Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 18

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

CHITTY'S LAW

 Legendary Lexus exec tells how he evaluates a service department

D

JESSE SNYDER

ick Chitty retired in 2003 from Toyota, where he put his signature on an
approach to parts and service that
helped make the Lexus luxury
brand an industry benchmark for
customer care.
Chitty remains an active watcher
of fixed operations - so much so
that he shared his recipe for success
with Fixed Ops Journal.
It starts with Chitty's own process
for sizing up a dealership's service and parts
capability, based on the hundreds of stores he
visited as the factory guy.
That four-part process started with a "firstglance impression" and a walkaround and
conversation with shop personnel, Chitty
said, "to judge fairly quickly for myself, is this
a good operation based on what I am observing and learning?"
Only after he informally assessed what he
called discipline and attitude would Chitty
move onto financial matters and issues of customer loyalty and retention.
Here is Chitty's outline of his process, with
additional comments.

Discipline

Clean parking lot and customer waiting
area. "I started looking as soon as I pulled into the lot. In general, does it look like a place
that's ready to do business?"
Organized service and parts departments. "Another first impression. Is there
good flow? You'd like to see that there isn't
any clutter, no open boxes sticking out into
the aisles."
Clean workshop floor and tool benches.
"Look in the corners. Are there boxes full of
junk or scraps? You don't want to see any

PAGE 18

making this happen.'"

jsnyder@crain.com

JUNE 2017

Financials

What's a good example of a parts and
service operation that gets it right?
Chitty steered us to Kuni Lexus of Portland in Oregon. The "promise" clock on
its wall (above) marks 90 minutes
ahead of the current time. If you make
a reservation for light maintenance,
Kuni guarantees your vehicle will be
ready within that time. Car wash included. Take a tour on I PAGES 20-26 I.
places where people have lost track of stuff."
Clean uniforms. "Do [shop employees]
have clean uniforms? Do they take some
pride in how they look? It also shows how well
the store supports its technicians and staff."

Attitude

People are friendly, pleasant and positively engaged. "I always wanted to go out into
the shop and parts area and ask questions.
You can tell whether people are engaged or
not."
People demonstrate professional appearance. "This is more about attitude than uniforms. You want to hear people saying things
like 'we just organized this' or 'we're planning
to do this,' because it shows they have pride of
ownership."
People walk with a purpose. "I call it a kick
in their steps. It's not a saunter, but more, 'I'm

Service and parts volumes show steady
increases year to year. "I didn't look at the
books until I'd walked through the back of the
store and talked to everybody. Then I'd gather
the dealers and managers around a table for
some coffee conversations. There should be a
pattern of growth if everybody's paying attention to basics."
Profits from service and parts are solid
and overall operations are balanced. "It
shows the dealer and managers consistently
manage all phases of operations. They're not
just lurching from crisis to crisis. You get a feel
for a general manager, if he's just about sales
or if he's really involved in service and parts.
Does the owner talk about all departments?"

Customer loyalty, retention

Customer-linked dealership technology
system in place. "This is really important,
but not every dealership is really focused on
following up. They have to keep track of their
customers after they buy and they must understand what happened to buyers who
didn't return for service -
what went wrong."
[Customer relationship management
system] is fully integrated throughout
dealership, used to retain high percentage
of service customers. "A
few stores are really good,
but others are really not. If
you don't concentrate on
customer loyalty and retention, that's just money
Chitty
thrown away." 



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Web threads
Chitty’s law
Port of call
Richard Truett
Featured film
Wisdom of age
Future techs
Intake, outgo
Feedback
NADA numbers
Top 50
Guest comment
Five Minutes With
Shop Talk
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 9
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 11
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Web threads
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 14
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Chitty’s law
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 22
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 24
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Port of call
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 30
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Featured film
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Wisdom of age
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 35
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Future techs
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 37
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Intake, outgo
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - NADA numbers
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - 41
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Top 50
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Guest comment
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Shop Talk
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2017 - Cover3
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