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Jared Hamilton
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Denim Simkins

Denim Simkins Director, Fixed Ops

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Keeping your customers happy and employees engaged through proper training

b8636691490dcc2fc5b69ea7e5b21c61.jpg?t=1Recently I was called by a dealership about a previous employee who was being considered for a service advisor position. Of course we were able to discuss how well he preformed for me in a lot of the standard service advisor performance metrics along with some of the areas that needed some improvement. Overall this was a young service advisor that has a great head on his shoulders and does really well with the customer. Typically he was the top producing service advisor on our Honda service drive among four other talented service advisors. I wanted to share with you why I was not able to give my previous employee a “go ahead” nod to his future employer and why I explained to the service director on the other line a glairing cause for concern.

It all boiled around his willingness to train and continue his growth early on in his career. Right now you may be questioning the head on my shoulders, but I wanted to explain the reason “why” a good training program can teach you so much about how a potential employee will fair in todays service drive. We know that an advisor will talk to more customers than any other position within the dealership, so why are they typically the least trained?

#1 our customers want to speak to the expert

There is constant change in our industry that is only accelorating. With change comes continuous improvements and enhancements from our manufactures. Our customers want to talk to the subject matter expert in all areas of the vehicle. A service advisor today has to know everything mechanically on the vehicle along with all the electronics and new features and then convey with confidence their knowledge to the customer.

#2 a good training program will keep the employee engaged

A recent study highlighted that a training session based on the “big picture” or showing the future direction of the department helped the employee understand the overall objective and be engaged in assisting accomplishing the goal. A continuous training program helps the employee evolve and when preformed correctly keeps the employee engaged with current issues. The strongest method to get that engagement is to have the employees help design the content for training.

#3 Recognition

Everyone likes to have a sense of accomplishment. Through a well-defined training program you can reward your employees for their accomplishments. Essentially you are able to fill up the emotional bank within the employee that will give them the feeling of accomplishing a hard task that ultimately will reward you for time to come.

One of the areas that I feel we fall very short on is the measurement stick used to monitor continuous training. We all have completed numerous factory-training programs and there is a lot of good content within those modules, but that is simply a foundation to start on. The factory comes out with a handful of new modules every year after you have completed the base training and that simply is not enough. You need to create a “higher learning” curriculum to follow that helps your employees to be more rounded and better versed in all areas of the operations. So when I evaluate if a new employee is going to be a critical cog in the sprocket of growth, I like to use training as the measurement tool. When I can evaluate how an employee is willing to invest in their growth and then also takes great pride in accomplishing a task, I know I have a strong core to work from. I also know that someone has not hit the “know it all” level, therefore I can expose him or her to the greater success within the automotive industry. 

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