IAC Blog & Articles

Playbooks, why they fail

Posted On: February 6, 2020

As your business is constantly changing, having a rigid process book, otherwise known as a “playbook” is not going to work for you.


What will work is a defined framework for your staff to work within and support your customers’ needs. This article talks about the “how to” and some tips for writing an effective playbook and the steps to getting from where you are today to where you want to be.


Step 1 – K.I.S.S


As the saying goes: “Keep it simple, stupid”. First, remember why you are doing this, and keep it in mind as you develop your playbook. Remember, your goal should be to make the lives of your team less stressful and ultimately improve the customer experience of your shop.


Next, take a step back and look at the overall business process and start sectioning it into chunks.

For example, take the “customer drop-off” as one process.


You’ll need to think about a process for the drive-through guys – one for the Service Advisors and likely one for the Lot guys once the car has been checked in.


As you then follow your service processes (or sales for that matter), then develop the chapters and sub chapters. Numbering these and indexing will help to keep these organised and also when auditing your processes, either internally or externally, but we will get onto that later.


Build this top line cataloging first and work to the detail or sub process level after. Also don’t forget that you likely have some processes, such as building evacuation that don’t follow a customer journey (If you don’t have this one start here!!). Don’t get policy and procedure confused;

policy is a guide to decision making.

process is a how to, you should already have your policies for the business and if not then you need this part first.


Step -2 Gather information


This is a critical step to the procedure writing process, make lots of notes in this phase. You will want to talk to the people who will be affected or using the processes that you are writing.

You don’t have to take all the feedback and implement it, just what is relevant for the process guide. Bear in mind that during this exercise you might discover a smarter way of doing things that you were not aware of, so try and keep an open mind.


Remember you do not need a procedure for every detail, but they need to cover off 70-80% of your use-cases in the business.




Step -3 The customer-first approach


When writing your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) it’s important to focus on how the process may or may-not impact the customer experience. This means when you’re writing your process the customer is always top of mind – and this means both internal and external customers.,


As an example, let’s look at the check-in process: Frame each of the process outcomes from the perspective of the customer. Let’s take checking for damage in the drive through as part of the check in process;

The outcome of this process is that the customer knows all the damage currently on their vehicle, rather than, “we as the dealer know what damage is on the customer vehicle”. If you think about all your processes from the person receiving them, then you will not go too far wrong, even if the customer is internal in the case of sales or parts processes.


Try to write all processes with what is called an active voice. For example: “Park the vehicle in the designated parking area” rather than “the vehicle should then be parked in the designated parking area”. You may also find that listing or bulleting makes the reading easier and avoid using over complex slang or acronyms, as some of the people reading these processes may be new to your organization.


Step-4 Review time


Once you have a draft with all the relevant points, it’s time for checking of the processes with your advisory team. These will be carefully selected individuals that you may have identified during your information gathering or departmental managers/supervisors.


This stage is critical to see if the process that you have covers off at least 70% of use cases and doesn’t miss any key points that are needed.

At this stage, making it pretty is not the number one goal, this can be done when the “meat and potatoes” is finalised. Once you have sign off at this stage, and yes, maybe after some edits and changes, then it’s time to put it all together.



Step-5 Making it presentable


Now is the time to put all of this together along with your communication package to the team of people that this will affect.

This can be done in individual one on ones or in a group environment such as a meeting or training session.

Each should have the same look and feel to it and remember to be positive in the communication, note the positive impacts that these processes will have on the working environment and also to the customer experience.


After you have it all finalised then it’s time for the final sign off from Management and then the hard work really starts, the implementation and business change.


If you have any questions on this article or are looking for help in setting up your playbook please reach out to us at greg@intautoconsulting.com