Now that I have your attention with that title, I guess I need to explain...
Recently, a certain NFL team owner had a meeting with all of his coaches, players and field staff and firmly told them, “You are all simply paid performers on a stage and that field is my stage! You will stand, with your hand over your heart and with respect, when our country’s National Anthem is being played or you will no longer be on our team or have any association with the organization! I will immediately fire you, no matter who you are! You can make your political statements off the field, but while you’re employed by me and I’m signing your check, I demand that you make our fans proud and not embarrass them.”
Wow - strong words, right? But it got me thinking about all of the times I go into dealerships and hear the service manager tell me how he can't get his people to answer the phone, or greet customers fast or call customers back with updates or use the proper op-codes or sell suggested services or get customers to sign a repair order - the list could go on and on. The key words here are "I can't get" and my question is who, exactly, is running the store? Well, while I'm not sure who's running it, I do know that obviously, it's not the service manager. And that got me thinking - that's a real problem in our industry.
Think about that little speech the team owner made for a minute. Look, I'm not saying you have to be that tough - but there's a lot of good stuff in there. All to often we let our people run our store - and the fact is, if you are a service manager you are charged with running the store in a professional, profitable, customer-oriented way. Your boss, the dealer or general manager, picked you to run that department- he didn't pick a tech or an advisor or, for god's sake, a cashier to run it- he picked you! So to that, I say 'Grow Some'. Be passionate, strong and driven - and let everyone know that you are in control and that the things you ask to be done are there because you believe they are the right things to do - and, get this, you have the right to expect those things to be done and they need to know that you will hold them accountable. To refer to the team owner's speech- have your employees ever embarrassed you with a customer? You know the answer is yes - but the bigger question is - what did you do about it- or what are you going to do about it in the future?
Your job is to call the plays - you are in charge and the minute you look the other way when someone does something against your rules, that's when you need to jump in and correct it. I say this all the time - I've been to stores where the tail has completely wagged the dog off - there's just a big tail running the store, and that's bad, real bad.
So, here's my suggestion. Write down your rules. Give everyone a copy. Hold a meeting and make it clear that you are in control, you call the plays and while you need, love and care about every employee, you will not be run over anymore. Tell them straight up, you took a dose of strength serum and you 'grew some'. And here's the cool part, when you take control and 'grow some', your store will 'grow some' (business I mean)!
It's important to note that I am not a dealership consultant. I have an advertising company called Car People Marketing that specializes in increasing service traffic and customer retention. I say this because people often think I am or should be a consultant because of the topics and content in the articles I write. And for the record, I always try to bring value to my topics, I am truthful and sometimes controversial- in other words, I sometimes piss people off and this just might be one of those times. Let me know what you think - I love feedback - and let me know if you'd like to hear about how other dealers across the country are using our marketing programs to grow (their store) some!