Service advisors should be more than just managers of the technician’s time and communications between the dealership and the customer. They should be your Service sales people. For many dealerships, this requires a change in how they manage customers. I find most Service Advisors take appointments by what tech time is available and schedule accordingly. They should schedule their own time with the customer to upsell service, with an eye on when they can complete the job. They need to manage the customer’s expectations providing an estimate of the work to be done, the anticipated completion date, and securing an authorization up to a dollar amount for small unforeseen items. Then they need to not only meet the expectation they just set, but beat it. “Under promise and Over deliver”.
Under Promise and Over Deliver – as a customer: if you meet my expectations, I am OK, not worth mentioning unless asked. If you miss my expectations, I am not happy and will tell at least 10 other people how poor the service was. If you exceed my expectations, I will find ways to tell the story of how well and unique my service experience was at your dealership, probably tell at least 10 other people.
The following are a few guidelines your Service Advisor should be practicing in your RV, Marine or Trailer business in order to provide the best in customer service and generate the most activity.
1. Walk every unit that comes into the dealership for service.
Thoroughly understand the complaints. Take the time to touch, feel and understand exactly what the customer is experiencing. Translate this information to your technician to expedite the repair.
Listen to your customers. Learn their camping and boating habits. Where do they like to go and what do they like to do? Often times the customer will have items in their unit which can assist you in starting conversations. Then look for RV or Marine accessories which will enhance the customer’s experience, and sell them. Create packages of accessories or run some specials each month or seasonally.
Point out damage and sell the repair of the damage. By letting the customer know you know the damage exists will greatly reduce the blame it on the service shop game and protect the Marine or RV dealership. It will also give you an opportunity to sell the repair of the damage.
2. Use canned jobs.
A canned job is a package of service which has all the parts, labor and other charges tied to a package price. This can be for one service item or multiple service items commonly requested or suggested for maintenance or accessories to be added. Packaging services is an easy way to build your average $ sale per ticket. Customers are more likely to purchase a package if they can save a few dollars in the process.
3. Schedule Service Advisor time with the customer versus scheduling technician’s time.
I find that most customers, both RV and Marine, will drop off their unit for service and pick it up at a later date. By scheduling face-to-face time with your customer, you will greatly reduce the number of customers standing at the Service Advisor station waiting for your attention. Your customer will get the individual attention he deserves and you have the time to sell the customer more service.
You must use promise dates and a refined service dispatch system to accomplish this, but it is a far easier, less stressful way to build customer care and improve your average sale per ticket.
4. Free maintenance Inspections.
Free inspections are a great way to give something back to your customer, help him take care of his investment and build more labor hours into the Repair Order. Create an inspection check list which if performed properly will usually require some type of maintenance to be performed. Get a pre-authorized amount from the customer to perform potential maintenance. This will help reduce the number of calls to customers for repair authorizations.
A few easy word tracks to follow:
Appointment setting: Give them 2 choices of times to drop off their unit. “Can you bring in your ___________ on Monday at 10:00 or would Tuesday at 3:00 work better for you?”
“I have another appointment coming in on Monday at 4:00, would 4:30 work?”
“In an effort to assist our good customers with annual maintenance, this month we are running a free Roof inspection, a $49.99 value. Is that something we can do for you?”
“Normally, other customers authorize me up to $500.00 for any issue we find during the roof inspection. This authorization will help to expedite your service.”
You must use promise dates and a refined service dispatch system to accomplish this, but it’s a far easier and less stressful way to build customer care and improve your average sale per ticket.
IDS Astra G2’s Service Scheduler can easily help you automate many of these processes by allowing you to match job requirements to technician skill sets, schedule by Work Order, entire job, or individual labor line, and offers suggested scheduling based on your techs’ skill sets and availability. By streamlining these operations, your Service Advisors have the time to take care of customers, sell to their needs, and increase your service department bottom line.