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Could You Double Service Business? (6 Questions to Ask)

Double your traffic in the service drive
Article Highlights:

  • Most service departments could handle far more business than they think.
  • As with anything in service, improvement starts with a diagnosis.

Here’s a question: if you found an advertising strategy that would instantly double the traffic in your service drive, would you do it?

Your initial reaction is probably: “Of course!”

But let me ask you this: if you doubled traffic to your service drive, could your current staff, facilities, and processes handle it?

If you’re like most, your reaction is probably, “Well, no. I guess not.”

Double Your Service Business: A Challenge

I want to challenge you to think big about what’s possible in service.

Some service departments could, in fact, handle a 2-fold increase in traffic. And most could handle far more business than they think.

In this article, and in a series of articles to follow, we’ll look at a number of areas where major improvements are possible in service.

These are “we-got-so-efficient-our-techs-ran-out-of-work” kinds of changes. They are also improvements that will help any service drive, even if you have no aggressive growth plans.

As with anything in Service, it starts with a diagnosis.

Are Any of the Following True for Your Service Drive?

  1. Do you regularly have a line of cars waiting in the morning?
  2. Do service advisors ever skip the walkaround to get a customer into the shop more quickly?
  3. Do your service advisors regularly estimate the cost of service jobs when providing a quote, instead of looking up all labor and parts costs to-the-penny?
  4. Do you miss promised delivery times?
  5. Do you ever have trouble arranging customer transportation and loaner cars?
  6. Are spot-check audits a regular part of your process?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, your service department probably has lots of room for improvement.

Quick Tip: Measuring Improvement (And a warning about how to read the numbers)

Before we go any further, let me say a word about measurement.

Some well-meaning consultants and third-party vendors will be glad to show you all kinds of numbers of how your dealership has improved upsells, lowered customer churn, or increased overall profitability.

This is especially true when they’re showing you how much money their advice or tools have “made” for you.

Be very careful when anyone shows you these kinds of reports. I could go into a lot of detail about how and why this happens, but here’s the bottom line:

The only numbers you should trust are the ones that go on your monthly financial statement.

If a report says you’ve increased your upsells by $20,000, take the time to check that claim against the revenue and gross profit numbers on your financial statement.

No matter what a third-party report shows, if your financial statement doesn’t show a lift in revenue (a situation I’ve seen many times), you know that “additional” revenue isn’t really new profit for your dealership.

Conclusion

In our next article, we’ll dive into some of the specific areas where some dealerships have made dramatic improvements in service.

Up first: the quote process.

As a teaser, I bet your parts people are wasting hours a day doing something that adds zero economic value to your dealership.

Keep an eye out for the next article to learn what it is.

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Product Planning, Reynolds and Reynolds

Jeff Adams is a Product Planning manager for Service applications at Reynolds and Reynolds.

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