Creating a base of documentation in our dealerships typically causes the dealers we work with quite a bit of stress. Simply the idea of taking the time out to make sure the paperwork is in order can be incredibly overwhelming. As you think about the different ways you can provide increased clarity with documentation in your dealership, I would challenge you to start with just one area. Tackling all of the areas simultaneously may seem appealing at first but will be a sure track to put you and your team on a quick road to burnout.

Here are three goals you should have in order to improve the documentation in your dealership.

1.Create a consistent experience across all departments.

Be mindful of is what is being communicated across the different departments of our dealerships. If you have multiple locations, this can become even more challenging as each location has a slightly different way they do things. One of the frustrations that we hear time and time again is that a customer was not in the CRM so an employee didn’t know the status of their equipment/sale or parts order. For reasons like this one, it is important that every interaction with a customer to be documented. Yes, I know that sounds like a lot, and it is, but if we expect three different departments to take care of each customer with the same standard, we must have all of the information needed to take care of them.

A dealership I recently visited put a clause into their compensation program in order to encourage documentation of customers by the sales department. The clause stated that if the information in the CRM was 95 % accurate they would be eligible for an extra 1% in commission on the sale. Figuring out what will work for you and your team will take a little time and some trial and error, but the result of everyone being on the same page will eliminate chaos at the end of the day.

Our goal with documentation is that we are able to provide the best possible experience for our customers, and for us to do that, everyone needs to be on the same page.

2. Process is everything, but don’t overcomplicate it stablishing a process is key to having a professional approach to your documentation. Maybe it’s having a process where all emails and/or phone calls are responded to within the day they are received or, perhaps every customer who has had a piece of equipment in the service department receives a handwritten thank you note.

Processes are how you move from being a firefighter in your dealership to leading your team. One of the struggles that we see time and time again is that owners and managers over complicate the process so much even they don’t understand what they are asking. Regarding processes for documentation, here are some of the key areas you should be thinking about:

  • Documenting Techs’ times (clocking in and out of work orders). If you don’t have business management software, you can find tech time logs in our Dealer Toolbox.
  • Documenting all interactions with customers in your CRM.
  • Documenting expectations for customer follow up.
  • Documenting parts that were asked for but that you don’t currently carry or have in stock.
  • Documenting each salesperson’s daily customer touches.

Identifying what processes you can document not only creates clarity for your team, it continues to eliminate chaos from your life.

3. Utilize technology to make life easier.

Think about using additional technology to document what your customers are doing with you. We have a number of dealers who utilize texting for their dealerships through programs like Kenect or ZipWhip, which allows them to text through their business phone line, creating a clear and effortless experience for their customers. Some texting software even integrates into your business management system allowing uncomplicated backend documentation for your people.

Now it is time to choose one area you want to see documentation improve in and put your focus there. My guess is that you already have the process outlined, at least in your mind, but it just hasn’t been communicated clearly yet. By focusing on one area at a time, some of the unnecessary chaos will be eliminated not only for you but for your people and your customers as well.