Remote work has undoubtedly disrupted the workforce, with many employees working from home and eliminating in-person collaboration. While there are some companies who say remote work actually made their internal collaboration better, many say it was a hindrance. As employees trickle back into the office – or dealership – it is critical to build better inter-departmental collaboration, as joint efforts between teams can boost business and lift profits.
1. Start at the top
The key to better collaboration between dealership teams may have to start with leadership. Leaders should take notes on what is or isn’t working in their dealerships and implement required changes as needed. Since unmotivated employees and a high turnover rate indisputably have a negative impact on dealerships, teaching staff why inter-departmental communication is important and how it affects a dealership’s profits and its place in the market can help encourage employees and influence them to open more lines of communication.
Many successful leaders monitor Key Performance Indicators to keep tabs on their teams’ success and effectiveness. Being able to point out where shortfalls exist can help leaders build better, more efficient plans for their businesses. Bringing employees from every department together during meetings instead of meeting separately can also ensure everyone understands what is going on internally and throughout each department.
2. Make a plan
Not everyone at each level in every department needs to know everything, but they should be able to quickly direct questions and concerns to others who have the answers.
For example, when a car shopper asks about a financial aspect of buying a specific car and the salesperson doesn’t know the answer, is there a quick way to contact an F&I employee to ask about it, or would the salesperson have to scramble and go through multiple channels to find someone who knows?
Having a set step-by-step process for communication between departments can lay out a clear plan for all employees to follow. Of course, all transactions are different and may not follow a set process seamlessly, but having a visible plan can help overcome and manage any complications.
3. Be open
As always, leaders must also be open to recommendations and suggestions on how to better the collaboration process and improve dealerships’ company culture. In many dealerships – and other companies across all industries – some employees don’t feel comfortable sharing their opinions and advice, which can make their businesses miss out on procedures that could be very helpful. Many employees are scared to speak up and question current procedures, so it is important to let all employees know their suggestions are welcome and implement better processes as soon as possible.
Gathering insight from all employees and creating a vision for a dealership can give everyone a common goal to work towards.
Many leaders create an expectation that there will be an unlimited free flow of information and advice between departments, and it subsequently happens. If trust is lacking within a dealership, leaders must make an effort to find out why and remedy the situation. More trust, of course, will ultimately lead to more communication.
4. Employees can help too
While collaboration should definitely be demonstrated and encouraged by those at the top, all dealership employees also have the ability to be good examples for their peers. There has always been the conflict of whether or not coworkers should be “friends,” but at least having strong connections between one another can lead others to being more open with everyone, too. This is why many dealerships who view all of their employees as family have been some of the most successful businesses for decades.
Better inter-departmental collaboration in the dealership can also lead to happier, more productive employees. With all of the digital means we have available to us today, employees – not just customers – expect things to run more smoothly during the car-selling process. Dealer Management Systems are great, but they don’t always facilitate collaboration. Therefore, perhaps building a communication platform or partnering with a third-party technology firm to simplify collaboration within a dealership can make every single department more efficient.
Collaboration helps build a consumer-centric business model
There is no question that many car shoppers often gripe about the length of time it takes to purchase a vehicle – even if they came into the dealership knowing exactly which vehicle they wanted to buy. For most people, buying a car is extremely stressful even though it can also be very exciting. If inter-departmental collaboration runs more smoothly, dealership employees are able to focus on creating a more consumer-centric business to help reduce stress and increase positive experiences for customers.
Ultimately, encouraging better collaboration between teams can increase customer satisfaction and therefore result in more business and higher profits.
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