What would you think if your service manager walked up to a newly hired technician who had never worked on equipment of any kind, and gave them a toolkit, and sent them on a service call? You would probably be appalled and question their judgment.
No doubt you would tell the service manager that technicians need the training to learn how to use the tools, and how to service different brands of equipment. Then you would spend a significant amount of money to make sure the technician has the skills they need to do their job.
Why then do dealers often walk up to their best technician and promote to a management position, and then just turn around and leave them on their own. I have seen this happen over and over again. In the service management classes I teach, often there are managers with decades of experience that are just now receiving training on how to be effective as a manager.
The service manager in most dealerships is responsible for the department that generates the most revenue and has the largest impact on customer satisfaction. They need the skill and knowledge to succeed if the business is going to achieve its full potential.
Let's review some of the reasons that service managers lack training. First, most management training courses require the service manager to be out of the company for a week; and this proves to be expensive when you look at the cost for travel, time away from the dealership, and the price of the class. A second factor is with the service manager away from the office, who will run the service department?
A third reason is that in the past, most service management classes have been incomplete in what they cover, focusing on a small subset of what the service manager needs to learn. A fourth challenge has been that those training programs provide information so rapidly that the attendees feel like they are trying to get a sip from a fire hose.
What Service Managers Need to Know
To start with a new service manager has to know how to supervise people. When we think about supervision, we may think of it as a fairly simple process, but they need the following skills:
Leadership Mentorship Management
Training Monitoring Data Customer Relations
Fire Fighting Fire Prevention Time Management
Motivating Planning Effective hiring
In addition to those skills, they need to have an understanding of how to lead and improve their team. They need to understand the service metrics that matter, how to prioritize so that they focus on the metrics that will help make the department more profitable.
Service managers need to understand how their service department fits into the dealership’s financial model. They need to be shown how to identify problems based on the numbers and metrics, both for equipment performance and for the technicians they supervise. It is critical that they develop the ability to properly compute the service pricing to achieve the profit margin needed.
They also need to learn how to set up territories that minimize the car stock needs, while maximizing the skill set of the technician, and minimizing the travel time required for the technician.
For their department to be successful, they have to be able to create systems that drive a consistent result and maximize efficiency.
The above items are at best a partial list of skills they need to learn.
Good technicians know how to fix equipment, but as managers, they need to know how to fix the people they supervise, to satisfy the customers they serve, and to achieve the profitability you want.
It seems unkind and unfair to not train them. The Service Success program and the Advanced Service Management program through the BTA provide a cost-effective program that addresses those needs It does in a way that minimizes both the financial and time impact on the dealer.
The Service Success program is conducted live online for one hour per day, two days a week. This allows the service manager time to absorb the information, time to ask questions, and then to apply what they have learned in their department while it is still fresh in their mind. In case a class is missed, they are taped and are available for a limited time, and can be watched when more convenient. And of course, online classes reduce the cost to the dealer.
The Advanced Service Management program is conducted live online one day a week for one hour and dives more deeply into some of the same areas, but also adds new skills designed to help the service manager contribute to the overall prosperity of the dealership and to serve as a member of the executive team. And as in the Service Success program, it allows the service manager time to absorb the information, time to ask questions and apply the training in their department while it is still fresh in their mind. And in case a class is missed, they are taped and are available for a limited time, and can be watched when more convenient. And of course, online classes reduce the cost to the dealer.
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