Most dealership service drives are a massive beehive of activity—a constant, never-ending churning of machines and humanity. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the world automotive professionals live in.
So, if you’re not ready, you’ll be playing catch up all day, all week, all month. You have to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. Staying ready is a lifestyle, necessary for survival in our industry. If you are constantly getting ready, then you are taking a lot of time away from being productive.
Another word for staying ready is organization.
If you’re a service advisor, then staying ready means your workstation is clean and orderly, you have an ample amount of office supplies available, your computer is connected and communicating with the DMS system, and your emails, phone messages, and texts are all answered.
It means you have your “worn parts display” items available as visual aids to help you sell preventive maintenance. Staying ready is making sure you have your marketing materials at hand: menus, protection plan information, and service financing options, just to name a few.
It means your digital assets are loaded onto your computer, laptop, or tablet with easy-to-find links and graphics. (These items enhance your ability to close the sale—but you’ll never use them if you don’t stay ready!) When it’s “show time” and you have a live customer in front of you, you’ll fall short if you aren’t ready.
Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.
If you are in management, it means staying on top of your paperwork. If you haven’t seen the top of your desk since the Obama Administration, then you’re not ready. If you have so many open RO’s on your desk that your cell phone gets lost in the giant stack of stuff, then you are not ready.
Who Stays Read
Staying ready is a mindset. It may require you to make an about-face; it is moving from chaos to order.
As a manager, if you’re buried in a sea of junk in your office, then you aren’t ready to face the demands of the day. (I’ve been in offices where the service manager asked me to have a seat and I couldn’t find one because of so much unopened mail, broken battery chargers, unfiled MPI reports, trash, and a half-eaten Egg McMuffin!)
Movers and shakers stay ready. Ambitious employees who aspire to more stay ready. Those who want to make more money stay ready. Those who want to spend more time with their families stay ready. Those who value time off stay ready. Those who value their health and want to stay fit stay ready.
In order to stay ready, you will have to spend some time getting ready. Getting ready is not evil and it’s not a waste of time.
If you are buried, then you must stop and get ready. It might involve taking a weekend to get caught up. It might involve working on your day off to clean up the mess, file the documents, throw stuff away, and get on top of the chaos.
Putting the Work In
But this level of cleaning and organizing should largely be a one-time event. A massive “get ready” event requires focus, hard work, sweat, and intentionality.
But the results are so sweet.
Staying ready requires far less energy. Staying ready increases your satisfaction at work. Staying ready increases your Customer Satisfaction Index because your customers respond better to order and organization.
In order to create a Stay Ready Culture, it has to flow from the top down. Your people are a reflection if you. First and foremost, the service manager must stay ready.
If you are a hot mess all the time, then chaos will be in your wake. If the shop foreman has a stay ready mentality, then the techs will too… and they’ll be happier and more productive. If the drive manager stays ready, then the advisors will too!
It flows downhill. Remember, behavior is caught not taught!