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Jul. 13, 2009 – Bold Idea No. 10: A process that makes it easier to buy, and easier to sell

July 13, 2009
Filed under Features

Take the one task at the dealership that is constantly the biggest headache to deal with and turn it into an efficient practice for your staff.
That sounds-simple-but-is-far-from-it project is something the owner of an aftermarket store accomplished this spring.
Bernadette Waddill, who owns Performance Cycle of Denver, compiled a spreadsheet that her staff can use to handle any phone call or in-store customer request regarding chains and sprockets.
The spreadsheet — actually more than
10 pages long — provides an easy-to-use format where staff can simply search by brand and model for a particular sprocket.
Now, a customer’s inquiry can be taken care of in a matter of minutes. Previously, the sprocket search was a time-consuming, frustrating process where the customer would ask for a part and then be put on hold for perhaps 10 minutes or longer as a Performance Cycle associate would comb through distributor catalogs looking for the correct part.
“It wasn’t fair to anybody,” Waddill said of the previous system.
Especially considering the range of consumers Performance Cycle deals with. “Not everybody wants the stock rear, the stock front,” Waddill said of the range of possible sprockets and chains, noting also the store could have four different sprocket choices per brand and “then you have different vendors that offer the same sprocket, but different ranges of teeth.”
To deal with this — “a sore spot for years,” Waddill said — the dealership essentially took it upon itself to find a better way. That led to the creation of the spreadsheet, a time-saver now but a project that took a significant commitment of time and energy from Waddill. To complete the spreadsheet, Waddill had to consolidate all the information by combing through catalogs then type it on the actual spreadsheet. All totaled, Waddill believes she spent at least seven hours a day for four days completing the project.
The spreadsheet is so in-depth that the Suzuki portion of it alone consists of 8 pages.
“So anybody that comes into our store, whether they are a stunter or a drag racer or whatever, we should be able to accommodate them on any teeth range they have,” Waddill said.
Other than simplifying a difficult task, the spreadsheet accomplished two overall goals the dealership has: Making it easy for the consumer to buy and providing a means for their staff to succeed.
The latter goal is immensely important for Waddill, who notes the spreadsheet allows her staff to be seen as much more professional and efficient than other operators, those that still take 10 minutes to look up a part number.
Waddill also notes the spreadsheet allows her staff to become more versed on other aftermarket segments, like the varied apparel offerings the store has.
“They have enough to remember,” she said of her staff, “let alone something very basic that we do everyday.”
— Neil Pascale

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