In our previous articles, we discussed the reasons why Mean Copies between Calls (MCBC) is the most important metric, and we looked at some of the issues that impact that value. In this article, we want to start trying to find ways to address the issues in the service department.
Start at the Top
The commitment to address the issue and change your philosophy has to start at the most senior levels in the company. In most cases, the goals, metrics, and practices will be significantly different than your current ones. If the owner/president is not behind these changes, it may be impossible to get the changes made.
The senior management team needs to understand that there may be bumps in the road as you move forward, but if you stay the course, the end result will be more profit, happier customers, and easier sales.
Articulate the New Philosophy to the Team
Once this decision is made, it is important that everyone involved understands the plan and why it will help them. You must understand that change is difficult for most people, and they will only participate if they see an advantage to themselves.
In most dealerships, these changes will impact the parts department, dispatch department, and the service departments. You will want to identify how the changes will affect these groups. Initially, things may get worse for a period of time before they start to get better. Expect this to happen and plan for it.
Here is a quick story to illustrate how staying the course will make things better in the end. I took over the service department of a company years ago. They had been on a bonus program that rewarded high calls per day and low parts usage. When I first arrived, the company had 10 techs that were sharing a carryover load of 100 calls per day.
After evaluating the situation, I told the owners that things were going to get worse before they got better and that their parts cost was going up. I changed the techs’ process to make them completely fix every machine before moving to the next. In the beginning, our calls went from 100 to about 160 carryover calls, and the dispatcher and I spent our days on the phone explaining to customers that things would get better.
At the end of 6 months we were down to carrying over about 30 Hold for Parts (HP) calls each day. The customers were happy again and the dispatcher and I could breathe easy. I had technicians perform courtesy calls to keep them busy.
Develop and Enforce Procedures that Achieve Your Goal
Since you have analyzed your department, you should know what areas need attention. Here are suggestions for the procedures that you may find useful. One thing to keep in mind is that procedures are dynamic documents that will change as you continue through this process.
During this process, it is a necessity to involve the technicians as much as possible. The more input the technicians feel they have, the more likely you are to get their buy-in and they will accept the changes that are made. You will additionally find that their input will often improve the procedures that you are developing.
One of the more important documents to create and enforce is a minimum call procedure. After looking at what has caused your recalls in the past, ask yourself if you could change your minimum call procedure to prevent that type of recall in the future.
For example, at the company I mentioned earlier, some of the equipment had waste toner bottles that could only be changed by the technician. When the waste toner bottle was full, the machine would stop working. I often received calls from key operators complaining that the waste toner was full after the technician had just left. Changing the waste toner bottle was added to my minimum call procedure.
One item that must be mandatory on every service call is to examine the management list and the consumable parts and jam counters on every machine. Techs will need to learn to look at these items for two reasons. First, to identify what needs to be replaced on the current visit. It is critical that the technician identify components that are approaching the end of their life and replace them while they are on site. Second, to plan for their next call on that machine so that they have the items in their car stock that they will need and prevent a future HP call.
Inspect What You Expect
To achieve positive results when you change procedures, you have to inspect what you expect. Especially at the beginning of the program, someone will need to make random inspections to verify that the technician did what was required. Once everyone understands that you are serious about your procedures the inspections can become less frequent. If a certain technician is consistently not achieving his goals then the inspections should become more frequent for that technician.
The inspections are also a good opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your customers. The inspections let the customers know that you are interested in improving their satisfaction and the performance of their equipment. This is a good time to make sure that the customers are happy with the technician. I would also ask them what you can do as a company to better serve them.
Fix the Technicians
With the proper guidelines in place, the next step is to begin improving the skills of your technicians. Technician needs typically fall into one of three major categories: knowledge, aptitude, and attitude. I would recommend evaluating all of your technicians on these three attributes to make a personalized improvement plan.
Read more inside the free member's area, or see the article at the following link: https://www.enxmag.com/twii/feature-articles/2016/03/developing-the-plan-to-improve-mean-copies-between-calls/
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