CONCORD, Mass. (June 24, 2014) — There is a dire need for car dealerships to address communication issues between service advisors and their auto technicians, according to a survey by Carlisle & Co. Inc., a provider of after-sales strategic guidance for vehicle OEMs.
The company said its 2013 Annual Automotive Technician Survey of 9,000 service technicians from 15 major auto brands uncovered two major issues that have a profound impact on technician satisfaction and retention: communication between technicians and service advisors, and the growth of dealer-based express lube services.
According to technicians surveyed, 43 percent of repair orders require additional clarification from the service advisor, costing each technician 30 minutes per day of follow-up time. Based on these figures, Carlisle said it estimates that a typical dealership with 12 technicians at $60 per hour, each losing 30 minutes a day, results in at least $90,000 of lost service revenue each year.
There was also concerns about “expected repair completion time”—the No. 1 criteria that consumers value when selecting a service provider, according to Carlisle. The auto technicians surveyed estimated that service advisors provide about a third of their customers with unrealistic waiting times, while service advisors feel that they are accurate 83 percent of the time.
Another issue is the growth of OEM high volume/low margin services, such as 30-minute oil changes in the dealerships, that are challenged with staffing these services in a cost-competitive way. The most common approach is for dealerships to bring in low-cost, entry level technicians to perform these basic services, promising an eventual progression to more complex, higher-paid repairs, according to Carlisle.
However, 80 percent of technicians surveyed reported that their dealerships do not have realistic quick-lube career progression plans. The more time technicians spend in quick-lube stations, the less satisfied they are with career progression and are more likely to leave the industry, rather than just switch dealerships.
“The survey results indicate a telling and almost dire industry need for OEMs and dealers to address the job progression (or lack thereof) for their technicians, as well as communication issues with service advisors,” said Harry Hollenberg, a partner at Carlisle. “Technicians represent the critical link between the service customer and their product satisfaction and repurchase loyalty, so if these issues aren't fixed, the industry will continue to see the decline in service customers and lost potential revenue.”
For more information on the survey, visit Carlisle's website.