Service Managers should Learn from their Competition
In our 20-Group meetings, Service Managers often complain about the competition that comes from independent and coporate shops as if customers are simply mistaken when they choose to get basic service done outside the dealership. Whether this is an issue of profound elitism or just poor self-realization on their part, it sums up the current shortcomings in dealerships’ service departments and potentially foreshadows their future failure. Carlisle & Company astutely sums up the steps that dealerships should be taking in order to implement a successful Quick Service operation (leading to better retention), but from our experience there is one step missing: Recognize the competition that exists (and is beating dealerships like a drum) and be willing to adapt in order to survive.
In order for the service department to maintain any semblance of profitability, everyone from the dealer to the service manager to the lot boy needs to acknowledge that customers choose not to service their vehicles at the dealership for good reasons. Maybe their reasons are misguided but that does not make them inherently wrong, especially in the customer’s mind. It is your job to assuage their fears and convince them to at least give you the old college try. It is then time to back up your claims with action; if you say you are better, you have to be better. But not in the way that you have always been better because customers don’t care about certified technicians and comfortable waiting rooms when they are only coming for an oil change. Recognize where you are being beaten (according to the Carlisle graph it has to do with price, consistency and speed) and attack it directly. Note here that there is nothing wrong with directly copying or mimicking another business model. Why not start taking your personal vehicle to the shop down the street to see what they are doing differently? No matter how bad their operation may look, remember that they are taking your business….