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Business Management

Selling Service

Examine your service department processes to boost your bottom line there.

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With more used units on the road and fewer new units going out your doors, it’s crucial to capitalize on your service department.

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On a related note, MPN assistant editor Doug Dalsing takes a look at today’s top tools this month on page 15. While these modern conveniences will help your team spin their wrenches a little more efficiently, service department profitability comes down to the processes you have in place.

If you’re like a lot of dealers, you’re not making money on every repair order. So where is that hard-earned money slipping through your fingers?

One of the first things to examine is how your techs are spending their time. How much of their day is wasted rolling bikes in and out of service bays, hiking them on the lifts and gathering tools. While its only five minutes here and another ten there, when you add it up, a considerable amount of your techs’ hourly wages aren’t going into actual repairs.

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Invest in a second lift per tech and have a service assistant who isn’t getting the prime pay rolling bikes and setting up the workstations; after a tech completes one RO he can seamlessly move to the next. It may seem like an investment on the onset, but the increase in productivity will reflect itself in your profitability.

To really make money in your service department, though, you need to perfect customer interaction.

If you don’t have an appointment system in place, no customer is going to take you seriously. First, get as much information over the phone as you possibly can. This begins building customer confidence, and it helps assure you have every part in stock to complete the RO in a timely fashion once the bike arrives at the shop.

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Your service department needs to be as clean, organized and professional as its parallel automotive peer, or your customers are not going to have confidence in your shop. As Bill the service advisor does at Pete’s Toyota World, you need to start every service visit with the same basic process: Confirm and collect your customer’s information as well as a detailed history of the unit. Review the vehicle history with your client if the bike has been in your shop before, point out service items that are coming due. Not only will this build your credibility with the customer, it will increase your average RO ticket price.

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The next step is a thorough walk-around of the unit. Using a check-list you’ll later share with your customer, complete a detailed visual inspection of the unit and have your customer sign off on it. I’d even take this inspection one step further by snapping a digital photo of each side of the bike. This process will not only build the perceived value and add service items to the RO, but it will also protect you from customer complaints. You’ll have proof that your customer’s fairing was indeed scratched when he brought it in because he will have signed off on it.

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Finally, it’s time to ask for the service sale. This is the time to make a P&A sale on a consumable, like rims. But remember: you’ve just spent substantial time building up the sale, so now is not the time to wave a discount in the customer’s face.

If your customer is waiting on the other side of the glass (people love to see into the service department) or returning for his bike later in the day or week, be sure to deliver his unit on time or early. Have your service assistant polish the bike’s chrome to a showroom shine before your customer claims his baby.

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This will leave your customers with a gleaming impression of your service department, and by following a set process you are sure to boost service sales and increase departmental efficiencies.

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