The pandemic was a catalyst for change in the service drive.
Fixed ops departments adopted new ways to connect with customers — from making it easy to schedule appointments digitally to texting repair updates and videos of recommended service, to enabling payment by phone.
True, many of these changes were forced onto service departments just to keep customers coming in and dealerships afloat. But the changes have had a positive impact on business.
Something else that grew out of the pandemic that has been beneficial is the number of professional discussions via podcasts, Zoom and YouTube centered on the fixed ops industry.
Before COVID-19, many fixed ops professionals met in person at conferences, conventions and other organized events. But when the pandemic forced most of us to pause traveling and gathering in large groups, some industry leaders decided to take to the airwaves to bring the fixed ops community together.
Yes, some of the more popular podcasts were around pre-pandemic, but so many more have joined in the last couple of years. An exact number is hard to pin down, but at least a dozen or so fixed ops podcasts and shows are now available.
Kaylee Felio, who recently announced the launch of her own show, wrote about the reasons she wanted to start "The Parts Girl Podcast."
"You learn so much by simply having a conversation," she said. "That's one of the reasons for starting my podcast. My goal is to bring you conversations that challenge and motivate you."
Corey Smith, host of National Auto Care's "Fixed Ops 5" podcast, said the fixed ops-focused discussions aren't going away anytime soon.
"I don't think it's a trend," he said. "The industry is saying, 'We need to focus on fixed ops.' "