No Room at the Inn
Fill capacity by keeping your service bays busy
By Lisa Winchester
Dealerships should treat their service bays like hotel rooms: you want them full all day, every day. And yet, I see too many turning away business because staff is out or to cater to walk-ins.
A hotel would still sell you a room even if the concierge called in sick. So often I hear, “we are short on technicians, so we can only handle X hours.” Here’s the dilemma: not enough work to hire another technician, too much work for the technicians I have. Service managers, shop foremen and advisors will work to their comfort level. It’s not until they are pushed that they will figure out how to manage the new normal.
Another thing I hear is: “We need to leave room for walk-ins.” Why hope for customers rather than book guaranteed business? Back to my hotel analogy: no innkeeper would only reserve half the rooms in the hopes the other 50% walks in off the street.
I get it. You don’t want complete chaos in service. The key is managing a new level of normal. Here are some ways to help with the flow of traffic in service while also increasing shop capacity:
- Don’t scale back appointments when an advisor is sick or on vacation. Get the service manager to fill in.
- Book every 15 minutes instead of every half-hour. This allows for more customers to be greeted throughout the day.
- Spread out larger jobs. You don’t want all your technicians tied up at the same time.
- Stagger lunch breaks.
- Use overnight tech shifts to catch up on carryovers.
These simple scheduling tricks will have your bays busier than ever. What have you done to increase service occupancy?