By Sean Reyes, Chief Marketing Officer, Recall Masters
The retail auto business is stressful for all departments. In non-pandemic times, employees often work 50+ hours per week to keep up with the demand from both customers and management. Now, with the pandemic, all departments are working harder than ever before. And they’re working harder not only to make a living but also to keep up with the expectations of their managers.
Front-line employees reflect your business as a whole. If those employees are stressed out over money or overtaxed by management’s expectations, this can easily spill over into a customer’s experience and affect their perception of the dealership.
So, what can you do? Here are a couple of simple points that successful dealerships apply rigorously. And, best of all, they do not cost any money, but yield a huge ROI! These can help lighten the mood for your team and translate into an exceptional experience for your customers.
1) Recognition – Not everyone is motivated by money. But don’t get me wrong; Of course, the reason employees work in the first place is for that paycheck. However, that $50 spiff may not be as important as being recognized for their work, personally or on a team-level. Many people are working from home or in a limited capacity. Make it a point to let all of your employees know that you appreciate them.
2) Compassion and Flexibility – During these difficult times, you may find that your employees are experiencing stress in their personal lives as well. They may have kids at home and have trouble juggling schedules and childcare duties as babysitters can be harder to come by. Hopefully, your employees have found suitable solutions but, if they have not, work with them and let your team know that you understand. Show that your dealership cares about them and their family. This small investment of time will make employees more invested in your business.
3) Performance Metrics – You are probably familiar with the phrase, “hero to zero.” Every month starts over. If you are holding your employees to the same performance metrics as you were before, but your business has gone down, you might want to reconsider what a good job is right now. For example, take a salesperson who averaged 12 cars per month pre-COVID. If your traffic or leads have dropped 25% because of the pandemic, it may be unfair to hold your employees to the same metrics as before when considering job performance. And this not only applies to sales but also to service. If your business is doing better, as it is in some states, then perhaps you need to reevaluate up!
The point is, we are living in abnormal times, so it is more important than ever to treat your employees just like you would your customers – or perhaps even better! Thank them for their business (work), show them that you care about them (compassion), and reevaluate what you are expecting them to do. As it is often said, employees will treat your customers only as well as you treat them as employees. How do you want your staff to treat customers when you’re not looking?
Focusing on these areas can help you to maintain a great company culture and keep your employees engaged, which you’ll find also supports a better customer experience.