Nothing is more basic to dealership operations than selling service. Need more production from the service drive? Maybe it's just a matter of time.
Here's a suggestion to help build your service business and CSI at the same time: Find 20 minutes a day to get on the phone and call prospective customers. But how do free up that 20 minutes?
Essentially, service advisors should rely on accepted tools of the trade, or props, to help them do their jobs better and relieve the boredom that comes with repeating the same endless spiel (and can lead to corner-cutting).
The value of an at-the-vehicle write-up is that it enables service advisors to verify mileage, present relevant maintenance, note damage to the vehicle, and avail themselves of the opportunity to do a walk-around check. Try using a preprinted form too. Following this procedure is one way to ensure, for example, that someone will see the worn wiper blade that needs replacing. While hand-held computers are available for this purpose, a simple pad of paper seems to be used more readily.
Other tools for freeing up time include:
A time management sheet on which to calculate the number of hours available in a day and mark off time as it is allocated. This way, advisors will have a better sense which jobs can be held until the following day (so customers can be informed early), find the day's break-even point, and see if the day looks good for selling/scheduling extra service.
A diagnostic workbook for customers. Ford already has one for its stores. With it, customers complete their own comprehensive diagnostic exercise by answering questions that address all the important repair areas.
Accompany the service menu presentation with a chart, perhaps laminated and arranged so it can be flipped from page to page, that lists maintenance items, their functions, and the unpleasant circumstances that will result if they are not performed when needed. This is one "prop" in particular that frees service advisors from endless boring recitation and makes for a livelier menu presentation.
A visual aid, perhaps in booklet form, that shows the difference between worn and new parts such as air filters or brake pads. This reinforces the idea of service as something of value, not just a chance to line the dealership's coffers.
The multi-point inspection report, essentially a technician checklist that covers all pertinent areas with room for noting at each juncture whether or not parts are available. Service advisors should automatically attach these sheets to the R.O. for any vehicle that comes in with more than 18,000 miles and write on it FREE INSPECTION.
Then the sheets should be put in a notebook (rather than filed with the R.O.s) so they can be referenced later. At this time, service advisors will be able to call owners and suggest having some of the needed work done at a convenient time, i.e. when the shop is slow - placing the calls in the spare 20 minutes you just freed up.