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Running Incentives for Automotive Service Departments

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At car dealerships, salespeople get all the glory, but the service department still brings in half the revenue. Service has a huge impact on the store’s online reviews and impressions, as well. Yet most incentives and motivation HR strategies for dealerships remain focused on sales departments. Let’s take a look at why, how you can run effective, engaging incentives for your service department, and the positive impact of a garage full of motivated techs.

Published on:
July 21, 2020
Illustrations by:
Arnold
Written by:
Andre Riley
Tags:
Process
#something

At car dealerships, salespeople get all the glory, but the service department still brings in half the revenue. Service has a huge impact on the store’s online reviews and impressions, as well. Yet most incentives and motivation HR strategies for dealerships remain focused on sales departments. Let’s take a look at why, how you can run effective, engaging incentives for your service department, and the positive impact of a garage full of motivated techs.

Service Team Member Working

Why Sales Has all the Fun

Simply put, sales incentives are relatively easy to organize. Hit a certain goal, moving X number of the new model year (or clearing last year’s models off the lot), and you win a prize, usually on top of commission. Maybe it’s a vacation, a big bonus, or access to a demo car.

It’s not so easy with the service department. Sales can use trusted data that roughly follows quarterly trends to determine how many customers will walk onto the lot. Service managers, writers, and techs can’t control, or even predict, how much work they’ll be asked to do day-to-day. There are too many variables.

In order to design a rewards program that increases performance, you must first understand what matters to your staff. Learn how by downloading our guide to reward programs.

New Opportunities

Yet service department incentives aren’t impossible. In fact, they’re easier than ever thanks to modern technology. Apps allow service managers, writers, and techs to track performance to a degree that was a time-consuming hassle until now.

Writing Incentives:

Like car salespeople, service writer incentives rely primarily on upselling. Can you get customers to agree to free or low-cost inspections, even if they’re coming in for small jobs or routine maintenance? “Free oil changes for two years” might seem like a nuisance foisted on your service department by your sales team, but it opens the door for a ton of potential revenue.

Inspection Incentives:

Of course, that means asking your techs to run a full inspection during every oil change. That’s why it’s important to incentivize techs, too. Again, this is easier than ever. If you reward a tech for doing jobs within the hourly cost of doing them, even beyond the financial incentive to do so, he or she will put more effort into finding those jobs.

Quality Incentives:

Any tech will try to finish a job ahead of schedule, because a 12-hour day done in 8 hours is a nice bonus. But this often comes with a cost, especially with inexperienced techs. It can lead to rushed work, mistakes, and expensive bringbacks. Incentives can be tailored to reward techs for longer periods between bringbacks, so you’re rewarding quality and care.

Training Incentives:

Another balance for messy work is good, solid training. Due to our current skilled labor shortage, even inexperienced techs can find themselves with plenty of low-difficulty work at a comfortable pay rate. So motivation for continued learning starts to drop off. That’s where incentives come in. Yes, you can and should reward techs for achieving major milestones like ASE or Master certification, but you can also foster an attitude of continued learning by incentivizing smaller sessions like the latest manufacturer training modules or technical service bulletins. Before you know it, you’ll have an entire garage full of 100% certified techs, and your team will have developed the habit of lifelong training.

How to Make it Happen

Arcade is a complete gamification package for your dealership service department. Your writers and techs can log their tasks quickly and easily, earning virtual points they can spend on real, tangible rewards in the Arcade store. This gives you real data on who’s performing well and what training your individual techs have completed. Best of all, it’s motivational. It transforms a tech’s mindset toward the garage from a place of duty and drudgery to a place of achievement, fun, and recognition.

Stop letting the sales department have all the fun incentives. Check out Arcade today and see what we can do for your service department.

Download now