The 3 C’s Your Technicians Need to Succeed
- Technicians want better, more streamlined communication.
- Continued coaching and analysis helps improve performance.
Dealerships need solid technicians. Today, automotive retailers only collect 13% of the $232 billion service market according to Dealer Magazine. The rest of this business goes to the Jiffy Lubes and Pep Boys of the world.
This fact is alarming. Your service department is the backbone of your dealership. According to Car Care Council, 84% of vehicles on the road today need service or parts. Why are dealerships not capturing the enormous amount of service repair profits?
The problem starts at the source – technicians. With proper training and proper tools, they have the ability to take a typical shop from average to elite. Here are some of the ways to give your technicians what they want, so your service department can reap the benefits:
Technicians want better, more streamlined communication with advisors and the parts department. A survey done by Carlisle asked thousands of technicians to “select two changes that would have the biggest impact on ensuring quality, efficient repairs.” One third of the respondents said communication with the advisor was an important issue (and the most noted in the survey). Nearly another third of respondents noted communication of parts availability was important. When technicians have to leave their bays to pass paper forms back and forth, this means they are not working on vehicles. If your dealership implements a system to streamline communication, your technicians will be able to work smarter and more efficiently.
In this same survey, nearly 25% of the technicians mentioned training was important to them. Although dealerships expect technicians to be properly trained when hired, they should also be aware of the need for continuing education. As technicians employ their skills in the service environment, continued coaching and analysis helps improve performance. If service managers review daily, data-rich reports on recommended services and profit per RO, they can focus on fixing weaknesses and improving performance. Implementing a system that allows for analysis of service metrics and tailored coaching can dramatically improve productivity and profit per customer visit.
Automotive News writes, “the express lane, staffed with interns or young technicians typically being paid $11 per hour, can be an excellent customer-retention mechanism, but it also can become a dead end for some technicians.” Your technicians need competition and paths to promotions. When dispatchers or advisors distribute jobs to technicians by preference, they create a hostile and unsupportive environment. However, a system to dispatch jobs based on training, skill level, and specialty allows your dealership to foster an environment of healthy competition.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projects automotive repair jobs will see a 5% growth rate through 2024. Be on the lookout – technicians are searching for a dealership that will invest in their future. Consider offering bonuses or compensation for technicians that achieve additional certification. Show your technicians you appreciate them. When you offer modern tools to help them be more efficient and effective, they’ll notice, and stay.