Highly Effective Habits of Today’s Top Service Departments

Over time, every dealer service department forms its own set of habits. Some of these habits are harmless, some are good, some are bad, and some even impact efficiency and profitability. At the 2021 Cox Automotive Dealer User Summit, Gerald Gregory, manager of Performance Management at Xtime, discussed the specific habits, techniques and practices that separate the good service departments from the great ones. 


Build a Strong Workplace Culture 


A strong workplace culture has the ability to improve the day-to-day lives of your employees and your customers. Unfortunately, it’s also overlooked by a lot of dealer service departments.  


If dealer service departments don’t define, prioritize, or take steps to direct it, workplace culture happens naturally. It takes the shape of the interactions and personalities of people, and it can have a lasting impact on both employees and service customers alike.  


To create a strong workplace culture, practice the following four principles of high-performing service departments until they become habit in your service department.  


Vision: Establish a vision for the purpose and potential of your dealership service department. Talk about it and share it with your employees until they get tired of hearing about it. Everything you do in your service department should be rooted in your vision.  


Values: Set guidelines, behaviors, and mindset needed to achieve your vision. These should include a commitment to learning, teamwork, honesty, quality, and providing a world-class service experience for each customer. 


Place: Your service department space—what’s happening around you—speaks volumes about your company culture, both to your employees and your customers. Create a welcoming atmosphere, greet every customer, prioritize parking, and provide amenities for waiting customers. 


People: Invest in your people by embracing your department’s values and finding employees who share those values. Find creative ways to keep people happy by prioritizing a good work/life balance and providing a fun work environment. 


Embrace Technology 


Every dealer service department needs tools to get the job done right. But by their very nature, those tools change over time, especially in an industry as tech-reliant as automotive service. If you’re wondering what tools you should implement, listen to your customers. They will tell you the technologies they want your service department to embrace. Within the past several months, customers have communicated loudly and clearly their desire for alternate transportation methods and increased transparency. 


Alternate Transportation: High-performing dealers have responded to customer demand by facilitating more transportation methods. This not only helps the customer, it’s a great way to turn express work into more drop-off work that brings in more dollars per RO. Get in the habit of offering a variety of transportation methods to your customers, including rideshare, and your customers will reward you with their business.  


Increased Transparency: With fewer customers in the dealership—hopefully as a result of your ability to increase drop-off work—it stands to reason that service departments need to find better ways to communicate with their customers. Help your service technicians get in the habit of sending photos and video of needed service repairs. This technology helps customers understand the purpose behind the repair and increase conversion rates and dollars per RO.  

When you make a habit of listening to customer feedback and implementing technologies that attract new customers, they will reward you by spending more money with your service department. 




Establishing good habits takes time, but making changes now to build a strong workplace culture and embrace technology can help you build a world-class service experience. That involves more than just doing what’s necessary to please customers and employees today. It means anticipating future needs and making changes to provide the experience and culture they want in the future.  


Want to learn more about the best practices of top performing dealers? Download the ebook here 

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