2019 Best in Class: Best Service Department

Causeway Marine Sales LLC
Manahawkin, N.J.

When Paul and Ted Terzian started their business back in 1984, they were just 21 and 19-years-old respectively. Even though they didn’t have a formal business plan, their informal version was pretty simple. And they say it’s still apropos today.

“We entered into business with the idea that we’ll work hard, provide a good product and service, advertise effectively to get customers, maintain a good reputation, control costs, maximize profit, and grow each year,” said Paul.

Last year their revenue grew by 10%, they achieved a 100% CSI/NPS score for all of their brands, and they have created a collection of extremely satisfied service customers, despite what Paul Terzian says are some of the “highest labor rates in the area.”

Here are a few ways the service department soars.

Nuts and bolts

The service manager looks at every job on every repair order and assigns it a “labor required” figure. This is a very educated estimate of how long the job should take to complete and is typically what will be used to bill the customer. It is basically a flat-rate figure that the technician is advised of when he receives the job.

Their Dealership Management System software provides the ability for each technician to punch on and off jobs as they work on them. This automatically attaches itself to the job that they are working on for any given repair order.

A repair order may have one or more different tasks to complete jobs, and at the time of closing out of the R/O, the service manager assigns billed hour figures for each of these operations at “labor required” flat rate, or other appropriate method if needed based on individual job circumstances.

That hour figure is not only used to calculate the customer’s bill, but also is automatically credited in the system, to the corresponding technicians’ efficiency tracking. The system automatically calculates efficiency and provides for non-billable work, etc., and produces reports outlining various aspects of his/her efficiency as well as that of the overall department.

Efficiency is calculated for both billable and non-billable work, producing two actual efficiency figures. These figures are confidentially given to the techs weekly in season, and monthly in the off season. Those with high scores or large improvements in scores are recognized among their co-workers. Periodically, they review the scores with each technician, which ultimately correlate to compensation.

“The tracking of technician efficiency helps us make decisions on how to best utilize various resources that we dedicate to the service department,” Paul Terzian explained. “In addition, it helps us identify potential areas for improvement in such things as shop/yard layout, equipment requirements, and various processes. It goes without saying, that we also use this information for technician evaluation and compensation.”

Little things can make a big difference

And under the heading of little things making a big difference, Terzian said they received a big return when they simply switched the days off in their service department.

“From pretty much the beginning, service has been closed on Sunday and Tuesday. We started this literally decades ago, as it was what nearly everyone else did, but more importantly, it made the most sense. Being open on Monday allowed us to triage boats that customers broke on the weekend, and get parts ordered right away, if they weren’t in stock, so they would get here in time to have the boat ready by the next weekend.”

Terzian said he came to the realization though that for the majority of the year, there was no reason to be open on Monday.

“So we closed the shop on Sunday and Monday versus Sunday and Tuesday, and it has made for a much happier shop staff.”

And it has contributed to their service department’s average technician efficiency of 91.5 as a percentage of hours worked.

“We live our lives and run our business by the Golden Rule,” said Paul Terzian. “This is an area of no compromise. Treating our customers as we ourselves wish to be treated helps us maintain a high standard of service and attention to our customers, and that is definitely a key factor in our ongoing success.”

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