Improving Employee Satisfaction Improves Customer Satisfaction

September 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Erik Stuttz - Also by this author

The most successful dealers are curbing employee turnover and increasing employee satisfaction because they know that customer satisfaction hangs in the balance. To make a difference in your store there are 4 areas to focus on:

1. Recruiting Process

2. Hiring Process

3. Orientation Process

4. Continuous Improvement Process

In this article we’ll look at Recruiting out of inspiration, not desperation and if you like what you read, you can watch for future articles to look more closely at Hiring, Orientation and Continuous Improvement.

Recruitment Process

Trying to recruit great people is a never-ending chapter in the story about meeting and exceeding customer expectations. But do we sometimes make decisions out of desperation? To avoid being caught in a bind, finding great people starts with an outlined description of each position in the dealership to define our dealership needs and this can start with looking at our surroundings and focusing on these three things:

• Work Environment

• Job Tasks and Responsibilities

• Job Competencies

In my years of working as a consultant for dealerships like Paragon Honda and Tasca Automotive, I’ve compiled a series of frequently asked questions that many dealers face in trying to improve their recruiting process.

Question: Should I always be looking for good talent?

Answer: Yes! This is a constant process, especially if we are to remain growing in the 21st Century.

Question: Where can I find qualified applicants?

Answer: The goal is to never have a need to run advertisement to solicit employees. The best dealers utilize “word of mouth” advertising. Everyone will ultimately know that your dealership is the place to work. This means we need to focus on doing our best as effective leaders within our workplace and community. Quality job applicants will seek to find us, if we are doing our jobs.

Question: Should we network our needs with our contacts?

Answer: Yes! Always let people know we are on the lookout for quality, potential candidates. Be sure to ask other business contacts (banks we deal with, advertisers and even our supply venders) for any possible recommendations while we are participating in business transactions and even involved in social activities.

Question: Should we ask for help from our own internal customers?
Answer: Yes! Ask internal employees that do an outstanding job. Utilize an employee “bird dog fee” for their help in finding a quality candidate that stays for a period of time (example: six months)..

Question: Can I use advertising as a means of recruiting needed personnel?

Answer: Yes, however only if necessary should we utilize this instead of referrals or word of mouth.

Question: If I do need to advertise what type of content is proven successful?

Answer: Here are some great content and helpful pointers.

1. "Just a few positions that are available in a family owned automotive retail business."
2. "It's a great opportunity for a few needed people in a growing business."
3. Never over-promise and under-deliver.
4. Offer in-depth training, if you do.
5. Mention that a Mentoring and Continuous Improvement Process will be provided, if it is.
6. Advertise that you offer monthly associate reviews for ongoing support, and live up to that promise.

Here are a few more examples of where to look for great people:
"Job Fair: Set up a booth at your local college (s) during a job fair day. and other internet sources.

The automotive business is a sales and service industry that can be compared to a fine hotel, fine restaurant, or clothing store. Customers are willing to seek out, find and pay more money when the service exceeds their expectations. There's no danger of exceeding customer expectations if we don't put an end to the revolving door that is the result of employee turnover, and that starts with recruiting the right people out of inspiration, not desperation.

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