A Dealer’s Reputation

A dealer’s reputation is only as good as their people.  Employee turnover in auto retailing remains a major challenge and dealerships continue to spend large amounts of time and money to address the issue.  As an industry we spend over $1 billion for recruiting, hiring, and training related costs.

A stable workforce means a better customer experience, and with a simple and easy way for happy customers to share their experience, those customers will say you and your people are great.

Dealerships need to provide resources that enable their sales and service employees to build their networks, get recognition for doing a good job and maybe even initiate a simple rewards program for a “job well done.”

In today’s “instant-on” world it has become clear that consumers are calling more of the shots these days. A recent survey by RightNow Technologies found that “82% of U.S. consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of a single bad experience.”

The leadership in our industry must start standing up and show by their actions that nothing trumps the customer experience.  Barry Schwartz in his new book Practical Wisdom discusses the collective mistrust of institutions. 

He shares his observation that implementing new rules or smart incentives doesn’t solve our problems and that having someone watch over a group to make sure they follow the rules doesn’t produce excellence.

He goes on to say, “You need people of good character who want to do the right thing because it’s the right thing, who know how to figure out what the right thing is in this particular situation with this particular person and who are willing to improvise, take the initiative, risk being wrong — and all in the service of actually serving the mission of whatever activity they are in: teachers who want their kids to learn and be excited about learning, doctors who want their patients to be healthy and lawyers who want their clients’ interests to be well served and don’t need to be goaded either by rules or by incentives into achieving that.”

Sumner Redstone the Chairman of Viacom has a net worth of $4.1 billion and worked long and hard hours to build his media empire.  He admits it couldn’t be done without a strong team.  When asked what he looks for when he hires people he said, “It comes down to the three C’s;  Commitment  Competence, and Character.  If any of the three are missing, then it’s not the right person for the job.”

You can teach product knowledge and process, but without the commitment, the character and the competence long term success and  stability in your team will be elusive.

We have many talented and honest people working in our industry, but we need to encourage them to step up, take a leadership position and do what’s right for the customer, the employee and the prospects everyday.

Mark Dubis

Former Editor of Digital Dealer Magazine, organizer of the first two Digital Dealer Conferences and a former car salesman.