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To Train or Not Train?

Dominic Michele

Dominic A. Michele Jr. began his Fixed Operations career in 1987, and now operates Procedures on Purpose as a consultant. Michele’s works include a warranty advisor training manual and several articles written for RV PRO Magazine. He can be reached by email at proceduresonpurpose@icloud.com.

Training of all dealership personnel is crucial if you intend to succeed in this industry. You wouldn’t think dealers would put an inexperienced sales person on the sales lot by themselves, yet I have seen this time and time again.

Service managers as a rule start as technicians, move to shop foreman, possibly assistant service manager, and then to service manager. I don’t see where that person has the experience or knowledge to train a service advisor in best practices and procedures.

Other advisors are typically hired into the dealership as entry level employees. They may have some experience in retail, or call centers, but usually start with little to no understanding of automotive or RV repairs, so you are going to have someone that learned by the seat of their pants – not necessarily the correct procedures – and have them train your front desk.

This thought process would not work for doctors, lawyers, teachers, cooks, undertakers, first responders, airplane pilots, or even cruise ship captains so why would you not want your employees to be professionally trained?

So, how you make a difference is by structured training.

Determine What You Need

Walk outside your company front door and put on your customer hat. Walk back in the front door and look around as if it was your first time in the building. Make notes of what you like and what you do not like. If your employees are sitting behind their desk playing on the phone, or nowhere to be found, this is what they will do when your customers enter as well.

Do this walk around in every department. Make hand written notes of the good and not so good. I have had dealer principles take pictures of what they saw. Sales desks with food on top, parts department cluttered, boxes all over the place, lavatories with no paper products.

These items require immediate correction.

You have some RV dealerships that are extremely successful and others that are not. They sell the same product. They get the product from the same manufactures. They are driven to the locations by the same transport companies.

So, what is the main variable?

You are.

The customer experience must begin from the moment the guest drives onto your property. Try to see what they see:

1) Does your parking lot have adequate signage, so I know immediately what direction to take? 

        a. If I am driving a large vehicle and going into service, most likely I cannot turn around on your lot, so I want to go directly to the service drive.

        b. If I am coming in for Sales or Parts, do I have access to convenient parking?

2) When I enter the building am I greeted promptly and with a smile? 

        a. Or am I greeted by employees hanging around outside smoking cigarettes and sitting in chairs?

3) Do your salespeople or service people reach out and give me a firm handshake?

4) Are your service advisors sitting down when I approach the desk? Or do they stand when they see me and welcome me?

5) Do your employees make me feel like they want to help correct my issues?

6) Do I feel like, they will treat my vehicle as if it was their own?

Exceeding the guest’s expectations does not just happen. This will only happen when the entire team is trained to give exceptional service, each time.

Get Your Team Certified

The RV industry has many certifications available for every employee in your dealership.  

On-site training is available for hands-on training; sales desk procedure training also is available; and consultations are available for service advisors and warranty administrators.