This is a rant.
It pisses me off to still see the sales floor referring to Internet customers and forms from the website as “Internet Department” things. When you still hear sales agents say “oh, that’s the Internet department” you know we have a problem.
C’mon, people aren’t searching for your store in Alta Vista using a Netscape browser – things have evolved over the last two decades! Why do we still have this wall between the Internet department and the showroom floor? You do realize you’re much more on the same team than those jerks across the other wall in the service department. Those jackasses are literally raising labor rates on you and making sure every car has a fresh set of wipers. You’d think they’d check the batteries on the front line from time to time.
Inner-departmental things haven’t evolved much over the past 20 years. It isn’t your fault. It is your vendors’ fault.
Vendors keep working on shiny widgets and features they can get you to buy quickly. Too few are pushing to solve the real issues that make your lives better. Why can’t a customer fill out some paperwork online and not have to be reentered into the CRM to print the “actual paperwork?” Why do you still have to make a spreadsheet with all the approved prices the Internet department can quote? Hey – wait a second! Why the hell is the Internet department quoting prices?
Prices???!!!! Does a customer even know what to do with a price? Most customers buy a payment. When you tell those Internet leads that car is $31,976.34 out the door you’re saying “okay, here’s your price and would you please take it to your credit union and the next nearest dealer I compete with.” Because they don’t know what to do next.
How many average Americans can fathom and manage $31,976.34? It is a number few have held. People understand $500 a month no problem! They want to know the payment. You’re telling them to ask for a price.
Here’s a problem to solve vendors: let’s give the Internet departments payments they can share with a customer. Real payments that are attainable by that specific customer, with taxes included, that will be seen on the sales floor too.
And no, your digital retailing plugin is far from a solution – it is actually creating bigger walls between Internet departments and the showroom. Half-ass technology solutions that get quick adoption with short-term revenue upticks turn people into Vice Presidents who push for that formula over and over again. Break that cycle. /end rant.
P.S. Service is actually the most important department in the dealership. The higher labor rates, for reconditioning, stabilize the store’s overall financial health and fresh wiper blades are just safer. But a dead battery on the front line…