Are You Listening?
One of the most important skills our dealership team needs to develop is the art of listening. I am confident all of us at one time or another had our significant other question if we were listening. Many of the times my wife has asked me that question and I answered no. This just illustrates that it is an area of opportunity for my own personal improvement to develop the skill of listening. The truth is, every key performance indicator in the dealership requires the skill of listening.
To Our Customer
No matter what dealership department you consider it must be listening to your customers, or the results are poor. Can you imagine if your service advisor has poor listening skills, and they’re trying to communicate on a repair order what your concerns are? The technician will have a challenge trying to sort through it, everybody loses money and customer satisfaction. Imagine the customer picking up their vehicle after being repaired, only to find the advisor didn’t listen well to their concern and it wasn’t repaired properly.
How about the salesperson who is so concerned about the oldest vehicle, that he can get a larger commission on, that they fail to listen to what the customer is seeking in a vehicle? Both outcomes are so obvious yet, is so common in today’s dealerships and their staffs. Best practice, dealerships also choose to listen to their customers suggestions on what we can do to improve the way we do business. Make solid eye contact in every discussion and intensely listen to what they’re saying to you.
To Our Staff
I’ve seen several examples visiting dealerships across the country where the staff knows things that need to be improved, yet are intimidated to go to the management. It might be a member of management that needs to be discussed, and they are afraid the dealer will get involved and put them in the middle of it, possibly costing them their job. In these examples when nothing gets brought to the dealer’s attention, the results remain negative and employee turnover skyrockets. No one wants to remain in a job where management won’t pay attention to suggestions on ways they can improve performance. Best practice would be to have regular one-on-one visits with the staff and encourage an open honest discussion about areas the dealership should be focusing in on.
I challenge you to do a self-evaluation on how good a listener you are. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, and then ask your significant other to give an honest evaluation of where you stand. Those of you with kids don’t forget to ask them! You might find it interesting to compare the three numbers. Become a student of being the best listener possible.
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Rob is President and Founder of Fixed Performance Inc. which he began over 15 years ago. His passion for customer care and helping others has assisted hundreds of dealerships with their fixed operations performance. His common sense coaching and training lifts people up as individuals and team members. With over 30 years of dealership management experience, he understands and respects the daily challenges of fixed operations. Placing a strong value in people and best practice processes always provide growth. His articles have been published regularly in national publications and weekly newsletters are read by thousands.