There’s no one answer for how to create a positive culture in the workplace, but for auto dealers there are clear and undeniable benefits to a great dealership culture built on delivering a great customer experience.
A dealership with a healthy and strong culture is positioned to protect its existing market share against conquest, grow even in a flat sales marketplace through effective service-not-sold and other conquest operations and expand its fixed ops revenues.
In this post, we share how and why to invest in creating a great auto dealership culture, including:
Growing a CX-Centered Culture
The most important thing you can do to create a culture centered on customer experience (CX) is to visibly and consistently lead by example. We’ve written before about the process of defining, leading and managing that kind of culture, but when it comes to dealership culture, it can’t be a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.” It’s very difficult for a dealership employee to put the effort into treating customers with care and respect if they don’t feel they’re receiving similar treatment from leaders in return.
Another important element of a CX-driven auto dealership culture is doing as much as you can to give your people the power to do what needs to be done for customers without having to stop and ask for permission. That kind of empowerment builds trust and helps create an environment in which people want to work because they’re allowed to do good work. Anyone who’s ever been micromanaged knows how quickly that ruins a culture.
Giving people responsibility and authority often means making sure they’ve got the training they need to make those decisions. Investing in your people’s growth through both technical job-specific training and broader automotive leadership training is a great way to show you value and have confidence in them, and it pays benefits down the road.
The Benefits of a Great Dealership Culture
In a flat auto market, dealership culture matters. Unsurprisingly, studies have shown the sales staff is attributed as the top driver of buyer satisfaction with the dealership experience. A great customer experience drives consumer loyalty and helps create service-not-sold conquest opportunities, especially when paired with predictive data analytics and personalized sales strategies.
With new car sales flatlined, the areas of the dealership where past customer experience are the most important – fixed ops, F&I, used car sales and the like – are taking on an outsized importance in a dealership’s bottom line.
One other bottom-line benefit to a great auto dealership culture? It’s far more expensive to hire a new person than it is to keep one who left. Research from Work Institute suggests it can cost employers as much as a third of an employee’s annual salary to hire their replacement in direct costs, lost productivity and other disruptions.
Keep Your Best Employees
Part of a great culture is having great people, but the problem with great people is it can be hard to keep them. Why do people leave your dealership to go work someplace else? Research from Gallup finds that today’s American workers have 5 reasons for leaving their current job for a new one:
While some of these factors are only partially under a dealer’s control, others are fertile ground for creativity and engagement. For instance, what does your dealership do to promote your people’s personal well-being?
More than anything, one of the best ways to create a positive culture in your workplace is to listen to your employees. In 2019, one of the global workforce trends identified by HR consultancy Mercer was “Delivering talent-led change.” In other words, making sure that strategies for change don’t just come down from corner offices.
Mercer’s research found that only half of employees say their company listens to their ideas for improving business outcomes. Three common suggestions that get ignored? Additional benefits for high performers, clear performance ratings and team goals (not just individual goals) to promote collaboration.
Does your dealership do enough to identify and reward the best performers – especially in areas other than sales? Do all your people get clear and regular feedback about how they’re performing and where they have room for growth? Where do you promote collaboration – especially across traditional boundaries like sales and service, or new and used sales – by giving teams a collective goal toward which they’re working rather than a collection of individual goals?
If you’d like additional automotive leadership training, check out our free e-book, “7 Tips to Become a Better Dealership Leader.”
Interested in learning more about what Mastermind’s training or solutions could contribute to your efforts to build a customer-centered dealership culture? Contact us today for a free demonstration.