Whose process is it anyway?
It’s been said that confusion breeds confusion. If your dealership doesn’t have clearly defined processes, it will only create more confusion. Knowing what you want without why you want it and how to do it is not a process — it’s merely an idea.
Let’s use your Service department as an example. Most of your service business shows up before 9:00 a.m., and as a result, customers are frustrated by the long lines and wait times. You decide to schedule fewer appointments at early times and more appointments at off-peak times. This will let Advisors spend more time with each customer at reception and will improve customer satisfaction and trust. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
Getting the results you want
For any process improvement to be sustainable, you need to establish a baseline first. Baseline metrics show where you are and where you are going. You should also share the goals with the team members responsible for implementing the process change. Now you know that you must measure your ability to shift appointments throughout the day, the time allotted for each customer for the Advisors, and even the hours and dollars per repair order. You’ve defined what you want to improve and the measurement systems to track your progress. That should solve the problem, right? Not so fast.
What if scheduling changes don’t happen?
What if there’s no improvement to repair order totals? What if nothing happens? This suggests that any process improvement needs to include an analysis of the challenges. Go to where the work is being done and observe and listen to your team. Are the Advisors prepared and making use of the increased time to engage with customers? Are they building value in the relationship by taking an interest in the things that are important to the client? Are they successful in getting the appointment or are they scheduling them for a later day at the same early time? Now that you’ve inspected the process improvement strategy and identified the challenges, things will begin to improve, right? Not yet.
How CDK Consulting can help
Our analysis found that the Advisors were not comfortable with doing a vehicle walk around. They didn’t realize that taking an interest in the customer would improve their approvals of suggested additional and needed services or repairs. We had not shared our goals or even that we were measuring their performance. We also found that the team was suggesting alternate appointment times but were not confident or skilled at offering the benefit of the later appointment. They had not been empowered with talk tracks, guides or coaching to help overcome common objections. As a result, we implemented training, coaching, conditioning and regular measurement reviews to build their confidence and commitment. We shared the benefit of consistently using their newly obtained skills and provided motivation as their leader.
For our idea to become a natural part of your culture, you must be willing to regularly review our measurements and our trajectory. As Ken Blanchard states in the book Know Can Do: “We should tell them, show them, let them, praise them, or redirect them… tell them, show them, let them, praise them, or redirect then … repeat until culture is achieved.”
By using this process improvement strategy, we change our job description from a firefighter extinguishing blazing issues to a process management leader of a constantly growing team.