Secrets of Top-Flight Service Departments Revealed

Jul 9, 2021News

How much time do your advisors, parts managers, and technicians spend traveling between departments to discuss work orders? If you’re not using an electronic check-in, RO write-up, and communications system that incorporates automation, they’re likely logging a lot of steps and spending a lot of time and energy staying up to date on ROs. 

What if you could automate the workflow and communications process and shave off those extra minutes spent traveling between departments? How many more customers could your department serve per day, and how much would that increase your profitability? A digital fixed-ops workflow system will revolutionize your department for optimal efficiency. Picture this process:

1. Advisor greeting and RO initiation: The standard process for generating an RO should look like this:

    1. Equipped with a tablet, the service advisor greets the customer, automatically pulls up the appointment and customer information, and completes the vehicle walkaround with the customer.
    2. Based on the walkaround and the vehicle history, the service advisor generates a menu of repairs and services appropriate for the vehicle, including good, better, and best menu options where applicable.
    3. The customer views the menu on the tablet and chooses options to include in the RO.
    4. Without leaving the service drive, the advisor begins the work process by sending the RO to the parts department, indicating whether the customer is waiting and flagging the order as a priority or adding a note for the parts department and service technician if necessary. If the customer describes a vehicle issue for the technician to inspect, the service advisor can indicate this on the RO.

2. Parts department pulls what’s needed: The parts department receives the notification and begins pulling the correct parts for the job. If a part is out of stock, the parts department can include a note in the RO notifying both the advisor and the technician.

With the digital message, the advisor can then let the customer know either in person or via text or email that a specific repair will have to wait. Once all parts are ready for the order, the technician and the advisor are both notified that the vehicle is ready for service, keeping your team informed throughout the process.

3. Technician notification, inspection, and work: The technician knows what repairs the customer approved and has the vehicle ready for inspection with the necessary parts. While performing a standardized digital vehicle inspection, the technician can note any additional recommended services and send notifications to the advisor. Taking photos or videos helps the customer understand where issues are and how critical it is for services to be completed at that time. While waiting for the customer to approve any additional recommended maintenance, the technician can start the repairs the customer authorized. Finally, when the vehicle is ready, the technician notifies the service advisor to update the customer. 

By digitizing your fixedops process, there’s never a question about vehicle status or a change in the repair order because employees and customers can easily communicate electronically. All communications and data entry are done on a handheld tablet, eliminating back-and-forth travel and inevitable work delays. What’s more, there’s an electronic record of all communications. Each advisor, parts puller, and technician knows what needs to be completed and what the customer was promised.