Dealerships often struggle with two big issues: keeping their staff and keeping their customers. When you’ve got a high staff turnover and customers who might defect in the time it takes to read a competitor’s promo email, it can feel like you’re constantly treading water.
Interestingly though, oftentimes the solutions for one of these issues can help with the other too.
For instance, when your employees are satisfied and not overworked, they’re able to provide better service which keeps your customers happy and loyal. Similarly, by making it easier for your staff to offer highly desirable benefits to customers, you reduce staff stress while keeping your customers happy.
How can you accomplish this? Let’s take a look at 3 ways that you help both customers and employees, allowing you to improve both staff retention and customer retention.
What keeps customers coming back to your dealership in 2023?
Insights from Nearly 1,500 Dealership Customers
1. Reduce shift length for happier staff, happier customers
Long workdays have been a staple in many industries, particularly in sales roles where the pressure to meet quotas can lead to extended hours. This kind of schedule often results in employee burnout — especially among younger salespeople who may not be accustomed to the long hours.
These younger employees are particularly valuable as they often bring fresh perspectives and adapt quickly to new technologies, which complements older employees’ experience.
Dealerships are recognizing this issue and making changes for more reasonable workdays, with some reducing daily shifts from roughly 10 hours to 8. Of course, these decisions shouldn’t be made in a vacuum: consult with your employees about their schedules and listen to what they have to say.
How this helps customers too
Reducing workload doesn’t just make for happier, more retained staff; it also has a direct impact on customer interactions. Employees who aren’t stressed and overworked are more likely to engage positively with customers, offering better customer service as a result.
In the case of Delray Buick-GMC, the reduced hours contributed to a more positive work environment, which in turn led to increased customer satisfaction. Not only did they retain the two employees who were considering leaving, but happier employees led to happier customers.
This shows that employee well-being and customer satisfaction are not mutually exclusive but are, in fact, closely intertwined.
2. Train employees to focus on customer service quality
Of course, while we’ve been talking about sales so far, fixed ops is where the lifelong customer relationships are forged. Dealerships are increasingly recognizing that traditional perks like discounted oil changes and loyalty programs are no longer sufficient.
Instead, more dealers are making the case that dealerships should aim for “unreasonable hospitality,” which means delivering more than customers could ever expect — and despite the focus on hospitality, we’ve found that any form of overdelivery can create this kind of effect.
Train staff in skills such as active listening for personalized service. Offer convenience-oriented services (like vehicle pick-up/drop-off and free loaner vehicles), and provide specialized training to service advisers for managing customer needs to reduce their anxiety at critical points.
Your sales lot can benefit here too: consider how Stellantis enhanced customer satisfaction across dealerships by equipping salespeople with tablets to use comprehensive, VIN-specific checklists for each vehicle delivery, ensuring personalized and thorough customer service.
Investing in staff makes for satisfied customers
Just as reducing workload can make staff happier and more engaged, investing in training and support for service advisers can elevate the level of customer service provided. The service advisor’s role is often stressful, juggling multiple tasks and customer interactions. Training and support can equip them enhance the overall customer experience.
When staff are well-supported and trained to provide exceptional service, they are better equipped to offer superior service. This means listening carefully to customers, understanding their specific needs, and even slowing down to over-deliver on service. Such an approach not only satisfies the customer but also creates a more fulfilling work environment for employees.
3. Reduce administrative hassle (such as tire claims)
The traditional process of handling tire claims in dealerships has often been a time-consuming hassle. Employees have to navigate through complicated warranty claims processes, adding extra work and stress. However, a simplified tire claims management setup can make things both easy for your staff and more attractive to your customers.
Considering how dealerships lose so many customers to tire services, any dealership that can get more customers coming in for tires will have a huge advantage over competitors.
Not to mention, better tire coverage is one of the top amenities customers want, with free road hazard tire replacement nearly matching more demanding services like free powertrain warranty or free replacement of worn out tires.
Dealerships have come to love the DriveSure Benefits Suite for this, as it simplifies the tire claims process, easing the administrative burden on staff, and leaving the dealership’s customers impressed with their new coverage. The system includes quick customer lookup, easy verification, and digital claims filing with essential details preloaded, leading to claims getting approved and paid typically in under 10 days.
The straightforward process minimizes both time consumption and human error, reducing stress for service staff. Customers appreciate the improved service and coverage, as it includes the tire repairs or replacements from road hazards (a service not typically included in many warranties) at no additional cost.
This not only provides a seamless experience for customers but also builds loyalty with superior tire coverage, leading to repeated dealership visits.
Catch up with the latest research on service lane retention
Across all vehicle owners with DriveSure, dealerships see a 12-month retention rate of 67% on average. This supports what our dealership customers often tell us: vehicle owners love their DriveSure benefits.
Our customer retention research doesn’t end with DriveSure services, however. To find out what keeps your customers coming back for service — as well as customer preferences for communication, amenities, and much more — download the 2023 Dealership Service Retention Report.
What keeps customers coming back to your dealership?
Download the 2023 Dealership Service Retention Report to see what dealership service customers have to say.