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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

Jason Unrau Blog Posts

Keeping Up with the Joneses in Quick Lube

Keeping Up with the Joneses in Quick Lube

More than half of all sales customers will abandon your dealership’s service department in the first year. It’s a widely varying statistic &nda…

Remove Discounts from Your Sales Toolbox

Remove Discounts from Your Sales Toolbox

In all of manager-dom, there’s nothing as frustrating as someone discounting needlessly. It happens in several forms: making up for a mistake in the …

Can You Justify Your Labor Rate?

Can You Justify Your Labor Rate?

You hear about labor rates, rising costs, and a ceiling for how high labor rates will reach. It’s all fine and dandy…unless you’re t…

3 Tips for a Great Third and Fourth Quarter in Your Service Department

3 Tips for a Great Third and Fourth Quarter in Your Service Department

The automotive industry fell a little flat in certain areas throughout the first and second quarters, but that rarely applies to the service department…

Service Sales are Good, But You Can Do Better

Service Sales are Good, But You Can Do Better

The first quarter of 2017 is in the books and the second quarter is almost wrapping up. As service departments go, it’s always a steady flow of g…

Kickstart Staff Motivation…With Your Wallet

Kickstart Staff Motivation…With Your Wallet

I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’ve all been there. The career you’re in has turned into a mundane task. Going to the off…

Demonstrate a Culture of Giving Back

Demonstrate a Culture of Giving Back

Can I be honest here? Nobody works to give it all away. The expectation is that you work hard to make a living; to support your family’s needs and, h…

The Workplace Roadmap: Plan for Tomorrow Today

The Workplace Roadmap: Plan for Tomorrow Today

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person holds 11.7 jobs between the ages of 18 and 48. That’s an average tenure of just u…

Equipped for the Evolution of the Service Experience…or Not?

Equipped for the Evolution of the Service Experience…or Not?

In every industry, the winds are shifting. The products are evolving, but that’s not what it’s about. The level of service that’s given i…

Is Your Actual Customer Satisfaction Out of Focus?

Is Your Actual Customer Satisfaction Out of Focus?

A little story about my initiation into a new workplace a decade ago: I had some previous experience as a service advisor already – about thre…

Where Will Your Ambition Take You?

Where Will Your Ambition Take You?

I don’t think I’m all that unusual (although my wife might not agree). My automotive career in the dealership world was disjointed, broken up …

Underachievers, and What to Do About Them

Underachievers, and What to Do About Them

Every person you hire has an intended role to fill. In some fashion, you can determine their performance and compare it to the benchmark you’ve s…

You Have a Position to Fill – Who Do You Hire?

You Have a Position to Fill – Who Do You Hire?

As much as you try to avoid employee churn, you’ll always need to hire someone. It might be to replace a staff who’s moved on in their care…

What Motivates Your Employees to Perform?

What Motivates Your Employees to Perform?

Sorting through resumes, you find applicants who show potential. There are some with experience to walk on the job and set your service department abla…

How Do You Pay Your New Fixed Ops Hires: Commission or Salary?

How Do You Pay Your New Fixed Ops Hires: Commission or Salary?

Fixed operations careers aren’t the most glamorous. Some days are rewarding while others are like repeatedly standing before a firing squad. Customer…

Hiring Your Stores Top Earners – NOT the Sales Floor

Hiring Your Stores Top Earners – NOT the Sales Floor

There’s a sales job in your dealership that earns much more than your salespeople to the bottom line. In fact, it’s many times what a salespers…

Is Your Service Department Experience Hurting Your Car Sales?

Is Your Service Department Experience Hurting Your Car Sales?

Word-of-mouth is the best source of advertising there is, and it’s also the least expensive. On the opposite end, a bad customer experience is in…

The Practical Role Service Plays for the Sales Team – Let’s Talk Labor Rates!

The Practical Role Service Plays for the Sales Team – Let’s Talk Labor Rates!

In the past few weeks, we’ve covered topics like treating service customers and sales customers similarly, the supporting role service team members p…

Treating Service Customers as an ‘Up’

Treating Service Customers as an ‘Up’

Those who are familiar with the realm of car sales can relate to this: You drive into the car sales lot and see two or three sharply-dressed people hang…

Is the Rest of the Dealership Up to Par with the Sales Floor?

Is the Rest of the Dealership Up to Par with the Sales Floor?

