In most areas of the country, stay-at-home orders are being eased or lifted altogether and businesses are reopening. But whether your dealership is reopening after being shut down or you’ve already been operating at reduced capacity, your business operations are going to look different moving forward than they did in the pre-coronavirus world.
Not only will you have customer expectations to answer to, but you’ll also have government regulations to adjust to. Every dealership who wants to survive the next couple of months will need to adapt to several operational changes—some of which aren’t completely clear.
Fortunately, we’ve put together a list your dealership should consider as you begin to ramp up operations.
Offer Flexible Work Schedules
It’s possible to provide employees full work schedules while still following social distancing guidelines with flexible scheduling. This will all depend on the size of your staff and showroom, but you might consider staggering your employee’s schedules. This would mean some employees come and leave early, while some come and leave late.
On top of reducing the number of people in your dealership at one time, one big advantage of flexible scheduling is extended business hours. And extending your business hours means more time for customers to visit and more opportunities for sales.
Keep BDRs Remote
Just because your dealership has reopened doesn’t mean every job needs to return to working on site. Making calls and booking customer appointments can easily be done remotely. That’s why it may be beneficial to keep BDC.
We understand that it might sound risky to let employees work unsupervised from home for longer than needed. But when you have the right employees, you’ll find they are just as, if not more, productive from their homes. Remember that communication is key, and accountability is a two-way street. Have frequent check-ins to ensure your employees are not only working hard but enjoying their role as much as they would working at the dealership.
Alternatively, if you find an employee or two who isn’t pulling their weight, with unemployment at an unprecedented high, there’s never been a better time to find a replacement who wants to work hard.
Research Your Area’s Specific Requirements
Reopening guidelines vary from state to state, and even county to county. On top of that, reopening regulations are changing daily. It’s important to stay on top of local government regulations and adjust your operations accordingly, and promptly. It’s even more important you have an efficient way to relay information to your employees—we recommend using an instant messenger program like Slack.
Deploy An Employee To Be A Dealership Bouncer
Depending on your local government there might be a limit to how many people can be in your dealership at once. If that’s the case, determine the bare minimum number of employees you need to conduct business, and figure out how many customers you can help at one time.
Once you’ve figured out the numbers, dedicate a couple of employees to control showroom traffic. Place them at your entrance and have them direct customer parking, create a customer queue, restrict group sizes and admit customers into the showroom as others leave. Having a dedicated role for this task will keep showroom traffic flowing efficiently. It’s also a great way to provide additional hours for your employees on a rotation.
Continue To Provide Social Distancing Guides
Despite loosening stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines are still in full effect for the foreseeable future; however, many customers may struggle to follow proper social distancing guidelines. That’s understandable. The concept of social distancing is still new to all of us, and many people are still confused on how to do it properly. That’s why you should adapt your environment to naturally encourage social distancing.
Space work desks and waiting room chairs six feet apart and remind your salespeople to avoid handshakes or any other physical touch. If possible, send customers on test drives alone and continue to sanitize every vehicle before and after being looked at.
Make Sure You’re Targeting Customers Who Want To Buy From You Right Now
Being open won’t mean anything if your dealership isn’t advertising to the people who want to buy a car in the post-pandemic economy. Unfortunately, most dealership marketing targets a group of shoppers that is likely to remain suppressed for several months, if not through the end of the year, making it harder to meet targets set in the pre-virus world.
But you don’t have to struggle. There are plenty of customers who will be ready, willing and able to buy from you, if you market to them correctly. Fortunately, we outline exactly who these customers are, where to find them and how to attract them in our latest eBook. Download your copy for free here.