The Great Fixed Ops Self-Reckoning

 

The real barrier to improved customer experience lies within

Friedrich Nietzsche, the renowned German philosopher once said, “you yourself will always be the worst enemy you can encounter.” Exterior challenges like new market disruptors and rapidly shifting customer expectations clearly indicate the need for change in Fixed Ops. The hard truth? Recognizing the need for change is one thing. Committing to it is another.

The Obstacles are Real

The pressure on dealership Fixed Operations has never been greater. Supply chain snafus, microchip shortages and rising inflation have delayed decisions on car purchases, significantly adding to vehicle maintenance demand. Making it worse, Service Managers face internal operational challenges as well, such as high turnover and lack of skilled technicians. The proliferation of third-party digital channels (Carvana, Vroom) has driven down vehicle margins, leaving Fixed Ops to make up the difference.

Shifting customer expectations exacerbate the situation. “Reimagined Consumers”, as global consultancy Accenture categorizes them, want a fast, transparent and trustworthy process from beginning to end. They demand omni-channel communication, expect faster response times and more attention paid to their personal needs.

Are You an Agent of Change?

All these exterior pressures hardly provide the ideal setting for launching significant change. But here’s the thing. They’re not going away. Yes, leading change is hard. Terry Cummins, VP Director of Sales at Dealer-FX witnesses resistance to it first-hand. “We create software, but our strategic advantage is Change Management. In truth, we’re process consultants, leveraging years of Fixed Ops experience to give customers added confidence.” As legendary CEO Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself.” The time has come for Service Directors/Managers to take a hard in the mirror and ask:  Am I an agent of change…or a barrier to it?

Service Scheduling

Exterior pressures hardly provide the ideal setting for launching significant change. But here’s the thing. They’re not going away.

Tips for Tackling Change

Of course, committing to change is just the first step. What’s next? Developing a successful change management strategy. But that’s a topic for another blog. For now, here are a few tips to help your thought process:

  • Focus on initiatives that make the largest positive difference
  • Resist launching big changes all at once
  • Keep transparency of process top-of-mind
  • Adopt digital tools that increase customer convenience

What’s hurting dealerships more? Lack of technicians? Or lack of determination to avert the crisis?

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