It’s never been more important for your service department to provide a 100 percent digital experience for your customers. And it’s only possible if your team is fully trained for it. “You’re either trained, or you’re untrained. There is no middle of the road,” stated Darrel Ferguson, Director of Performance Management at Xtime during a recent Cox Automotive webcast. With heightened safety concerns, how do you make sure your service department is prepared?
Why Training Matters
Revenue and profits are important; therefore, training is important. The more consistent interaction your service department provides the customer, the more likely you are to retain their business. In order to get consistent though, you have to get digital. You don’t want your customer to hear they need new tires on one visit for it to never be mentioned when they return, simply because the previously declined service wasn’t in the records. Consistency through technology can help you foster trust.
During the same webcast Darrel went on to say, “To change the culture in your service department requires highly trained, bought-in employees.” He surmised that processes rooted in the fabric of your business will help ensure your service department presents the same experience to your customer every time. “In my opinion consistent experiences is what retention is all about.”
The second key to success right now, Darrel shared, is interaction on your customers terms — and those terms are digital.
What to Train
To make zero face-to-face interaction possible, you need to look at your service process from end-to-end. Are you able to provide an exceptional, distanced service experience? Consider adding these tools and processes to your service lane for a fully digital customer experience:
Simple, Online Scheduling: When your customer schedules an appointment on your website, give them the information they need, including cost estimates, service history, and past declined services.
Texting: Conversations don’t have to be in person in order to build trust. Communicate via the means most of your customers prefer — text messaging.
Self Check-in: Allow customers to skip the line and check themselves in for service appointments using their mobile phones.
Service Pickup and Delivery: Elevate the safe service experience with a valet pickup and drop-off program that your customer can select when they book their appointment online.
Service Tracker: Give customers access to real-time service status updates online or on their phones to free up your advisors’ time to give transparency into your service department operations.
Online Approvals with Multimedia and Payment: Send multipoint inspections, ASRs, pictures, and video through links in emails or texts that let customers see, approve, and pay for service online.
Tip! Before you get started training, make sure your team knows the why behind any changes you are going to make. If you’re implementing technology and processes that mean greater efficiencies for them and can positively impact their paycheck, speak to that. Change can be scary, especially when you know it will have direct impact to the way you work every day. Show your team how it benefits them on a personal level.
How to Train
You’re working on a digital experience for your customers, and you likely have safety concerns for your team as well. That’s why the training you need right now is virtual. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect as much attention from your technology vendor as you would if they were on-site. Here’s what you should anticipate:
A dedicated trainer matched to your dealership’s specific needs. The software solution should consider the number of software users you will have and the time zone your dealership is in to assign the trainer that best aligns with your operations. You will need a trainer available for coaching eight hours each weekday, aligned to your working hours.
A dealer-driven, customized agenda and timeframe. An assessment of your unique operations may be carried out by your technology provider. They should consider your staffing level and shop schedule to tailor your training program.
Classroom and one-on-one training. Virtual training doesn’t have to mean on-demand training (although you’ll want that available for new hires). Your trainer should provide a classroom-style training through a video service like GoToMeeting™, as well as personal sessions with each individual on your team.
Always available support. Seek a technology partner that will make themselves available through chat to your team at any point when they may need assistance.
Daily training summaries. Each evening, look for a summary of the day’s activities that includes important updates to training progress.
Exit review. The final report should include team member technology and process adoption notes and advise any risks to success so that you can create a game plan for ongoing accomplishment.
Performance Manager Introduction. After your trainer reviews the results of the educational efforts with your performance manager, expect a call. You need a performance manager that is an industry and software expert to partner with you to reach your goals long after training and implementation.
Xtime Virtual Training Client: “Who knew that virtual training could be as good as in person training. I’m very happy with our training and really didn’t miss the in-person training at all.”
You have to provide the experience your customer expects today — both for their safety and convenience. To make it an exceptional experience though, you have to make it digital and consistent, and that can only be done through training and tools that are engrained in your dealership’s culture. Thankfully, training is not an issue. It can be done successfully, with the right partner, virtually.
Recent events have required you to accelerate the transition to a service experience that delivers convenience and matches your customer’s digital preference. Use this Fixed Ops Playbook to keep moving forward.