Which fast food company do you think has the most stores worldwide? Do you think KFC? Burger King? Jack-in-the-Box? How about McDonalds? Well, actually, Subway has the most stores worldwide. Not what you expected, huh? Perceptions can be misleading. Leonardo da Vinci said, "All our knowledge is the offspring of our perceptions." Look at this picture of a dealership in Southern California. Pretty huh? A very nice facility. But guess what? This is not the face of this dealership. As cool and expensive and appealing and attractive as it is, this building is not what is embedded in the customer's mind when they go home after having had a transaction at this dealership. What do you think is? The store's mechanics are. They are the face of the business to each customer who does business with this dealership or repair shop. The interaction they have is the abiding image in the customer's mind when they leave the store.
I overheard a dealer principal say to his Service Manager, "What's going on in your department is giving my customers a bad taste in their mouth!". Notice that this dealer did not say "our" customers, showing that he felt his Service Department was alienating customers, and that Sales Department customers were the ones in his mind. This dealer was right. What happens in the Service Department affects the store's business more than what happens in any other part of the dealership.
The old saying is still true. The Sales Department sells a customer his first motorcycle, but every motorcycle that customer buys from that dealership from then on is sold by the Service Department. The Sales Department is the heavy, revenue-wise. And Parts is significant as well. But no department has as many customer contacts as does the Service Department, and more importantly, contacts that turn into transactions. And most important of all, transactions based on commitments. Truly, what happens in the Service Department affects the customer's perception of the store the most. Powersports employers are begging for people. But not just people, people who will be good fits for them. Who will be ambassadors for the store. And nowhere is this need greater than in the Service Department, whose members are the face of the store.