How can I retain more customers and net more profit? I hear a variation of this question at every dealership and 20 Group meeting! Today I’m sharing my definitive answer.
The Zero-Cost Solution to More Automotive Net Profit
All sorts of products and services claim they’ll improve retention and profit. Here’s the thing, though—no matter what you buy, what franchise you run or what budget you operate with—there’s only one real solution. Accountability management.
Accountability management is the cornerstone of NCM’s philosophy. It’s so important that we teach it in every NCM Institute class. Many managers struggle with it, though; when I ask managers what their biggest weakness is, they often will tell me “Accountability Management.
How can you overcome this challenge? Here are two case studies that will help you create a strong accountability culture at your dealership.
Case Study 1: Focusing on Ford
During my recent NCM Ford 20 Group meeting, a service manager explained how he brought NCM’s tenets of accountability management into his department. These simple tactics yielded a profound result: service advisors had an increased understanding of their roles and could better contextualize their performance against the rest of the team.
Here’s what he did. First, the service manager performed a monthly evaluation of each advisor. After discussing the assessment with the Advisor, he turned the report into the general manager/dealer.
What and how did he evaluate each advisor? The following items were rated “Good, Fair or Needs Improvement, and the evaluation included a place for comments:
- Prompt friend greeting
- Patient, good listener, polite
- Provides customer an agreed upon time
- Makes promises that can be kept
- Pulls history files
- Knows status on all current vehicles
- Status update before promise time
- Presents required maintenance
- Prepared before customer arrival
- Clean, organized workstation
- Update daily log sheet
- Write up “Early Birds” before doors open
- Acknowledge customers when busy
- Meets customer at vehicle
- Personal appearance
- Smiles/Thanks customers
- Helps other Advisors when needed
- Provides clear, complete write-up
- Utilizes “Comeback” system
- Provides clear estimates
- Promptness to phone/courteous
- Returned Surveys
- Carryover process
- Walk around
These probably look pretty basic to most people; however, we must always inspect what we expect! By putting expectations in writing every month and going over it with each advisor, the manager able to lead the team to success. And it didn’t cost a penny!
Case Study 2: The Forgotten Machines
Last week, I visited a dealership that has both an alignment inspection machine and tread depth inspection machine on the service aisle.
While doing a repair order analysis and observing the service aisle my first day there, I found that they were not utilizing either machine and had not sold a single alignment. Talk about a poor return on investment!
After addressing the lack of sales with the service manager, we came up with a plan. Every car was going to be inspected, and we would measure the results at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily using a dry erase board in his office. Advisors were required to record how many alignment checks were performed and sold, noting them on the board.
Positive results were nearly instant. The first day after launching the initiative, seven alignments were sold. The following day, we had six alignments sold before 11 a.m. This did not cost the dealer anything, the Service Manager just starting holding his people accountable. Just imagine how much this will increase net profit in the long run!
Tell us below how you hold your team accountable. Need help with accountability management? Discover how Lycia and her colleagues can make a difference at your dealership.