Continuous improvement: Sharpening communication skills to benefit your bottom line

By: Joey Little

Communication skills are the backbone of every successful organization, allowing employees the opportunity to work together professionally and create a productive work environment. Improving upon communication skills is also a great way to gain an edge against your competitors, especially in a marketplace that’s full of shoppers who want to form relationships rather than simply spend. Both individual communication skills and the overall communication skills of your dealership are integral to building business and gaining the trust of in-market shoppers, and by brushing up the skills of your in-house pros, you’ll help your dealership get ahead in the marketplace.

While businesses can do well for themselves by hiring employees whose communication skills are already top notch, great training can give your staff the skills they need to help your dealership succeed. By teaching the fundamentals of excellent communication and listening, you’ll give your pros yet more ways to reach consumers who are on the lookout for a dealership they can trust and do business with.

Your management team always has a big influence on employees throughout the dealership. They are viewed as the individuals who have something to teach and knowledge that can be spread around. While this can prove beneficial to your dealership—as employees will model leadership behavior and communication skills—keep your eyes open for training opportunities among your core management team, as the rest of your pros continuously look to them for guidance and will emulate their behaviors. It’s important to reinforce effective communication skills at all levels throughout your dealership, but especially within your management team. Additionally, keep in mind communication skills are important throughout every level of the dealership—not just for those who directly deal with customers on a daily basis.

Try some of the followings to ensure everyone at your dealership is on board and communicating in a positive way—both with each other and with consumers—to further the goals of your dealership:

  • Evaluate your internal communication system. Is it time for a comprehensive upgrade? Check out AutoAlert’s Pando, the newest solution to address dealership-specific communication pain points and focus on consumer-centric solutions.
  • Check your social listening. It’s important to not only listen and learn from each other inside the dealership but also to listen to what your shoppers are looking for when it comes to dealership service. Fine-tune your listening across social media networks to really focus on shopper needs.
  • Plan your interactions. Both with employees and customers, it’s important to have a presence people can count on. While you may want to plan spontaneous conversations if you plan to live chat on Tuesdays, be sure you’re there and attentive. Likewise, if you’ve dedicated a weekly jam session for employee communication, be sure to follow through.
  • Make a good impression. Your first impression with customers is often the only chance you get, especially in today’s crowded, fast-paced market. That means it’s important to make sure your website is working seamlessly, your links work correctly, and your contacts are updated. Don’t lose potential customers because of simple errors that are easily fixable.
  • Practice makes perfect. Like any skill, communication gets better with practice, so enlist the help of every employee in your dealership and encourage them to put their skills to work, both engaging with each other and with potential customers. The more they communicate, the more natural it will seem.

You can continue to boost developing communication skills by encouraging cross-functional team projects, wherein different departments come together in order to complete projects on time and in good fashion. To put this to work in the dealership setting, think of the many special events you host yearly—and consider how you might encourage a variety of team members to contribute to making the next one even better by pooling the talents of a variety of individuals, encouraging cross-functional collaboration and communication. You’ll likely end up with creative ideas and improved employee engagement in the process.

Be sure to let employees know the areas where they are performing well, in addition to the areas that may need more focus. By offering constructive feedback, goals, and even incentives, you’ll drive all your dealership pros toward wanting to better themselves and their communication skills.

You can improve the overall performance of your dealership through improved communication, and along with it, you’ll also promote teamwork and collaboration. As more employees contribute, those in your dealership will generate quicker and easier ways to communicate, teams will build a more cohesive bond, and their work together and with customers will truly flourish.

Bio: Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert.  An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.

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