‘Auto industry wide open and lucrative’

‘Auto industry wide open and lucrative’

Assistant Service Manager

Tracy Noyes, 55

Bill Dodge BMW

2 Saunders Way, Westbrook

www.billdodgeautogroup.com

Tracy Noyes didn’t set out to have a career in the automotive industry. The Maine native, who is assistant service manager for Bill Dodge BMW, graduated early from Gorham High School to attend cosmetology school, which she completed at age 17.

“At 18, I opened my own hair salon, which closed due to a family illness after two years of successful operation,” said Noyes. “I attended the University of Maine after that for accounting, and have also completed many certification programs in the world of health and fitness.”

Along with her full-time job with the BMW Service Department of Bill Dodge, Noyes, who has been married for 32 years and has two daughters and a granddaughter, owns ReDefining Yoga and Pilates in Windham, where she also teaches. Noyes is certified in advanced personal training, yoga, and as a mind body specialist and holistic live coach.

Noyes said her job at Bill Dodge is more about customer service than fixing cars.

“Service writing is about representing a customer’s needs to a repair technician and in turn presenting the vehicle needs to the customer in a make-sense way,” she said. “It is important to have some knowledge of both customer service and automobile-related functions, and what constitutes healthy care of an automobile in terms of safety and longevity. Automobile manufacturers are very supportive of providing training for service managers and advisers, as is the management within the dealerships. With the Customer Service Index and ratings it is important to everyone that staff is well trained in product and customer service best practices.”

Noyes finds that training and best practices also applies to her work in the health and fitness industry.

“It is important to understand the functions of the human body and what is healthy care within what we specialize in, and in the development of an action plan for students. (You need) to have the proper skills to provide this information in a realistic way. Otherwise simply staying fit and healthy can be overwhelming – as it can be with automobile health and care.”

According to Noyes, her two careers are complementary.

“Going from the hectic atmosphere in an automobile service department, where you have numerous interactions with a customer from the initial conversation of needs review to the follow-up call with recommendations, to the call to let the customer know the vehicle is completed and the final review with the customer, to a more quiet atmosphere supported by a breath-oriented yoga practice is very balancing for both mind and body.”

Maine Women had a chance to talk with Noyes about her career in the auto industry, and what it’s been like to work in a field that has traditionally been male-dominated.

Q: What inspired you to work in the automotive industry and in service in particular? How did you get to where you are?

A: I hadn’t considered working within the industry until my brother, a repair technician/specialist at a local dealership, recommended me to his service manager when a service assistant position was created. I was hired to answer phones, set appointments, greet customers, write up service orders, quote and sell repair work, etc. With thoughts of home ownership and the educational needs of children (college), I made a decision to move my full-time work in the health and fitness industry to part time and began my full-time career within an automobile dealership.

I feel that through my first service manager, a great mentor, where I learned what I feel is the golden rule of customer service – “There is no magic to great customer service, Tracy. Take care of your customers and your customers will take care of you” – through my brother, who provided an unending knowledge base of automobile functions/systems, and through dedicated and hard work I was able to progress from service assistant to service manager within my first dealership and in another dealership, and now assistant service manager in my current position.

Q: Has your gender created any barriers for you in your field?

A: Certainly the automobile industry has the reputation of being dominated by males. However, over the years I have recognized that the scales are tipping with more and more females entering into this industry and in all departments, i.e., business development offices where appointments, marketing/social media, etc., is managed, in sales and within service departments.

In the beginning of my career it wasn’t uncommon when away for training that I would stay at a separate hotel than the majority – and would be the only female in the class. I now see that the scales are now balanced at many of the trainings, and even tip in direction of the female gender on occasion.

I do not feel that there are barriers within this industry. As in any industry, I feel that dedication, discipline combined with a strong work ethic will speak for itself. I feel that my career path is witness to this. I would encourage all, male or female, to pursue careers within the automobile industry – there are so many different paths to choose from.

Q: Are you optimistic about the future for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields?

A: Yes. There are many women who are employed in the development processes within the automobile industry, and with growing technology the field is wide open and lucrative.

Tracy NoyesTracy Noyes is the assistant service manager for Bill Dodge BMW in Westbrook. She encourages anyone interested in the automotive industry to pursue a career in the field.Staff photo by Faith Gillman

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