Service Manager Training: Who's on the Front Line?
It isn’t a statistic that gets tracked, but service managers spend more time at their desk each day than among their staff and customers.
Look in the service department at any dealership – you’ll find it’s true for an overwhelming majority. The position has become one primarily intent on compiling reports and coordinating staff. It’s a valuable position but it’s improperly named.
The Frontline Service Manager
It isn’t to take away from their supervisor nor is it to inflate their sense of self. It’s an accurate description of what a service advisor or consultant does, day in and day out.
A Business Within a Business
Each service advisor operates their own small business within the larger business. They are the greeter when a customer enters the service drive. They analyze service requirements for each vehicle.
They perform a walkaround, arrange transportation, call customers with estimates, coordinate pick-ups, and much more every day. Essentially, they self-manage the majority of their role.
Perhaps it’s time for a title re-alignment. Is it possible that service advisors could be re-titled as service managers?
The title change affects more than just the business cards they hand out:
• It provides a more authoritative appearance. The term ‘advisor’ doesn’t command attention, nor does ‘consultant’. Being titled a manager gives a service advisor the appearance of advanced expertise.
• It better reflects the role in the service drive. As it’s already been described, the service advisor has a multi-faceted position that’s much more than an advisor.
• It acknowledges the monstrous role service advisors perform. A service advisor generates $1 million-plus in sales annually at busy dealerships, and earns more gross profit for the store than a top-earning salesperson.
The service manager position is may be more aptly called a Service Director or Fixed Operations Manager, should you choose to re-align your service department titles.
Whether you make the change or not, your service advisors (or managers) deserve much respect for the job they do on the front line every day. Make sure you show appreciation for a job well done.