5 Steps to Improve Employee Efficiency
To learn more about how to empower employees and improve your dealership employee efficiency, we asked the Retail Doctor, Bob Phibbs, for his tips on how to get the most out of your employees and build rapport with them along the way.
Step One: Re-evaluate your language
As a dealership owner, the kind of language you use can have a direct impact on the performance of your employees and yourself. In today’s world, we often fall into the trap of talking to people in a language of disappointment. However, one of the most important steps in growing your dealership is setting yourself up for success, and the words we use to discuss our dealership have a lot to do with this.
What you say and how you say can go a long way in determining whether the feedback is heard. Instead of telling yourself or an employee what was done wrong, consider approaching it from a position of development. Instead of saying “do this”, try giving feedback by saying “next time, let’s try this approach”.
Step Two: Prioritize, and hold yourself accountable
Often, dealers will say that the biggest roadblocks to getting things done are lack of time, lack of staff, or they’re just too busy. The reality is that we’ll never be able to add extra hours to our day, so the only way to make sure everything gets done is to set a schedule based on your priorities and hold yourself accountable for it.
“I have to put [my routine] into my schedule with alerts to remind me, so that it doesn’t become a nice to have. It’s a need to do.” – Bob Phibbs
It can be difficult to figure out what organization and accountability strategies work for you. After a professional lifetime in entrepreneurship, Bob recommends the following three steps as a starting point:
- Build a routine, and stick to it.
- Encourage yourself.
- Plan everything, including important work tasks or projects.
At the end of the day, inspiring motivation at your dealership starts with you. If you can show your employees that you’re dedicated to making changes at your dealership and will hold yourself accountable for the things you need to do to improve performance, they are more likely to commit to the changes they need to make as well.
Step Three: Hiring practices
Attracting Applicants: One of the biggest challenges facing most industries right now is staffing. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to attract and retain talent. As baby boomers start to leave the workforce and the next generation enters, the things that attract them to each job will change. To address this, you will need to make your dealership stand out by offering unique and competitive incentives.
Choosing who to hire: As people return to in-person shopping, empathy and rapport-building skills will be important to emphasize in customer interactions. Since we’ve just come out of an era where mask-wearing and virtual shopping limited the impact of body language and direct interaction, creating positive in-store experiences is extra important.
Step Four: Training practices
Once you feel confident enough in a candidate to hire them, that’s when you need to invest some time into getting them ready for the sales floor. According to Bob, a recent study conducted showed that 51% of consumers across 22 countries are actively doing more shopping at independent retailers.
However, to turn these individuals into actual sales, you need to make sure that their experience in the dealership exceeds expectations and rewards them for taking the time out of their day to physically visit the store when they could’ve just visited an online retailer. When so many of you are short-staffed, it’s extra important that your staff are well trained in order to create that positive experience for the shopper.
A lot of people look at training as a one-time nuisance. But good training is an ongoing process. There are plenty of tips for making your employees more efficient, but one key tactic is running mock sessions, where you role-play a customer and your employee is challenged to try and help you. In these sessions, you can identify areas where they may need to be re-trained, and also learn best practices to share with the rest of your workforce.
Tip: Having a dealership management system that is easy to use and automates processes reduces the amount of system training they have to do, so you can focus more on the soft skills..
Step Five: Retention practices
Often, retaining employees long-term comes down to empowering them. Unfortunately, sometimes we get so comfortable with our associates that the reliable ones become invisible to us. And those are the ones who end up leaving, as they feel undervalued.
To prevent this, owners can set up semi-regular interviews where they sit down with each employee, and discuss how they feel about their job, how they feel about your dealership, discuss opportunities for growth, and hopefully sense out whether they’re exploring other employment opportunities.
Here are some sample questions you can ask:
- What do you look forward to when you get ready for work?
- What do you like about our culture?
- What can I do as a manager to help you enjoy your job better?
- Are there any factors that make you want to leave?
Given you’re already short on time, investing extra time into training can seem intimidating. But, empowering employees will not only improve sales at your dealership but also help you retain employees in the long run. In the age of the Great Resignation, you can’t overvalue the impact of excellent employees.
Interested in learning more about how you can leverage Ideal to reduce employee errors at your dealership and help you stay on track? Click here to book a demo with one of our experts.