Turning In-Store Competition into Cooperation, Driving Retention
Marketing to customers that already know and trust you is much easier and more cost-effective than engaging in regional blanket marketing campaigns sent off to the general masses. While it doesn't completely replace campaigns targeted toward new customers, it certainly produces a much higher ROI. This begs the question: if retention is so important, why do so many dealerships have disjointed departments that aren't effectively working together as a whole toward that goal?
One of the major reasons is that employees are hired to do a specific job within a dedicated department. They don't necessarily have clear sight of the big picture: all their time is spent training and learning their specific role within the dealership without learning how their job impacts the business as a whole.
Because of this, animosity can develop between departments. The service manager may get frustrated with the sales department because they over-promised on what could realistically be delivered. Conversely, the sales department may get frustrated with service because they feel like they never want to help them out; they may feel like all they get from the service department is a lot of attitude.
If this culture sounds familiar, you are definitely not alone. You know it's important to change the current dynamic, but you may not be sure where to begin. It starts with the training process: when you bring anew employee on board, invest some extra time training them. They'll have plenty of time to learn the details of how their department works, but instilling a store-wide team mentality is something that should begin on Day One. Allow new employees to spend their first four to six weeks learning all the details of how the dealership operates.
If the new hire comes in to fill a service advisor role, allot plenty of time for them to learn from high-level managers in sales, administration, F&I, parts, and customer service. This will give them a great understanding of how all the departments work together for the good of the entire organization. In fact, in today's competitive market it's a critical part of service advisor training. Make sure that every manager who spends time with the new employee signs off on what they've learned. After this process is complete, they can start learning all the details of the position they were hired to perform. This concept doesn't only apply to new hires: implement a program that allows your current employees the same opportunity to learn from each department head. It's a vital step in getting your dealership operating as one aligned, sales-focused entity.
In our next post in this series, we will detail how ensuring that your store’s F&I and service departments are on the same page can help increase customer satisfaction and retention.
And while you're waiting for the next post, don't forget to check out our video interview of Fixed Ops 5, Episode 4, in which host Corey Smith discusses this topic with industry trainer and coach Cindy Lawrence.