What DPSM's Need to Check During a Routine Dealership Visit

By Ted Ings, Executive Director

You’re a District Parts and Service Manager who must visit area dealerships.

But the trips can be a waste of time – unless you know exactly what to check. That’s why Ted Ings and the experts at CPI have created a list of essentials to inspect during your next visit.

What to check during a dealership visit

Like all DPSM's, your time is limited – and valuable. Review these seven crucial processes to make the most of each dealership visit.

1. Verify use of the Service Advisor Daily Performance Report

CDK customers will know this as a RAP Report and every DMS has something similar. Why is this data a central part of every system? Because it’s of utmost importance, that’s why! In it, you’ll find invaluable information such as effective labor rate, RO sales, RO count and gross profit.

It’s your job to find out if your dealership is making the most of the RAP report by doing the following:

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• Find out if the Service Manager is reviewing the RAP report with advisors daily. If so, at what time of day? Ask to see the document and verify it was printed the day of the visit.

• Confirm the Service Manager is holding a brief daily sales meeting with advisors. The manager should review points of interest such as the number of repair orders written, hours sold, etc. Spiffs should be in place for the weekly specials.

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• Check that the Service Advisors are ranked visually. To create accountability, the benchmarks should be placed in a location visible to all consultants.

Stress the importance of the RAP report with each of your dealerships. Making use of the data is paramount for improved customer satisfaction and increased business.

2. Ensure the appointment process is maximized

Organization is one of the keys to success. Yet too many dealerships leave their appointment book in disarray; minimal information is entered, opening the door to mistakes and confusion. And as a result, advisors stop taking customers before the schedule is actually full.

A jumbled appointment calendar can lead to many other challenges too, such as:

• Too many maintenance reservations (i.e., oil changes) that reduce billable hours.

• An overabundance of heavy repairs that bury technicians in work and shut the door on walk-in customers and easy maintenance.

• Inconsistent workloads that prevent your shop from reaching its full potential.

As a DPSM, you can help by checking that your dealership’s appointment process includes the following:

• Separate sections for maintenance and repair (sub-sections for waiters and drop off customers)

• Maximum available flag hours for each section (based on tech schedules)

• A menu with each of your top 20 repairs and maintenance items. Include both the flag hours for each and the price

• A section for rental vehicles or shuttle service needs

• Total maximum vehicle count your shop can handle

• Walk-in repairs

• Walk-in maintenance

Also, to improve the overall appointment process, the service department should:

• Deploy “odd” appointment times (e.g., 8:05, 8:10, etc.) to accommodate more customers. Give the customer more choices so they can find what works best for their schedule.

• Book work based on available shop hours; not empty spaces on the appointment calendar.

• Ask for more business! Rather than just letting the customer tell you what they want, provide them with a reason to take care of additional business while they’re in the shop.

• Look at service history to determine what maintenance may be due based on mileage.

3. Check your dealer’s preparation strategy

A little preparation goes a long way. Your dealership should be prepared for each customer in advance. The idea is that, when a vehicle owner schedules an appointment, the consultant prepares documentation in advance for their arrival.

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So, what exactly should this include?

• A printed pre-work order. On a CDK system, this function is known as PWO. Print out all the information you now have on the customer (name, address, phone number, primary service concerns(s), mileage, etc.).

• Dealership’s service history of the vehicle. You’ll have complete documentation of all the service business the customer has provided to your dealership.

• Manufacturer VIN Report. You will need to check and see what the warranty coverage is; if there are any open recall campaigns and if there are any manufacturer vehicle service agreements offered to cover this vehicle.

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• Complimentary Multi-Point Inspection. In triplicate with a color copy to be given to the customer after the greeting and prime item is confirmed.

• Maintenance menu to be presented to the customer upon arrival, for necessary scheduled maintenance.

That concludes Part One of our DPSM series.

Part Two (next week) - Service Lane Controls, Retaining Technicians, Active Delivery, CSI, Training and Coaching