Today’s car business has many challenges such as customer satisfaction, retention, and overall profitability. One thing I find interesting is, many of the challenges that car dealerships face are self-imposed. Today let’s look at some of the challenges and areas of opportunities for growth between the sales and service departments.
The used car department manager many times will not make repairs on recommended items. They believe by not doing the repairs it will improve their gross profit margin, and bonuses on vehicles sold. The other factor that I’ve heard is, if the vehicle has to go to auction they will lose the investment on the vehicles at the block.
What happens many times is, when the vehicle is sold we make a commitment to make the needed repairs that the customer is complaining about and wants included in the deal. This is so disruptive to the Service Department, because standard practice is to walk back and demand that service be performed on this vehicle today because it’s a sold unit. Imagine the disruption to the service department after they have made commitments to customers that brought their vehicles in for service, and now they are faced with the dilemma to meet the demands of the sales department or the commitments to their customers.
Generally, the sales department wins this battle. However, the best practice remains when the vehicle is in the service department and items are found, they are prepared for the vehicle to be taken to auction immediately, as it would not be fit to be sold to a retail customer. The flip side of this concern is, as the service department puts the used vehicle inventory off while they care for customers, the used car is never brought in for service. Both of these items are destructive and create resentment over a long period of time. It doesn’t have to be this way…
There’s a lot of information service and sales departments have to assist customers as they purchase and use their new vehicles. Over the next several weeks, I will be publishing a program that dealerships can use to implement a mutually beneficial program that includes sales and service departments and can be shared between both departments. The sales staff is very well trained on how the vehicles functions, while service advisors write repair orders often on items that is considered normal operation by the manufacturer. We have to educate both the sales and service team to provide maximum customer care. New car pre-delivery inspections must be performed promptly never delaying the dealership to show these new cars properly.
It’s time to work together and remove the obstacles between these two departments. The dealerships that instill good communication, cooperation, and understanding will take the dealership to a new level by removing destructive habits, and installing new processes.
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
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Rob is President and Founder of Fixed Performance Inc. which he began over 15 years ago. His passion for customer care and helping others has assisted hundreds of dealerships with their fixed operations performance. His common sense coaching and training lifts people up as individuals and team members. With over 30 years of dealership management experience, he understands and respects the daily challenges of fixed operations. Placing a strong value in people and best practice processes always provide growth. His articles have been published regularly in national publications and weekly newsletters are read by thousands.