Why Service Managers Should Get Out of the Office and onto The Service Drive
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
When you visit a dealership, where do you find the service manager?
Typically, hiding in the office, buried under a stack of papers and a load of emails. But it shouldn’t always be that way. To engage customers and employees, the service manager needs to get away from their desk.
Engagement is crucial
Sure, it’s tough for a service manager to escape the onslaught of email and paperwork, even for an hour or two. But making an effort to do so is well worth it, and these are the reasons why:
Increased customer satisfaction
Who do you think customers would rather do business with – a faceless service manager or someone they know on a first-name basis? People can’t form a connection with someone trapped behind a closed office door.
Encourage your service manager to get away from their desk and out onto the drive, even if it's just for a short time each day. Bonds formed with customers are invaluable, especially for someone in a supervisory position.
Greater employee morale
An invisible boss isn’t part of the team. That’s why it’s essential for the service manager to get onto the drive and into the shop. A supervisor who works alongside their employees earns respect and boosts morale. It makes everyone feel they’re working together as one.
Catch (and change) bad habits
There’s an old saying – while the cat is away, the mice will play. An unseen service manager leaves the door open for undesirable employee behavior. In fact, advisors and technicians may not even know they’re doing something wrong unless it's pointed out. Getting out of the office lets the service manager see what team members are doing every day. This hands-on approach catches bad habits and nips them in the bud. The result? More productive employees and increased customer satisfaction.
In the workplace, it’s easy to point the finger at “the other guy” when you don’t appreciate their position. That’s why it’s helpful for service managers to get out of the office and help out.
They can write a few tickets or assist a technician with a tricky diagnosis. Helping others with their work provides insight and appreciation for their role. As a result, everyone works better together as a team.
How to get more time away from the office
Getting out of the office is easier said than done. After all, someone has to do all that administrative work. These tips will help free your service manager from their desk:
There are plenty of technologies that streamline managerial duties, such as schedule building. Learning to use and implement digital tools can be a great time saver.
Mobile devices are also helpful. With a cell phone or tablet, a service manager can respond to pertinent emails – while also being on the floor.
Hire more help
The right office assistant will be able to help out with administrative duties, leaving the service manager with more free time. For example, the task of setting up meetings and responding to trivial emails can be delegated. Decide what tasks only the service manager can do and farm out the rest.
Let’s face it – a good portion of meetings are unnecessary. Cut the fat and get rid of get-togethers that aren’t absolutely necessary.
All employees – from the service manager to the lot tech – will thank you. And everyone will have more time to devote to what’s important.
Say no as needed
Service managers are pulled every which way. It’s important to address the issues that are truly important while saying no to those that aren’t. Getting rid of the unnecessary is an excellent way to free up some time.
It’s amazing how much extra time can be gained through better planning. Set up a schedule for every day of the week – and don’t let it get interrupted by superficial distractions.