Q: WHO ARE YOU?
I've worked for several manufacturers’ dealers, mostly "mainstream" but one German prestige marque, and spent most of my time in my career in the industry as an advisor before being promoted to service manager - I did this for around three years before I left.
Q: WHY DO SOME SERVICE MANAGERS APPEAR TO HIDE FROM CUSTOMERS?
A: You do get those who don't like confrontation. I used to tell my front desk guys - and live by this myself - that whatever difficult conversation you're about to have, it'll be 10 times worse if you avoid it and the customer gets to you first. Call them, be on the front foot, they'll be angry if they have to call/chase you so be proactive. It works, too.
It's just a case of being honest, explaining the reasons why something needs doing, and gaining their trust. I'm proud that my dealership was in the top ten dealerships in the country for good customer feedback so I think we as a team did alright!
Q: WAS THERE A CULTURE OF THE MECHANICS AND SERVICE STAFF DOING STUFF ON THE SIDE? EITHER ON THEIR OWN/MATES CARS IN THE GARAGE OR DEALER CLIENTS CARS OFF SITE?
A: Yes - I saw it as a perk of the job for the lads to have workshop access on a Saturday afternoon. However I used to ask that they didn't take advantage or steal work from the dealership's service department. None did - goodwill swings both ways and it worked well.