“We have had feedback from line managers at the dealership level that using psychometric testing has reduced staff turnover and the staff that have been chosen are reaching higher customer satisfaction levels.”
Just the mention of psychometrics suggests being strapped up to some sort of machine ready for a brain examination.
Beaumont acknowledged that some staff and prospective employees can be anxious about the prospect of going through an assessment, which is why communication is important.
“It is really important to communicate with staff or candidates to help them understand why you’re doing it,” she said.
“We’ve found that if you explain properly there is less resistance.”
Dealer groups can use a validation study with their existing employees to see if current staff are suited to the group’s values. If they’re not, the group can then move to introduce further training or changes where necessary.
“Dealers can give us a profile of what they want their employees to look like in terms of personality and customer service skills and we can see if they measure up to that,” said Beaumont.
Assessing the showroom experience with mystery shopping
Dealers have been increasing the frequency of mystery shops they use to assess staff, according to Sargeant: “We have seen an increase in the number of dealer groups that are coming to us to analyse and improve the way their staff are following the process.
“People are becoming more critical of customer service within the sales process.”
Mystery shoppers are on the lookout for the process dealer staff follow, but also the experience the customer is given.
Video mystery shopping is still the most popular choice for dealer groups, according to Sargeant, with pin-hole cameras recording the entire experience for managers to get a realistic customer perspective. Managers can review video mystery shops through an online reporting suite.
Dealer staff are known for being able to spot a mystery shopper, but Douglas Stafford also recruits ‘real’ customers for mystery shops to avoid savvy employees figuring them out. Mystery shoppers can shadow a real customer visit posing as a friend of family member and then record the interaction from the sidelines.
However, mystery shopping has also expanded to online areas, with staff measured on their response to emails and lead enquiries through a dealer group’s website.
“Even if people are planning to visit a car dealership, many will submit an online enquiry before they visit,” said Sargeant.
“The process generally starts online and that’s why it is imperative that companies have the tools and resources to manage those enquiries and deal with them effectively.”