-off parts that were cluttering up the backroom and you identified and corrected behaviors that were wasting time and money.

I’m talking about behaviors like making the parts guys run back to service anytime a customer asks, “What do you guys charge to install this?” Or, the habit of installing a different set of heads, cams or exhaust system on every performance job. These are time wasters and money drainers. Here's some more ideas on how to work efficiently.

Stop wasting time. Menu price the installed cost for common accessory purchases. Both service advisors and parts associates need this info. Then they can quote installed price while the customer is most excited about the product. You’ll close a lot more sales that way because it captures the deal while it's hot.

Stop wasting money. Performance mods are a lucrative part of the powersports business. To make a decent profit here the service department needs to be efficient. That starts by limiting performance package recommendations to 3-4 options for each model. Create a range of mild to wild kits at different price points. This simplifies the customer's decision making process and allows technicians to become efficient at the installations. Limit the number of exhaust choices too, to 3-4 good-performing systems for each model. Then create and save the EFI programs you built and sell those performance kits over and over for an excellent profit because it can be installed in less than billed time. While 70 percent of your clientele will be happy with this condensed variety of options, and you can always charge “clock” time for the 30 percent who want a performance combo that’s unique. The service department takes the lead in determining the kit selections and then should share this information with the parts department. That way parts associates will be recommending the same performance combinations at the counter as service advisors do during the check-in. This avoids customer confusion that can lead to lost sales.

Save time. The following best practices are guaranteed time savers.

  • Capture the customer's contact information, especially their preferred means of communication such as phone, text or email so service advisors can communicate with customers on the first try
  • Contact tomorrow's appointments today to remind them of their appointment time, which reduces the no-shows and late arrivals that would require rescheduling
  • Do a VIN check for open safety recalls and warranty/ESP status before the vehicle arrives so you can prepare for the extra work and know who pays for what
  • Stage the parts needed for upcoming appointments to reduce the crisis management caused by parts not-in-stock after the vehicle arrived
  • Prep the visual inspection sheets and repair orders the day before to expedite vehicle check-ins
  • Take digital photos of the vehicle to document its cosmetic condition during the walk-around inspection. This can prevent the arguments associated with an owner who claims the shop damaged their vehicle — when the shop didn't

You and I know there's a lot more best practices that can save you time and money in service, but just implementing those I've listed will put you well on your way to working smarter, not harder, and making more money in the process.

Dave "Dako" Koshollek has worked in the motorcycle industry since 1971 as a motorcycle mechanic and service manager, as a technical trainer and national director for MMI's Harley-Davidson training programs and as vice president for Dynojet Research's motorcycle division. In 1998 Koshollek formed the DAKO Management company that provides sales, management and product training both in print and in person. He has written over 200-articles for Harley-Davidson's dealer publication, ShopTalk, has developed and taught numerous Harley-Davidson University courses in dealerships and at dealer conventions around the world and has authored a column titled "Dako's Fuel for Thought" for over 10-years that delivers proven parts and service operations best practices. Dako lives by the principle, "Ride Well - Be Profitable", which applies to all things in life.

Email: dakosfuelforthought@gmail.com

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