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Rock’s Rants: Employee Convenience

Some dealership employees forget they work in the service business.

Recently, while I was talking to a service manager, one of his employees sent a message that a customer needed to talk to him. The manager shrugged and said something like, “I’m on my time. I don’t care.” He then proceeded to complain about customers who dropped their cars off early, before the service lane was open, and had the audacity to want to be let into the service department. Not a chance! This service manager made the customers wait until 7:00 am exactly.

Wow. I wonder if the owner of that store knows that decisions are being made daily based on what’s convenient for his service manager, as opposed to what’s convenient for the customer.

The scary thing about this kind of attitude is that it’s probably trickling down from the manager to all of his service employees. If this is the example that the manager sets on how to treat customers, how do you think his employees treat customers?

Dealership employees, this is a fact of life. You volunteered to work in a service industry. Meaning, your entire business model revolves around making and keeping customers happy.

Is it really that big a deal to make sure that coffee is ready by 6:45 am instead of 7:00 am? Is it a huge hardship to unlock the door, greet the customers and explain to them that although you’re not quite ready for them yet, they are welcome to sit in the lounge and have some coffee while they wait?

If you invited friends over for dinner, would you make them wait outside until you had dinner ready? Of course you wouldn’t. You should treat your customers the same way that you treat friends and family (assuming that you like your family).

I traveled to another dealership with a small parking lot and no parking spaces around the dealership. As I drove onto the lot, I saw an empty parking space with a huge sign stating “NO PARKING. Dealership Vehicles Only.”

Really? Having a space for your customers is not as important as having a space for your shuttle van or parts truck? Those vehicles do not need to be that close to the building. Your premium parking spaces should be reserved for your customers, not your employees.

If you work at a dealership, the only reason you have a job is because of the customers—even the mean and nasty ones. So, it’s time to start re-thinking priorities. Every single thing you do every day should be for the benefit and convenience of your customers, not for your own convenience or benefit.

Oh, and that includes not dropping f-bombs in front of customers. You are in a professional workplace with colleagues, not hanging out at a bar with your buddies.

Mr. Dealer, if you’re wondering why you don’t have more loyal customers, start with observing how your employees treat customers. That includes looking in the mirror and examining your own attitude and treatment towards customers. Do you treat them like family and friends, or like a major inconvenience? If it’s the latter, an attitude adjustment is in short order.

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