"This is a great opportunity for everybody, especially for our customer experience."
Hourcle shared his thoughts on lasting impacts to service departments after the pandemic during the Oct. 29 session of the Fixed Ops Journal Forum. (Watch a replay of this session and others at autonews.com/fixed-ops-journal-forum.)
Communication in fixed ops departments is an ongoing problem, Hourcle told attendees. But the digital tools and mobile phone apps that have been rapidly adopted during the pandemic can make communicating with customers easier and quicker. Still, Hourcle said, sending text messages to update a customer on their vehicle's repair requires good habits.
"That is a huge resource for us, and we need to be making sure that we're updating information regularly," he said. "Those responses need to be within minutes, not within hours."
One change that Hourcle hopes remains is the renewed respect service departments received from the public. During the early days of the pandemic, some states either shut down or restricted vehicle sales. Dealership service departments, however, generally were deemed an "essential service" and allowed to stay open. As a result, dealership marketing and social media activities shifted to feature fixed ops departments.