4 Hiring Practices That Can Hurt Your Dealership’s Success

  • Job Descriptions
  • One-sided Interviews
  • Desperation
  • Fact-Checking

Your dealership employees are a reflection of your brand. They are who your customer interacts with, purchases from, and need to build trust with before they make their vehicle purchase. Each new hire costs a dealership an average of $10,000, which can add up if you have a high turnover rate.

According to a 2019 Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study, the average annualized turnover rate at a dealership is roughly 80% for sales consultants and 46% for dealership employees overall. You probably have a team consisting of entry-level salespeople eager to help people find their dream car. You may also have non-sales staff such as service writers who pull long hours but feel they don’t make enough money and should be compensated for overtime. 

Rather than discussing the specifics you should look for in the hiring process (every company has its own cultural and skill requirements), we’ve pulled together some hiring practices you may not realize can hurt your dealership’s success. Check them out: 

  • Minimal job descriptions: If you want to attract the best, you have to write a job description that has a bit more information than just the minimum requirements. Be clear with who and what you want out of that position, their required job experience, and what their job requirements would be. A short blurb will come off vague and will get a lot of applications from people who don’t have the necessary qualifications. 
  • One-sided interviews: Job interviews are not just one-sided. You want to present a workplace that would make someone want to work at your dealership. An interview is not just about you checking out candidates for a position. It’s also a first impression of what it would be like working at your dealership. If you instill a desire to work for you right from the interview process, they’ll be more enthusiastic about coming to work. 
  • Making an offer on the spot: When you make an offer on the spot, it comes off as desperate. You need to establish a comprehensive hiring process that includes different interviews, checking out references, and perhaps a trial project at the dealership to show them what a typical day would be. Something freely given has little value, so even if you are desperate to hire, don’t appear to be in a rush.
  • Not doing a background or reference check: Just as bad as it is to offer a job right on the spot, so is not performing a background or reference check. You may feel the pressure to hire someone right away and that verifying someone is who they say they are is a waste of time. In actuality, it keeps your dealership team and customers safe. Not to mention, it’ll save you money by hiring a quality, truthful employee instead of someone who lied about their work experience. After all, a survey conducted by CareerBuilder discovered that over half of hiring managers report they’ve caught prospects lying in their resumes. A simple reference or background check will save you that stress.

There you have it, four different hiring practices that can actually hurt your dealership’s success. Simply rearranging a few areas in the hiring process will not only save you time and future aggravation, but it’ll also save money from hiring people that aren’t in it for the long run. Make your hiring process a priority at your dealership by developing a system that guarantees any new hires you bring on will be the right hires. 

surveying used cars

4 Essential Rules To Nail Reconditioning Every Time

Your dealership’s recon operation is a profit center, but the amount of that profit depends on the choices you make and the process you administer.

Detail wash

5 Tips To Improve Your Reconditioning Process

Parking board

Running a used car dealership can be incredibly rewarding for both you, your team and customers. But one of the most significant processes involved in the used car business is reconditioning. Most dealers have an average reconditioning turnaround time of 7 days. However, the best-performing dealers can complete the reconditioning process in 24 hours or less. These are the dealers who know that “time is money” and are determined to get their vehicles ready as soon as possible to get the sales rolling in. 

So how can you improve the reconditioning process at your dealership? The following are five proven ways that you can improve:  

1) Post descriptions, photos, videos, and prices ASAP

Before you begin any reconditioning work,  photos, videos, and your asking prices should be available on your dealership’s website. If your vehicles aren’t photo-ready, then use good quality online stock images as a placeholder until the actual vehicle is ready to be photographed. This allows potential buyers to get a look at the cars you have available and can speed up the purchase process. 

2) Have A Reconditioning Team Ready 

Having a designated team of individuals specifically for reconditioning will significantly speed up the process. Your service team is already busy enough taking care of repairs and other service operations. Send your acquired auction vehicles directly to a team whose only focus is to recondition cars and make them front line ready.

3) Buy Better Cars 

Let’s face it: a used vehicle that is in excellent condition will require less work than a car that is just shy of being a fixer-upper. That’s not to say don’t purchase vehicles that need a thorough reconditioning. If the profit potential is justified, you should acquire the vehicle. However, mix it up with vehicles in better condition to make up for the time it takes to perform longer restorations. The goal is to have a steady stream of sellable inventory hitting the front line.

4) Give Proof 

Even if you’re not able to have a separate reconditioning team and the responsibility lies in the hands of your service department, it’s important to give proof of how much additional gross can flow into these departments if they reduce reconditioning cycle-time. When there are delays, everyone loses, including the customers. On the other hand, busy dealerships can make hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross profit annually by shaving off a couple of days in the detailing/reconditioning process. Encourage your used vehicle and service departments by showing them just how much additional gross can be made if they speed up the process, and reward their improvement. This will give them the incentive to work towards that goal where everyone can benefit. 

