I’m always looking for ways to help dealership Managers improve their Service Departments. One area ripe for improvement is how we train and develop our automotive Technicians. With the ongoing shortage, retaining top talent is more critical than ever.
I recently sat down with the SDR coaches to talk shop and share our best tips for creating high-performing Technicians. After years of experience, both as Techs and now coaching dealership teams, we have some hard-won insights to share.
In this post, I’ll recap 5 essential tips that emerged from our roundtable discussion on the SDR podcast. Consider it your blueprint for developing A-player Technicians at your store.
Tip #1: Keep It Simple
When Technicians are forced to figure things out on their own, they learn to keep solutions simple. With today’s complex vehicle systems, it’s easy for new Techs to overcomplicate problems. They have the textbook knowledge but lack real-world experience.
The veterans know that despite all the technology, most issues boil down to something basic. Whether it’s an electrical gremlin or a drivability problem, methodically test each component and solve issues incrementally. Don’t get overwhelmed looking at the vehicle as a whole.
Teach Technicians to start with the fundamentals first. Confirm there’s fuel, spark, and compression before pulling out the scan tool. Use wiring diagrams to systematically check each circuit. Stick to the basics.
Tip #2: Focus on Consistent Quality
The top Technicians share a mindset of consistent quality output. They show up each day with a plan to efficiently deliver thorough, professional repairs. It’s about working smart – not necessarily fast.
They don’t get caught up worrying about what other Techs have coming in or play the game of trying to beat the system. They control the controllables. This includes having a clean workspace, organized tools, and a standard process.
A key lesson for Managers is rewarding Technicians for consistent quality over raw speed or volume. Make it clear that meticulous repairs done right the first time are valued over quicker but sloppier work.
Tip #3: Master Inspection Routines
Thorough inspections are crucial for catching additional work and providing quality service. The top Techs have a systematic inspection process they can perform quickly on every vehicle.
Provide checklists and standard procedures to remove the guesswork. Make sure Techs are checking all systems like HVAC performance, fluid levels, tire condition, etc. Set expectations for test drives to experience issues firsthand.
Stress that a professional inspection benefits customers and leads to future business. It’s not busy work – it’s an essential element of quality work.
Tip #4: Communicate Repairs Clearly
Technicians should take the time to explain repairs directly to customers when possible. A test drive or quick under-hood overview gives reassurance and builds trust.
Thorough documentation is equally important. Tech notes, repair orders, and warranty submissions should clearly outline step-by-step what work was performed. When the story is told properly, clerks can secure full reimbursement.
Repair communication and documentation is an area where many dealerships need improvement. Provide templates and training to meet your expectations.
Tip #5: Stay Positive
A positive mindset is essential, but it’s easy to slip into negativity when under pressure. Top technicians don’t get derailed complaining about things out of their control. They focus their mental energy on the task at hand.
As a Manager, you set the tone for the shop. Nip toxic gossip and complaints in the bud. Praise Technicians who support teammates and maintain a professional demeanor. Recognize that we all have bad days, but don’t tolerate a pattern of negativity.
Bringing It All Together
Hopefully, these tips provided some practical insights you can apply in your dealership. While there’s no substitute for raw experience, the right training and leadership makes all the difference in developing top Technicians.
Want to take your Service Department to the next level? Let’s connect! Book a free 15-minute service strategy session to discuss your goals and how we can help. Just click below to schedule:
Whether you need leadership training, SOPs, recruitment best practices, or something else entirely – we’re here to help. Reach out to chat with one of my coaches, and let’s rev up your Service Department success!