Don Volk Denny

SERVICE MANAGER SUCCESS STORIES: DON VOLK

Kudos to Don Volk and his team from Cody Wyoming for being finalists in the 2017  Service Manager Challenge. Don became a member of the Chris Collins Inc family and community of service manager in August of 2016. He and his team of “Top Dogs” showed us you can be profitable and have high CSI, even in a small market.

These are the results he’s seen in the past year:

  • Effective Labor Rate (ELR) increase of $29
  • CSI rise from 87.4 to 94.4

It’s taken some work, but you can’t argue with these results… and he is just getting started.

Read Don’s success story below…

DON VOLK: THERE ARE NO MAGIC BULLETS AND I’M NO GUNSLINGER

When I came to Denny Menholt Cody I knew I had my work cut out for me. The service department had been run the same way for a very long time and did not respond well to change, but I had a plan. I knew there were no magic bullets and it would take looking at everything and fixing things one at a time and making sure they stayed fixed.

So soon after I arrived I was informed we were signing up for this Chris Collins thing. Who is he? Don’t I have enough to do? Why can they just leave me alone? I know what needs to be done! Oh well, I hear L.A. is nice this time of year.

The first thing that hit me was, “Hey, wait a minute. This guy isn’t your everyday consultant!” He thinks like one of us, he’s been in our shoes. The second thing I figured out was that having the general manager there was great. Without his buy-in I would never be able to implement the changes the store needed. This thing just might work!

I had been working on the labor rates. So the first thing I implemented was the Chris Collins recommended minimum standards for both the technicians and the advisors as well as a new advisor pay plans. I continued to work on the labor rates and met much resistance along the way.

The next step was to redo the service pricing for the menu and intervals. The buy-in approach for the intervals went well. To charge more for your maintenance items than your door rate well that was just plain crazy this goes against everything I was ever taught about service pricing! OH well, I agreed to do this so let’s give it a shot.

Now about that game thing. I don’t like games. The spiffs, on the other hand, I was all in favor of. I know they work. But paying in cash every day? Would the meetings be problems for us do to with a small staff and different shifts? We just needed to make it work and get over the apprehension of the games. Guess what, it works!

Getting the ELR to where it needed to be was probably my biggest challenge and was met with the most resistance on the part of management. After many discussions about how much a loaf of bread costs in Cody, WV, and why this won’t work in a small town I was given the green light to redo the rates. Well, enough about my excuses let’s look at our results.

We have improved the customer pay ELR from 84.97 to 108.02.

This also allowed me to get a 13.00 per hour warranty labor rate increase.

We have moved our overall ELR from a low of 80.42 to a current ELR of 109.93 today. Almost 30.00 for every hour booked.

We have increased our CSI to an all-time high of 98.55 as compared to the regional average of 87.48. The service departments profitability has increased a full 20 % the big deal about that is we went from losing money every month and being a burden on the store to a real profit center and we brought parts right along with us!

The service team grows stronger and more confident every day. We continue to improve both our numbers and our profitability we still have far to go. As Jair says, training is something you do, not something you have done.

Once again, I know there are no magic bullets! You need a well thought out plan and you need to stick to it. I have found that many people can tell you what you need to do but you need the will to affect the change you desire. Without the guidance and support of the Chris Collins team, many of these changes would not have happened. The weekly podcasts, as well as the monthly coaching sessions, are invaluable in keeping us focused.

The moral of the story is I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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