Walk into any big box store in any neighborhood near you. Stop in the middle of the store for a moment – it’s not about shopping right now.…

The 12th (Sales)Man on the Team

The 12th (Sales)Man on the Team

In the NFL, armchair quarterbacks and spectators in the stands are known as the ‘12th man’. The term pays homage to the contribution fans m…

A NEW Way of Doing Old Things

A NEW Way of Doing Old Things

The sum of fixed operations existence is after-sales service and it always has been. There’s literally NO customer that comes through your door that…

Does Your Service Department Show Up On Google?

Does Your Service Department Show Up On Google?

In the United States alone, more than a million online searches happen EVERY MONTH related to car repairs. That isn’t taking into consideration b…

Why Online is Where Your Service Department Needs to Be

Why Online is Where Your Service Department Needs to Be

It’s been a hot topic for a little while now, and it’s time to re-evaluate how you’re doing. Go to Google and search for “[inse…

Why Should Shoppers Visit YOUR Website?

Why Should Shoppers Visit YOUR Website?

Because you stay abreast of current trends, you already know that Think With Google has conducted extensive research on the car buying experience. In the …

NADA 100 is in the Rearview Mirror – Now What?

NADA 100 is in the Rearview Mirror – Now What?

Tens of thousands of automotive professionals began gathering at NADA 100 January 26th, pumped up to drive growth in their dealerships for the future. …

Must-See NADA 100 Expo Displays for Fixed Ops

Must-See NADA 100 Expo Displays for Fixed Ops

New Orleans is ramping up for the 100th anniversary of NADA, and the convention promises to be outstanding. You’ll be entertained at the NADA100 Carn…

Where Should You Spend Your Time at NADA 100?

Where Should You Spend Your Time at NADA 100?

You’re taking time away from your busy service or parts department, all on the company dime, to attend NADA 100 in New Orleans. You’d better ha…

NADA 100 Preview – What’s In It for You?

NADA 100 Preview – What’s In It for You?

In just a few short weeks, the National Automobile Dealers Association will host their convention from New Orleans. This year is the 100th anniversary …

Emphasize the Basics to Start 2017 Out Right

Emphasize the Basics to Start 2017 Out Right

You’ve spent the past year coaching your team and tweaking your process to reach your year-end goals. Countless one-on-one sessions and opportuni…

How Can Your Job Be Less Work?

How Can Your Job Be Less Work?

‘It isn't work if you love what you’re doing’. You’ve heard that phrase before, I’m sure. Whether you’ve been a…

Great Job, Now Do Better Next Year

Great Job, Now Do Better Next Year

At this point of the year, you have a pretty good idea how the numbers are going to pan out. This year has had its challenges for the automotive indust…

Why Must it Always Be a Fight?

Why Must it Always Be a Fight?

Your dealership is one big happy family and everyone gets along famously. Unless you’re a dysfunctional family with screaming, hair-pulling, and slam…

How to Destroy Customer Trust in Your Service Department

How to Destroy Customer Trust in Your Service Department

Ask your friends what they think of their dealership’s service department. You’ll get a range of answers, ranging from polite and positive …

Do Holiday Specials in Service Help or Hurt?

Do Holiday Specials in Service Help or Hurt?

Every time you turn on the TV, you see a car commercial with a Rudolph nose on it. Dealers capitalize on the hunt for hot buys on Black Friday, adverti…

Performance Reviews in Fixed Ops – Tell It Like It Is!

Performance Reviews in Fixed Ops – Tell It Like It Is!

During your onboarding or hiring process, you tell every new employee their roles and responsibilities. From their hours on the job and customer intera…

First Impressions in the Service Drive Are More Important Than You Think

First Impressions in the Service Drive Are More Important Than You Think

You walk into a well-known, Michelin-star restaurant. One where the waiter has a towel draped over his arm and a bottle of wine in his hand. You’re p…

Are Women Treated Differently in Your Service Department?

Are Women Treated Differently in Your Service Department?

Ouch. That’s a hot topic. No one wants to be accused of the sexist stigmas that have been tied to the automotive industries. Men and women are eq…

How Do You Deal With Declined Services?

How Do You Deal With Declined Services?

In our industry, every department is involved in sales. And although it’s called the ‘Service’ department, you and I both know there&rsqu…

Tech-Pocalypse Now!

Tech-Pocalypse Now!

There’s a shortage of technicians most dealerships are experiencing, and the drought has no end in sight. Unwittingly, well-trained technicians n…

Where Have All the Technicians Gone?

Where Have All the Technicians Gone?

