Is Employee Loyalty Killing Your Dealership?

By Mike Gorun

Evi­dence gath­ered from top retail groups, includ­ing auto deal­er­ships, indi­cates that employ­ee loy­al­ty direct­ly affects cus­tomer loy­al­ty and thus busi­ness results. Can efforts to cap­ture cus­tomer loy­al­ty be thwart­ed by employ­ee loy­al­ty?

Accord­ing to cus­tomer expe­ri­ence researchers Temkin Group, engaged employ­ees are key to engaged and loy­al cus­tomers.

“Engaged employ­ees deliv­er a bet­ter cus­tomer expe­ri­ence; a bet­ter cus­tomer expe­ri­ence cre­ates cus­tomer loy­al­ty; puts employ­ee engage­ment; and, cus­tomer loy­al­ty leads to more prof­itable busi­ness results,” Bruce Temkin, man­ag­ing part­ner, told Direct Mar­ket­ing News.

When employ­ees are tak­en for grant­ed, not giv­en clear direc­tion, rarely cheered on and viewed as util­i­ties, don’t expect them to engage cus­tomers in pos­i­tive ways. Absen­teeism, water cool­er hud­dles and high turnover are signs employ­ee loy­al­ty is in bad shape.

The good news is that devel­op­ing employ­ee loy­al­ty is not rock­et sci­ence, but a good dose of the Gold­en Rule, treat­ing oth­ers as one would like to be treat­ed. Here are some ideas for engag­ing employ­ees so they can deliv­er bet­ter cus­tomer expe­ri­ence:

  • Hire the right peo­ple. Look for those pos­sess­ing the required job skills — as well as hav­ing the heart and desire to serve oth­ers.
  • Lead with vision. Employ­ees who can artic­u­late the dealership’s guid­ing prin­ci­ples and reflect them in their engage­ment with oth­ers have bought into leadership’s vision. Wall plaques can­not ade­quate­ly con­vey this vision. Ongo­ing cheer­lead­ing ses­sions and desk side chats will.
  • Equip staff to mas­ter and own their jobs. Only when employ­ees know their jobs and are com­fort­able per­form­ing them will their atti­tude and actions allow them to focus more on oth­ers and their needs than their own. Pro­vide train­ing on both hard job skills and soft atti­tude skills.
  • Care for their fam­i­lies. Noth­ing tells employ­ees you care about them like pay­ing atten­tion to their per­son­al life and fam­i­ly. Include fam­i­lies in com­pa­ny events. Send flow­ers or oth­er forms of con­do­lence when an employee’s fam­i­ly mem­ber is ill or oth­er­wise strug­gling. Can the deal­er­ship fund a schol­ar­ship pro­gram for employ­ees’ chil­dren or spon­sor a kids’ day pro­gram dur­ing sum­mer months? Might a let­ter to a spouse of a hard-work­ing mem­ber of the team encour­age both employ­ee and spouse?
  • Link their loy­al­ty to cus­tomer loy­al­ty: Some peo­ple get it nat­u­ral­ly, that warmth, help­ful­ness and per­son­al inter­est in oth­ers, that sparks social inter­ac­tion. Most of us need a few clues. Con­sid­er an all-staff event to talk about the link between cus­tomer loy­al­ty and employ­ee loy­al­ty. Help them see clear­ly that their behav­ior and atti­tude on the job (as well as off) either bol­sters or under­mines efforts to build cus­tomer loy­al­ty long-term.

Deal­er oper­a­tors and their man­agers do their busi­ness, their stake­hold­ers and their share­hold­ers dis­ser­vice when they fail to fos­ter, devel­op and reward employ­ee engage­ment. Get this loy­al­ty dri­ver fixed first. Then watch the ROI on cus­tomer loy­al­ty improve.

Mike Gorun is Man­ag­ing Part­ner and CEO of Per­for­mance Loy­al­ty Group, a divi­sion of Media Trac. Read the full arti­cle here.




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