Performance Issues in Car Dealerships and How to Address Them

Kate Conroy
February 23, 2024

You hear an odd clunking noise and the check engine light turns on. Oh no, something is definitely wrong, but it’s not clear what. You take your car to an expert to look under the hood and figure out what’s going on and how to fix it. The surface level issue may not be the whole story. How can you identify when it’s time to take a deeper look at the issues within your dealership

Common Performance Issues

Most dealership teams experience performance issues, but they don’t have to bring your dealership to a halt. Get your dealership in gear by identifying and addressing common performance issues.

Inefficiency and Slow Service

It’s frustrating to your customers when they have to wait longer than expected for the service work on their vehicle to be finished, but it’s also lost revenue! If your customers can get work done faster at another dealership, they’re going to take their business to where they can get results fast. Slow and inefficient service reduces the output of your service department. An efficient service department is able to turn around vehicles and reduce the time in between jobs so that you can maximize your billing.

Lack of Transparency and Communication with Customers

Another way to easily lose what could be a loyal customer is a lack of transparency and communication. Customers want to know what to expect when there is an issue with their vehicle, both in terms of cost as well as timeline. The same is true when they come in to purchase a vehicle. When they don’t feel your team is being transparent and clearly communicating with them, they’ll seek to put themselves back in control by taking their business somewhere where they can have clear expectations set and adhered to.

Your Team is Out of Sync with Your Customers

No one likes to feel taken advantage of. But too often car buyers perceive that they’re being swindled when they are navigating the sales process. They articulate their budget and needs to a salesperson, but after they’ve finished perusing the lot and sit down to review the details it doesn’t add up. Features the customer expressed as priorities are missing. The purchase price when all the fees are added on becomes out of budget. 

Many times it’s not intentional, but it has an impact on your customers. They don’t feel heard and they’ll question if your team has their best interest at heart, or if the salesperson is just trying to squeeze the highest commission possible out of them. People remember how you make them feel. They’ll take their business to a dealership where they feel respected and heard.

Ways to Improve Performance at Your Car Dealership

Improve Onboarding and Training Processes

A solid onboarding and training process sets expectations early with your team. It makes clear to your new employees what your values are and how you expect them to show up and perform at work. 

Setting expectations doesn’t start on day one. It starts with the first interaction you have with your new employee, usually the interview process. The way you interact with your candidates during the interview process will set their initial expectations for how your dealership operates. 

You expect your employees to be prepared for the workday and demonstrate this value by being prepared for your employee’s first day of work. Have a plan for their onboarding and training process. Who will show them around the dealership? Who are the people they should meet on their first day? How can you make them feel welcomed and valued? What training do they need and what is a reasonable timeline for them to complete their training so that it sinks in?

Set Goals and Communicate Them Clearly

Just like your customers, your employees need clear expectations and communications in order to trust you (and so they’ll keep coming back). Communicate your expectations by setting goals with your employees. Design goals to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound), which will keep your employees accountable to take action toward them. Draft these goals collaboratively with your employees; they need to own their outcomes and progress toward achieving their individualized goals.

Focus on the Relationship Between Employee and Customer

The relationship between your employees and your customers is key to driving customer loyalty. You know what you want this relationship to look like and what you want customers to remember after they’ve interacted with your team. Model these interactions for your employees. Demonstrate how you build trust and consistently act in a way that is aligned with your values. 

There will still be bumps in the road. Delays will happen and although customers will be disappointed, with solid relationships and communication in place they will be understanding and continue to be loyal to your dealership. Help your team learn how to navigate challenging customer situations in a way that represents your dealership well.

Listen to Employee Needs and Evolve

Listen to your employees’ needs. Building a relationship of trust with your employees is a two way process. Show that you care about and value your employees by listening and responding to their needs. You won’t be able to grant every employee request but show you have heard your employees by exploring their needs and working through why you can or cannot meet them in your dealership.

Solve Common Problems with Outsourced HR For Car Dealerships

Performance issues slow down the efficiency of your dealership. Your time is wasted when you are constantly running around putting out fires that could easily be avoided. Strategic HR will start your employees on the right foot and correct issues quickly before they escalate. If you are interested in exploring how an HR Consultant can help you prevent and address performance issues in your dealership, contact us to start the conversation!

Photo by Artem Podrez

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