Beat the Competition With Focused Training Models

In the last issue (March-April) we introduced the idea of Service Readiness. Now, we’ll take a look at individual elements of this concept. Let’s begin with creating a Service Readiness Training Model designed to ensure that owners of late-model vehicles seeking service at your facility find sales and service teams that are fully aware what it takes to provide appropriate options for diagnosis, repair, adjustment or maintenance.

Let’s focus on learning just in time, meaning at the time when your technicians are presented with an unfamiliar vehicle or system. Look at your shop and see how much time your team spends learning about the vehicle in their bay.

The technicians use their existing knowledge and experience to guide their search for more information. But in doing so, they often spend too much time researching a new system or take their experience and tools and apply them inappropriately.

You’ve got to have a business model that includes training for the management, sales and service teams. The management team must continually seek marketing tools and best practices to ensure its business model meets the needs of the customer base. Team members must be able to plan for information and tools or equipment to service the vehicles prior to their arrival. They also must be able to evaluate and select the appropriate replacement parts to ensure that repairs and services meet the customers’ expectations. And they must be able to provide the customer service that sets the company apart from its competition.

You must give the sales and service teams a career path that hones their skills. But even more important, they must be allowed to build new skills and an understanding of vehicle technologies and systems.

A Service Ready Training Model addresses all of those objectives by creating a process that will prepare each team member with awareness of the new technologies they will service.

Sales team training model

A sales training program uses existing Instructor Led Training (ILT) and Online Training (OLT) content focused on providing exceptional customer service and consultation skills. The following topics should be considered as core content for your sales training program:
• Exceptional Customer Service Skills
• Service Counter Selling Skills
• Situational Challenges: Handling Upset Customers
• Marketing Program Implementation
• Vehicle Inspection Program Implementation
• Internal Communication Skills
• The Science of Gaining Commitment
• Telephone Skills
• Best Practices in Estimating and Online Parts Acquisition
• Workflow Process Implementation

Service team training model

A technical training program uses existing ILT and OLT content focused on recognizing, diagnosing, repairing and servicing any system that shows up in the service bay. Consider the following topics as core content for your technical training program:
• How to Maintain Your Service Readiness
• Technical Information System Updates
• New Tool and Equipment Application
• Manufacturer Specific Service Training
• New Vehicle Technologies
• Vehicle Inspections Best Practices

Build from a solid foundation

Of course, these core-content recommendations are dependent on the core competencies all your technicians should possess, including:
• Foundation Electronics
• Foundation Engine Mechanical
• Essential Computer Controls
• Fundamental Brakes, Steering and Suspension
• Logical Troubleshooting Processes

Don’t consider these a complete list of core competencies. Just know that your techs need foundational skills and an effective training path that teaches them how to find the detailed information when the situation demands.