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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development

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Top Reasons to Avoid the Coin-Operator State of Mind: Machines Don't Have Emotions

There is no doubt that money motivates many (not all) people. That said, the way you drive the advisor, however, should not be from the perspective of “you are a coin operator. The more coins I put in you - the more you will perform.” This mindset can create a hostile, ineffective, and dysfunctional work environment. In turn, it means that you can lose your most valuable asset: the Service Advisor. 

Instead of offering that s/he is a coin machine offer them a plan that *motivates* them on a consistent, manageable, level: 

Here are the top reasons to avoid the coin operator mentality: 

You Are A Machine, Not a Human: 

Just using the words “coin-operated” can not only come across as being degrading, but the words themselves have a deep connotation of “you are a machine. I run the machine by feeding you coins.” A more effective way of using this approach - in a more refined, diplomatic sense - is to offer that based on their skill set you have designed a plan that compliments what they are going to bring to the team. 

Merely rephrasing the logic into an approachable conversation not only emboldens the employee, but it gives them a sense of belonging. The more they feel that they are an integral part of the team the better s/he will perform. As not everyone is motivated by money, but instead they are driven by a sense of belonging: having a purpose within your organization. 

A Coin Machine Gets Jammed 

If you are so focused on just one or two tasks (as that is what the plan offers) then more often than not the un-refined process is reflected in the customer's experience. For example, if part of the coin operation is to process the customer through multiple steps then the way you approach the customer from everything to the greeting to the up-selling of the products can feel very forced. 

Albeit, there are specific steps the advisor should follow such as meet and greet, walk-around, findings, upsell, & active delivery. However, these processes are most likely ingrained in their minds. That said, this process should feel very natural. All of which translates to the customer. Offering them a pleasant experience. 

Burnout. The Fall that leads to Turnover

Burning out happens. We have all been there. You work yourself to the bone until there is just nothing left to give. You’ve checked out so many times that you have begun to lost interest and have lost your ability to connect with the customer, which is what offers the ability to sell the product as you developed, and fostered a relationship with the customer. 

The coin operator mentality does not afford the management style that encourages their employees to recharge, disconnect, and refresh. Taking a step back (or having the feeling that you are able to do so) is invaluable. As it enables your employee to refocus, and most importantly - reconnect.  

The Customer Feels It: 

There is nothing worse (or nothing like a lousy buzz kill) when you encounter a disgruntled employee. It is the worst. Everything from their frown to their lack of interest in assisting the customer. The customer does not just feel like the employee doesn’t care. They feel like YOU do not care. And while that is not the case, it is about perspective, no? 

I get it, we all have bad days. But that bad day is only amplified in a coin-operated world. The machine doesn’t have emotion. Humans do, though. 

Bottom Line: 

This is not to say that you shouldn’t offer a pay plan that incentivizes, encourages, or pushes your advisor to work harder. There is a difference, however, in how you present the pay plan. And the way the advisor feels about their contribution to the service lanes overall success. There are those that are motivated by money, which is just fine. It is not okay, though, when it comes solely about the pay plan and not the customer;  where they work the plan harder than the customer. 

Remember, the Advisors are on the front-line *advising* the customer on what is *best* for their vehicle. If they are operated on a coin-machine, then the coins will run out. Leaving a chaotic, disengaging, awkward experience for the customer. 

Are you a coin-operator? In retrospect, do you have success with this pay plan?

Ian Barkley


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