5) Automatic Approval 

Dealers who establish an automatic approval process for reconditioning work will see a significantly faster turnaround time. Set up a baseline cost for pre-approved repairs (the average is between $600 and $800) so that the work can be completed in a timely matter. If the estimated repairs are going to cost more than your range, have managers commit to giving a decision within a couple of hours to expedite the process. You’ll not only save a lot of time, but you’ll also save money and sell your vehicles faster. 

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also recommend using dealership reconditioning software like ReconMonitor to manage the entire process. Using software to shepherd the process allows you and your team to have all the information at your fingertips. You know the status of each vehicle and the techs know what to do now, what to do next, and any changes to the plans in real-time. Information is power, and ReconMonitor gives you the power to speed up recon and get your cars frontline-ready at maximum speed.

4 Benefits Of Giving Back To Your Community

4 Benefits Of Giving Back To Your Community

Giving is its own reward, but your business benefits from community involvement are manyfold.

Children viewing monitor

5 Ways To Give Your Dealership Website A Virtual Facelift

Your website is your first impression for folks looking at dealerships online. Not only is it a representation of your brand, but it’s also a way to attract new customers. In only a matter of moments, a visitor to your website can determine if they want to do business with you. They may not have driven by your dealership or seen your commercials. Therefore, your site is as much of a representation of your dealership as the location itself. 

Poor website design
Web button error

One of the most important attributes of a website is the ability to communicate what the business does and who it serves. Your website needs to be able to answer questions a customer might have and give an accurate representation of your brand. At the same time, you can’t fill your website with so much content that your message is lost. 

The following are 5 ways you can improve your dealership’s website:

White Space

Although you want your website to pop and grab people’s attention, it’s also important to have white space. This gives the impression of organization and cleanliness in a modern way, focusing the attention on essential aspects within that white space. It can be specific models, categories, new or pre-owned, etc. The possibilities are endless. A recent study by Crazy Egg found that user attention increased by 20% when using white space around images, titles, and text. 

Create Calls To Action 

People are going to venture onto your website at all times: early in the morning, during the business day, and even in the middle of the night. Calls To Actions (CTAs) are an excellent way for someone to begin communication with you based on what they want. Be careful not to bog down the page with too many CTAs. This can cause your message to be lost in the chaos. Less is more when using Call To Action buttons. Sometimes all you need are “View Details” and “Get ePrice” to adequately serve the needs of someone visiting your website. 

Mobile Formatted Website

Not everyone who comes to your website will be on their computer or laptop. This is why your website must also be mobile formatted. Keep it easy to navigate and identical to the desktop version of your website. Many website building software products have built-in responsive design tools that allow your pages to detect the size of the screen being used, and reformat the page for optimal display. Mobile-Friendly websites rank higher in search results done on the phone compared to non-mobile formatted sites. If you want to read more on the statistics of mobile-friendly websites, click here

Put A Face Behind The Business 

When all the focus is on how to drive traffic to your website and improve the overall appearance, many businesses focus on the products and services offered. This can cause them to neglect the actual person-to-person experience. When people go to the dealership, they’re working with a real person. Since a visitor on your website doesn’t have someone greeting them it’s critical to have a page showing pictures of your staff on your website to give the visitor a welcoming vibe. Don’t limit the collection to just the sales team and service advisors either. Include service and reconditioning staff, finance, back-office, and executives, too.

People want to feel like they’re working with someone who genuinely cares about their business and not just after their money. Having a page with staff profiles “humanizes” your website and allows your staff to introduce themselves before someone comes into the dealership. 

High-Quality Photos 

The photos you use online for the vehicles on sale at your dealership are essential to determine whether or not someone is interested. It’s the product’s first impression, so you want to make sure the cars look their best. Using high-quality images shows your dealership cares about the brand and giving the user the best possible experience online. A study by Cox Automotive found that 90% of customers find photos important when looking for new or used cars online. 

Children viewing monitor

There are plenty of other ways you can improve the online experience for your dealership’s website. These are 5 of the primary techniques that the most successful dealerships use for their sites. Give it a try with yours, and the results may surprise you.

animation-call center agent depiction and hands on a cell phone

Establishing Customer Contact

Smiling woman wearing telephone headset

Communication is one of the most important aspects of running a thriving dealership. Customer service is improved, financial operations are streamlined, departments work together much more effectively, and more. Customer contact is the very core of what keeps business moving at a dealership. Without customers, there would be no business – plain and simple. 

There have been recent significant changes in how dealerships conduct business. More and more dealerships have entered the digital age of technology to serve their customer’s needs better. But how do you create a system of communication amongst your customers that not only shows your location is “current,” but is also capable of meeting their ever-growing demands? Within moments of a customer landing on your website, they know if they want to do business with you. Let’s take a more in-depth look. 

