One of the biggest challenges that service managers face is that of territory management. This task is challenging because there is no standard pattern that will fit every dealer. The service manager has to balance a variety of factors to achieve optimum results.
Territory Management is a Necessity
In discussing this concept with dealers, most find that while they have territories, they need to improve their results. For the dealers thinking they don’t need to develop territories, I would recommend reconsidering that position. If you don’t, you will never achieve the optimum results you could with properly designed territories.
I have heard service managers express concern with technicians developing a strong relationship with a customer and the potential risk that a technician will take customers with them when they leave. I will counter that a good technician-client relationship helps cement the client to the dealership. If properly nourished, the technician-client relationship can lead to additional sales opportunities.
I remember having a discussion with a field supervisor at the time about the need for proper territory management. He explained that in his days as a technician, he would see technicians heading the opposite direction of the road he was traveling. Because of a first available dispatch philosophy, the technicians spent most of their day staring out the windshield instead of fixing the customers’ equipment.
When I owned a dealership in El Paso, Texas with two technicians, each one had a territory. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to managing territories. Having them assigned to territories still reduced the technician’s travel time significantly and improved our response time.
Goals of Territory Management
The goal is to apply available resources in the most cost-effective manner while achieving optimum customer satisfaction. This may sound complicated, but we are going to break it down to identify more clearly how you can do that.
The available resources include your technicians, your parts, and your vehicles or mileage. Optimizing one of these often times will have a negative impact on one or more of the others.
For example, if a technician’s territory has multiple vendors and models, the choice becomes to increase car stock or expect higher Hold for Parts (HP) calls. Restricting a technician’s territory to a single model would decrease car stock, but probably increase travel time.
Our goal then is to balance all of these factors in a way that generates the best outcome. We will look at how you might approach this.
We are going to look at some of the ways that you can organize technicians, looking for the effect each will have on your department. Each of the options has both positive and negative effects depending on your territory.
Continue reading the article in the free membership section or read it in ENX Magazine where it first appeared. https://www.enxmag.com/twii/service-management/2016/09/optimizing-territory-management/
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