The best dealerships sound great. While some stores sing with interdepartmental harmony, others sound like this. From parts to porters, everyone has their fair-share of tasks, responsibilities, and customer interactions. With all of the hustle and bustle, oftentimes it’s easy to forget that all of the departments depend on each other to work in concert. You are all singing, but is everyone at your dealership singing the same song?
At most stores, there’s a cacophony of different music playing. “Life In The Fast Lane” is blaring from the Dealer Principal’s office, while “Sweet Surrender” is playing softly in the General Manager’s office. The Internet Sales Manager has “One Is The Loneliest Number” playing on a loop. The BDC is playing “Call Me,” while the F&I office has “Takin’ Care Of Business” banging on volume 10. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” plays in the front office, while “Workin’ Man” plays in the service department. So many songs are blasting at the same time, that often one department cannot hear what the other department is playing. More importantly, your customers hear the noise loud and clear.
Let’s turn the volume up, and listen to few common mistakes:
“Don’t You Forget About Me”
Your BDC agent does as they were trained to do, and sends a quote to the customer on an agreed-upon vehicle. They built great rapport with the customer, and very detailed notes were entered into the CRM for the sales personnel to review. The appointment shows, and the assigned salesperson incorrectly starts the traditional road to the sale as if no communication had occurred prior to their arrival. The breakfast club is ruined.
Your advanced Internet department went through great lengths to bring in an out-of-state customer. They used the pre-approval tool from the website to ascertain the pertinent details to quote an accurate payment. The F&I manager looks at the bureau, and says it’s a “no-brainer” for the manufacturer’s advertised low financing rate. Yet, when the customer arrives, they are presented with completely different payment options. Round and round and round we go again.
“Take This Job and Shove It”
Ah, the disgruntled employee. We all know the snide receptionist who acts overly exerted when asked to complete the smallest of tasks. How about the service writer that’s too busy on their cell phone to take care of the three cars queued-up in the service drive. There’s always the chief Sales Manager that’s too busy helping the lot staff, getting coffee, and/or trimming their finger nails to greet a customer at the front door. All of these people can take a potentially rewarding customer experience and turn it into a single transaction. If only these employees had the guts to say…
Having a well trained Internet department or BDC is just one component of doing business with today’s customers. It’s like a band with only a bass guitar player or a choir with a bunch of sopranos. Even if there are 5 superstars in your BDC, everyone working at the dealership is instrumental to taking a string of notes and making it music. When it’s right, it’s easy for customers to hum the tune, tap their feet, and sing along.
Building a solid Internet department is just part of creating a solid Internet experience. Creating a great guest experience means all departments must know the playlist, and ensure each interaction with the customer is harmonious. All it takes is a dirty car, rude staff, or a pushy finance manager to ruin the Internet personnel’s best efforts. If you want “Shiny Happy People” holding hands, start singing from the same hymnal.
*Shout-out to Barry Broekhuizen, of the Seelye Auto Group, for inspiring this post.