A quote attributed to Henry Ford probably rings true at many dealerships: "The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay."
Technicians need to attend training programs at community colleges or trade schools just to get into the shop at most dealerships, and even then, it often takes years of experience and more training before they become productive line technicians.
But service advisers often are taught only the systems and basic processes that their dealership or group uses before going face-to-face with customers. And frequently, experienced techs or advisers one day are tapped on the shoulder to become service manager without having any management training.
The result is that neither management nor labor may have the knowledge or skills they need to be their most efficient and productive, says Don Reed, CEO of DealerPro Training, a Columbus, Ohio, company that specializes in service department training programs.
"He's never managed anybody in his career, he's never written a pay plan, he's never managed a financial statement or even seen a financial statement, and suddenly, he's managing a department with 30 or 40 employees," Reed says of service managers who rise through the ranks. "Those guys need to be trained as well."