Old Meets New 

When you look at the customers that come to your dealership, you probably have a wide range of “old meets new.” The “old” would refer to your customers who have been with you since the beginning. They know the quality of service they will be getting and have referred their friends and family to your shop. You know them on a first-name basis and probably did the first oil change on their kid’s car. The “new” refers to the customers who are used to technology being at their fingertips. It’s a way of life for them, and they’d expect the facility caring for their car to be up to those same standards. 

What Happens Next

Today, communication is so much more than an email and a phone call. It’s all about taking the standard methods to the next level with tools such as IVM, text messaging, and ringless voicemail technology. These tools will allow you to connect with thousands of customers all at once without the time consuming manual outreach. For example, interactive voice messaging (IVM) can be an automated call to customers that gives them different responsive scheduling options for their appointment. 

Texting has also become a primary form of communication and is a great way to communicate with your customers. Customers never want to feel like they aren’t getting the same level of service they can get elsewhere. Without evidence that your dealership is using current technology, some customers could question if their car is being repaired following the latest repair procedures. They could voice their opinion in an online review, letting other customers know of your outdated methods. And that’s when the negative online reviews can start to affect your business.

Communication Is Key

There are several dealers out there who make the same mistake of not keeping in communication with their customers as soon as they drive off the lot. However, communication is critical in all aspects of dealership operations, from sales to service and beyond. 

When it comes to the service department, your customers want to feel informed and not left in the dark. They want to know what’s happening throughout their car’s repair and if something comes up. Just waiting for a call from the shop saying, “your car is ready” isn’t going to cut it anymore. Ask your customers how they prefer to be contacted and make it part of their record. Whenever possible, stay connected with your service customers by sending them text messages throughout the process of their repair. If something bigger comes up that didn’t appear in the estimate, call them and follow it up with an urgent text. 

To run a successful dealership is to have multiple communication methods to your customers. It may just surprise you what can happen just by discovering which communication method works best for your customers. 

PDR Estimate and Invoicing Software on different devices

How PDR Software Makes Life Easier For You And Your Customers

While you may see the front-end of your PDR business as the primary force behind profit, you also have to consider your back-office and customer experience. When it comes down to it, both how well-run your back-office and how great your customer service is will decide how well your business does. Every front-end sale relies on your back-office, you providing customers with a transparent and convenient experience. 

The repair business is constantly improving to foster more productivity. In this rapidly changing market, the best PDR businesses have PDR software that makes back-office work way easier and helps create customer-friendly service experiences. Better organization, way less paper, and everything at your fingertips.

Repair360 Inspection Screen

PDR Software:

It Can Handle All Of Your Back-Office Needs

The great thing about PDR software is that it comes stacked with plenty of features. You can track work time, commissions, hourly payments, customer estimates, work orders, invoices, billing, and way more. Beyond that, most reputable software can integrate with pre-existing accounting programs you may have (Quickbooks, Sage, etc.)

It Can Make Your Front-End Operate More Efficiently

When it comes down to it, your business is the actual repair work, and software can’t do that for you. With PDR software, you can create individual or lot-walk inspections and estimates, automate tasks, assign work to technicians, attach photos & documents, but also set up a notification system for your employees to be alerted on a job’s status. Ultimately, it cuts down on paper and unnecessary processes and increases your business’ communication. 

It Can Improve Your Customer Service

While PDR software is extremely helpful for your back-office and front-end retail work, it’s also excellent for customer service. Scan the VIN with your mobile device and the basic information about the vehicle is displayed. A few clicks later, and you’re ready to estimate the work. You can set up a text messaging system that notifies customers of exactly what’s going on with their vehicle. Better software can also create easy-to-navigate customer forms, email and print templates for your business forms that include your branding, and estimate approvals on device, via email, or web-connect.  

PDR Matrix - Hail Matrix
Multiple PDR and Hail matrixes included, and you can customize

AutoMobile Technologies Makes PDR Software

AMT offers software solutions designed to help business owners and technicians in the reconditioning industry be more efficient, provide customers with the information they need, give you better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date and you’re building a positive relationship with customers.

ReconPro™ is the leading management software for PDR, SMART Repair, Wheel Repair, Paint Correction, and Automotive Reconditioning. We’ve been reducing paperwork and increasing productivity and profits for our users for over a decade. Let’s talk about how we can help your business.

money clock

Overtime Rule For Dealerships

The Supreme Court ruled last year that Service Advisors are exempt from overtime pay requirements. How this impacts your employee morale and customer engagement, and what you can do to keep the teams motivated.

Reputation Stars and Lightbulb

Positive Online Reviews – The Secret to Protecting Your Dealership’s Reputation

Customers already have a difficult time trusting car dealers, yet they need to feel trust in where they are making their next car purchase. One of the most effective ways a potential customer can gain trust with your dealership is to read reviews.

Turbo vehicle

Detailing the Batmobile

The most important car you work on is the one ahead of you. Treat it like it’s special. It is!