Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Ultimate Service Manager-Part Two

In part two of The Ultimate Service Manager we will dive into the evaluation and form a plan of action. The key to an evaluation is not to get into what we call Analysis Paralysis!

Believe it or not, it happens more than you think it does. We pull report after report and it seems to always finds it's way to the trash, due to lack of an action plan.

 First and foremost, the most important part of this evaluation involves your employees.

One of my favorite authors is Jim Collins and in his book, "Good to Great", he states that you must have the right people on the bus, and they need to be in the right seat.

This is the key to consistent growth month after month because as we all know, success is a moving target and without the right employees in the right seats, change will never happen consistently.

So here's a few questions to ask yourself and assist you with building your Performance Management Process:
  1. Do you review each employee's performance daily, weekly, monthly? Yes/No
  2. Who's performance is concerning me? ___________.
  3. Does the Behavior Profile match the position? Yes/No
  4. Is the Behavior needed for this position trainable? Yes/No
  5. Does this employee have a Job Description? Yes/No
  6. What performance metric is concerning you? __________.
  7. Does the pay plan reward what you want repeated? Yes/No
  8. Is the performance metric realistic? Yes/No
  9. Has this employee performed it in the past? Yes/No
  10. Is the performance objective/goal crystal clear? Yes/No
  11. Does the employee need additional training? Yes/No
  12. Does the employee need a coach? Yes/No 
  13. Does the employee want to do it? Yes/No
  14. Have you written out a corrective/disciplinary action plan and reviewed it with the employee? Yes/No
Remember one of the most important choices you make is who is allowed on the bus. It can make you or break you! I can't even count how many managers made bad choices on a gut feeling with no paper trail only to find out they are out of a job.

I also want to point out that no documentation can substitute for Great Management. What I mean by this is it's a tool to assist you in communicating what the Vision and Goals are however you still need verbal praising/coaching everyday by MBWA or (Management By Walking Around.) 

If you manage from your office it will show in your numbers. Let's take a look at a real world dealer client of ours and see how we came up with the action plan.

First, we performed a personality profile on each employee and then reviewed each of them to see if they had the right behavior profile to fit the job description.

We had two advisors that did not fit the profile for that position. Then we asked for the job descriptions for all employees and their wasn't any. 

One of the service advisor's in question was the receptionist and wanted to write service. They handed her a pen and she wrote service. Let me re-clarify that just a bit... she "took" orders which led to under $100.00 in labor sales per Customer Pay Repair Order.

Let's take a look at the other advisor that did not fit the profile. He has been there for over 20 years and had been through all the factory training as well as with a few consultants that had visited the dealer. He was a master at everything and his certificates proved it.

So we took a look at the financial evaluation results and he was at or under $150.00 in labor sales per Customer Pay Repair Order for the last year. When I sat down to ask him why his sales are so low for a seasoned advisor he had a list of excuses a mile long.  

Next I asked if any corrective/disciplinary action or "write ups" were recorded on any employee in the last year and again the answer was no. This is 90% of the numerous dealers I have been in over the last 18 years. The majority of them thought it was corny and wouldn't make a difference. 

I have a saying: "I would rather be corny and profitable then cool and broke". The last thing I was looking for was a Goal Action Plan and again the answer was no.  

How can you expect your employee's to know what you want if you don't have a vision/plan/goal, train, coach, and consult? So we started with the infamous Job Description for all employees. We then sat each employee down and reviewed it with them and asked if any part of the job description was not relevant to the job position?

Next, we had them sign it and we created a performance file for them. Then we went over the Vision and Goal Action Plan for the store and asked again if they thought it was relevant and then had them sign it. This also went into the performance file.

The pay plan was next for the service advisors. One of the  main problems we see is Dealers or Managers fearing how the employee will react. Their is nothing wrong with this, however don't let the employee dictate how you build a pay plan. The number one thing to focus on is to reward what you want repeated.

We have seen a lot of pay plans that reward Poor Performance. The guide for service advisor compensation is 5% of the advisor's total labor and parts sales, (customer, warranty & internal). A balanced plan requires a combination of total sales, sales per per customer pay repair order with a minimum total sales per month to achieve a sales bonus.

We don't believe in salary's at all. This job is a sales position and I have never seen a "top" salesman being paid a salary to sell cars. Installing a new pay plan can give a Manager an uneasy feeling however you have to make the tough decisions if it is best for the business.

This is not a social club and it's main function is to absorb 100% or more of the total dealership expenses.

Here's a question to ask yourself, How does your Fixed Operations measure up in the Service Absorption arena? The Goal is 100% and the pay plans can make you or break you as we have seen over and over again.

The best way we found to install a new pay plan is to show them how we came up with the numbers to support it and what the Vision and Goals are for each of them.

We then give them 30 days to adjust to the new pay plan meaning they can choose their old plan or the new one based on the greater of the two at the end of the month.

Next month we will continue with part three of the Ultimate Service Manager!

Until the next blog...remember one thing:

Success is a Moving Target! 

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Low Risk High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at or Call me direct at: 305-331-3373    

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