“Hope ain’t a tactic.” Is your Service department prepared?
Robert Grant
| 15 July 2020

“Hope ain’t a tactic.” Is your Service department prepared?

Now that boat show season is here, it’s time to take a look at your Service department and make sure you have the proper tools and processes in place. Is your Service department prepared?

One of my favorite lines comes from the movie Deepwater Horizon: “Hope ain’t a tactic.”

Most of the time, you hope for a successful season instead of preparing for a successful season. With the proper tools, you can make sure that your Service department is running like a well-oiled machine.

Here are a few ways your Service team can prepare:


Having a schedule that allows you and your team to see Technician availability will help everyone efficiently answer customer questions.

An efficient Service scheduler should include shop available time by Technician, the ability to pencil in an appointment for a certain day, the ability to generate a work order from the appointment, and the ability to directly contact the customer from the scheduler.

The Service Writer should be able to dispatch work to specific Technicians so they can see their jobs for the day. The Service Writer should also be able to move incomplete work to a subsequent day or easily reassign work to future days. The schedule should be able to be viewed on a workstation or large monitor in the Service department. You can even make it available for customers waiting in your lounge.


Your Service department should be prepared with mobile devices that integrate key features from your DMS. This should include a streamlined customer check-in process that allows you to take notes through speech to text, attach photos and have the customers sign off on the initial quote and work noted.

Technicians should be able to avoid a paper work order by providing pertinent job information, the ability to clock in/out of those jobs, attach pictures and video messages. Your Service Technicians should also be able to communicate through text and email with customers as needed, if your department policy allows it.


More than ever, customers want to communicate through text messaging. With a 98 percent open rate, texting keeps your customers in the loop throughout the entire service process.

Here are a few things to consider for a texting solution:

  • Do sent and received messages integrate in the main customer record in my DMS and CRM?
  • Can I send messages from both the desktop and mobile applications in my DMS and CRM?
  • Can I send schedule confirmations, estimates for approvals, final bills, pictures and video attachments with the text messages?
  • Can I send a post-service visit CSI questionnaire to ensure their service experience was positive?


Most people think of CRM as a sales tool when it’s actually a customer relationship management tool. This is something you should use in the Service department as much as you use it in the Sales department. You should look for a CRM system that is completely integrated with your DMS processes. It should be able to record phone calls, text messages and emails directly in the work order and with the customer record.

Having these features right within your workflow will help improve productivity by reducing the number of clicks and manual processes.

Being prepared with the proper tools will allow your service team to keep your customers and their boats on the water instead of in the shop stalled out. It will provide your customers the best opportunity to enjoy the past time that we all love.

Remember: “hope ain’t a tactic.” CDK Lightspeed offers completely integrated Service scheduling, mobile, texting and CRM solutions that will help your Service department prepare for a successful season. Call a CDK Global Lightspeed representative at 800.521.0309 and see what we can do for you.

Robert Grant

Robert B. Grant has over 18 years of RV, Marine and Powersports industry experience. He got his start managing the parts and service departments at local dealerships in Salt Lake City, UT. He attended the University of Utah where he received a BA in Finance. He has been employed by CDK Global Lightspeed, previously known as ADP Dealer Services, for 17 years and has worked in many different capacities in the company which provides the Lightspeed dealer management software and services for the Marine, RV and Powersports industries. He currently works as a business development engineer.

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