The Team
Many years ago I did a training exercise that handed each participant an envelope. Inside the envelope was a thimble, paperclip, thumbtack, rubber band, and a golfer scoring pencil. The task was to use these items to make an object that could power itself across the desk. 

The instructor took out a timer and began seeing how long it took to achieve the task.Most people looked puzzled and never did accomplish the mission, however, I did successfully build a self-powered object that moved across the desk. The instructor then asked if it would not have been much easier if they were written directions included in the envelope. Now silly as that seems, most of us don’t properly communicate with the team clear direction on company needs and policies. If we don’t provide them clear direction how then can you expect them to perform expected tasks correctly?

If you desire to get the best results from your team it is suggested to hold weekly meetings asking “How can we be better?” Communication should also include team members individually when they fall short of the mission providing suggested ways they can improve their performance. A true leader understands that communication includes developing good listening skills. Be sure you’re also open to the suggestions of your team enough to listen to them.

The Customer
If you don’t have effective communication with your customer you can’t expect to have retention and satisfaction. I am amazed that service advisors are totally focused in on the customer’s needs. At many dealerships they don’t even look at their client’s vehicle they just write up the repair order at their desk and instruct the customer where to sign and where to sit.

What a waste of valuable technician time when they have to stop what they’re doing to track an advisor down and ask what the customer needs are so they can repair the vehicle properly. Repair orders that are written with “Customer states there is a rattle in the dash, or “Customer states intermittent hard start.” One can imagine with this kind of detail technicians would struggle every day with how to repair customer’s vehicle.

Advisors need to look at the customer’s issues in great detail.  If a door handle is loose and the advisor writes “Customer states door handle is loose” which one of the eight handles would it be? Be sure every advisor takes the time to understand it in great detail what the customer’s needs are and how the dealership can repair it promptly.

The Culture
Everyone must be open and understand they can bring issues up without doubting there will be retaliation for their viewpoints. There should never be any discussion while either party is angry. Many times an individual might be under the belief they are giving their best with management thinking they are performing their worst just to irritate them. Don’t forget the culture must be throughout the entire team, open honest communication is needed for everyone to maximize the results.

Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Margin Plus
Cell: (419) 282-1351
Fixed Performance complete fixed operations coaching consulting