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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Richard Holland

Richard Holland Managing Director

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An interesting article on the Forbes website shared the results of a recent study by Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends. The study was the result of an extensive survey of over 2,500 companies in 90 countries. Based on the survey results, the author shared the importance of engaging employees in growing a business and how this relates to customer retention. The survey found that over two thirds of employees today feel overwhelmed, which prevents them from engaging with their employer. The survey further found that company executives recognize that their businesses have difficulties in this area; over 75 percent reported challenges in the following areas:

  • They have a significant retention & engagement problem. (79%)
  • They do not have the right HR skills to address the issue. (77%)
  • They are struggling to attract & recruit top people. (75%)

 

While I do not know if any auto dealerships were included in this study, the data certainly rings true for our industry. Bell-to-bell shifts for salespeople are very common and sales and service employees tend to work long hours. Add to that the stress involved in meeting sales expectations, and the problem is only exacerbated. High turnover is all too common and is something that many dealerships struggle with. This turnover absolutely affects customer experience. In sales it creates an orphan owner with no known point of contact at the dealership. And in both sales and service causes inconsistent individual follow-up with customers.

There is a delicate balance within a dealership when it comes to staffing. On the one hand, management doesn’t want to flood the floor with salespeople, as it can potentially affect their income by distributing sales amongst more people. On the other hand, if employees feel overwhelmed due to an imbalance in their work and personal lives, this can affect performance, engagement and revenue.

Businesses cannot expect to earn a customer’s loyalty when their own employees aren’t engaged with their business. If their customers aren’t loyal, dealerships increasingly have to focus their marketing efforts on customer acquisition to replace those lost customers. This then leads to inadequate retention marketing, which further increases customer defection.

The bottom line is that there is a direct correlation between customer and employee retention.

It’s absolutely necessary to recognize the interconnectedness of employee engagement, employee retention, customer retention and the customer experience. These are not independent of each other and it can help to face these challenges with a holistic plan that is inclusive of all of these areas. 

Christopher Murray
The article is interesting as it might pertain to dealerships. The long hours, sales target pressures, etc... are all a part of retail and are not necessarily unhealthy in and of themselves. What was not explored at all is sharing. My father, back in 1953, graduated from Scranton University with a degree in Physics and a minor in Electrical Engineering. When faced with making a career choice he opted NOT to follow the path of his brothers and taking a "government" job. His rationale was that the government jobs have no end in mind, no goal and no worthy objective. He instead opted for IBM a company with a bright future and, at every turn and whenever possible, they shared their vision, their short, medium and long term goals so when you worked the extra hours, had the "ridiculous" sales goals and were going the extra mile there was a target or an end in mind. According to my father you knew exactly where you fit into their long range goals and there was never a time that they (management) weren't sharing the progress towards a goal or an objective. Can most dealerships even say they have a plan beyond selling more cars? Other than the dealer making more money is there a "shared vision" (I detest consulting phrases but I have no choice here) for all of the staff? If you have nothing to work towards are you happy? Are you excited about an increased workload (viewed as opportunity by engaged and excited people) and deadlines if you really are in a work-a-day world? Once you know you are part of something bigger than yourself and when you are fully aware of where and how you fit in you tend to thrive as opposed to just survive.

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