Training Tips for Service Drive
Vehicle ownership is a lifecycle: it begins with the purchase but doesn’t end there, and that lifecycle is getting longer. Drivers are holding onto their vehicles for longer, placing an even greater importance on maintenance and repairs. Capturing that service business, whether your shop is a franchise or independent dealer or a standalone repair facility, is more important than ever.
With so much riding on customer interactions with service advisors, training should be used as a tool to continuously improve your team's knowledge and skills rather than an onboarding one-off. Read on for some tips on how to help your team get the most out of training opportunities!
Start with Front-of-House
While everyone in a dealership can benefit from ongoing training and education, there are strategic ways to decide which role(s) to focus on first. In a service department, the service writers/advisors are the first point of contact for a customer and should therefore be a top priority when planning and implementing training.
Furthermore, their job duties rely less on handheld tools and more on a breadth of knowledge and soft skills that benefit from regular review and new perspectives. After all, technicians can request or purchase new tools to make their jobs easier or more efficient—for service advisors, it’s not quite that simple!
Tailor Training to Your Shop
Dealerships and repair facilities might engage in the same type(s) of work as their fellow shops—selling or repairing vehicles—but each store's operations are unique. When planning a training for your staff, especially in the service department, it is critical to have a strong understanding of what a typical day looks like before you get started.
For instance, if your shop is an independent that sees a high volume of work and operates on a less rigid scheduling system, you don’t necessarily have the luxury of pulling a service advisor off their desk for a few hours to take a training course. Instead, consider one-on-one training sessions during your advisors’ regular work duties, either with a manager, senior team member, or a visiting instructor.
This approach has multiple benefits: your advisors will be able to receive training to help them improve their skills and performance without leaving your service desk short-staffed, and the trainer will be able to observe their interactions in real-life scenarios and give them immediate feedback and advice. Best of all, this type of training can benefit every type of repair facility regardless of location, franchise status, or work volume.
Measure Results and Reinforce Learning
Gaining more knowledge in one’s field of work is a worthwhile end in and of itself, but when it comes to improving your service drive’s performance, measuring the results of training is a must. This is especially true if the goal of a training topic is to improve specific KPIs. Evaluating the success of training involves knowing what areas of performance you’re trying to improve, having a quantifiable measurement of performance in those areas before training takes place, and quantifying them again after training is complete.
Measuring the results of training isn’t the end of the process: what your team learns in training needs to be reinforced after the fact. This can be done via check-ins with managers or by revisiting the topic(s) in role-play scenarios or worksheets, or another approach that works best for your team.
However you support and follow up on training, it is a key part of helping your service advisors grow, learn, and make your service drive that much more successful.
For even more information on how to make time for training in a busy service department, check out this video recording on our YouTube channel. Fixed Ops 5 podcast host Corey Smith chats with Fixed Ops Manager Corey Parker on how to make time, even when time is scarce! And be sure to subscribe to Fixed Ops 5 on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts so that you never miss an episode.