You know what isn’t easy? Retaining consistent productivity within a dealership service department, especially in today’s uncertain times. According to Gallup, 70% of workers feel disengaged from their workday, which costs the US between $450 billion and $550 billion annually. It seems many employers have their work cut out for them, yet consistent productivity is exactly what they need to be profitable.
So, if you’ve caught onto the fact that your service employees may not be as productive as they should be, hold off on the instinct to replace them (at least for now) and see if there are some things you can change within your dealership to give everyone the motivation they need to succeed.
Here are some ideas:
1. Create Standardized Workflows
If you don’t have a standardized workflow for your service employees, or you have a workflow with significant gaps, then anyone joining your team is bound to end up unproductive. This is a common issue, unfortunately, and not just among dealers either.
For example, if your team doesn’t have an effective way of seeing who is working on what at any given moment, you risk having certain tasks go unresolved, which may have a direct impact on your customers, and in turn, their trust in you.
To create a workflow, identify your problem areas first. What holds your service department back? Is it the technicians? If that’s the case, then how are they holding you back? Do they need to be trained more effectively? Do they need a better way of tracking their tasks? Do they know how to handle certain irregularities? Are there specific processes or tools that need to be in place to help them be more effective?
Once you have a workflow, make sure your employees are accountable for their work. Set your expectations and monitor their performance to ensure they meet them. If they don’t, either replace them or further re-evaluate your workflow (but only if you see an unfavorable pattern emerging).
2. Embrace Modern Technology
The days of tracking work on paper are long gone, and with good reason – they were never that effective to begin with. Technology has gotten so good over the years that it’s made paper practically obsolete.
For example, you can set up a virtual dashboard that let you see all the activities in your service department on one screen (in visual form no less), so you can instantly assess everyone’s overall productivity level. This kind of sophisticated reporting would’ve taken hours in the past, but today, it takes only one click to view everything you need to understand your team’s progress and performance (because the technology does all the work for you, in the background).
You can also provide your team with the ability to view their individual tasks, so you can check in on their progress, if you have any concerns.
One thing we like to emphasize when it comes to modern tech is that you don’t even need to install anything. Once set up, many modern platforms are easily accessible via a web browser on any modern device, including tablets (as easily as this blog post!).
3. Examine How You Communicate
Ask yourself, how effectively do your employees communicate with each other when it comes to their tasks? As it turns out, most dealers struggle to maintain solid internal communications. As a result, their employees end up working in silos, neglecting to connect with their peers when the occasion calls for it, which leads to poor productivity.
In fact, according to Salesforce, 86% of professionals agree that poor communication is the reason for workplace failures.
So, how do you fix this? For one, encourage your people to talk to each other as often as possible. If you see them avoiding collaboration, connect with them individually to find out why they are struggling with it (e.g. maybe they are shy) and provide guidance on how to overcome the issue.
The other solution is to establish an easy way of communication through technology. Having your employees follow up on specific tasks in person can distract them from the real work they should be doing. Instead, they should be able to see what everyone is working on at any given moment within seconds and/or connect with their peers via instant messaging when clarification is needed.
Do your best to break down the barriers between your individual team members and encourage a collaborative environment as often as you can.
4. Reward & Punish Individual Performers
Don’t hesitate to reward your top performers and punish your underachievers. Doing so will show your team that you mean business and encourage everyone to work harder (whether they were working hard or not to begin with).
If you’ve set certain expectations, and an employee has met them, give them something extra in return. Here are some ideas:
- Give your high achievers a chance to rise even higher by promoting them to a new role. This will show others that working hard does pay off.
- Make sure your high-achieving employees are properly compensated for their work – or they will lose their drive to perform well.
- Employees appreciate a nice pat on the back for their efforts, so be sure to commend those who achieve their goals or reach certain milestones.
Alternatively, don’t be afraid to punish those who don’t measure up. Consider implementing the three-offence rule:
- First offence – Write it up
- Second offence – Write it up again
- Third offence – Replace the employee
Stay on top of your employees and make sure they follow the rules you’ve set for them. If they don’t, it’s their fault for not doing so, and you shouldn’t feel bad for replacing them.
5. Allow Breaks!
People are not machines, so don’t deny your employees the opportunity to take sufficient downtime. Long workdays are the unfortunate reality for many dealerships, which leads to employee exhaustion, and consequently, mistakes and negligence.
That’s why breaks are vital! For example, according to Qnnect, high-performing employees are known to take breaks throughout the workday.
By having the right tech, you can help your team spend less time on certain manual tasks and take the breaks they need to recharge and return to work at full strength. As we’ve mentioned before, something as simple as the ability to track activities from anywhere (on any device) can help employees save hours on running back and forth to either communicate something or look up specific information.
If you’re looking for a way to make it easier for your service employees to deal with their daily tasks and workflows (so they can occasionally take a break), consider checking out DIS HelpDesk. It lets you gain full visibility into every task within your service department and ensure that no employee ever misses a deadline or loses track of what needs to be done. Learn more about DIS HelpDesk now.