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In an informal survey of more than 100 dealership employees, Auto/Mate found that only 20 percent of auto dealerships use mobile tablets in the sales and service departments, and a mere seven percent use mobile tablets in the F&I department.
I believe these users are the early adopters in what is going to be a classic bell curve, with the end result (in five years or so) being widespread usage of mobile tablets throughout the dealership in all departments. The benefits are too clear to ignore. In our survey we asked the following question: What do you believe are the greatest benefits to using mobile tablets in the dealership?
Responses are ranked in order:
I am not surprised by these responses, but I think survey respondents are focused on how the tablet benefits them versus how the tablet benefits the customer and the dealership. In my opinion, the single biggest benefit of mobile tablet usage is the increase in customer satisfaction, which has a close correlation to an increase in revenue.
Perhaps ignorance of these benefits is one of the reasons why more auto dealers haven’t embraced the usage of mobile tablets in their dealership. Other objections include cost, resistance to change, and an undefined ROI.
Assuming that cost is a relatively minor objection and assuming the benefits and ROI will become defined over time, that leaves “resistance to change” as the primary reason why most dealers aren’t currently using mobile tablets. Is anyone really surprised by this?
As business leaders, we have all been faced with resistance whenever we try to implement a new technology that requires a change in process. But as leaders we also know that resistance is NOT a good excuse to avoid the adoption of a new technology that has so many benefits.
In my experience, the best way to overcome employee resistance is to involve them in the creation of new processes. Here are three tips for creating a process that your employees will embrace, even if change is required:
1) Get buy in. Education is key here. Do your employees understand the benefits of using mobile tablets? According to the survey question, they clearly see how mobile tablets may help them be more efficient. But they may not understand how faster, cleaner processes benefit the customers, which in turn benefits the dealership and employees even more. As with any new directive, leaders must communicate with determination, persistence and enthusiasm to get the necessary buy-in from managers and employees.
2) Address the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) question.
Even if your employees do understand the benefits of using a new technology, the first question on their minds is, “What’s in it for me?” The extra time and work associated with process change is not always met with enthusiasm. As a leader, it’s important to acknowledge any extra efforts that a team member contributes. Sometimes this personal and public recognition and acknowledgement is enough. Offering an incentive may also help. It doesn’t have to be huge. If the team creates a new process and it’s fully adopted by a deadline, an incentive can be a nice dinner or even a hundred dollar bill.
3) Make resources available. The most significant cost associated with using mobile tablets is not the hardware or the software, but the infrastructure. There absolutely must be lightning fast Wi-Fi throughout the dealership, even (and especially) reaching to the darkest corner in the most remote bay in the service department. The last thing you want to do is get your employees on the bus and then drive them off a cliff. Make sure they have what they need to succeed.
Process change is only as difficult as you expect it to be. Mobile tablets offer many benefits that will positively impact your dealership’s bottom line. Only one thing is for sure: by changing nothing, nothing changes.