I received the letter that you sent me a few days ago about the problems that have been facing your dealership. I am doing great at Behrmann automotive consulting group. It was my pleasure working with your company for the few years that we worked together. I gained great skills and vast experience when working with your company. The problems that your company is facing are not unique to your company but are difficulties that any dealership can encounter.
The present condition that your dealership is going through is a result of numerous factors that can be easily addressed. The current organizational structure of your dealership is one of the reasons for your problems. The organizational structure that I received does not have a clear line of authority, no proper delegation of authority, no formal training of staff, no motivation, no clear chain of command, and no proper emphasis on staff.
The clear line of authority, there is no clear line of authority in the organization structure of the organization. A clear line of authority provides the responsibilities and duties of each person. The conflict between the technicians is a result of lacking a clear line of authority and duties of each work in the organization. The technicians blame the service advisors for not doing their work in the most effective manner. They feel that following up on the sales is a primary responsibility is the main responsibility of the service advisors and thus they cannot engage in the work that they are not paid for. This leaves a gap in your organization whereby the service providers are fewer than technicians. From your organization structure, it is clear that the main aim of the technicians is to diagnose and repair and thus they have not responsible if anything happens in the sales department. The lack of clear specification of duties has led to a situation where some clients’ needs are not well attended to. This has made many clients seek alternatives and not return to your organization when they need assistance on some services.
Chain of command, it is clear that the organizational structure of your dealership has no structured chain of command. The service manager has lost the ability to control the service advisors. The service advisors should respect and not question the commands that come from the service manager. From your sentiments in the letter that I received, I have learned that the service manager conflicts with the service advisors on some roles and responsibilities. A good chain of command will ensure that your organization achieves its desired goals and objectives. It will also help to manage conflicts that are common in your dealership.
From your sentiments, it is clear that your problems started when you added some staff to your company. It seems your service manager was used to managing a small team of people because of a lack of formal training in management. Tom, who is your service manager has the ability to do the work but with some additional training about the job. The service advisors also have no formal training on how to deal with customers. This could be the reason why you do not get return customers or referrals from the customers that you currently have. The technicians also seem to have a problem of because they do not have formal training on how to coordinate with fellow employees when working. This is evident from their allegation that they cannot deal directly with the sales because they are not paid to do so by the company.
Secondly, the relationship among employees in your dealership is not good. The manager and the service advisors do not coordinate well. The employees seem to disagree on some issues. The service manager and the service advisor’s disagreements have a negative effect on the effective functioning of the company. The technicians and the service advisors also seem to have a bad working relationship from your sentiments.
The bad situation in your company commenced when you decided to increase the number of staff. Tom who was a service advisor assumed the position of a service manager without undergoing formal training on how to manage those who work under him. Any gap in the management of the dealership is likely to have a negative effect on the effective functioning of the company. As a service manager, Tom ought to have put in place strategies that will ensure that there are no conflicting roles in the organization.
Conflicting roles, from your sentiments in the letter that I received from you it seems that the issue of conflicting roles is also negatively affecting your organization. When you hired sue, the top technician to work in the shop, she had a problem with the technicians who thought that she covered some of their roles and did not care much. The technicians thought that you had relieved them of the role of diagnosing and thus concentrated on repair work.
Lack of motivation, the employees of your company are not motivated as is evidenced by their actions. Most of them just stick to their roles and do not have the passion to help the company grow. They actually just do what they are paid to do as it is clear from the thinking of the technicians that selling advising is not their work. A motivated employee would go the extra mile out of their duties and execute other extra tasks for the good of the company.
You need to ensure that all your workers have some formal training in the work that they handle. The service manager, who is the face of the company, should undergo some part-time formal training on how to run the company. I Know Tom as a good and hardworking person though he has no formal training on managerial issues. Having worked with him before, I found him as a person who is ready to learn new things but he had few problems with his relationship with the junior officer. The relationship of the service manager with the technicians and service advisors seems not to be good. As the chief executive officer of the dealership, you should try to find out how your employees relate to each other. A good working relationship amongst workers is requisite for the success of any organization.
The decline in the number of sales is an indication of the problems that are in the service department. For any business to make a profit you need to make a lot of sales and ensure that you get return customers. The expenses on the shipping of the returned unneeded parts are not just because such expenditures will lead to losses. As a business person, you should ensure that the output from any transaction that is carried out in business outweighs the costs and inputs. I would advise that you make good use of the available workers and don’t think of hiring more soon because this will only increase the expenses. From your letter, I can deduce that your workers have not embraced teamwork because they keep shifting blames. Team culture and the values that the team holds is a powerful forms of control that can influence members’ focus of attention, shape interpretations of events, and guide attitudes and behavior. A team with a powerful culture and holds to its strong values is likely to accomplish its goals successfully. It is evident from your sentiments that your technicians have been blaming your service advisors. This shows that they have not embraced teamwork and thus keeping your company in a bad situation. As the Chief executive officer of the company, you need to come up with strategies that will ensure that your employees work as a team.
The service advisors are the faces of the company to the outside world. They directly engage customers and thus need to portray a good picture of the company. Return customers are a great asset to any company. The longer a loyal customer remains with the company, the more chance we have to gain additional revenue from that customer. The customer can also refer the company to others, hence increasing the company’s revenue. The service advisors should ensure that they are able to give customers the right advice so that you can retain as many customers as possible. Some customers can easily get irritated by simple things and may not come back to the company. Loyal customers are the key to revenue growth. Instead of spending time replacing lost revenue, the salespeople can now concentrate on growing revenue. From your sentiments, it is clear that the losses that you have been making is as a result of losing customers. This means that service advisor is not doing their best when it comes to assisting customers. When customers leave, it is like a leaking bucket that can never be full. Most customers who are dissatisfied rarely express their disappointments directly but just seek alternatives when they need the service again.
