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Sewells Best Practise: How effective are your employees?

"Research almost always turns up a revelation of crucial importance, and this is aptly demonstrated by the Black Horse consumer finance survey covered in this issue of AM.

It found that 43% of interviewees who used a personal loan to buy their new or used car said the sales executive did not raise the subject of dealer finance. It makes you wonder how many customers who use dealer finance have to raise the subject themselves.

Apart from the obvious conclusions for the sales department, this astonishing discovery set us thinking about the implications for aftersales. The first thing that sprang to mind was customer retention for future car sales and especially aftersales retention.

As far as we know, nobody has researched the influence of dealer finance on retention, but it would seem self-evident that there is a connection. When a customer buys a car from you, they will almost certainly frequent your service department. Logically, customers taking out dealer finance are more likely to buy their next car from you – hence sustaining aftersales retention – because they are bound more tightly to your offer.

What worried us was how sure you can be that your employees are fulfilling the basic requirements of their jobs. Do they know what the basic requirements are, and how do you check they are doing what they are supposed to do? Obviously the only way to make sure employees know what is required of them is to issue comprehensive job descriptions.

Unfortunately, we know from the RMI/Sewells Pay Guide that less than half the UK’s franchised dealers give job descriptions to all staff. Assuming you have job descriptions in place, you then need to make sure your employees are effective. The simplest way is mystery shopping. We guarantee the results will be an eye-opener. Putting things right after a mystery shop depends on how damning it is. It is not usually constructive to reveal the mystery shop or the outcome to employees. It is far better to address the issues through continuous training and mentoring.

One final thought: If you ask for the business, it’s surprising how often you win it."

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