For the past several months, I have devoted a lot of this space to the coronavirus — how it has affected service departments and what fixed ops folks have done to persevere.

Now, I want to tell you about how the pandemic has affected our efforts to bring you the third annual Fixed Ops Journal Forum and how we have shifted gears. Plans were underway to host the event in October in Nashville when the pandemic changed things. We now feel the safest and most effective way to provide insights is to present them virtually.

Beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern time Oct. 8 and continuing each Thursday for the following four weeks, we will bring you presentations and discussions on innovations and the latest thinking. Our theme is “Moving Forward in the Year of the Pandemic,” and much of the discussion will center on how dealership fixed operations can lessen the impact the virus has had on business by sharing best practices from industry leaders.

Our series kicks off with what certainly will be an eye-opening report from Eliza Johnson of Carlisle & Co. on its annual North America Service Benchmark study. In short, customer retention is stagnant or declining, and customer satisfaction is trending in the wrong direction.

The following week, a panel of service experts will talk about how they are keeping their employees and customers safe while minimizing the stress of the pandemic. Week 3 will focus on lessons learned during the past six months. It will include a demonstration on conducting a comprehensive service lane walkaround.

After that, the discussion will focus on services that have ramped up during the pandemic and are likely here to stay, such as pickup and delivery.

And on Nov. 5, the forum’s exclusive lead sponsor, CDK Global, will present an hourlong session, “Looking to the Future,” on technology and processes that are on the horizon.

It’s all free. Register here. And if you can’t watch the presentations at the appointed time, you can do so afterward “on demand.” Thank you, and we look forward to you joining us.

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