As, the chief executive officer, you should ensure that the service advisors and the technicians work together. Customer requests for repairs can only reach the technicians through the service advisors. The service advisors should ensure that they make all the necessary follow-ups when they get repair orders from the customers. If your service advisors have no formal training, you need to ensure that they are formally trained on how to handle customers and perform all other tasks. You need to ensure that they attend seminars and meetings where they get skills on service advisor training. Formal training is vital for any employee because it helps them to get skills that are crucial when engaging customers. Employees who have formal training in their respective areas of specialization are a great asset to any company. I propose that you start a program in which the service advisers will attend refresher courses after every year so that they can know the latest trends in the market. This will enable them to be able to deal with the customers in the dynamic market.
Team building, is one of the ways you can use to motivate your workers. You can organize a team-building interaction with your staff. I understand you interacted with other people both with and outside your state who have dealerships that deal with the same products and services as yours. To motivate your worker and make them put extra effort into their work, you can organize an exchange program with people who have the same dealership business. This will equip your employees with skills and expose them to the outside world. They will borrow much and implement it in your dealership business thus making your business realize profits and regain its pride.
Coordination, from your sentiments it seems like there is no coordination or very little if there amongst your employees. For instance, the technicians do not make follow-ups on sales because they feel that they are not paid to do so. Coordination is very vital in any organization for effective service delivery. I propose that you come up with a strategy that will ensure that all the departments of your dealership effectively coordinate for effective delivery of services. To effectively coordinate the team you can also make the number of service advisors and reduce the number of technicians. From the structure, it is clear that you have very few service advisors yet they are the face of the company. They are the ones who portray the image of the company to the outside world. Three service advisors are not sufficient for your dealership business. If you feel that the expenses are more, you can reduce one technician and use what you pay him to add one more service advisor so that they cannot have more work that makes it difficult for them to effectively handle their responsibilities. From your letter, it is clear that the service advisors are overworked and thus it is prudent that they can up with a strategy that will help to reduce their workload.
As the chief executive officer of the organization, you should give your service manager more power. The service manager should have the ability to delegate duties to all the workers of the organization. Some members of your staff have stuck in their primary duties and cannot go the extra mile to do anything extra for the organization for which they are not paid for. The service manager, at any particular time, should have the ability, to assign anyone a role even if the staff is not paid to carry out such a duty so long as it is for the good of the organization. The technicians at some point can follow up on the sales if the service advisors are busy. This will ensure that the workers coordinate and thus increase efficiency in your organization.
The recommendations that I have given above have both advantages and disadvantages. A clear chain of command will give the service manager more powers and thus help him to effectively run the organization. There will be no more conflicts between the service manager and the service advisors. The technicians and the service advisors will be able to coordinate and thus leading to increased sales. The profits of your dealership will increase as a result of return customers and new customers who will be referred by the existing customers. This recommendation also has its disadvantage. Giving the service manager more powers will lead to a monopoly of power and thus rebellion. The service manager should exercise his powers with utmost care so as not to create rebellion from other employees of your dealership.
Formal training will add value to your organization and thus it is an advantage. All the employees will have knowledge of the present market dynamics when they take refresher courses in their various fields of specialization. The service manager will get knowledge on how to manage other employees, a task that he has to be unable to effectively perform. He will know how to lead the organization and transform it into a profit-making firm. The organization will regain its pride because profits will increase. The technicians will get the requisite skills that are needed in diagnosing and repairing parts of vehicles that are found in your dealership. They will also be able to coordinate with service advisors thus working in an effective manner. The service advisors will also gain great skills from formal training. They deal directly with the customer and thus they are the face of the organization. They will get good negotiation and problem-solving skills. They will know how to effectively negotiate with a customer. They will be able to give the customer and the technicians the right advice on various products of your dealership. The service advisors have been unable to effectively respond to customer calls in the most effective way. Formal training will give them the needed skills and thus make them transform your organization.
Formal training of all your employees in their respective fields of specialization will also have a disadvantage for your dealership. Some employees might ask for extra payment because they will feel that the extra skills will warrant more remuneration. This is a minor problem that can easily be dealt with and should not be a reason for not offering them formal training. The advantages of formal training will outweigh the disadvantages and thus it is necessary that you come up with a strategy that will ensure that all your workers have formal training in their respective fields of specialization.
Teamwork also has its own advantages and disadvantages. Teamwork will enable your employees to effectively perform their duties. Teamwork culture will make your employees go the extra mile and not just stick to their primary roles. Teamwork also has its disadvantages, for instance, it encourages laziness amongst some employees. Some employees may take the advantage of working in teams to burden others. It is also hard to know the effort of each employee when they work in teams.
Delegation of duties has also its main advantages and disadvantages. When each employee knows his specific duty, it becomes easier in managing the work that they do. The role of the technicians is to diagnose and repair whereas the service advisors provide the information that the customers need and that which the technicians require when repairing. Delegation of duty also has its disadvantages because it makes employees stick to their specific duties. It will make it hard for the service manager to assign any other duty to some employees because they will feel that they are not paid for such work and thus do a shoddy job.