Each of your core departments — sales, F&I and service — play key roles in helping your dealership be profitable and successful. Your departments are like the legs on a three-legged stool, with each performing a critical function that keeps the whole thing standing. If one leg fails to do its part, the entire stool fails.
However, I’ve seen many dealership departments that exist in their own bubbles and don’t always see themselves as working together toward a singular goal. Each department focuses on its own sales and functions instead of cohesively holding up the stool.
While dysfunctional departments might work well enough for a short time, an inconsistent and negative customer experience will ultimately start costing you customers and money. Everybody in your dealership needs to have the same goal and understand the roles they play in keeping the whole dealership moving forward regardless of their department.
Let’s look at some ways your dealership can fix dysfunction between departments and keep your three-legged stool standing.
Promote Each Other
Have you ever dealt with a salesperson who accused the F&I department of ruining a deal? After the sales team has carefully negotiated a deal for a specific price, the handoff to F&I could be a disaster if they immediately start trying to sell the customer on a high-dollar extended warranty. This is what happens when departments are too insular and aren’t focused on working together.
The scenario I described above could be managed by better cooperation. The sales team could alert F&I to the precarious nature of the deal before the handoff, and they could also inform the customer about the add-ons F&I will offer and their benefits. F&I can also use the opportunity to promote the quality of your service department and the value of certain maintenance plans.
When customers later come back for service, the service department should notify that customer’s salesperson so they can visit and continue a rapport that will pay dividends down the road. The service department can also refer customers with older cars to the sales department to promote new sales. When departments look out for each other, customers get a better experience and everybody wins.
Address Inefficient Processes
From the moment a new car gets off the truck to the day a customer drives it off the lot, your inventory must go through several steps of make ready, cleaning and demos. Inefficient processes that don’t ensure your employees enter cars in your CRM, add new listings to your website, and secure and account for keys can lead to lost sales or even theft.
No matter what happens to a car during its stay on your lot, you need a quick and easy way to know where it is, who has it and that it’s properly accounted for in all of your internal tools. Is a salesperson unable to demo a car since the service department is washing it? Did a customer ask about a car you don’t see in your CRM but you know is on the lot? Were the keys to a vehicle not returned to the pegboard after a demo? Where’s the key for a car that was supposed to be done with make ready two days ago?
Avoiding mistakes like those above takes a commitment to adhering to better processes and the use of proper tools that help integrate your departments. Better securing and tracking keys is one step you can take toward improving the management of your inventory and how your departments interact with each other. A system that automatically tracks key activity and integrates with your CRM saves time and holds your employees accountable.
Make Smart Hires
Good hiring practices are critical to any business, and you probably know pretty quickly during an interview whether a prospective employee can move inventory. But sometimes the high-pressure, commission-driven nature of car sales attracts certain types of people with me-first attitudes. Sure, they might find success on their own, but how do these people mesh with the rest of your team?
Whether it’s salespeople, F&I managers or even service advisors, your employees need to work together to understand their roles in the bigger picture. They should be the type of people who will do what’s best for the team and not simply what’s best for their commission or bonus checks. Putting an emphasis on providing a great customer experience and following important processes in your recruitment procedures will help you build a team that wants to be a team.
Whether you’re dealing with millennial or Generation X employees, your whole team needs to buy in to your policies and processes and commit to working together. Visit keytrak.com/autosuccess to find out more about fixing inefficiencies in your dealership.