Service department employees also deserve more respect because of the impact service has on the bottom line, said Brett Coker, president of Coker Automotive Consultants in Pensacola, Fla.
"We need to appreciate and respect them. How often does a general manager in a dealership or the dealer walk back in the shop and shake hands with the technicians, ask about their wives, ask about their kids? I'm assuming he does that fairly often with the sales force," Coker said.
Coker estimated that an average "good" technician generates around $275,000 annually in service and parts gross profit. He spoke during an Aug. 25 webinar for Fixed Ops Journal titled "Sink or Swim: How to Win With Service Technicians." Free replays are available at autonews.com/sinkorswim.
At Niello Mini, service advisers can win a flat screen TV for top performance in tire sales.
Here are some of the other ways the Best Dealerships To Work For reward top service personnel.
Josh Irvine, general manager for Volkswagen of Kearny Mesa in San Diego, said his dealership created so-called Top Gun awards this year for monthly and annual performance by service writers and technicians.
The Top Gun technician for the month wins a $100 Snap-on tools gift card, while the full-year award winner gets a $500 gift card.
The Top Gun service writer gets a free vehicle detailing and a reserved parking place, which is sought-after because employee parking is scarce, Irvine said. VW of Kearny Mesa is part of Group 1 Automotive Inc., of Houston, which also sponsors corporatewide contests for employee performance.
"We're real proud of what Josh is doing," with the Top Gun awards, said Pete DeLongchamps, Group 1's vice president of manufacturer relations, financial services and public affairs.
At Sunrise Chevrolet in Glendale Heights, Ill., dealership employees participate in a monthly contest along with their peers from 18 stores in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Florida owned by Garber Automotive Group, of Saginaw, Mich.
In addition to Sunrise Chevrolet, Garber Chevrolet in Midland, Mich., and Garber Nissan-Hyundai in Saginaw made this year's list.
Dan Kurtz, general manager of Sunrise Chevrolet, said it's a three-tier reward system, with different categories for experience level. "That way, even if you're just starting out, you still have an opportunity to win something," Kurtz said. The top prize is $400, followed by prizes of $250 and $100, he said.
Scores are based on multiple categories including customer satisfaction surveys, dollars per repair order, hours per repair order and tire sales, Kurtz said.