Three Optimization Suggestions For Dealer Operation System
Each automotive brand has its own cultures, systems and requirements regarding dealership management. Dealership Operation Standards (DOS), as an important tool for dealership business operation management, plays an exceptionally crucial role. In reality, however, the thick print DOS will most likely be shelved and forgotten by dealerships. Apart from inconvenience to read, there are many other problems, such as unclear logic, vague definition and outdated content.
First, it is inconvenient to read. Most brands will print the DOS and pass the thick copies to dealerships. Each dealership has only one copy, so it is difficult for every employee to have access to it. It is very inconvenient to read, to look up, or to use the tool forms in it. As time passes by, the DOS, which is supposed to be learned by every employee, ends up forgotten and buried in some corner. It becomes a book that no one will ever read.
Second, the logic is unclear. Most of the old-style DOS manuals lack a clear logic. The chapters are usually arranged according to different departments (e.g. Sales, Marketing and Organization). In fact, such arrangement by department has artificially cut apart the whole customer experience in their full life cycle. The division causes this result: when one procedure involves two departments, it will turn out neither department will take responsibility.
Third, the standards are vaguely defined. The standards come as suggestions in the DOS manuals of most brands. The problems are: the description of the standards is not specific or definite, the role settings and job responsibilities are vaguely stated, the task deadline is unclear, etc. Vaguely defined standards will easily lead to the ambiguity of dealerships’ actual operations and cause dispersion of targets and waste of resources.
Finally, the content is outdated. In the past few years, traditional manufacturers are expanding business models continuously; new energy vehicles, online marketing, account manager system, parallel businesses (mainly used car business and auto finance business) are taking up increasingly more of dealerships’ operations. Meanwhile, digital technologies and methods are widely used by dealerships. Digital experience procedures are becoming the focus of many automotive brands and dealerships. But the print DOS of most automakers cannot reflect the changes in real businesses. Additionally, the traditional DOS does not cover the booming digital scenarios and business procedures.
A series of market challenges are bringing down the profits of dealerships. They urgently need to improve their operational capabilities in order to deal with the competition in the existing market. In addition, the fast-changing market environment and new business types also require dealerships to establish effective, clearly-stated, and consistent operation standards and use digital means to promote and implement the standards so that they can make steady progress in the complicated market.
To solve the problems of the old-style DOS manuals and respond to the requirements of the era, the Automotive Retail Consulting Practice of J.D. Power China, through cooperation with multiple automakers, proposes the following three suggestions for optimizing the DOS.
- The development of DOS should center around the whole customer experience in their full life cycle and highlight the importance of customer experience. The traditional chapter arrangement by department should be forsaken, and barriers between different departments should be broken. DOS should follow the AIPL model of full customer life cycle and combine the business nature with customers’ different needs and experience in the four stages (Awareness, Interest, Purchase, Loyalty), and provide precise operation norms and standards, making every effort to offering customers the most dignified feeling and experience.
- The definition of DOS should be specific and clear. The SMART principle should be adopted in developing the DOS, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. During the development process, attention should be paid to ensure the content, the implementation frequency/time, the responsible person, and even the tool forms should be cleared stated.
- Present DOS and issue policies, announcements and position-specific contents digitally so that it is easy to update. Digital DOS manual can not only save printing costs, but also allow employees to read and search the manual anytime and anywhere on their mobile phones. At the same time, the outdated standards can be updated from the backstage at any time, and new requirements can be integrated. Once the change is made, it is issued, so delayed requirements can be avoided. In addition, as an independent online release platform, digital DOS can help dealerships receive automakers’ standards, announcements and policies on the unified platform.
The brand new DOS optimization plan presented by Automotive Retail Consulting Practice, J.D. Power China, advises the following: the different business contents should be linked by customer life cycle; the SMART principle should be adopted to ensure business standards and key control points are cleared defined; it should be presented digitally so as to facilitate timely updates. This optimization plan can help automakers make their management and standards really customer-centered and bring more certainty to the dealership system in an uncertain market environment!
Written by: Wang Lei, Team Leader of Automotive Retail Consulting Practice, J.D. Power China
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