Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F4
FIXED OPS JOURNAL
BACK TO BASICS
To reassure customers returning to the service lane, focus on courtesy
"If you're my
customer, I have
to adapt to your
world. I have to
give you what
you want, not
what I want to
s states loosen stay-at-home restrictions and the country slowly reopens, customers are beginning to return to the email@example.com
vice lane. It has been a long
Fixed Ops Journal
and painful journey, one that has taken its
toll on fixed operations.
But before we talk about where we are
now, let's reflect on where we've come from and what's happened along
Despite service departments being deemed essential by state government orders and therefore open, fixed ops business dropped precipitously in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, thousands of service advisers, technicians, parts runners and other employees lost their jobs.
Those still working likely took on additional roles, ones they probably
weren't trained to perform. And chances are workers on the service
drive will need to do their own job as well as someone else's for weeks to
come until enough profit returns to allow workers to be rehired.
On top of all that has been the stress of having to interact with custom-
ers in the middle of a pandemic, of having to keep people 6 feet apart
while also safeguarding their own health.
Given these circumstances, it would be understandable if an employee snapped at a customer or was less than courteous. Lee Harkins, CEO
of the fixed ops consulting company M5 Management Services, experienced something similar while shopping at a national warehouse retailer.
Harkins' mind immediately went to the service lane.
He thought: I bet they're doing this at dealerships, too.
Consequently, when talking with service managers and fixed ops directors, he's been reminding them to get back to the basics of customer
service. To remember, now more than ever, that the customer comes
His advice stems from what he witnessed at that warehouse outlet.
"They've forgotten about taking care of
the customer and how it appears," Harkins says.
He says people are scared right now
- customers and service employees
alike - "and they don't know what to
do." Because of this, service departments have to show customers they
are trying to take care of them, Harkins
All of these efforts go toward reassuring customers that it is safe to return to
the service drive. Without this, it will
LEE HARKINS, CEO, M5
take longer for service business to reManagement Services
cover and for staffing to be full again.
And it won't happen unless customers feel comfortable handing over their vehicles - and service department employees get their priorities straight.
"If you're my customer, I have to adapt to your world," he says. "I have
to give you what you want, not what I want to give you. And I think that's
the big difference."
This is not some novel approach to customer service. In Harkins' blunt
words, "It's the same [expletive] we've been talking about for years."
"You can have the lowest price, but if you treat people like crap, they're
not going to come back," he says. "People want to do business with people they like."
That's the message Harkins has been handing out as service departments continue on the road to recovery.
"When it's all said and done, it's all about common courtesy," Harkins
says. "Just be nice."
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F7
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F8
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F9
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