How to balance workshop utilization with the right number of waiting customers.

If a dealer carries out a lot of repair orders daily (150+), many customers are potential "waiting customers." The waiting customer is a customer who wants to stay and wait in a showroom until their vehicle is ready to pick up. If only 30% of 150+ customers daily are potential waiting customers, the dealer has almost 50 customers in the lounge trying to figure out what to do next.  

Sure, dealers can see it as an excellent upselling opportunity, and showrooms are shaping into shopping malls. On the other hand, the high number of waiting customers puts much pressure on dealer organization and workshop planning. It creates additional costs, especially during marketing service campaigns or tire seasons. 

What more do we know about the waiting customers? 

In fact, waiting customers are more "allergic" to potential service delays than customers who are out of the workshop following their daily routines. AND waiting customers are less likely to approve additional work because unexpected extra time without their vehicles may significantly affect their schedule.  

What I see as the most challenging experience for dealers is to start to control and manage the "right" number of customers in the workshop during peak hours. How good (or bad) one can handle it has become trendy again.  

Dealers are proposing better access to loan vehicles, introducing express services for loyal customers, and motivating them to visit their dealership afternoons. The call centers proactively ask if the customer wants to wait during their vehicle inspection and inspire them to refrain from doing so to keep the balance. In addition, dealers’ online booking platforms contain a new option if a customer wants to wait or needs a shuttle. Those simple policies help dealers manage the workshop utilization and balance it with the maximal number of waiting customers.  

Dealers should know that modern dealer management applications can provide a simple way to track and visualize that information per day, per hour, or per dealer location. For instance, check the screen below. It can be a simple chart with a track function BUT carefully integrated into the service booking process. While finalizing service appointment booking, with information on hand, dealers can quickly understand the situation and plan further steps accordingly. 

See an example of such functionality that is popular in the market, like Benelux.

How to balance workshop utilization

I look forward to your feedback and am genuinely interested in your experience.

To get the full context of the service planning process, you can visit our home page and check out the incadea Workshop Resource Management details.  


Dr. Juraj Hanus


5/9/2023 12:00:00 AM