The standardization of service excellence, and fighting fire with fire

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Updated Dec 14, 2015

The heavy duty aftermarket might have scored a victory in August with Right To Repair, but OEMs still have plenty of haymakers left to throw.

Whether its Freightliner’s Elite Support, or newer programs like Kenworth’s PremierCare Gold or Mack’s Certified Uptime Centers, dealers are prepared to go to war for their customers.

Shaving seconds off downtime is going to help someone win customers, and advertising an OE standardized level of service lets customers know what to expect across an entire dealership network.

If I know I can pull into XYZ Truck Center’s Platinum Certified bay in Oregon, I have the same expectation of service that I found in another Platinum Certified dealership in Georgia.

How does the aftermarket fight back? With certification of its own.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification, and/or certification on proprietary engines, are the low hanging fruit. If you’re not promoting the fact you have “certified” service, that’s is square one.

Square two takes a more proactive approach.

Let’s assume the vast majority of service shops already employ ASE and similar certified techs. It’s tough to distinguish yours from theirs. Those patches all look the same.

What do you do? You get more patches.

Meritor earlier this year rolled out its Meritor Service Point certification for independent shops that sell and service its equipment. To achieve certification, garages need to have current tooling and equipment for Meritor-approved services, and technicians will need Meritor on-line or in-person.

Eaton, through its Roadranger Academy, provides service professionals with instructor-led and computer-based training on Roadranger drivetrain products. While graduates aren’t “certified” with anything, your ability to market completion of training designed to cut downtime is limitless.

Certification, or certification-level training, isn’t a superpower limited to technicians or service personnel.

Look at the boxes on your shelves. You should be an expert on all products that move at a high volume, and you – or someone you have immediate access to – should be more than knowledgeable about everything else. Every customer-facing employee should be able to quote a company’s shipping window without thinking about it.

It’s not the level of certification that’s helping dealers win business. It’s their level of commitment to a standardized level of excellence.

The ability to make a faster diagnosis with easy access to parts isn’t necessarily a windfall for dealerships. The aftermarket can get similar parts and triage a truck just as quickly.

Right to Repair gives the aftermarket access to once-proprietary data. The playing field now is as level as it has ever been.

Speed and ability are not proprietary, and neither is a dedication excellence.

Parts sales personnel in the classroom aren’t selling parts, and service techs with their head buried in a book aren’t logging billable hours.

But once you can add that level of certification and education to their business cards, or to their work shirt, you’ve begun the process of standardizing excellence and fighting fire with fire.

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