A guest blog from Guy Allman, chief executive at BTC, on changing mindsets in the service department to help staff realise their potential.
Technology doesn’t drive up service revenue, people do
When a dealership invests in an automated vehicle health check system they could be forgiven for thinking that all their problems would be solved and that service sales will start to rocket.
The sad news is that, as in all walks of business, technology on its own will solve nothing.
Technology can be a valuable tool but unless you bring the technicians and customer service advisors with you it will not fulfil its potential. What is needed, in addition to a change of technology is a change of mindset on the part of the service department staff.
I didn’t come into this job to be a salesman
The problem is that service department staff do not come from a sales background; naturally, they come from a technical or customer service background.
They are proud of their respective skill sets and would not wish to be seen as “selling” when their job is either technical or service orientated. “I didn’t come into this job to be a sales man,” is a quote I have heard many times over the years when running training programmes for service departments.
If only we could help them understand that the years of accumulated knowledge they bring has a value for customers looking for guidance in unfamiliar territory.
We are not saying service department staff should become sales people but they do need to understand the value of what they can offer and be able to communicate that value to the customer.
If they don’t understand the value then what hope is there that the customer will understand it?
When a vehicle needs new brake pads, if the service advisor explains the benefits in terms of durability and safety of using the original manufacturer’s parts installed by the people you trust to service your car, they are more likely to buy off you than if you simply point out that it’s a red item and leave them with no reason to buy.
If there is no difference in value between the franchised dealer and the lower quality replacement generic part they will go for the lower cost option every time.
From knowing to doing
Even where dealerships recognise the need for training in the art of building value, putting themselves in the customer’s shoes, there is often an unsatisfactory outcome due to a reliance on classroom-only based learning.
The service department staff trundle along to the training sessions, tell the trainer what they want to hear and then return to work with no incentive or help to put the learning points into practice.
Effective training relies on both knowing and doing. It’s one thing to understand the theory it’s quite another putting it into practice.