There’s no need to rehash the vehicle complexities that are worked into every new model. Whether by regulation such as emissions standards or for…

Strike a Balance Between Your Best Customer and Every Other Customer

Strike a Balance Between Your Best Customer and Every Other Customer

You expect the occasional disgruntled customer or miscommunication when you work in ANY service industry. It’s a fact of life when you work with …

Contacting Customers on Their Terms

Contacting Customers on Their Terms

Like most of you that read this blog, I’ve spend years and years in the automotive industry. I’ve become immune to the sales techniques and…

Service Staff: The Commission vs Salary Debate

Service Staff: The Commission vs Salary Debate

A tight line to walk in the service department is your pay structure for service advisors and support staff. No matter who you are, someone is going to…

The Elusive Bump in Sales Dollars

The Elusive Bump in Sales Dollars

Can you increase sales in the service department without chasing away your customers? The goal of the service department at any dealership is the same a…

Have You Trained Your Replacement?

Have You Trained Your Replacement?

We all love to think we are irreplaceable; that the function we perform can’t be done any better than us. But let’s not kid ourselves. When…

Where Are YOUR Upsell Opportunities Hiding?

Where Are YOUR Upsell Opportunities Hiding?

You scratch out a living day-to-day, week in and week out. You push your service staff to accomplish as much as they can from every customer (within re…

I Learned Time Management the Hard Way

I Learned Time Management the Hard Way

There’s an old adage: “There aren’t enough hours in the day”. For some, that applies to recreation, like trying to stretch a fi…

Most Manage, Few Lead: Which One Are You?

Most Manage, Few Lead: Which One Are You?

Members of LinkedIn are bombarded with memes and motivational pictures. Between the Ned Stark photos and the cool car pictures, everyone seems to think…

Which KPIs Set You Up For Success?

Which KPIs Set You Up For Success?

When you go fishing, you have to measure the fish you catch. When you frame a house, you don’t cut the studs before marking the length. When you&…

Why Recalls Are Your Friend

Why Recalls Are Your Friend

Your store has a steady stream of customers with recall notices in hand, storming through your door. But unless you haven’t had access to the int…

Service Advisors: Is It Being Done, Or Is It Being Done RIGHT?

Service Advisors: Is It Being Done, Or Is It Being Done RIGHT?

There’s a great divide between going through the motions and getting the job done right. Are your customers getting the best from your staff? …

You Can’t Count On the Sales Department, and Here’s Why

You Can’t Count On the Sales Department, and Here’s Why

They’ve always been your biggest customer and always will be. In the franchised dealership world, new and used car sales are indirectly the bigge…

Acknowledging the Forgotten Department

Acknowledging the Forgotten Department

In medieval times, when a severe punishment was handed out, the convicted party was often sentenced to time in the dungeon. One such prison was known as an…

What Kind of Employees do YOU Develop?

What Kind of Employees do YOU Develop?

You’re not just their boss – you’re their mentor. At least, if you want to be. Whether you’re employed as a service manager, fix…

Why Cash-Paying Millennials May Change Your Department

Why Cash-Paying Millennials May Change Your Department

Just today, Bankrate.com issued a press release about credit card usage according to demographics. The results are rather intriguing, so here are a few…

Getting Back to the Basics...Again

Getting Back to the Basics...Again

After a recent conversation with a big fish in the Canadian automotive fixed ops industry, Walter Schirrmeister, VP of Fixed Operations at The Dilawri …

Sometimes the Best Service is a Sales Referral

Sometimes the Best Service is a Sales Referral

You have customers that come through your service drive every day with cars that have seen better years. Vehicles with hundreds of thousands of miles e…

Do Your Customers Like You?

Do Your Customers Like You?

It’s not a personality thing. You don’t have to swap family photos and go for dinner once a month. It’s important that your customers…

What Does Your Future Service Customer Look Like?

What Does Your Future Service Customer Look Like?

I think we’d all agree that the world turns much faster than we ever expected. In the blink of an eye, ten years go by and we wonder what we missed. …

Customer Retention Lessons from a Sushi Restaurant?

Customer Retention Lessons from a Sushi Restaurant?

I’ve developed quite an affinity for sushi as of late. I don’t know what it is, whether it’s the freshness of the ingredients, the cr…

Lessons Learned from the Other Side of the Desk

Lessons Learned from the Other Side of the Desk

Yesterday, I had an appointment for vehicle maintenance at the car dealership. It may not seem like a big deal and I didn’t expect anything of it at …

The Trouble with Shop Supplies

The Trouble with Shop Supplies

When you bring your vehicle to the service department for routine maintenance or repairs that aren’t covered under warranty, you know there is going to …

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