® A Day in the Life: Service Managers

The riding public assumes the service manager or service writer (a sales-oriented position borrowed from the automotive trade) leads the department in technical knowledge and ability. But it has been a long time since this was so. Today's service manager is on a par with the store's other managers, actually responsible for the department's financial health and growth, and thus is much less involved with day to day operations. It's a good thing in some ways, that today's powersports dealership service manager is far more likely to be a business program graduate than someone who "came up the ranks." Business-savvy service department leadership was long overdue. At the same time however, it seems something has been lost when the one interfacing between the customer and the mechanic understands neither of them. In my day the service manager *was* the service writer, and while chosen because he or she liked people and could talk with them easily, he also had to have some mechanical background. He had to think like a mechanic. Now else could he advise customers and keep both them and mechanics happy? But all that is changed now, and I think in some ways not for the good. At best it is both good and bad. Good that the one in charge understands business and is theoretically better equipped to make his department profitable. But bad because the head of the shop often lacks the technical context with which to make the most informed decisions. Maybe I'm just old and out of touch, but I miss the days when the boss was one of us.

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