Feedback from customers is imperative to know what your dealership is doing right and wrong when it comes to consumer interaction. From CSI surveys catching the insights of post-sale clients, to online review sites allowing shoppers to share their experiences (sold and unsold). To understand your company’s pain points, it can’t solely be from the customers’ perception. Your own people need to have a safe place to lodge feedback (a suggestion box for instance) as to what they see hurting business within your four walls. Let’s face it… they see the inner-workings even more than your visitors.
Too many salespeople, managers, and BDC agents keep their lips zipped when it comes to expressing how they feel as it relates to opportunities for improvement. They don’t want to be known as a complainer, problem child, bellyacher, tattle-tale, rat, or, worse, a potential lawsuit. So they keep quiet and allow problems to persevere. This is costing you money. And morale.
Instances are brushed under the rug to keep a fake sense of uniformity or team, but it undermines the very essence of building a strong cohesive unit. When training dealers, we see circumstances such as:
- Salespeople whispering that sales managers are unwilling to leave the friendly confines of their desk; making salespeople feel they’re on their own with little support from management to help close deals.
- BDC agents setting hard-won appointments only to have a manager make a confirmation call, seek out objections before the customer arrives (in an effort to I don’t know, maybe make their lives easier or ensure a sale, as if their time would be wasted otherwise?), and subsequently talking the prospect out of the appointment.
- Salespeople getting appointments set on their behalf, only to spend the two hours prior to appointment not learning about the vehicle, finding the car, or pulling it up.
- Finance Managers looking ahead at a deal loaded into the DMS, noticing the client is paying cash, and choosing to kill time until something better comes along, thereby leaving frustrated buyers sitting longer than unnecessary to purchase a car.
Far too many circumstances prevent customers from doing business in your store – and because it’s team effort to sell vehicles nowadays, the people that know best about these deficiencies, process breaks, and crimes of laziness against customers are your very own employees.
Your team doesn’t want to have to openly go to ownership, upset them with bad news, and be labeled. They don’t want to appear they can’t work with others, even if there is a problem. They don’t want to rock the boat, but they do want things fixed. These things aren’t always selfish, but often will make the dealership more money. Or, at the very least, make shoppers happier or improve employee relations. Consider putting up an anonymous suggestion box. Willfully ask everyone to submit thoughts or feedback. Or it can be an open email inbox where people can send anonymous emails from fake accounts. Only the owner should have access to this suggestion box, or someone from HR that is entirely unbiased to a situation, and never should they try to uncover who it is that made the suggestion. Or, you can promise to make the suggestion box entirely confidential with a promise that no direct negative action will occur from being open and honest. If presented to the team as a professional yet safe way to be heard, the suggestion box won’t be abused.
One way or another, you should rely on your people to give you the best feedback on how to make processes better. So long as they feel it won’t come back to bite them, these unfiltered opinions and peeks behind the curtain are the necessary ingredient to building a winning team. That is how organizations evolve.