There comes a time in most every service shop when you arrive at work to find a key and a post-it note as your only link of communication between the customer and the service that is to be performed on their boat.
Hopefully, this is the very rare exception and NOT the rule in your dealership. The work order is an important legal document and should be treated as such.
Here are 10 things that should appear on a work order that will help ensure the customer and the technician are, literally, on the same page:
1) Customer information: Be sure to update and verify this information and ensure that you have accurate contact information including phone numbers, area codes and e-mail addresses. Put a star next to the best way to reach the customer.
2) Proper boat numbers and information: Make sure to include the trailer or slip number so you can find the boat. It’s always a bad day when you realize you’ve just spent a day of labor on the wrong boat.
3) The customer’s signature: It is highly advisable tohave your local legal counsel review the small print on your work order yearly to be sure you are properly protected. And always make sure your customer’s signature appears on the work order to ensure they are aware of the scheduled service.
4) The customer’s primary concern: This information should appear on the first line of the work order so that everyone knows what to diagnose first and what to mention when speaking with the customer. Sometimes the boat may have more pressing concerns than what the customer feels is the primary problem. Remember that the customer is ultimately paying the bill, so it’s important to always honor their primary concern.
5) The three C’s: These should appear on each line of the work order. The customer’s CONCERN or com-
plaint documented in his or her own words. There
should be as much info as possible about what is hap-pening under what conditions. The CAUSE of the
concern as determined by your technician after a proper diagnosis should also be documented, including any supporting information such as tests run or service bulletins that applied. Lastly, after you receive approval from the customer, the CORRECTION of what your shop did to repair or remedy the situation should also be documented with as much supporting material as possible, including tests run.
6) Customer-approved estimate: This figure must be
documented on the work order or the work order must list clear warranty information that shows how the job is being paid for, including all shop fees, taxes, etc. This includes the designation of any jobs that are being taken care of internally (billed to sales, etc).
7) Parts inventory and billing for parts: All parts should be accounted for and billed out properly. It’s incredible how many dollars are thrown away by not getting all parts billed out on the right ticket. Just a quick review of what someone did to the boat can offer clues as to the missing parts.
8) Labor: Similarly, all labor needs to be properly documented. One of the best things to monitor is how many labor hours you have per work order. Known as “hours per RO,” this is a great way of increasing shop efficiency.
9) Sublet bills: Any and all sublet bills need to be attached to the work order. This includes any outside vendors used to do gel-coat work, upholstery, detailing etc.
10) Quality control: A quality control sign-off should be executed for all jobs with special attention given to the primary concern. This includes looking for additional work and making sure the boat is clean and ready for delivery.
Today’s tough sales market makes the service portion of the marine business more important than ever. Now is the time to make sure your shop is running more efficiently than ever.
Make the effort to go and pick up a stack of recently completed, or ready to deliver, work orders and see how your team is doing. Solid communication on the work order increases customer and employee satisfaction and ensures your shop is getting paid for the jobs it does.
That is what this time of year is all about. Make the most of it.