You can only manage what you can measure. It’s a corporate cliché, but one that holds true in automotive retail. Dealers are using a variety of ways to monitor and measure sales staff across multiple dealerships from the amount of emails per day to being investigated by mystery shoppers.
This approach is not in pursuit of an Orwellian future, but of consistency. Dealers are looking for a steady process and approach from staff within their businesses to deliver a consistent level of customer service.
NEED TO KNOW
♦ Staff measurement used to track consistency of sales process, customer experience and query response times
♦ Mystery shops by Auto Trader showed 50% of dealers do not respond to customer queries at all
Staff need to balance this need for consistency while maintaining a personal touch and the ability to build a rapport with customers.
It’s a lot of pressure to deal with, but measurement should never be used as a disciplinary measure, according to Ben Sargeant at mystery shopping company Douglas Stafford.
He told AM: “Measuring your staff is about getting the best out of your people and using the results for performance coaching.
“If dealers embrace things like mystery shopping, it will only have a positive impact. The negativity from being mystery shopped only comes with how it is dealt with by the managers within the dealers.”
Mark Lavery, Cambria Motors chief executive, is focusing on how the group’s staff or ‘associates’ respond to customers, particularly via email and instant messaging.
Cambria’s average response time has come down from two hours to just under an hour. The quality of response was also evaluated, with even spelling and grammar examined.
Equal attention has also been given to employees’ level of understanding of digital technology and its importance in the sales process, with the reluctant or less aware finding
themselves in ‘intensive care’ for several months, receiving additional training and attention.
The correlation between sales success and the ability to communicate correctly and promptly is evident in sales performance, Lavery said, and has a direct result on the group’s performance.
The way new staff are measured when they join Vertu Motors is key to the group’s recruitment strategy.
Shirley Young, Vertu recruitment and talent manager, said: “It’s important that every colleague understands what is expected of them so they then understand how they are contributing to the company vision and values. If you don’t have objectives, how do you know how well you are performing?”
Vertu sets its sales teams gradual targets and does not expect 100% performance until they are at least six months into the role.