How service managers can create better systems and save time


Service managers how do we get more hours per day?

The answer is that we can’t can we? How can we implement tools to help us organize our days better? How many of you have a daily task list that you follow?

I know, I know you say daily task list that I can follow…. I never know what my day will be like, and I say I agree. I have been a Service Manager. I know how our days can implode and all our best plans can be altered by taking care of emergencies that come up, but I do believe we can gain some control over our days if we stay structured.

I think, as managers, we need to make sure we have had some time management training. I participated in a time management training class several years ago, and it had a lasting impression on my day-to-day activities.

I have worked on call log books and schedule pads for several years, and I wonder how many of you service managers have an actual process for handling your daily calls. How do you log those or transfer those calls to your service scheduling system? I have seen everything from yellow legal pads where calls are logged on a blank format to sticky notes that are then attached to the computer display monitor or wallpaper the desktop.

They are prone to getting lost or misplaced over and over. I have implemented a call log book for service managers that helps keep their daily calls logged in one place with a structured form, so that same information for each call has a place to log what has been done as far as a scheduling plan. All these items add up to help save you time and keep you organized.

Once you have utilized some of these call log books and scheduling systems to track and log your activities, you have the ability to actually leave your office for a couple of days of PTO and not spend that time thinking “I hope the train stays on the tracks” or end up fielding several calls a day asking about customer information that someone should be able to find in your call log book..

We all know that if we can save a couple minutes here and there. They add up to hours on the week and month. This is one way to keep you organized and be able to actually leave and let others know exactly what is going on and where you are with each customer.

I would also encourage service managers to make time with your day to do a service walk at 10 am and 2 pm everyday to check on your technicians and update your schedule board. We should have a list of all work orders that are assigned to specific technicians and visit with each tech to ensure they are on target to finish the work order in the time frame in which you promised your customer.

The service walk performed daily will help you update your schedule and call customers proactively and update them if the promised times need to be adjusted. Now this might seem like I am asking you to do even more instead of taking items off your daily tasks so how is this going to save me time?

The issue is I have seen so many phone calls that come into a service department daily that are customers checking on their equipment, and they come in at some of the worst times of the day. So, instead of being reactive, we need to be more proactive, and if we update our customers of a new promise time versus all of those customers calling us when we are trying to complete other tasks. It burns up our day.

When we have those calls coming in, we then have to stop doing what we are doing and deal with another time distraction instead of controlling our day. I would encourage any service manager reading this that would like to gain some control over your day and gain some free time call or email me, and let’s discuss how you can implement just these two ideas and how they will give you back more control and freedom.

Our service managers have one of the hardest jobs inside the dealership, so anything we can do to reduce stress and increase a few free minutes to your day is a huge success.

Thanks for all you do, and if you’re interested, I look forward to helping anyway we can!

Article Written by Wayne Brozek


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