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Tim Jennings

Tim Jennings Subaru Digital Process Strategist at Shift Digital

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At this years NADA convention a group of us went to BB Kings for some Professional Networking, Eric Miltsch, Joe Pistell, Rick Chavoustic, Joe Webb and myself were out sharing ideas’.  I always find this to be to most valuable time at conferences and training sessions.

 

When we arrived I had a terrible case of heartburn. I asked the server if she had any antacids, to which she replied, "No."  I thought to myself, I would give $10 bucks to relieve this misery. I bought a round of drinks and tipped her well. I took my lumps and settled with putting up with the acid reflux for the night. Later in the evening I went to the men’s room and found a porter assisting in the washing of hands. Low and Behold a tall bottle of Antacids! YES! RELIEF! Then it hit me, I could have had relief 30 minutes sooner had the bartender knew what the porter had in stock. So I told the restroom attendant, the bartender needed to know his health care inventory. He politely said, “Sir could you mention it to her”.  

 

I was happy to help both of them with the possibility of making more money by taking the very best care of their customers. I tipped him $10 bucks for a few antacid tables. I then realized the bartender thought she was to good to communicate with the lowly men’s restroom attendant. So, I explained to the young lady she indeed did have the antacids I was looking for. She looked at me and said “How the hell am “I” suppose to know what he has the in men’s John?”  

 

I was livid, “HEY, I tipped you 10 bucks for drinks and would have tip more if you would have better communication with your teammates/business associates.”

 

As I was walking back to our table I realized how many times we do the same thing at our dealerships. The lowest paid job in the dealership can have the biggest impact on the sale. If the porter’s job is to make sure the cars are clean, then his last touch of the vehicle is the first impression the customer receives. Many times, the highest paid staff blames the lowest paid staff for problems. That could be a disconnect in communication. When the staff doesn’t have a clearly communicated job description they start the day with a handicap. If we as the professionals give any excuses to the customer, how do we look in the eyes of the consumer? If the service department doesn’t listen to the customers complaint and gives the bush off answer of, "All cars are like that", that is a disconnect of communication.

 

So I ask the question, Where is disconnect of communication your business? Where is disconnect in your processes? We all have them. We need to recognize them and have a plan to minimize how many we have. I came across a blog post on MoreBusiness.com and found these to be excellent tips on communication with our teammates at work.

 

In a nutshell, the best communication strategies for your business should incorporate the following:

 

Integration: Connecting the present communication with what is happening in the company and the other modifications that employees are being affected by.

 

Keep it Succinct: Make sure that your message is not overcomplicated. Keeping it simple makes for clarity.

 

Be Straightforward: Don't be ambiguous about what you want to convey. Honesty is really often the best policy to adopt.

 

Address your Target: Just as it is required for marketing your products externally, you need to segment your audiences and target your message according to the requirements of each group of employees.

 

Make it Personal: Help your employees to understand how they are affected personally. When people know exactly what's in it for them, they respond more effectively.

 

Make it Memorable: Ensure that your message is striking enough to stand out from the many communications employees receive every day.

 

Use Multimedia: Utilize various media and methods to get your message across. Take the help of your marketing department to learn about the various means you can employ.

 

Focus on Being Results-Oriented: Make an assessment of how effective your communications are and devise follow-up strategies according to the results. Incorporate your successful measures as a part of the overall strategies of communication.

 

 

By the way, the antacids are on the restroom sink next to 10 different colognes!

Bart Wilson
Good post. I think that employees don't know how important their job is in the big picture. A receptionist is often the first point of contact a customer has with a dealership. Do they understand how vital it is that they sound professional? I think there is usually a major disconnect between sales and service. Most salespeople know they sell the first car and service sells them the second. Do the service writers know how important they are here? What's in it for a service writer to recommend that the guest looks at newer vehicles instead of replace a tranny in their 1999 Taurus? What are dealers doing to make sure the lines of communication are open and employees know how important they are?
Tim Jennings
A few times a month I send the my porter to get Ice Cream or buy him dinner. His eyes light up when I say, Ya wanna run and get us something to eat? He then usually says want your car washed? Ill reply Na, just do the best you can on my delivery. OK, I'll let him wash my car from time to time ;) (I do tell him no from time to time, so he doesn't feel like I'm using him.)

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