People are motivated by many different things. Some by money. Some by time off. But one of the most universal ways to motivate an employee is by recognition. For the most part that recognition comes from external sources; perhaps a customer compliments the employee either in person or via an online forum – then management reacts and shares that feedback with the employee and, perhaps, with the dealership’s staff.
But what about that employee customers never directly interact with?
In the musical Chicago, the husband of the lead actress sings about how nobody ever notices that he exists:
“Cellophane, Mister Cellophane. Should have been my name, Mister Cellophane. ‘Cause you can look right through me, walk right by me and never know I’m there.”
Every dealership loves receiving perfect CSI surveys from customers. It helps financially in many ways. But, in most cases, the person receiving accolades is the salesperson. I am not saying that they shouldn’t, as the salesperson certainly has a large role in the dealership.
The point I am making here is that there are many cogs in the wheel that created that perfect survey/experience for the customer. From the service technician that did the pre-delivery inspection on the vehicle, to the finance manager that handled the paperwork, to the porter that detailed the vehicle and, in some cases, to the person that went over the vehicle at delivery with the customer – all of them contributed to that perfect survey and that specific customer’s great experience.
A recent Disney Institute blog by Senior Programming Director, Bruce Jones, stresses the importance of employee recognition. He states that employees working after hours, or with limited guest experience, are just as important in the process and experience as front-line employees with direct customer interaction. They should also be rewarded and recognized.
Employee engagement is an important part of company culture. Without buy-in and a coordinated effort from all the cogs in the customer experience wheel, that salesperson could do a perfect job yet receive a bad CSI survey simply because a porter failed to clean the car properly, or a technician forgot to remove some plastic protective wrap.
Company culture and employee engagement extend to every person in the organization. While those on the front-lines may get DIRECT recognition from customers, the behind-the-scenes employees, with little to no direct customer contact, tend to be forgotten. And that can be the easiest differentiator between a perfect survey and one that is not.
Jones references a quote from a Forbes article which inspired his blog, “employee recognition knows no calendar.” He went on to add that it “also knows no timeclock.”
Employee recognition reinforces desired behavior, acknowledges employees when they do a great job and leads to consistency in desired behavior. Don’t let your employees’ gas tanks get low because you failed to fuel them with recognition.
It’s an easy oversight to make – even if not intentionally. Just as a sales manager might high-five a salesperson who closed a deal, or a finance manager that sold product in F&I, the porter who spent some extra time making the new vehicle ready for presentation to the customer should also be recognized for their hard work.
Recognize everyone in the process that led to a great customer experience and you should find a more consistent – and rewarding – result for both the dealership and the customer.
Author: Michael Gorun
Michael Gorun is founder of Performance Loyalty Group, a technology-based owner retention and loyalty company. He has more than 25 years in operational service management positions for Ford, Nissan and General Motors. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.