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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

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Set Unconventional Goals for 2019

Every conference, webinar, training session, and manager’s meeting you’ll be a part of focuses on the business side of a car dealership. There’s absolutely no doubt that profit and loss statements, the DOC, and all the reporting you do are crucial for a profitable, smooth-running service department. Otherwise, how do you measure your progress throughout the calendar year?

This time ‘round, we aren’t going to worry about setting financial goals. That’s going to be driven home on a consistent basis – so much so that you’ll have nightmares about numbers in the next month or two. Instead, let’s focus on setting some new goals for 2019. Goals you probably don’t measure in a traditional way. Goals that work on one of the most important sides of the industry: relationships.

Set Employee Retention Goals

Alright, so this one you can track with actual data. Year over year, you can determine your service department’s employee churn rate easily enough. It’s no secret that every new hire costs more than $50,000 on average in training and lost sales, but that’s the WHY and not the HOW.

Employee retention is all about relationships. A team member that feels connected and valued isn’t going anywhere unless they’re moving physical addresses at home. My suggestion is to track segments of the service department separately to help understand where there’s a need for improvement.

 Determine your employee churn rate over the past year, then set a goal to improve it by 10 percent. It’s achievable if you’re seeking to improve relationships in the service department.

Set Customer Satisfaction Goals

Whether you’re a service manager, service advisor, fixed ops manager, or dealer principal, you have a responsibility to ensure customer satisfaction. That certainly doesn’t mean the customer is always right, because we all know that’s malarkey. But it does mean interacting with a customer in a way that demonstrates moral character and servanthood.

It can come as a goal to personally greet five customers per day and strike up a short conversation. It may be demonstrated by working in the trenches, assisting valets and writing work orders when the service drive is overflowing. Trust me – customers notice when management is hands-on, and they appreciate it. And when there’s a dispute, the customer wants to be heard and understood more than offered a resolution.

Set Personal Growth Goals

Here’s one I struggle with daily: a personal growth strategy. Yet, I understand and agree there’s a need for it. To show you’re not satisfied with status quo, do one thing every day to make yourself better.

Read a chapter or a few pages of a management book. Spend 30 minutes at the gym before work. Ask a coworker if there’s something you can help with. Mentor a junior team member. Pray daily in your car on the way to work.

If you want to track your progress on a calendar, do it. Don’t beat yourself up for days you miss. Just get back on track today, not tomorrow.

Wondering how personal growth affects relationships? Here’s one thing you’ll quickly learn: focusing on yourself dramatically improves your ability to focus outwardly. When you feel good about yourself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, you’ll be better equipped in your day to serve others and be attentive to their needs.

R. J. James

Now that's a Full Bucket of WISDOM!!!

Derrick Woolfson

Great article, Jason! Retention issues can wind up costing the dealer thousands of dollars (as you mentioned), yet very few dealers have an HR department or the leadership required to both build and execute programs centered on retention. I think as time goes on, the attention will soon be shifted to employee morale, and what we can do on the dealer level to keep our employees. 

Kristen Tepper

Totally agree about Employee Retention, especially in the dealership arena. 

Fact - The American Psychological Association estimates that more than $500 billion is funneled yearly from the U.S. economy due to workplace stress.  Additionally, another 550 million workdays are lost each year to stress on the job. 

So how can we combat this? 
1. Engage Employees
2. Create Accountability 
3. Be the Example
4. Establish Expectations
5. Reward

You can check out the full blog post that highlights each of these points with more details here:

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