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Lessons for Dealers From The Service Industry.

By Marilou C. Vroman, CPA, CFE

As I made the passage from working as a Controller / CFO in dealerships to the exciting world of automotive retail consulting, I was introduced to a concept about the quality of services early on. This concept resonated with me because it applies not only to dealer advisory services but also to every aspect and department of a dealership.

In simplest terms: “We offer three types of services – Good, Fast and Cheap, but you can only choose two. Good and Fast won’t be cheap. Fast and Cheap won’t be good. Good and cheap won’t be fast.” This is so true!

In your service department, if a technician is more concerned with flagging maximum hours without concern for the quality of their work, you will likely see more comebacks. In the accounting department if you want to save on overhead and understaff, or hire under qualified personnel, you probably won’t get to a three-day month end close (let alone an accurate financial statement). Not to mention costly errors and write-offs.

When it comes to any service, the pivot point is time and skill set of the person providing the service. In the sales department, if someone is only motivated by gross and volume rather than true customer service, you will likely get stung with poor CSI and unhappy customers. You cannot force a vehicle salesperson to care about their customer or to genuinely listen to their needs, this is something that is an inherent quality – and often a premium must be paid to attract and retain this type of person on your sales team.

Quality work in an efficient manner takes a combination of experience and genuine caring. Two elements which cannot typically discounted. This is why it is so vital to hire the right people with the right skills and place them in the right seat.

At the end of the day, you cannot expense your way to a profit. Spend the money and the time to create the best possible experience for both your employees and your customers.

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