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Knights Group: Why we extended our working hours to 2am

“One of our service advisers was absolutely delighted he was going to work weekends and had days off in the week because it meant he could play golf when the course was much quieter.”  

Dow dismissed the suggestion that attracting new talent to the industry is hampered by a reluctance to work weekends, particularly Sundays.

“It’s a red herring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s difficult, but it’s not unachievable,” he said.  

“We really want to be retailers and here for the convenience of our customers, so we have to open weekends and later in the evenings.”

Dow said more convenient opening times also had an effect on customer psychology: “Customers are far more relaxed than when we were forcing them to bend to our working times.

“If I had to do a 10-mile journey before work to try and bring my car in for a service, what additional time would I have to allow myself in the morning?  How would the traffic be?  I don’t think for a minute I would be in a particularly good frame of mind.

“Now, at evenings and weekends the dynamic has changed. The relationship between the service adviser and the customer can be enhanced. You would like to think that through that enhanced relationship any news we’d have to give the customer would be better received.”  

Less stress on customers means less stress for staff, particularly at service reception, which is not an area known for its tranquillity during busy times.


Longer opening hours may mean more staff

Business costs have gone up at Knights since it increased its opening hours. It has not made figures available, but with a commitment not to increase any individual’s working hours, headcount needed to be increased.

Knights has employed two new service advisers, a parts adviser and a technician.  

Service advisers work an average 45 hours a week, technicians 40.

Technicians do Sundays as overtime. Previously, Saturdays were done as overtime, but these are now worked with a day off in lieu.

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  • busterrabbit - 26/11/2014 12:27

    Working on similar assumptions to Knights to give customers more choice/convenience, back in the early '80s the Sytner BMW workshops in Nottingham were open from 07:00am until 11:00pm. We used to work either an early or late shift with a handover period from 3-3:30pm. The biggest problem was getting customers to come in outside of the "normal" working day. Calling customers at 10:00pm asking for authorisation for extra work wasn't well received either. I guess the same would apply to requests to fleets via 1Link. We actually ended up doing mostly internal work in the evenings, so there was an improvement in retail lead times, but I guess the extra costs weren't recovered and after a year or so the system was dropped and we returned to normal hours. Most people are reluctant to "lose" their car during their leisure time, yes they'll have a distress purchase like tyres fitted; it usually doesn't take long and there are few variables. Taking your car for a service in the evening and "having a coffee" which turns into pads/discs and missing your evening meal/putting your kids to bed is not for the majority. It might help reduce unnecessary upsell though, with customers itching to leave to get home.