With more than 15 years of experience in the service department, I had more than my share of ups and downs. Part of it was to do with me personally, and other situations were related to my environment. Some of it could be attributed to variables while some of it, like the service department, was fixed.
A few anecdotes:
- A few years after buying our first home, my wife and I began a small but important renovation. As a service advisor at the time, there were ebbs and flows in the customer traffic and we only lived a few minutes away. So, during slower periods, I’d meet with the contractor or run for supplies. The renovation took precedence in my day and when that happens, everything else takes second place. What fell behind was every work-related. Customer follow-up, calling estimates, tracking vehicles in the shop – it was all a mess. Other things in life became more important than my job. I had a difficult time prioritizing between work and everything else.
- I was promised the service manager position at a new store acquisition for the dealer group. About 10 years into my career as a service advisor, it seemed like the promotion I deserved and I felt ready. But then, silence. As I waited for the announcement, it didn’t come. They decided to retain the previous manager and simply didn’t tell me…or talk to me at all for the next few months. My attitude and performance at the desk were in the toilet for about six months afterward. I was disillusioned and hated my workplace for a while.
- I’m naturally an introverted personality. It takes effort for me to be around new people and it can be tough to begin new relationships and conversations, even with customers. After moving within the dealer group to the ‘big store’, it took months to build my daily RO count to the norm. It took even longer to feel like I was accepted – a part of the team. My natural disposition made achievements harder to attain.
- To go with the introverted personality, I fear rejection more than an A-type personality. The many hefty estimates I’d be presented in a day were hard for me to call. I feared that I’d be shot down; that the customer wouldn’t see the value in the repair estimate I was presenting. My fear of rejection handcuffed my and prevented me from taking my sales to a higher level at times.
What’s the Point I’m Making?
For me, my biggest challenges as a service employee were almost all ME. Self-centered views are debilitating, and that was one of the tallest hurdles I faced daily.
All of the other challenges I faced – management, technicians, bad customer interactions, low-quality equipment, and under-staffing, for examples – were a mere inconvenience or annoyance rather than a major challenge.
Perhaps my situation is unique, where it was ME getting in MY OWN WAY. But I’d encourage you to take a look at your own situation in the service department and evaluate what truly gets in your way. Is it the environment or your attitude about the environment? Is it your manager’s style or are you having trouble respecting their authority?
Please share what you find to be your biggest challenge or struggle as a service employee. Also, let me know if you identify with mine.