What unprecedented times we live in. The current response to the coronavirus outbreak in America has hundreds of millions of people practicing social distancing and staying home. Fear and worry are rampant as hundreds have succumbed to COVID-19 symptoms in the nation.
Service departments have been designated as ‘essential business’ during the pandemic, and rightly so. But the people staffing the department are assuredly seeing a decline in work coming through the door. Their wages are affected by declining traffic, and they’re exposed more than the average person in their work environment.
Now is a great time for service departments to change the way they operate, at least in the short term. Local needs can benefit from the dealership’s services, and it’s a way to focus on providing for someone else’s needs rather than your own.
At this point, if your service department is still operating, you’re probably already offering vehicle pick-up and drop-off services at your customers’ homes or workplaces. Continue doing so as long as possible, and so you don’t appear to be taking advantage, do it for free.
In this period of time, it’s more important to be kind and compassionate than making your monthly goal. Customers will remember it afterward and can be expected to be loyal.
If you find technicians and lot attendants are idle, or any staff for that matter, partner with other essential organizations to fill needs. That can be delivering groceries for a local mom-and-pop grocery store or arranging service for the vehicles in essential businesses’ fleets.
In every city or county, there are vulnerable people who are isolated and in need. That has many forms from the elderly in personal care homes to self-quarantined individuals who are running out of supplies. Put out a call on social media offering to help those who need it.
Virtually everyone is suffering financially at this time, and dealership staff are no exception. Car sales will have a steep decline during the COVID-19 outbreak, service departments will be very quiet, and parts desks will be nearly abandoned. For any staff that are willing and able to be at work, pay them well. Forget the commission-based structure, for example, and pay an average of their last 3 months instead.
At this time in history, be remembered as a store that cared more about their customers, their city, and their neighbors than about selling. Find ways to serve in as much as you’re able. The benefits to community as well as your team morale are immeasurable.