Help your employees embrace COVID-related changes with confidence.
Put your employees’ safety first.
Make sure your employees know that their safety is your priority. This might mean implementing more frequent and thorough showroom cleanings throughout the day, temporarily reducing the number of staff in the showroom to ensure safe social distancing, and stocking your dealership with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
You can also suggest simple ways that employees can help maintain a safe work environment, such as wiping the phone down after use; wearing personal headsets, gloves and face masks; washing hands often and letting the customer swipe their own credit card.
If you offer at-home services, you can help keep your employees safe by providing them with disposable masks and gloves, as well as disinfectant wipes that they can use to wipe down a vehicle after a remote test drive. You may also consider allowing customers to test drive vehicles alone, so as to maintain a safe social distance between them and your employees.
Whatever precautions you take to protect your employees, we recommend that you detail them in email to your entire team. This will let them know you care about their wellbeing, and hopefully help them feel comfortable and confident coming to work.
Consider split shifts.
If your walk-in traffic is down, you may consider implementing split shifts. Not only does this help you retain your employees during this health crisis, but it also limits their exposure to physical contact with customers and other employees. Simply rotate the shifts so that the same employees always work together.
Determine which jobs can be done remotely.
If possible, allow employees to work from home to limit their physical contact with others. Though this is somewhat unconventional for the industry, there are surprisingly many dealership functions that can be handled remotely.
During a time when in-store traffic is lower, but online deal-making activity remains steady, both your internet and BDC teams could perform their functions from the safety of home — fielding phone phone calls, responding to internet leads and scheduling service appointments.
If you already have a digital-retailing platform, your internet and BDC teams can respond to inbound inquiries with interactive deal sheets that enable buyers to take the next steps in their purchase. Many of our dealer partners have been doing this successfully for years with all of their third-party leads.
Instead of focusing on appointment setting, they can walk customers through the car-buying steps they can complete at home. This might range from valuing their trade or submitting a secure credit application to finalizing their entire transaction. This allows your team to demonstrate the value of your online car-buying capabilities in a highly personalized way — something that consumers quarantined at home should appreciate. If you don’t yet have a digital-retailing solution, now’s an opportune time to consider Roadster’s Express Storefront.
Lastly, rather than waiting for inquiries to come to you, your team can use this unprecedented time to proactively mine your database from home and reach out to customers regarding lease returns or high-payment loans where downsizing may be a good financial option.
Focus your showroom team on their book of business.
If your walk-in traffic has slowed, your floor team can stay busy by following up with their book of business throughout the day. Checking on customers in your own community to make sure they’re okay is a productive use of a sales person’s time.
During these conversations, your team can learn what impact COVID-19 is having on their clients and respond in an empathetic way. For instance, you can offer to downsize the vehicle and payment for anyone experiencing financial hardship. Or you can recommend a new vehicle to someone who’s supporting an essential business that requires reliable transportation. If your sales agent is able to make a personal connection at a time when many people are isolated, it can go a long way towards building customer loyalty.
Keep the culture alive.
Maintaining a positive company culture may be challenging right now, especially if you’ve had to lay off or furlough a portion of your staff.
Maintaining clear, strong communication between you and your team members is key at a time like this. Consider implementing regularly scheduled check-ins or video-chats with individual team members.
Even if your employees have been unaffected by the health crisis, they may have a partner or other family member who’s been impacted. Providing an empathetic ear and offering words of encouragement are essential for maintaining workplace morale.