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Recently our industry was rocked by a vendor update that just about shut down the inventory update process for dealers, 3rd party inventory sites, and website providers a like. If we’re being honest, some of us are still reeling from the effects.
I’ve worked on the digital side of the automotive industry for five years and in that time things have not always gone as planned. It happens and sometimes no amount of preparation can anticipate the end result. The game changer when things go wrong is how you handle that imperfect scenario. Having a crisis management plan in place can be the difference between strengthening a client relationship and killing it.
Take a second and imagine the worst-case scenario for your business. If this happened tomorrow are you prepared for it? If your answer is no then its time to build a game plan.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few pointers for a successful crisis management plan:
-Keep your staff INFORMED of all updates.
WHY? Broadcasting a consistent message keeps confusion at a minimum.
-Set a TIMELINE for notifying your customers and stick to it.
WHY? If customers know to expect an update every hour, it will keep your lines of communication clear.
-ANSWER the phone every time it rings.
WHY? It shows you care, you’re aware, and you’re working on a solution.
-LISTEN to customer concerns.
WHY? Because it reaffirms that you value their business.
WHY? Transparency is the best policy and it’s easier to keep track of the truth.
It might all seem like common sense, but having a handle on those few points above can make a world of difference when it comes to managing an imperfect situation, whether its on the dealership level or as a vendor. If you ever need them and you’re prepared, your customers will thank you.