Improving your service response times

Lucas Deal May 9, 2013

Adding the new repair SRT to the current overhaul is one option, but that will create an overhaul SRT that is hardly accurate. The first repair will affect the SRT of the second repair, and vice versa.

In situations like this, Martincic advises dealers to document the time it actually takes their technicians to complete the expanded repair and note that with the SRT listed in the OEM software.

Michael Riemer, vice president products and channel marketing at Decisiv, says the software his company builds for service providers can be modified to include more accurate SRTs. Its OEM software also includes third-party estimates from Motor “for benchmarking estimates and invoices against the work being done.”

There are more than 14,000 OEM-provided service response times in the heavy-duty industry. You can’t update them all, Martincic says, but if you start with a handful of your most common repair orders you can slowly create a better list of estimates for your customers.

Adds Riemer, the more a dealer “can standardize its business operations the more customers will have a consistent service experience.”

Another important step to managing SRTs is making sure your technicians have everything they require to complete a repair when given a job. This includes parts, tools and the SRT itself.

Good technicians like to be challenged, and giving them an SRT before they start a job lets them know what’s expected. Hourly technicians will understand they need to complete the repair in the SRT or faster to maintain a quality proficiency rate; while flat-rate techs will see an SRT as goal they’ll want to beat.

Doug Pence, service manager at Highway Motors in Harrisonburg, Va., says his service department spent the last two years improving its SRT process. This spring it started to pay off, as Highway Motor’s technician efficiency rate in April was a staggering 98.9 percent.

Providing techs SRTs ahead of service work was a key to registering that number, he says. “When the technicians know exactly what they have in that estimate it gives them something to strive for.”

Once a tech gets started, having the parts and tools he needs at his disposal allows him to work through the repair without leaving the bay. Pence says Highway Motors immediately checks on parts availability after diagnosing a vehicle for repair, and doesn’t dispatch a technician to a bay until he has everything he needs. If he requires an additional part while working, a parts counter person brings it to him.

“My techs do not go to the counter anymore,” he says.

One other thing to remember when using SRTs is that not all technicians are created equal. A 30-year veteran can probably replace a water pump faster than the new guy. Tracking the performance of your technicians against SRTs can help identify who is consistently the best.

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