One issue in this industry is the lack of recognition of the accomplishments in the service department. When I worked for one manufacturer, they would occasionally invite the service group in for a joint meeting with the sales group. There would always be an awards dinner. During that dinner, every sales person that just met quota would be called to the stage and receive an award. During that time, I exceeded every goal set before me, and did not receive anything. This just caused frustration and resentment with my company.
This pattern permeates our industry. Sales people win contests, go on trips, and get spiffs from the manufacturer. I am not discouraging this process, but I do believe that overlooking the service department creates resentment and is counterproductive. If we look at industry standard models, service generates all of the profit in a dealership. Every sale to an existing customer is due to the quality of service they receive from your company.
In addition to service, there are other groups vital to the success of your dealership, and I believe that it is important to recognize their contributions as well.
Recognition can have a positive influence on employees. We recognize high performing salespeople because doing so encourages them to strive even harder to sell. In fact, recognition is one of the carrots that motivate salespeople. In my last article, I talked about putting the carrot where you want an employee to go, and recognition is a small piece of that process.
Service and administrative personnel are no different and properly placed and managed recognition has the ability to move individuals in the direction you want and need them to go.
What to Recognize
With sales people, normally we recognize sales performance, did they hit quota, did they take down a major account, and were they the top performer in the company. These types of awards are measureable results of job performance.
With administrative and service personnel, these categories do not necessarily apply. It is important that you give recognition for objective categories. If you give recognition for subjective reasons, then the perception may be that it is a case of being someone’s favorite.
It is important to recognize performance factors that affect profitability in the long term. In a service department that supports a wide variety of equipment types, one criterion may not provide an equitable process. Following are several potential metrics.
- Mean Copies between Calls – If this is used as a metric, then it needs to be based on Printer, Office, B/W Production, and Color Production categories. You cannot compare performance across the spectrum and have it be equitable.
- First Call Efficiency (FCE) – This can be used across the board as long as the parameters are different for calculating FCE based on typical model performance. This means the number of days and copies required for the next failure would be different for each model.
- Most improved – This would also be a valuable metric and would encourage individuals to try to improve their performance no matter where they are in their stats.
- Best Customer Rating – For dealers that survey their customers, using the customer’s rating of the technician will encourage technicians to work on improving their skills in managing this relationship. This in turn will increase customer loyalty.
- Team Performance – For companies with multiple branches or supervisors within a single branch, team recognition can help to encourage individuals to recognize that they are part of a team and work together.
How to Recognize
The question now becomes how we should recognize performance of other departments. I suggest that you start by looking at what you invest in rewarding sales. This includes company-sponsored trips and any other awards devoted to the sales team. The budget for other awards should be comparable.
Some forms of awards are more difficult than others. You cannot take the entire service department out of the field for a trip during the week. You could possibly provide a trip on a weekend, but then for hourly employees, does it count as work, and would they want to participate?
Financial rewards can be very effective, and if you have a company event where you recognize sales performance, this would be a great opportunity to recognize service performance as well.
It is important that you present any recognition for the service group and for other departments with the same level of enthusiasm as the awards for sales.
I have seen organizations where the sales department would host an event for the service team with good results. They would provide food, cook, and serve the service department. This worked well to improve relationships and develop comradery between the groups.
When you develop the proper recognition program, the result will be a team of individuals that are working together to achieve greatness, both for themselves, and for your company. They will take your company farther and faster than you expect.