If you want repeat business it begins with how you communicate internally with your team.
Steve, Shop Manager, for a large truck dealership in Portland, OR., told Session 10 of Turbo’s Performance Team Lab (PTL):
“About a year ago, the Peterbilt Shop met with Larry and mapped out our Repair Order flow. Our then Repair Order flow was found to be cumbersome and outdated. Our new process has taken over a year to build and implement. We are still making minor adjustments on the fly as needed.
“The biggest change is staffing. One year ago, there were three people running our day shift: A Service Writer, a Shop Foreman, and a Service Manager. With fifteen mechanics on the floor, most days our Foreman was kept on the run directing the work flow. The Service Writer created and closed all non-warranty work orders. The Service Manager reviewed almost all repair orders for correct stories and billing errors. Hundreds of Repair Orders were reviewed by the Service Manager every month. We found labor, parts, and fees not charged accurately, resulting in lost revenue. Now our management team consists of a Service Writer creating all the work orders, a Lead Foreman/Triage Person to preview work and identify the correct mechanic for the job. The shop has been split into two teams and there are now two Foremen to guide the work flow through the shop. There is a Secretary that closes and invoices all work orders. The Service Manager now has time to manage the shop and not be tied to reviewing every work order. Everyone on our team communicates with customers and mechanics to repair the trucks to the customer’s satisfaction.
“Benefits include being able to contact customers, keeping them updated on needed repairs, more timely estimates, and progress reports. We now have time to update our operating system and throw out the paper ledger, making us a 100% electronic log. Repair orders are closed faster, and we are charging out a higher percentage of our mechanics labor and recovering more fees.
“We have worked together using input from our shop office staff to develop and implement new ideas. New forms have been developed for our pickup and delivery drivers, and our office staff use a pre-work order form when talking to the customer to gather more complete and accurate information to assist our mechanics in repairing the trucks. When safety repairs are declined, we now use a “hold harmless” form to protect our dealership.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is when a department and staff are working together improvements will continue even if the department manager changes. I started this process and it was carried on by our current Service Manager.
“The action I call you to take is to map out your process, evaluate its efficiency to ensure your customers are receiving the service experience they are looking for.
“The benefit you will gain is greater customer satisfaction; this will bring you more repeat business.”