3 Tips to Jump Start Your Service Performance Right Now

jump start service department performance best auto pros

Running a profitable, efficient automotive service department is like dieting. There is no quick fix, and trendy “hacks” will only last so long.  Your efforts need to be a way of life to remain successful, and it takes ongoing commitment from everyone involved.

That being said, there are some things you can do right now to jump start performance and get your team motivated to improve! Here are three things you can do TODAY to make a difference in your service lane.

1 – Audit Repair Orders

Pull two dozen repair orders from the past few weeks and review them for missed opportunities.

Look for:

  • Multi-Point Inspections
    • Does every single repair order have a multi-point inspection entered as a line item, with a copy of findings attached?
  • Maintenance Recommendations Based on Mileage
      • Look for customers coming in for a repair who might be due for scheduled maintenance (e.g. 30K, 60K or 90K) or a common service that their car might need at their current mileage.
      • If your repair order is only for their repair request, and recommendations weren’t made, you might have a missed sales opportunity.  
        • Put these repair orders aside and take a quick look at service history to see if other services may have already been performed.
  • Shop Fees
      • Charging for shop fees helps you recoup the costs of fluids, seat covers, rags, floor mats, special tools and equipment, technology and tech subscriptions.
      • If you already have shop fees set up, make sure they’re on every repair order (including internal work).
      • If you don’t charge for shop fees, do some market comparisons to see what your competitors are charging. I recommend going with a % of P&L with a cap based on your market.

Should you discover missing multi-points, maintenance recommendations that should have been made, forgotten shop fees or other issues: take these repairs directly to the advisor or tech and discuss missed opportunities, along with what you’d like to see next time.

2 – Observe in The Service Lane

Observing the action in your service drive is a perfect opportunity for coaching.  You don’t need to park yourself there all day, but make an effort to spend 10 minutes or so during key times when best practices can lapse: morning drop off, during lunch and at the end of the day.

Look for:

    • Walk around inspections for every vehicle.
    • Consistency in the processes you and your team have developed.
    • Missed opportunities for sales or relationship-building.
    • Opportunities to praise your team.

Making time to see your team in action will give you a glimpse into what customer experience is like in your shop, and provide great opportunities to manage your team side-by-side.

3 – Start Meeting Regularly

We recommend regular one-on-ones with your service advisors to offer personalized coaching and support, but you can get the ball rolling right away with a daily all-shop meeting.

Start scheduling a brief all-shop meeting before business starts for the day.  Use this time to touch on work coming in that day, ask if anyone needs help with issues (that you can address after the meeting), recognize your team’s accomplishments and reinforce your expectations.  

Aim to wrap it up after 5 minutes, and have everyone standing throughout the meeting to keep it moving along.

These practices can help you jump start performance in your shop. But for ongoing, sustained success you’ll need to examine all of your processes, focus on profitability and follow through on your goals.

If you’re ready to start maximizing performance in your service department, contact me today to learn more!

John Dillon
John Dillon
BestAutoPros President John Dillon has more than 30 years of experience in dealership operations. John’s extensive experience working with hundreds of dealerships gives him a solid advantage in prospecting candidates and tailoring business consulting to your dealership operation.

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