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It's As Simple As A, B, C, Dx...

"We can't track it if we don't measure it" is a term we are all familiar with but is it actually true? Statistics say yes and this is very true of math based analysis but in recent years the Automotive Industry has evolved and transcended into areas that maybe subjective yet have trackable results, like Customer Experience (CX).

Although CSI and Net Promoter Scores have dominated the business in the past the newcomer of CX is now the mainstay and although initially cannot be tracked direct and indirect results can. As the basis of this article it still is evolving to the next level.

One of the pleasures of having many connections is that you are asked for insight and opinions into all matters, do you know someone that is an expert in this area, what do you think of this product, will this work, is my payplan fair, how can I increase retention. This list could go on and on; and as much as I am asked I also ask questions, it's the way we learn and grow. However, these last two-three weeks have been exceptionally active and moreso leading to the same outcome through multiple individuals.

Let's start off with a conversation with Doug Reeves of A2Z Sync. He too was having conversations as we all do about the industry and the issue that came to mind designing a compensation plan that rewarded longevity. Could it be done as the rewards were immense for all, the customer, the dealer, the OEM and most of all the individual employee. Would this lead to a better environment for all? How about retention, loyalty and costs? Would they benefit? Absolutely... But it would require outside the box thinking and this is a stumbling block in our industry as we live by the "We always done it this way" mantra.

So why don't we do it? The first comments I can hear is complexity, if it's too complex and complicated nobody will understand it or buy into it. We will lose our people. Or how Sales has always been paid on GP and our people want to be paid on GP, as profit drives sales and big commission checks are incredible motivators. I can agree with this as this is what I was exposed to my entire career. 

If we know that Long Term Customer Value is the holy grail of the industry, that customer loyalty is a thing of the past, the race to the bottom is returning, and employee turnover is going to reach never before seen heights, we as professionals need to implement new strategies especially in the forms of payplans. 

No longer can we look at the dealership as the Car Lot it needs to be the Car BUSINESS. One in Five people are directly or indirectly employed by the industry making it an enormous powerhouse yet when you speak to individuals in it, the majority will say it was a last resort not a first choice. Studies show that Car Salespeople rank just above Telemarketers and are tied with Politicians in form of trust. Why because of how we operate. We churn and burn, clients and employees alike. 

Thinking through the above what if we changed the payplan. Let's do it significantly moving forward. Let's reward our teams for doing all aspects of their jobs with the sales conversion only being a part of it. Let's focus on collecting data (Right Tim Hayden) so we can service them expertly throughout their automotive lifespan. Let's maintain contact, communicating appropriately and efficiently to make the experience frictionless. Further, let's prepare them for the future with their next purchases well planned in advance. And let's pay them for all that and more. What would happen if we did that?

We would move from Customer Experience to Dealership Experience. 

A2Z Sync promotes this with their singular point of contact solutions however this is much more than that as we are now tying in a complete global structure to the mix. If you see the benefits from single POC solutions you can really build on this relationship model. Think of every step of the journey being worth revenue to the dealership, either spent or retained, it starts to make sense. Communication is the key to relationships and the ones that are maintained the longest are those that have the consistent engagement and interaction. Developing a structure that pays on this will become a win/win for everyone. 

But, before you say it... Yes, automation can solve these issue, we can set and forget texts, emails and social media posts. So why would we pay for someone to contact our customers personally, especially if it is part of their job descriptions? Easy. We are in the people business, People buy cars, People sell cars, and People fix cars, AI, Robocallers, and Chatbots DON'T and the never will. How many times to you say operator/agent or press 0 when you encounter a phone tree? It's the same thing at the dealership, we want people. More than that we want the same person we dealt with originally as that is the person we gave our trust to. Again this leads to longevity and retention of both the client and the team member. So reward it.

Say it can't be managed, that's an excuse. Today, I was on a call with an individual that not only has software that can do it but in that software it's visibility dashboard have created proven documented dealer growth exceeding 25% and as high as 58%. 

So it can be done, we can change the model for the better, I haven't even touched on employee engagement or scheduling for maximizing efforts and returns. This is the future, if we don't change we will become obsolete. We know the pressure is mounting, the question becomes what are you going to do about it. 

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