Best Practices

Your Computer SUCKS!

Slow Dealership Computer

Except for a telephone greeting along the lines of “Thank you for calling (Dealer Name). How can I assist you?”, there is one word track your people use almost as much..

“Sorry, my computers running slow.”

Does your computer suck? Does it really?Is it the Internet speed of which your desktop operates? Is it the crappy Internet service your dealer has signed up for? It very well may be and if it is, tell your dealer to step out of the dark ages and get you the proper technology so you don’t have to keep throwing that poor, defenseless computer under the proverbial bus in front of your customers.

“Internet is going really slow to day. (sigh and a plea) C’mon. (twenty seconds later) “There you go. Yes, it looks to be in stock.”

I don’t think your computers are always the problem, but you have no problem blaming it on the computer when a customer calls. It can’t ALWAYS be the computer. Sometimes it is the user that is causing the error.

One thing is for certain, your computers take a verbal beating and I’m here to stick up for them.

Get your desk in order. Stop answering the phone if your websites aren’t up, screens aren’t open, DMS isn’t at the ready, and your dealership CRM isn’t front and center. If your monitor is prepared for the call, then you can get the answers out quicker and stop making it look like your dealership operates on Dot Matrix machines. It is often the people and not the programs so blame yourself. If you don’t have the skills to capture the customer’s information and set an appointment without logging into your computer then it is your job to have it ready to go for the customer and stop using your inability to navigate the machine as the primary obstacle in the call. Have you no feelings for your poor, sad computer?

Let the customer think that you are 100% in control of your work station, able to answer their questions within seconds rather than forcing them to listen to awkward silences while you verbally abuse your desktop and Internet service. They will think you are more professional and hold you in higher regard.

It is not your computer’s fault that “give me a few seconds. It seems to not want to work for me. Haha. C’mon. C’mon. Here it comes. No. Shoot. This computer always does this to me. Here it is. Wait. What kind did you say? That’s right. The 1500. And… it looks like…. Hold on a second. Running so slow today” you are the slow one.

I'm up for this battle Joe!  Here is more ammunition to motivate and influence some change:

I just can't get over how rampant an issue this is. Holy crap people, the Internet hit the first dealerships in 1997. That is over 15 years and we still don't have basic speed figured out. All I can ask is WTF?
I was so ready to critique this posting, but by the time my computer loaded up this page, I calmed down and forgot all about my critical remarks...  Great job Joe!
  • Anonymous
  • August 30, 2011
I already went and prefaced in the beginning that it often is the technology.  I mention that dealers must step up to the plate and put better tools in their people's hands.  Few know it better than me as much as I travel of the ancient computers thrust upon Internet teams. 

This is more of a way to look past those issues and address the fact that few people are truly prepared for a phone call when they take it and especially aren't privy to the ways of properly navigating the sites to find the answers the fastest. (If they aren't skilled enough to overcome the questions in the first place and go for an appointment.)
Nice read Joe! As salespeople we always need to remember that it is up to us to have the information customers need readily available whether it's face to face, over the phone or even through the magic of the interweb.
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • August 30, 2011
Nice Laugh Kevin. Thanks

I never paid much attention but listening to a few calls today - yup, common word track.
  • D
  • August 31, 2011
Great article Joe! Hate to admit I saw myself in it, but yesterday after reading it I got everything in front of me the calls I had went a lot better and appointments were more easily made
Yup, I hear it all too often when I listen to our calls every day.  If the guys get off their butts and walk the inventory, they should know if the vehicle is in stock or not.  If they know it off the top of their heads, they will be more effective.
  • J
    Jerry Thibeau
  • September 1, 2011
If I had my way the computer would automatically turn off when the phone rang.  We listen to lots of calls where there is idle time while the salesperson is trying to find the inventory on the computer.  The sad thing is that you're probably not going to see anything different than what the customer is seeing on their computer.  Salespeople need to know their advertising and inventory.   Become a professional and know your trade!  Good one Joe!
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • September 1, 2011
Jerry, I was thinking that myself. But this causes a conflict to something I would do in the past and sometimes train on. This is something I think you might not agree on :)
Many times I would join the customer online. "Fantastic sir, what website did you see this vehicle on? great, allow me to join you". At this time I would join the customer on the same site / same vehicle. This would allow time to build rapport and answer questions. It made the customer feel as if I cared (which I did) and was taking their needs to interest. This can work well...
However, I can see how this could cause too long of a pause and most would not go into rapport building during this time of "joining" the customer. Making for awkward pauses and causing the customer to possibly feel uncomfortable. Or better yet, cause the impatient customer to become frustrated.
Jerry would say "know your inventory" and you don't need to "join" the customer online. There is truth to this..but for dealers with large inventory or inventory that pushes online before photos and data have been completed, this causes a challenge.
So - back to Joe's point. Have your computer ready and your browser pointed to your inventory page on your website or inventory management tool so IF you want/need to joint the customer online, you can with ease and little time involved.
Perfect your Ninja phone skills and get the appointment.
Jeff Kershner
Founder | DealerRefresh

[email protected]
240 217 1740
Okay, I do not work for a dealership, but my sister does.  You would think that all the employees are trained to say, "Hold on, my computer is going slow".  Every time I go to visit her, I swear, I hear that at least 10 times in the 30 minutes I am there.  Good article.