It's time to have fun again with fixed operations using eCommerce and at the same time lowering some costs and increasing profits.

Sounds good, right?

Then let me offer dealership service departments a simple and easy to remember eight-step FIXED-OPS strategy to move the needle in the right direction:

Focus, Involve, eXplain, Educate, Develop, Observe, Perform and Sample. These are probably familiar terms, but let's give them an eCommerce twist for fun and profits.

With the growing of the Internet-user population, the following may seem a little strange, but during times of limited resources intelligent realignment will bring in a higher return on investment to dealers.

Here's how to do it:

Focus on the amount of time and money spent on answering general fixed-ops email requests and cut out those unnecessary contacts.

Instead prioritize coaching your service staff on the most appropriate techniques answering and engaging prospects on the phone.

I am not saying forget emailed service appointments or parts requests, but focusing your training and time to more effectively handling telephone leads is a smarter use of resources.

Study after study tells us for every email you may receive you will get at least five phone calls. As your staff's skill level rises you can evaluate diverting resources back to following up on emails. Prospects that call are closer to needing your services and produce a higher ROI.

Involve your sales and service teams in three ways:

  • Contact and updating your customer database.
  • Utilize a hand off system that maximizes leads (phone and email) whether for sales or service.
  • Learn as much about your potential customer as possible prior to making contact.

eXplain and memorialize your organizations vision integrating the variable ops leads into daily tasks to identify potential service customers. Let your team assist in development of the realistic service objectives and understand the role of accountability.

Educate, train and coach your staff on the most effective methods to communicate using service phrases such as: “My pleasure,” “Please allow me,” “I apologize,” “Right away.” Never forget that the vast majority of fixed-ops customers feel a real and sometimes emotional connection with their vehicle.

Develop a long term strategy for both your staff and customers that promotes a culture that respects and reaches out to each individual in a professional compassionate style.

Observe your staff's interaction with customers, prospects and fellow workers. When you see something that they do correctly praise in public and when you see something that they may need to improve upon discuss it in private.

Perform the same tasks that you require your staff to do and invite and encourage positive comments and suggestions to improve the process.

Sample the data you collect from prospect leads, service appointments and parts requests. Initiate concurrent review and modify systems and training to address missed opportunities.

By using a proactive approach and systematic simple process your fixed-ops department will:

  • Increase customer up selling.
  • Decrease wasted time on non-productive tasks.
  • Improve customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Develop a more professional staff.
  • Increase overall fixed ops ROI.

Raynard M. Fenster is president of LLC. He has spent 12 years working in automotive retail with expertise in ecommerce for both variable and fixed operations. He was one of the first internet professionals that moved eCommerce into fixed operations and social media.Contact him at 301 805-4829 or

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