Best Practices

What a 1932 Factory and Your Dealership Have in Common…

image of Hawthorne Building

The year is 1932 and you’re working at the Hawthorne Factory, a dusty, smelly factory just outside Chicago. You’ve worked the same assembly line for 20 years and have lived through countless lame brain ideas from management to squeeze out more productivity: hire more workers, buy new machinery, work longer hours….yeah yeah yeah, big deal. Are the Cubbies playing today?

One day, just when you think you’ve heard them all, Bossman strolls onto the factory floor (cigar in mouth, no doubt) with a new plan to push productivity up a notch. He says he’s simply going to crank up the lights in the factory and by doing so, productivity should increase. So, he does just that but for the first time ever, he actually hires a gentleman to measure this whimsical experiment. This stiff looking guy stands there taking notes and when the results steam in, it was your best day ever. Bossman thinks he’s figured it out…crank the lights!!

When his findings are published, a couple of brainiacs step back and look through a different lens. They come to your factory and ask to take a different approach. They dim the lights, nearly dark. Again, the stiff looking guy takes notes about the lighting experiment and again, your factory has a banner day. So, what does Bossman have to say about that! Dimming lights also leads to productivity…dim the lights!!

What happened here?

Did we learn anything?

Remember the factory name? “Hawthorne Works”…Well, from this experiment, every organizational management course in colleges across the country has at least a couple days worth of curriculum: textbooks call this “The Hawthorne Effect.” So what does it mean?

The Hawthorne Effect says “the simple act of measuring something will affect performance.” At the Hawtorne Factory, lighting had nothing to do with the productivity increases. It was the stiff guy with the notepad! The mere fact that worker performance was being measured and monitored by this guy caused workers to work harder. So why do you care? While I certainly hope your dealership isn’t dusty OR smelly, the Hawthorne Factory is just like your dealership. Measuring and monitoring performance will positively affect the productivity of your dealership.

Vendors often get caught up in a pitch of 38 different features that will improve your life. Heck, it’s easy for any dealership to get caught up in those 38 features and we certainly recommend taking advantage of everything. But we also shouldn’t forget the basics: Are you listening to your sales team’s phone calls? Service calls? I don’t have to tell you that improved phone skills translates to improved sales.

Measuring and monitoring that phone performance is as simple as using a tracking number and recording your dealership’s calls. You can then listen to your inbound and outbound phone calls (yes, I said outbound too). When they know you’re reviewing phone calls, you’ll be shocked at how much they improve. It’s not about “big brother” though and it should never be framed as such. It’s about investing time in your people and helping them improve.

How about taking a great phone session, hitting “Share this call,” and sending it to your sales team with notes as an example of a rock star job? Highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly and the Hawthorne Effect will rear it’s beautiful head.

How are you leveraging your call tracking and recording at the dealership to improve productivity and performance?

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    Jerry
  • December 17, 2011
Who wrote this article? This is probably the best article I have read all year and I have read it three times it's so good!  Hopefully Jeff will add your name at some point. 

I should hire you to sell for Phone Ninjas!  This is exactly why we at Phone Ninjas are helping dealers improve.  I would like your permission to use your well written article in my future marketing activities!

Thanks!
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Agreed Jerry.  This is a good one.
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    Jeff Kershner
  • December 17, 2011
This article was written by our fav Mike Haeg over at Century Interactive. That's why you like it so much. My bio script disappeared. I'll have this fix this evening. Not sure what happened. My apologies to Mike.

Yes, this is a great article. I expect nothing less when it comes out of the CI camp.

Inspect what you expect.
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    Jerry
  • December 17, 2011
A brilliant article deserves a reward!  Expect a little something in the mail Mike.  Thanks and Merry Christmas.
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    Mspeigl
  • December 18, 2011
If you aren't tracking your phone calls and holding your people accountable to what they are saying on the phones, you are probably missing at least 1 service customer per day and 10-20 sales per month. This article highlights an excellent management point, track anything that is important and watch your performance improve. If you can't manage this yourself, hiring a company will be one of the best investments that you have.
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    Bettinawirz
  • December 18, 2011
It really is amazing how you can take control of a conversation with the right words and sentences and change the result. Monitoring sales calls is an investment that pays for itself.
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    Mike
  • December 21, 2011
Thanks for the kind words.  Glad you all enjoyed it!
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