Are Your Service Lane Employees Engaged at Work?

How engaged are your service lane employees?

The best dealership service lanes are designed with the customer experience in mind. The entire process is finely tuned to provide a pleasant, more efficient experience that will boost customer retention and improve profits. But with so much emphasis placed on the customer, it’s easy to forget about the people that make it all possible. If your service lane fails to take your technicians into account, the entire operation can suffer and customers may begin to take notice.

A Pervasive Problem

According to a recent Gallup global workforce study, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. Looking past the obvious quality of life issues raised by this disturbing statistic, from a purely economic perspective, it means $7 billion in lost productivity for employers. It’s easy to look at these numbers and shift blame to other industries. But a 40% annual employee turnover rate in auto retail suggests that dealerships suffer from systemic employee engagement problems, perhaps on a level above and beyond other industries. And when this disengagement creeps into the service lane, where customer interaction and retention is key, it can throw a wrench in the works with the potential to diminish profits and undo established goodwill.

Why Engagement Matters

It probably goes without saying, but organizations with high employee engagement perform at higher levels. In fact, these organizations achieve more than four times the earnings-per-share growth of their competitors. And those in the top quartile of engagement also get substantially better customer engagement and 21% higher profitability. According to Gallup, high employee engagement results in impressive organizational productivity statistics:

  • 21 percent higher productivity
  • 10 percent higher customer engagement
  • 25-65 percent lower turnover
  • 37 percent lower absenteeism
  • 48 percent fewer staff safety incidents

These statistics suggest an obvious correlation between employee engagement and profitability. But it’s particularly interesting that employee engagement also appears to be directly tied to customer engagement. In other words, when employees are highly engaged in their work, especially in an area as customer-focused as your service lane, customer engagement increases in turn.

Signs of Disengaged Times

The aforementioned $7 billion-dollar employee engagement problem is real. But it can feel distant if you don’t see how your employees’ attitudes at work and about work actually impact your bottom line. Specific signs of low employee engagement include:

  • General negativity and low morale
  • High employee turnover
  • Poor attendance at work
  • Checked out or “sleepwalking” through the workday
  • Lack of energy and passion
  • Undermining co-workers’ accomplishments

These manifestations of low employee engagement have a ripple effect that can spread to other employees and management, and even impact company culture. It’s easy to see how these attitudes affect customers on a day-to-day basis and influence widely adopted perceptions about your dealership.

Dealerships that focus on service department improvements specifically designed to win more customers actually do see increases in profitability. But if those dealerships don’t also do more to increase employee engagement, their customer-focused efforts can be for naught. If your dealership is struggling with low employee engagement, it’s time to shift focus to include your employees in your service lane strategy.

To learn more about how you can increase engagement in your service lane and improve overall profits at your dealership, visit

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