John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).

He can be contacted at john@crashnetwork.com 

Monday, 02 November 2020 21:42

Perspectives, Ideas Shared by Dealership Management Helpful for Independent Shops as Well

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Scott Doering of Volvo Cars USA said customers want an “Uber-like experience” from shops offering pick-up and delivery of vehicles. Scott Doering of Volvo Cars USA said customers want an “Uber-like experience” from shops offering pick-up and delivery of vehicles.


In a series of webinars in October, dealership fixed operations and service department managers shared their experiences and lessons learned during the pandemic, including perspectives and ideas that could be helpful for independent collision repairs as well.

During one of the online group discussions, three of the four panelists said they’d had personnel test positive for COVID-19.


“It got pretty scary for a little bit, when we had a couple people who tested positive,” said Becca Kroeger, service manager at Universal Nissan in Orlando. “We got right on it. As soon as we found out someone had symptoms, they had to self-quarantine for two weeks. They would have to be tested and get a negative result to come back.”


Each time, she said, she went into the dealership herself and disinfected every service advisor’s office and all the technicians’ work stations, even though the dealer had a company already doing that overnight.


“I sprayed everything,” Kroeger said. “I just did it myself because then I knew it was done. I felt safe. My biggest focus day in and day out is keeping my parts and service people safe so that we can stay open.”


She said early on, the dealership owner chose to offer free maintenance labor for all first responders.


“It was amazing how much business it brought in during those times,” she said, noting that service advisors often found other needed work on those vehicles. “We were able to upsell. So we absolutely came out ahead."


Keeping up morale has been one of her focuses, asking service advisors at each morning meeting to share something positive that happened the day before. They’ve bought lunches or brought desserts out to employees.


“This is going to sound really silly, but I went out and bought a huge number of smiley face helium balloons and placed one at every advisor’s office, one at the parts counter and on the tables in the café in the dealership,” Kroeger said. “I bought helium replacement, and for the month and a half when things were really rough, we kept those smiley faces going. You’d be amazed how much people appreciated it. It just reminded everybody to smile, even behind the masks.”

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