CONCORD, Mass.There is a dire need for car dealerships to address communication issues between service advisers 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 advisers, and the growth of dealer-based express lube services.
According to techs surveyed, 43 percent of repair orders require additional clarification from a service adviser, costing each technician 30 minutes per day of follow-up time. Carlisle said it estimates a typical dealership with 12 technicians at $60 per houreach losing 30 minutes a dayresults in at least $90,000 of lost service revenue each year.
There was also concerns about expected repair completion timethe No. 1 criterion that consumers value when selecting a service provider, according to Carlisle. Techs surveyed estimated service advisers provide about a third of their customers with unrealistic waiting times, while service advisers feel that they are accurate 83 percent of the time.
Another issue is the growth of OEM dealership high volume/low margin services, such as 30-minute oil changes, that are challenged with staffing 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, Carlisle said.
However, 80 percent of the techs surveyed reported their dealerships do not have realistic quick-lube career progression plans. The more time they spend in quick-lube stations, the less satisfied they are with career progression and are more likely to leave the industry.
Harry Hollenberg, a partner at Carlisle, said the survey indicates a telling and almost dire industry need for OEMs and dealers to address the job progression (or lack thereof) for technicians, as well as communication issues with service advisers.
Technicians, he noted, represent the critical link between the service customer and their product satisfaction and repurchase loyalty, and if these issues aren't fixed, the industry will continue to see a decline in service customers and lost potential revenue.