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A New Idea in Service: the Technical Training Center

15 Jul, 2003 By: J.J. Morrison imageSource

A New Idea in Service: the Technical Training Center

One of the biggest
problems that almost every dealership faces is an aging account base. Ask your
service manager or dispatcher what percentage of your present active accounts
are three and one-half to four years old. Ask the technicians about their day to
day struggles repairing and servicing older machines. Odds are, you will soon
discover that there are a surprising number of over-burdened machines in the
field that require more than a quick fix.

The service
department has information that, if properly utilized, can identify costly,
troublesome or old equipment that is the cause of so much wasted time and energy
week after week. Salespeople can then target these accounts for new machines
and, for about 50 percent of the accounts, achieve a sale within three days
without any competitor involvement.

Instead of leaving
the other 50 percent of accounts out there for the competition, you now have the
ability to turn your service department into an unbelievable profit center that
not only generates profits but also provides technicians with a source for
ongoing training. The key here is to propose an alternative to a new machine by
offering a major or minor refurbishing of an existing machine. The establishment
and use of a Technical Training Center addresses this issue and is more
effective than you can possibly imagine.

Setting the Stage
for Training Envision, if you will, a work area in your business where you would
be proud to invite potential customers. A Technical Training Center, known as
the TTC, is just such a place. The TTC is a clean, well-lit work and training
area… a service showroom. There are benches along the walls about waist height
and yellow lines on the floor to distinguish six or seven work "bays"
or areas. A large, professionally created sign hangs on the wall and reads,
"Your company name, Dedicated to Customer Satisfaction through Excellent
Service." With a proper sales explanation, a clean display SERVICE showroom
can be more effective than any other area in selling machines and selling your
company to the customer.

The program can
start with as few as three people and grow as it generates revenue. One
technical trainer wears a lab coat of a particular color to differentiate him or
herself from the technicians. The technical trainer is entrusted with
supervising and teaching the technicians how to do major and minor equipment
refurbishings. The technicians, soon to become refurbishing specialists, will
spend the next two to four week block concentrating all their efforts on
learning about refurbishing and how to complete both minor and major
refurbishing projects. When their time is up, the technicians will return to the
field and the next two technicians will begin their training rotation. Two
refurbishing specialists should be able to complete one billable refurbishing
per day with an average profit of $1,000 to $4,000 every day. A company has
succeeded in not only bringing in a profit but in securing the account back to
the dealership.

Growing Advantages
Despite the obvious benefits of performing a major refurbishing (which should
always be suggested), there are perks to completing minor refurbishing jobs.
Minor refurbishings are not meant to completely strip and rebuild a machine.
Although less expensive than major job, most of these machines will require more
frequent maintenance. So, what happens if you do a $2,500 minor refurbishing and
the machine starts giving the customer a problem in six to eight months? Guess
who he is going to call? You, not your competitor.

To handle these
problems, a project manager is taught to explain that a major refurbishing was
recommended but the customer chose to do a minor refurbishing. The problem is
not in what was done, but rather what wasn't done when the company chose a minor
job. Your company is not at fault; you did your job. What you can do, however,
is offer to totally apply the $2,500 minor refurbishing fee towards a full major
refurbishing complete with a new machine warranty of 90 days. The competition
cannot offer this option and your company has come out clean. If the customer is
hesitant and thinks that perhaps he should have bought a new machine, only you,
(again your competition loses out), can choose to apply all $2,500 towards a new

Field technicians
find numerous benefits from having a Technical Training Center. They get a break
from the field; spending two to four weeks every few months in the office and
are given the opportunity to expand their training. Your company is making money
and making an investment in the technical education of their employees. With the
TTC, technician turnover is virtually unheard of and competitive techs will
actually want to come to work for your company.

A TTC can also
positively impact machine sales. Envision the salesman bringing the customer
into the TTC while saying, "I am sure, Mr. Customer, that good service and
low call backs are important to you. We provide constant ongoing training for
our technicians. This means better service and less down time for you, our
valued customer. Besides, it is the service that really counts. Check out any of
out competitors and see if their technicians get this kind of dedicated

How many times have
you have been caught short handed and in need of more technicians? Do you worry
when someone leaves, gets sick or goes on vacation? Why don't you have the
number of service people that you need? How can you justify having three or four
extra technicians? One of the largest selling points for a TTC is that not only
does a company have the business for these techs, but it also has the extra
manpower necessary to cover operations on busy days and in short staffed
situations. Simply put, a TTC can offer a company new profit, training, and
growth opportunities that will allow them to successfully grow business.

JJ Morrison, CEO of
Servco Management, Inc., has been implementing "state of the art"
management programs in dealerships for over 32 years. Contact JJ at
1-800-517-7900 or at servco@servcomanagement.com
for more information.

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