Properly monitoring your repair orders and providing your advisors with strong sales tools are fundamental parts of improving your hours per RO. In this vein, there are two things on which every service manager should focus: declined services and maintenance schedules. Ensuring advisors know when and how to use these two tools guarantees customers are being offered a majority of the services that they need.
Of course, the only way for you to ensure the tools are properly utilized is by regularly reviewing repair orders, along with any attachments such as walk-around forms and inspection sheets. There are plenty of managers that look over every single RO their shop generates; this is a great use of your time as no other activity will give you as much insight into your daily operations. If nothing else, you should be reviewing a random sample of repair orders daily. Or, if you take the time to clearly train on a process and set expectations for the right way to fill out an RO, you can show a non-productive employee how to review them. Regardless of how you accomplish this integral step of the process, don’t bother reading on if you can’t (or aren’t willing to) set aside at least five minutes per day to this activity.
This should be the easiest, most powerful sales tool your service advisors have at their disposal. If you are using the OEM schedule, there should be no question in anyone’s mind that you are talking about the minimum amount of service necessary. If you are using your own schedule, assuming it is not too drastically different from the OEM’s, there should be no question that you are recommending only services necessary to maintain the integrity of the vehicle and ensure the safety of its passengers. If your customer does not buy into the maintenance schedule, it is your fault. You should have sold them on the maintenance schedule at the time of delivery and during every visit thereafter. This should be a regular point of emphasis with advisors, technicians, BDC reps, salespeople, management, and everyone else in your dealership.
The problem that seems to be more persistent than selling customers on the validity of the maintenance schedule is the fact that it is not even brought to their attention when they are due for a service. By simply getting your appointment coordinators and advisors to offer regularly-scheduled maintenance, the average store could add half an hour to each RO. A great idea is to track how compliant your customers are with the maintenance schedule. Do 50% follow it regularly? 20%? Do you have any idea?
These give you the best opportunity to monitor your advisors’ activities, including whether or not they are offering maintenance. Keep in mind that a good advisor simply offers everything that should be sold; a great advisor actually sells it. Properly utilizing the declined services line tells you if you at least have good advisors.
The only way you can 100% verify that every customer is offered what they need is if their initials are on the declined service line on the RO. This is especially easy to track with maintenance items; if the customer is at their scheduled mileage, they should have a maintenance sale or a declined service line (with initials) on the RO. Similarly, if the tire tread depth measurement comes back as 5/32” or less, there should either be a tire sale or a declined service line (with initials). From a manager’s standpoint, this should not be an attempt at scaring the customer into a sale. More than anything, this is a management tool for you to gain focused insight into your department. But it won’t happen if you don’t monitor it!