When I used to do on-site consulting, one of the first things that stuck out in a real busy shop was how insane everyone was. The first time I saw this was in a very busy shop in Maryland. They had two Service Writers and they both needed space-age phone talker helmets. They had cars and customers all over the place and the phone was ringing off the hook. The owner was so busy helping out that he just waved to me because he just didn’t have time to talk.
I watched them for a while and concluded that the two Service Writers had to be crazy to work under that much stress and the owner definitely shouldn’t have been involved in the process.
Later, I noticed that time after time, I would go into a busy shop and would see everyone was running around like crazy. Occasionally, I would hear heated discussions or very upset people muttering to themselves. It was very obvious that nobody knew how to organize the place and they were killing themselves and not being very efficient at anything. The biggest problem was that they weren’t even aware of how much money it was costing them to do things this way.
Nothing drives a Service Writer crazier than to find out from the customer that the owner had promised the customer that his car would be done today and not told the Service Writer.
Did the Part For the Buick Come In Yet?
Don’t you just love it when you are busy trying to sell a job to a customer and a technician wants to interrupt you to handle some problem?
Is My Car Going To Be Done Today? I have seen Service Writers actually throw phones against the wall because one of their customers calls every five minutes to see if their car is going to be ready.
When Is My Car Going To Be Done? You Told Me the Same Thing Yesterday!
This is another version of the customer who calls constantly wanting updates on his vehicle. It is amazing how much time is wasted answering the phone and then checking on the status of the customer’s cars.
Did You Get the Authorization To Work On the Ford Truck?
How many times a day does someone in your organization ask the Service Writer or you questions about the status of a car or when is a part going to arrive?
There Is No Change. It Is Still Doing the Same Thing It Was BEFORE You Worked on It.
Just Ducky! Just Marvelous! This is just what the Service Writer wanted to hear at the end of a super busy and crazy day. Sometimes, they want to kill the technician who did the work on the car.
I Thought You Ordered It.
This is another lovely piece of news to a Service Writer trying to handle a customer on the phone about when his car will be done. It turns out the part the car needed was never ordered and of course, it will take a week from today to get it. You’re thinking, “Do I have to do everything myself?”
I Am Sorry, We Are All Booked Up! I Can Get To It In About a Week!
When I hear owners and Service Writers saying that to customers, I go NUTS! I want to grab the owner and the Service Writer and explain to them how much money they are costing themselves by not having the shop and the front organized.
I remember visiting a shop where the Service Writer told me that he was in overwhelm and it was a madhouse and he didn’t know how he was going to get it all done. I looked at the parking lot and the bays and asked “Is this all of it?” He indicated that it was. I told him that it didn’t look that busy and that he probably would be over the hump by 2:30, if he did it right.
He handed me the clipboard and said, “You do it then!” I took the clipboard and got all the data on every job and where it stood and when it was promised and who had what. By about 2:00 o’clock it was pretty much a piece of cake from there and he indicated he could handle it. After closing, I sat down with him and showed him how I did it.
If you ever want to watch a really organized operation, be on an aircraft carrier doing flight operations during wartime. It is an amazing thing to watch. They have lots of people doing dangerous activities at a breakneck speed and have occasional unplanned disasters happen, but they handle it all with incredible speed and efficiency. The key is they are trained. They are organized. They have procedures. They all know how to do their jobs.
Of course, if you don’t want to join the Navy to learn how to speed up your organization and handle a lot more cars with half of the effort and stress, you and your Service Writer should come to our three-day Controlling The Front Workshop.
At the workshop you will learn how to handle the basics of organizing and controlling the front part of your operation. You will learn how to handle more work in less time and under less stress. You will gain new insight on how to turn your front operation into a lean, mean, money-making machine. It’s only money! Yours!