I doubt if any of your employees look in the mirror each morning and say “I can’t wait to get to work and mess things up and then get yelled at.” But it seems that our employees make so many mistakes. They forget to tell a technician that a part has arrived and then a customer is upset because their car wasn’t ready in time to pick up their kids. A warranty clerk submits a warranty claim but forgets to check that nobody changed the repair order. Employees forget to tell the payroll department that they moved and then so many W2s were lost.
Employees want to do a good job but often they don’t know that something needs attention. Experts tell us that some employees check their email 20 times per day! For me, if I get a new email, it pops up on my screen or my phone vibrates. Why not alert employees via email or text? It is a simple process for employees to set their email to forward as a text if they prefer text over email. Over the years, we have integrated email notification into DealerStar; if a technician needs a part, it alerts via email the parts department’s generic email address. That email can forward all the parts employees, or just to a few. If a part has arrived, it alerts via email the advisor and technician. If an employee changes their address, it alerts the payroll department. If a new lead or deal has been added, it alerts the sales manager and/or F&I Manager. During some lonely nights as a F&I Manager, I’d sit in the customer lounge waiting for a deal, but in view of my office door. Today, I could have waited anywhere and when I got an automatic text, I’d know it was time to go make money! Nobody would have set a customer in my office and forgot about them (yes it happened!)
Mistakes cost money. DealerStar is a profit-focused DMS, so if a labor line has been changed from customer/internal pay to warranty, it sends an email to the warranty administrator. Each day, week, or month the accounting department can select various reports to be emailed to themselves or other employees. Users decide who will get alerted for all of these with a simple setup table that can be changed at any time. They can also email customers their accounts receivable statement or past due statement. Repair orders and parts tickets can be emailed to customers.
Color plays a big role in helping us see danger. While logged into DealerStar, various colors are used to warn employees. For example, if a vehicle that you are adding to a deal or repair order needs a recall completed, a large colorful warning appears on the screen. On the vehicle inventory list, the recalls are listed in red. If a new customer is a terrorist, a colorful warning appears. All the tech, advisor, and parts department messages regarding repair orders show in color if they are unanswered. If there are not enough parts on hand to fulfill a repair order or parts ticket, it shows in color. If the part has been superseded or there is an alternative part, it is highlighted. If a control number is missing, it is highlighted and they try to post anyway – a big red message stops the process. If a repair order goes over the estimate, a warning is issued and the repair order is put on Hold and displayed in red.
When you ask an employee to stare at a bland computer screen and look for problems, you’ll probably be disappointed when they fail to catch things. Yes, it was right there on the screen, but when an employee is distracted by customers, overhead music, paging and the chatter of fellow employee – things get missed and mistakes happen. Why not help them do a better job all day? It will make you more profit.