Rapidly Increase Your Dealership’s Service Lane Capacity
A backlog of automobiles means lost money for dealerships, which rely heavily on service centers for income. The logical choice for a crowded dealership? Boost the capacity of your service lanes. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or means for brand-new construction, so you should focus on making smaller investments before thinking about making any larger ones.
There are many easier ways to increase the capacity of your service lane, and putting them into practice doesn’t take much time or money. Efficiency is the key concept here: if you frequently have more vehicles than you can manage, you probably also experience periods when business is slow and your technicians are not fully utilized.
You must reorganize the workload to address this. This enables you to do more during slow periods so that you have a smaller backlog during busy periods.
Continue reading if you want to push out a constant flow of vehicles without having to wait for them on the lot. Here are nine fast strategies to increase the capacity of your service lanes.
1. Make more phone calls or online appointments for services.
Many people don’t consider booking services online, even though it is an option. However, by encouraging customers to make reservations in advance, you may foresee which days and times will be busiest and take the necessary precautions.
With the addition of a QR code to windshield reminder stickers, customers who use SimpSocial at your dealership may now book service online or even request a tow to your location using our roadside assistance benefit, simplifying the process for them even further.
Online reservations also assist in lowering the number of walk-in clients. When consumers show up without making a reservation, they might need service during your busiest times, which increases the likelihood that they will be dissatisfied while they wait.
Knowing in advance when you’ll be busiest will allow you to make modifications, such as hiring more staff. This leads to the following observation:
2. Engage more technicians
Even though this may be a simple remedy, it deserves to be mentioned. A simple solution to expanding the number of vehicles serviced every day is to hire more technicians if there is room for them to work there.
Having a few extra hands on deck during peak hours can help you service more vehicles quickly, even if they are not employed full-time. Again, knowing your schedule for a certain day makes this a lot simpler.
Even if it’s hard to find skilled technicians these days, there are still some effective hiring techniques. You may locate talent even in this competitive employment market by using strategies like collaborating with nearby colleges and utilizing the network of your current personnel.
3. Request that clients drop off their vehicles prior to their scheduled service time.
This combines several tasks into one. First off, it lessens the likelihood that clients may miss their appointments, which could leave your service lane running at less than full capacity. It also eliminates additional delays throughout the day because it prevents the job from starting late.
Additionally, the technicians waste less time between jobs when a vehicle is dropped in ahead of time for a service appointment because they may begin working on it right away.
Regarding not wasting time…
4. Make the check-in procedure more efficient. Even though it might appear insignificant, sluggish or ineffective check-in procedures result in wasted time. Getting the consumer in and out as quickly as you can without making them feel hurried or unimportant is your aim here.
Ensure that the necessary data is gathered up front so that the service can be delivered promptly. The earlier-mentioned online scheduling tool is excellent for this.
Establish a designated space for drop-offs and pickups to cut down on time spent moving vehicles.
To help your team perform well in the “last mile” of service, enhance your car pickup and repair order closeout procedures, such as by standardizing billing or extending approved payment choices. Provide options for transportation like ridesharing or pickup and delivery.
A vehicle owner may have to wait for hours to receive their vehicle back if they arrive for service when you’re already booked solid. But what if you could put off servicing it until later in the day? You could manage your schedule better without offending the client.
They won’t have to wait at the dealership if you provide them with a mode of transportation. This implies that mechanics can service the car whenever it’s most convenient. Even if you already offer a shuttle service, you may improve it.
To differentiate yourself from the competition, think about providing pickup and delivery services or even ridesharing. Customers may go where they need to go quickly and conveniently with rideshare services like Uber and Lyft rather than waiting around for a (potentially crowded) shuttle. Additionally, since you won’t need to perform any maintenance, you’ll save money and time in comparison to using a shuttle.
6. Provide clients with a bonus in order to fill off-peak hours.
There’s a good chance that certain times of the day are consistently busier than others. You can also have particular weekdays where you don’t anticipate doing a lot of business. Start searching for methods to rearrange the calendar because these free times are excellent opportunities to delegate part of the workload from your busier hours.
You should encourage clients to make appointments at foreseeable slack times of day or hours. Consider offering a small discount for scheduling an early appointment, or think about adding extra benefits like complimentary vacuuming.
7. Adjust your work management to your team’s ability levels.
Consider having two cars, one of which only needs a simple service like an oil change and the other of which requires a more involved repair. Consider a scenario in which Joe, the service professional, is well-suited to do the intricate repair, whereas Dave could do it given enough time but lacks the necessary expertise.
The difficult repair might take far longer than it should, yet the oil change would scarcely take any time at all if Joe and Dave just started working on the first automobile they spotted.
This would decrease the number of vehicles you can service on a given day, in addition to making a customer wait longer than necessary.
Instead, you should steer clear of assigning competent service professionals to simpler projects because less experienced staff could take a lot longer to complete a task that calls for more expertise. Learn about the ability levels of your staff so you can give each task to the person who can complete it the quickest.
Consider employing a specialized group of technicians who can manage straightforward procedures like tire rotations and oil changes. For additional information on how to increase the effectiveness of your team, read our blog post on the subject.
8. Divide more complex jobs into simpler ones that can be carried out simultaneously.
There is no benefit to completing each activity one at a time, as many can be completed concurrently. You can send many experts to work on a car at once if it needs various services that don’t conflict with one another, such as an oil change and a tire replacement.
Again, keep in mind that employing extra technicians during peak times might boost your service center’s revenue and reputation if your team isn’t large enough to handle this.
9. Make the most of your open hours and provide greater notice for no-shows
Missing an appointment means you’ll lose money, but it also leaves a void in your schedule that won’t always be filled.
You can decrease the number of no-shows by using straightforward communication. For instance, if a client has an appointment at 11:00 a.m., text them the day before to ask them to confirm, and if they don’t reply, text them again at 8:00 a.m. to offer them the chance to reschedule.
This at the very least gives you advance notice that someone might be running late, giving you extra time to fill that time slot.
You don’t need to enlarge the building itself to increase the number of vehicles leaving your service lane; instead, you can make a lot of tiny changes. Spreading out your appointments over the course of the day will prevent overwork (or unnecessary waiting) among your staff members.
This could be promoting online reservations, sending out reminders for appointments to prevent cancellations, streamlining your check-in procedures, or offering customers transportation so you can service their vehicle on your own timetable.
Additionally, you can manage your staff more skillfully by adding more personnel during busy periods and giving more difficult jobs to your more seasoned professionals.
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