The Service Manager’s Guide to Having Saturday’s Off

On today’s episode of Service Drive Revolution, we have two of the finalists in the You versus You, Jeep challenge.  We’ve got Christopher and Casey with some great interviews. If you work at a Dealership and you’re a Service Advisor you will want to take some notes because it’s going to be good stuff.  

We want to introduce to everybody Chris Marino, this could get confusing because there’s a Chris, a Christian and a Christopher, but we’ll navigate through it.  

I first asked Christopher how it felt like to be a finalist where he chuckled and told me, 

“It feels amazing. I was surprised and I was nervous when I did it. I decided from the beginning that I was going to do it. When I got the call, it surprised me.” 

Now part of entering this contest is turning in proof of your before and after numbers from your dealership, writing an essay, and taking a picture with a poster that has your before numbers on one side and after numbers on the other. 

These results will help us navigate the exact strategies they used to boost their net to gross, ELR, and CSI scores in under 90 days!

Learn how to Calculate Effective Labor Rate HERE.

One of the things when  reading Christopher’s essay, which we will then go to your specific numbers in a minute, where he brings up this common theme in our industry when a general manager or dealer group says, “Hey, we’re bringing in this outside company.” And the first thing that comes to your mind is, “Here comes a consultant” that would spin a bunch of plates, point out things that are going wrong, elevate their importance in the situation, and teach us nothing about being Service Advisors.  

Christopher then went into detail about his previous experiences of having consultant, telling us, 

“I was at the other dealership where we had consultants come in and told Service Advisors that we’re doing X, Y, and Z wrong and then telling our bosses the same thing.  They tell you a bunch of things to do and then they disappear. Never to hear from them again. I’ve been through many consultants probably three or four times in my career.  When I came to the Tommy group, they told me that we have an outside group, Chris Collins INC. I was like, “There we go again all the time.” 

The moment that sold it for Christopher was when he got a call from one of our employees.

“After a couple of weeks, Vicki called, and she introduced herself to me. She went through all her past experiences. What she’s been through is that she was a Service Manager.  It was more like a coworker, like a partnership type thing, then an actual, ‘you’re doing all this stuff wrong’ and ‘this is what you need to do to fix it’. It was more that we’re going to work together with Advisors, Technicians, and Directors so we can get the department profitable and make sure everybody’s happy”

This story about the Automotive Industry put things into a clear perspective because I told Christopher that we’re in this together and we’re not the idealized version of what a factory rep, chemical rep, consultant, or whatever would be because we understand how hard it really is.  Looking at Christopher’s numbers, we understand how much work went into being a Service Advisor and we acknowledge that Christopher did that, we didn’t do that. We were coaches, we influenced the process, but at the end of the day, Christopher was the star, the one that did all the heavy lifting in order for his Dealership to see the results.

Christopher’s numbers are amazing, he raised his ELR almost 27 bucks, it has an 82% increase in effective labor rate, he had a 16% increase in net to gross and .1 in CSI.  That’s pretty big in the Automotive Industry because it only goes to five overall. So Christopher’s CSI was already really good and it continually went up, which the only concern there would be if it went down.  In this case, Christopher’s CSI went up and as a result ELR and net to gross went up dramatically.

This video HERE will teach you how to increase your CSI. 

As we’re going into detail about his success, I wanted to know what Christopher would say the two or three most important ingredients to that recipe for those dramatic changes at his Dealership.  

Christopher quickly mentioned his success tips that allowed him to increase his profits substantially, he told us, 

“The morning meetings… Having that morning meeting every day and making the advisors happy and showing them what we can do and giving them that positive reinforcement letting them know that ‘we’re going to do this’ and ‘we’re going to have a great day’.  Setting up the side bets and doing goals with them is what really helped me motivate my Service Advisors”

Figuring out Christopher’s motivation behind his success inspired us to go deeper into the initial thought processes that allowed him to make his Dealership scale bigger.  He told us that he always judges success with employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and profitability. Christopher has always known that if employees and customers are happy, that he’s going to get to that net profit and the profitability where it needs to be. 

Additionally, this brings me to my next point when I became curious about how Christopher has personally and professionally changed after engaging with us and being a part of our family.  Christopher told us that he was a non-believer at the beginning, before meeting the coaches, and now he tells us that, 

“When I actually sat down and Vicky came to the store in January, we had that one-on-one time. It changed my whole outlook on the coaching strategies. The wildcards and even the menu price, because when I first did the menus with Vicki, it felt like we were actually doing it together. This doesn’t make sense to me. I feel like we’re taking all this part in this”

At first Christopher thought that it was too much change at one time, going into it he felt that nobody’s going to understand.  

In order for Christopher to get into the minds of his Service Advisors, he had to make everybody believe and he had to make himself believe it too. And once he actually did it, he realized it’s a lot of work and although it’s not as much work as he thought it was. He concluded that once you put one Service Advisor in place the other Advisors follow and it starts flowing.  Christopher also agreed with me when I asked him if there’s correlation with the changes made in that short period of time and how it affects the outcome and the results equally.  

