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Here is an article that David wrote for the RV Executive magazine about this important topic:

The number one concern most every Dealer, GM, Fixed Operations Manager, Sales Manager, or Service Manager shares with us is poor customer follow-up, meaning its not up to dealership standards or policy.

Unfortunately, when our service advisors are not following through or held accountable for proper customer follow-up, the above mentioned personnel end up getting involved with the customer’s service concerns.

So what do we do about it?? Usually the service manager is running around putting out these fires all because we do not have proper procedures implemented, job descriptions reviewed/signed, on-going advisor coaching/training, and electronic tools in place to hold the advisors accountable for this process.

I’m guessing that most of us have very good service advisors in place, but what is going to make them awesome service advisors?

Hopefully Service Managers are reading this article and are saying, “Yeap, your right, but where do I start”

First and foremost, the service advisor needs to know that customer follow-up is his or her number one priority. So obviously this has to be discussed when we are interviewing for this position or needs to be addressed with our current staff. This process needs to be written in their job description and signed by the employee.

We endorse minimally the customer needs to be called every 5 business days to update them. If the customer calls us to find out the status of the work being done or parts on order…WE’VE LOST!! When we don’t follow-up with customers we have planted the seed of doubt, the customers says “I knew this was going to happen” and they think we as a dealership to value their time or business.

The next step is to coach and train the advisor on this process. Such items as conversation with the customer and letting them know when, and how often they will be followed up with when the customer drops off their RV for service is imperative. We find a lot of times the advisor has not been taught the correct verbiage to use during this process, so their needs to be an emphasis on proper communication.

Probably the most critical component of this process is using the “proper tools” to ensure we are following up with the customer minimally every 5 business days!!

So what type of tools are we talking about? Well there can be a couple of versions of what we call the “Customer Route Sheet” that needs to be implemented, used, and monitored.

Depending on your DMS usage, we can use this system to eliminate another step in administration input. For example, ADP has an opportunity for follow-up notes in their “Service and Invoicing screen. When the advisor generates the R.O. the information is migrated in the above mentioned section of ADP.

We then can monitor follow-up when the advisor makes notes in the R.O. in the “transfer notes box” and that will migrate over in the service and invoicing screen for a great snapshot of all of the customers the advisor is working with (open R.O.’s)

One of the keys to proper notes is to have the advisor start every follow-up with the date of the last contact, and then the correspondence or results of the communication. Example: 7/8/16 “Spoke to Mrs. Johnson and gave her ETA of parts coming in” “also shared with her the cause and correction of her living room slide.”

If this is done properly the service manager can see all of the proper correspondence with the customer in case, he or she has to get involved with the customer. I have had a number of service managers tell me that this has been a lifesaver when needing to defend our service team regarding follow-up.

More importantly the service manager now has an inspection process for customer follow-up.

Earlier I mentioned there is a couple of versions of a “Customer Route Sheet” and the second version is just a simple excel spreadsheet that we can use in the same fashion. This does take an extra step for our service advisors to input information at the time of write-up. Its vey minimal an only takes about 30 seconds to log; Date of drop-off, R.O.#, Customer Name, Type of Camper, Customer Contact Number, Email Address, and Customer’s Abbreviated Concerns.

There are additional columns in the route sheet that include “unit status” and obviously “Date of Customer’s last Contact and Remarks” that the advisor will update during customer communication. We typically implement this document on the dealerships server, Dropbox, or Goggle Docs so the Service Manager can inspect and hold the advisor accountable.

Either tool, allows all managers at any given time to monitor our progress for customer follow-up and take appropriate action with our staff when needed.

Hopefully this all important process is already implemented in your dealership in some fashion and you are utilizing some sort of electronic customer follow-up tools.

At this year’s RVDA Convention/Expo in November, I am looking forward to addressing additional processes and tools that a service manager can use, to coach, train, direct, and hold their advisors accountable.

More importantly assist our advisors to be as successful as possible and just not throw them into the heat of the battle without proper tools and coaching!!

“Have a great second half of the year, and I’ll see you in the service lane!!”

Dave