A day in the life of an Assistant Service Manager featuring Fiona Cutler at Steven Eagell Group

We recently caught up with Fiona Cutler, Assistant Service Manager at Steven Eagell Group, to hear more about her typical working day at Lexus, Birmingham.

In this interview, Fiona details the route she took in the industry that led to her role at Steven Eagell, and she provides insight into what she loves most about her job and the support she receives from her fellow female colleagues. She also speaks about some of the people who have inspired her to pursue a career in the automotive sector, including childhood memories of fixing cars with her Dad!

Read Fiona’s full interview below:

What is your job role?

Here in Birmingham Steven Eagell Group has a Toyota Centre and a Lexus Centre right next door to each other. My role is to run the day-to-day operations of the workshop and front of house in Lexus (as the Service Manager oversees both sites). I have been given the autonomy to fully manage the workshop and front of house – ensuring that there are enough jobs in the workshop at the right time so that the technicians can efficiently fill their day, but also that manage all the front of house team members and processes. Making sure there is constant communication between the workshop and our customers is my main priority.

What was your route to this job?

I started in 2015 at a Call Centre for BMW’s head office. Here I learned the basics of the motor trade. I then moved onto BMW Leicester and became a Service Advisor. In 2017 I joined Lexus Coventry, again as a Service Advisor. I was promoted to Senior Service Advisor in December 2019 taking on a role at Birmingham Lexus. Steven Eagell Group took over Lexus Birmingham in March 2020, just before the first lockdown. Despite all the difficulties of 2020 with the pandemic I have been able to excel under the new ownership and I’m happy to say on 1st January 2021 I was promoted to Assistant Service Manager.

Why do you love your job?

I love my job because every day is completely different. Some days I will be in the workshop with a technician showing me how to take an engine apart, or the mechanics of how a gearbox works…. Then other days I will be showing a customer how to set up their Bluetooth or even just helping someone put their shopping into their courtesy car!  

I also think we have such a great team here at Lexus Birmingham, we have an all-female service desk which makes me incredibly proud. I and my colleagues Molly and Elaine really help and support each other each and every day. It really makes me smile when a customer is surprised with how much we women know about cars! I also absolutely love the Lexus brand – with the Japanese work ethic sitting behind everything we do, from Omotenashi (which is a Japanese term for hospitality) to the incredible engineering and craftmanship Lexus put into every vehicle.

What does your typical working day look like?

5.30 am – I wake up, shower, and check my emails and our Customer Satisfaction scores that have updated overnight.

6.45 am – I start my commute into Birmingham – During this time, I will either listen to music and sing at the top of my lungs or listen to a motivational podcast (much to which my colleagues hate as I come into work quoting cheesy lines)

8.00 am – 8.15 am – I print off our overnight Customer Satisfaction Surveys and update all the numbers on our trackers (labour and parts run rates, technicians hours, service plans & tyres sold)

8.15 am – I greet the Service Advisors and Technicians together in the workshop and we have a quick morning meeting. Here we discuss what I would like to happen throughout the day. We talk through the diary, workloads, and potential busy periods – I think it’s important we all know what is ahead of us that day and that everybody knows what their colleague’s day will entail too. I also speak to the Valet Team to make sure that they know what the day’s plan is, and which cars are ‘waiting for customers’ so they are quickly and efficiently back on the road asap. I also check the Sales Delivery List to see what cars are going out in the next few days, or which new pieces of stock have arrived so we can ensure they can be prepped for Sale in a timely manner.

8.30 am – 11 am – The customers start to arrive. Between these times I will be assisting the Service Advisors to help move cars, load the workshop and see customers into the business. 

11 am – 3 pm – During this time is the busiest time of the day as this is where most of our customer’s cars will be finishing in the workshop. It is extremely important to make sure that I am in constant check with the front of house and the workshop to make sure that customer’s cars are being completed on time. I also must make sure that if cars need any parts that they are ordered before 12pm so we can take advantage of same-day delivery and ensure we do not need to keep a car overnight unnecessarily – I also speak with the Showroom Hosts to check on any feedback from the day’s customers (the Hosts are the invaluable eyes and ears of our business and can always point me in the right direction if needed). I also will help the Service Advisors in case there are any customers who may need a little bit of extra care or technical advice. I am also in constant check with my Service Manager if any help or support is needed.

3 am – 6 pm – During this time we are now catching up and finishing waving off the last customers of the day. We make sure that all customers cars have been checked over to make sure that they have been cleaned to our standards and that all the customers that day have been updated with the status of their cars. 

6 pm – We finish off for the day. I go through all the numbers to make sure that we have hit our daily target. Make sure all customers have been followed up and any emails/calls have been responded to. We check all our Courtesy Cars to make sure that they are fueled and cleaned ready for the next day. The Service Advisors and I then close the Workshop and the Valet bay – ready to go again tomorrow. 

6 pm – 6.30 pm – I then get in my car and start my drive home, I usually get a call from my Service Manager to catch up on how the day has gone, did it all go to plan, are all staff members ok, any customer issues, etc. I then will call my best friend to see how her day has gone as she is currently 9 months pregnant! She also works in the motor trade so she understands the workings of a busy Service Department.

7.30 pm – 8 pm- I will arrive home, grab something to eat. Catch up with my parents and find out how their day has gone, shower, and start getting ready for bed. I will catch up with my social media, and reply to all my girly group chats. 

Who or what inspired you to pursue your current role?

My dad has always been into his cars, and from a young age, I would help him with fixing his cars (even if meant I just held the umbrella whilst he was changing his brake pads). He inspired me to pursue my role within the motor trade. My Service Manager Thomas Jackson has also inspired me to do well within my role, he has guided me for the past 4 years and has made me become the person and manager that I am today.

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