As state-mandated shutdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic slowed business in the service lane, many fixed ops directors reduced hours and, in some cases, limited appointments to emergencies only.
But when Manny Escalon and Dan Korte, two franchised dealership service directors in different parts of the country, saw service and parts sales data fall off a cliff this spring, they decided to stay aggressive and pursue business as best they could.
"I'm friends with a lot of GM service directors. I called around to see what people were doing," says Escalon, service director for Beck & Masten Buick-GMC South in Houston.
April repair orders at Beck & Masten fell 25 percent from the same time a year earlier. Escalon heard from his peers that some of their stores were shuttering; others were limiting hours or running service departments with only half of their techs.
"I pulled the team together and said, 'How do we counter this? We need an outbound program. If we depend on inbound calls, we're wasting our time.' So that's what we did," he told Fixed Ops Journal.