CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
Every dealership depends on certain resources to be successful, but thriving dealerships know the secrets to long-term, bottom line success depends on investing time and money in core areas of the dealership to stay on top and build a solid, recognizable and profitable brand.
The success of a dealership hinges on its employees for obvious reasons, but there are ways to maximize the impact your employees have on your bottom line. Great dealership's managers understand the importance of seeing their employees as individuals. Successful managers are able to pinpoint the unique talents and strengths of individuals on their team, empowering them to function at a higher level and deliver a better return on investment for their dealership. Gallup’s data shows that when an employee simply learns his or her strengths, that employee becomes 7.8% more productive, and teams that focus on strengths daily have 12.5% greater productivity.
Dealerships can easily access Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, an assessment that has helped more than 9 million people worldwide discover their greatest talents. After these talents are discovered, it is important to find ways to help employees align their greatest talents to the expectations and responsibilities of their job. This includes applying strengths in a team setting to achieve common goals, holding team meetings to help co-workers learn how their talents complement others, posting employees’ top five themes in their offices or cubicles, having employees set goals based on their strengths, and incorporating strengths into performance conversations and reviews.
All employees have strengths—the unique combinations of talents, knowledge, and skills that assist them in doing what they do best every day. Understanding and better utilizing their strengths will provide employees and employers with the optimum opportunity for success.
Although dealerships try to keep loyalty at the forefront of their minds, it’s always difficult to find a balance between customers and potential customers. Of course, gaining new customers is an ever-pressing goal of every dealership, but part of a successful strategy will focus on the customers they already have.
Dealerships gain new customers daily through marketing efforts. These efforts are for nothing if a loyal customer is lost because he or she is feeling ignored in the process. Even if a dealership were to add one customer to offset every loyal customer lost, the business would still lose money because of increased marketing costs and the reduced chance of a return sale.
Existing customers are also important to dealerships because it is far easier to sell products and services to someone the dealership already has a relationship with rather than to a new customer that does not yet have that relationship. If dealerships have taken care of a customer in the past and there is business-customer trust, these customers are more willing to give new products and additions a try. With a relationship in place, far less selling is required, saving time and money.
The rise of Facebook and Twitter have led to an enormous dealership interest in social networking. Dealerships understand that customers expect a much more interactive experience at a fast pace, which is why many of them have adopted a social media plan. Because of this social media craze, every significant business now gets feedback spread across the web, wanted or not. With the easy accessibility of online platforms, dealerships need to be efficiently utilizing their social outlets by responding quickly to customer feedback.
Although having user-generated reviews of products and services on their site can seem like a hassle for businesses, this is actually a big opportunity for companies to correct mistakes and mend relationships. This feedback provides management with information and brings problems quickly to the surface, enabling them to be fixed before they get out of hand.
Additionally, when feedback through social media is handled in the right way, it can attract potential customers to a dealership. A dissatisfied customer interaction posted to Facebook can be combated and solved for everyone to see. If a potential customer sees this “bad review” and the dealership responds promptly and in a professional manner, he or she may actually want to do business with them knowing how highly they regard customer feedback.
Most everyone at a dealership has a mobile phone they take everywhere. There’s no arguing that mobile devices have become an essential part of our lives and they often cause distractions at work. Instead of trying to combat the inevitable cell phone use in the workplace, dealerships can capitalize on this by giving employees the chance to be on their phones while being productive and engaging customers.
Something that is very easy to do and that can make a great difference to a business is permitting mobile devices in the office to have an internet connection. This will not only make an employee’s life easier, but will also help maintain a reputation of efficiency for a dealership. For example, if businesses are able to follow up with a client by email immediately after a meeting, it shows the client the business is accessible, timely, and professional. Another option for leveraging mobile devices in the workplace revolves around business applications. There are tens of thousands of applications designed for businesses that help streamline workflow, save time, improve co-worker communication, keep data accessible, and automate daily tasks. These apps are also great for improving customer service by allowing questions and inquiries about their service and products to be accessed through a mobile phone anywhere, rather than only at a desktop.
Successful dealerships focus on leveraging the tools they already possess such as their employees, customers, social media plans, and mobile devices. When all of these tools are leveraged, dealerships improve the customer experience and increase employee productivity, leading to higher levels of performance, productivity, and profitability.