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Service Department: Necessary Evil or Dealership Foundation?

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I have often heard owners and general managers refer to the service department as a “necessary evil”. As a former Director of Service Operations for a group of Harley-Davidson stores, I’m inclined to disagree . In most dealerships, the service department is the single biggest driver of gross profit and, in my opinion, can establish long-lasting relationships with customers, or send them running to your nearest competitor. For customers and dealership employees alike, if you own a motorized vehicle (motorcycle, boat, side-by-side, automobile, etc.), it is more than likely that you have spent some time in the service department. Whether you are dropping in for routine maintenance or warranty work, the average person does not want to spend his/her free time in the service department of a dealership.

Based on my 12+ years of experience working in and with dealership service departments, I am confident in asserting that it is a place where one’s loyalty to a given dealership is harnessed. For the most part, turnover of quality service managers and consultants is low, which ultimately enables customers to build a relationship and associate positive connotations with the dealership. On the other hand, suffering a negative experience in the service department can just as easily derail that relationship, which may ultimately thwart the customer’s loyalty to the dealer and, possibly, even the brand.

Fortunately, there are several action items that a dealership can implement to help ensure a pleasant customer experience in the service department:

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Author

Jeremy Jacobs, Senior Associate | DHG Dealerships
704.367.5926 | jeremy.jacobs@dhgllp.com



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