He agreed with me and I told him this as a response,

“The dramatic results that you’ve had are equal to the amount of change that you quickly did”

As a result, Christopher has been able to achieve maximum results after training his Service Advisors, he tells us that he’s been financially better because of the way his pay plan is set up.  Christopher and his Service Advisors are making CSI and getting paid like they should.  He then goes into how he’s had more time than ever and that it’s given him more time with his family.  Just being able to change the way you function around the dealership will have a big impact on the success of your business.  

Christopher then had tips on becoming a Service Manager or people in the same boat as he is: 

-Don’t give up and don’t try to do everything yourself.

-Turn the team into a family

-Care about them

-Coach them in the right directions

-You can’t let it affect you

After talking to Christopher we let him know that this is going to be an inspiration to others, and most importantly, we can’t wait to hang out with him next week. 

Today, we have another finalist, an assassin elite group member, and a handsome devil. We won’t talk about the fact that he’s a Chargers fan. 

Right off the top, we talked about the numbers he was able to produce when looking at his 

increasing CSI 8.7%, Effective Labor Rate up almost $10, and Net to Gross up 15%.

I asked him what are the three things for making these sorts of changes: what was your mindset, what did you do, what did it take, and how did you build this outcome?  

Casey then proceeds to give us his feedback on what stimulates a healthy and productive dealership.  He tells us that, 

“I would tell you honestly that trust is important, getting the employees to trust the process and getting them to believe in what I believe in. Our culture is huge at our store, our employees are happy to be here and that’s from top down. That’s one of the biggest things we focus on in this store. As managers, we have meetings about it all the time, getting our culture right. And having our people happy to be here every day, reflects directly to our customers. If our employees are happy, our customers are happy.

This took an interesting turn because this brought me to another question, “How do you create that culture? How do you make people happy?”  Which Casey then told us that, 

“I would say just listening to them, caring about more than just work, listening to what their afterlife is, getting to know them, knowing their families, making sure that they get along and that they’re all helping each other. And it’s not, it’s not a backstabbing game. You know, they’re all out here with the same purpose to take care of the customer. It’s not just about them. It’s about everybody.”  

Casey went into detail about how he was able to keep his workplace culture.  He said that ​​one cool thing that they did during COVID is that they took care of every employee there. Casey made sure that they didn’t make any less money than they did the year before. What they did was dialed in how much money they made the prior year at the dealership and built it to an hourly rate and whether it was a slow day or a slow month or a slow year, they didn’t make less money than they did the year before he took care of all the employees and made sure that they were paid what they made and they kept everybody and didn’t lose anybody during it.  With no furloughs and being able to keep everybody is a great sign of an amazing organization. The lesson we can attain from here is: “Whatever your actions are, you have to change those actions in order to change the outcome”

This brings me over to the next question that I asked Casey, 

“What do you think it is that keeps Service Managers from wanting to change? In a sense they get paralyzed.

From Casey’s perspective, he believes that being comfortable with change is a factor that plays into the success of the dealership. Additionally, he talks about how hiring new Service Advisors or changing personnel can disturb the whole process if you get the wrong person in. Most of the training inside the Automotive Industry is tribal knowledge to the dealership world itself, however, the lack of growth that some Service Advisors may feel is solely based on the upper management of the company.  

These Service Managers understood gross but chances are they didn’t understand the numbers. And if you don’t understand them, then in a sense, you’re just trying to stay out of trouble instead of really driving the outcome of having high profits, good CSI, and productivity in your dealership. 

Another thing I wanted to ask Casey was, 

“What do you see changing with the manufacturers, the customers, and the marketplace overall, as it affects us in service?”

This was Casey’s response,

“The customers are uneasy for sure. I haven’t seen people like this ever since I’ve been in this business, but it’s tough to make them happy. It’s harder to make them happy. I think they have a lot going on that they didn’t before and services and the place they want to start to come to anyways. They’re never happy to come and see us, but I think they’re more uneasy than they’ve ever been”

His conclusion to fixing this problem is by talking to them about not listening to the customer, when you can let the customer vent and listen to them. He says that when that customer leaves, there’s a new customer that’s coming in that doesn’t deserve to be treated like anybody else. They need the same drink that a Service Advisor would give the customer before. Casey told us that if that customer ruined your day, and then you reflect it to the rest of the people that come in, every customer will be mad at you. As a Service Advisor, if you let the customers drive you down to their level, that’s their win. That’s the customer winning, don’t let them win. Don’t let them bring their bad energy and let them bring you to their level. 

So the best thing you can do is start over and start fresh with a new one that comes in.

Thank you for tuning in on this episode of SDR and listening to these interviews with Chris and Casey. Hopefully you’re walking away understanding that the difference between high performers and average performance is more mindset and execution.

Don’t forget to subscribe and call us at (833) 3-ASK-SDR if you have a question. 
For special deals on our books and training, head over to OFFERS.CHRISCOLLINSINC.COM and I’ll see you next time on Service Drive Revolution!

Podcast

On today’s episode of Service Drive Revolution, we have two of the finalists in the You versus You, Jeep challenge.  We’ve got Christopher and Casey with some great interviews. If you work at a Dealership and you’re a Service Advisor you will want to take some notes because it’s going to be good stuff.  

For special deals on our books and training, head over to OFFERS.CHRISCOLLINSINC.COM and I’ll see you next time on Service Drive Revolution!

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