As the world is facing a new challenge, the automotive industry is taking every precautionary measure to ensure everyone stays safe. Dealerships being the first point of contact for any OEM, are being directed to practice the required guidelines, right from increased sanitizing and cleaning to maintaining social distancing.
Along with adhering to mandatory health regulations, many stakeholders in the automotive retailing ecosystem are coming up with innovative strategies to support and strengthen the community until things fall back in place. Here are the five ways in which dealerships have taken the game forward for automotive retailing amidst the ongoing crisis.
Modified Delivery and Service System
Dealerships that deal and service trucks and smaller vehicle segments like passengers cars play a crucial role in ensuring that at least the essential supplies like medical and basic household services remain functional as the world faces on the biggest threats in recent history. To make the employee and customer safety foolproof, many dealerships have initiated pick up and delivery for servicing. It is one of the most widely accepted and applied plan of action in the automotive dealership landscape to reduce physical interaction as much as possible.
Extending Support to Local Businesses
Automotive dealerships are extending a helping hand beyond the automotive ecosystem as well. This has come as a part of the gesture to support local business. They are placing lunch orders from the nearby restaurants to boost the local economy and are strategising to procure parts from the local vendors without compromising with the service quality.
In some regions, They are tying up with local ethanol producers to manufacture their own hand sanitizer out of glycerin and ethanol and plan to distribute it for free as they continue to provide essential services.
Helping Those in Need
As we all are aware of the fact that seniors are most likely to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, most of them are in isolation for the time being and in a heart-warming gesture, they are even offering free services for the senior citizens. One dealer told NADA, “For a limited time we are offering a free oil change and tire rotation to our senior customers. We are picking up customers cars at their homes and at work for their service work and then returning the vehicles to them.”
Promoting Online Alternate Offerings
With the advent of digitisation, a majority of the automotive dealership network has a strong presence and in the times when social distancing has become indispensable, digital transformation has become all the more important to provide the customers with sustainable services. “We are communicating to our customers we are open for business and we are reminding them there are multiple ways to communicate,” said one dealer in a conversation with NADA. “Whether it is a phone call, email or text, we are able to respond to their needs. If they require parts, we will deliver if necessary. If they require service, we will pick up and deliver. The night drop is available 24-hours a day and we will be checking it constantly. Regarding sales, we are offering remote delivery, YouTube custom presentations, and electronic signings in an open air yet private environment.” Another dealer revealed, “We are pushing online purchasing as well as offering concierge delivery or test drives.” Similarly, an East Coast dealer said, “We are instituting a new marketing plan focused on shopping from home.”
Assisting the Employees
In the time of crisis, it is welcoming to see that companies all over the globe are supporting their workforce. OEMs are offering various support packages for the team and governments are also taking initiatives to reduce the effect to a bare minimum. Some of the dealerships have stepped up the policies as one dealer mentioned to NADA, “We have implemented an ‘Emergency Supplemental Paid Time Off’ policy. We are giving employees (non-managers) 10 days of ES-PTO at 75% of their pay rate (not to be less than minimum wage) to deal with any COVID-19 issues (has symptoms, caring for a family member, dealing with childcare issues, etc). Also, we are being more flexible with everyone’s work hours to help deal with childcare and schooling issues.”
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