Dear Service Advisors and Fixed Operations professionals, I have presented countless workshops throughout my career. And although every workshop contains elements of surprise, there are always a few things that I just know are going to happen. One of the things that happens at every workshop without fail is the posing of certain questions by the audience. What I would like to do is share these questions with you, give you my responses to these questions, and tell you why I believe these questions are so frequently asked. I think you will find this information to be very useful so let’s take a look at these questions.
Question 1: Since I am the only service advisor that was sent here, how do I go back to my service drive and get this to work?The best way to get others involved is to go back and do what was taught in the class. By doing what is recommended, you will be more successful. When your success starts to equal and surpass those who were not in attendance, your co-workers will start to wonder why. This will be the case especially if they are used to out-performing you. You may encounter some resistance, but be diligent and work on the process step by step. Again, when your co-workers see the success you are experiencing, they will want the same.
Question 2: My manager sent me to this meeting, but he has never taken this class. How do I get him excited about what I have learned? I strongly suggest that upon returning to the service drive, you schedule a meeting with your manager. In that meeting, discuss what you have learned. Tell him how excited you are and share some of your experiences with him. Your manager will become excited when he sees your enthusiasm. Ask him to define how much of a commitment he is willing to make to see changes made. You will understand very quickly how serious your manager is about you, your department, and the success they wish to accomplish. If your manager is really interested and signs on, great for you! The installation will be easy. If not, revert to my answer to the previous question. Do not allow others and peer pressure to discourage you from being as successful as you can be. Implement what you have learned and show by example. Set the standard. Your success and achievement will demand the attention of management and your co-workers. Maximize your opportunity.
Question 3: Our BDC causes so many problems with mis-scheduling that it is impossible to be successful. What can I do about this? Have you ever sat down with your BDC manager and discussed your concerns with them? Has the manager of that department and your department developed a process to keep the mis-scheduling from happening? This one is really easy to solve and should not be allowed to interfere with your ability to maximize the opportunity you have on your drive. If you truly feel that this is an issue and that it effects your ability to be successful, then take it to the highest ranking manager and ask for help. Some people do not like this answer because it seems as though I am promoting a “tattle-tale” environment. But let’s cut to the chase. This is real life and real life is when your paycheck is on the line. This is not some preschool game. You are owed the opportunity to be successful.
Question 4: How difficult is it to get processes and systems set up and fully functioning?It’s not hard at all if you take your time. No matter how big or small the problem is, the only way you are going to solve it is to follow a series of steps. The bigger the problem, the more steps. Take your time. Don’t try to install sweeping change all at once. Roll out the first step. Let your staff get used to it and perfect it. Then move to the next step, and the next step, and so on. The amount of time it takes for implementation will be dictated by how deep your concerns are and how persuasive you are as a leader. Don’t get bogged down with how many days, weeks, or even months it may take to get a new process set-up. You are going to be there days, weeks, and months from now. It is not how fast you get it done, but rather that you get it done right.
Question 5: I have tried to get processes like this set up before but I get a lot of resistance from my staff and some never make the changes at all. They keep doing things the same way they always have. How do I address this?The reason I wanted to share this with you is so that you can see that most employees want to be successful. They want to deliver high survey scores, customer retention, and high sales. But as you can plainly see through these questions, many employees feel as though they are being held back- held back by what amounts to a lack of leadership and support. They want to be the best they can be. They want customers to be happy. They do not want heat cases. They do not want grief from their bosses. What employees want is to please management and achieve to the best of their ability. However, they are also smart enough to know when things are being run well and when they are not. It is my belief that if you create a culture of change, leadership, and success, you will attract and retain the best people for your team. It is my strong belief that every employee wants leadership. They want to be lead. There is a reason General Patton was arguably the most popular general in World War II. There was an understanding that Patton was leader and a winner. He was an incredibly tough general- but, for years after the war had ended, soldiers bragged about being under his command. It’s like I always say: I have never met an advisor that did not want to be successful, but I have met thousands that did not know how to be successful. Lead your people and show them how to be successful. The satisfaction and the rewards will be plentiful.
About the author: Jeff Cowan, in his 30th year of Service Department Sales Training, is recognized as the creator of the modern-day, walk-around and selling processes for dealership service departments and after-market auto service repair shops. Jeff is the nation’s authority when it comes to training service advisors and service support staff. You can see him on a weekly broadcast of CBT News and read many of his published articles on various automotive publications. Currently partnered with NADA, EasyCare, NCM, Marellen, and other vendors and manufacturers.Visit his website at AutomotiveServiceTraining.com get info on On-Site Training, Public and Private Workshops, DVD Training Program, Webinars, and a FREE trial of Virtual Training! For more great tips and advice, follow Jeff on Twitter at@JCowansProTalk. He’s also on Facebook, and Google+. You can also watch Jeff Cowan’s videos on YouTube! For more information call (800) 248-2931 or from outside the U.S., call (949) 713-4469.