Tips for supporting frontline staff

Last updated on October 28, 2021

As leaders – be it in a dealership, Fleet Company or from an OEM – you need to remain abreast of the big issues affecting your workplace.

Forging a trusting relationship with your salespeople and business managers isn’t just the precursor to a happier, healthier workplace, it’s the springboard staff can use to deliver excellent customer service.

What do you need to do to show frontline staff that you have their backs? And how can you inspire them to reach ever greater customer service heights?

Everyone knows the saying ‘Do as I say, not as I do’. It’s never more apt than when a manager is looking to instill a productive team culture in their organisation.

How a manager acts is significantly more important than the mission, vision or values they espouse. Team members need to see their manager delivering on their dealership’s, or their brand’s, values in addition to hearing them.

Positivity starts at the top, so it’s critical that leaders focus on what can be accomplished rather than what can’t. This means promoting what is going right over what has gone wrong, and celebrating success over failure.

Equipping your dealership team with the right tools and training is an important way to support your employees.

An industry survey conducted in 2019 found that 61% of employees don’t believe their dealership is using the latest technology, with 12% stating they believe their dealership to be way behind the times.1 The same study discovered that a third of all dealership leaders aren’t investing in employee training opportunities beyond what the OEM provides.

The take-away from the study is clear. Dealership leaders need to invest in job-specific and broader leadership training courses for their staff members, and ensure sales platforms and other tools of the trade keep pace with industry standards.

When you place trust in your employees you empower them to solve the problems they face on a day-to-day basis. Having trust in your employees is one of the most powerful ways to motivate them to do great work, no matter the challenges they face.

As one Harvard Business Review article put it, “When people are able to participate in making decisions that directly impact their work, their sense of ownership, and therefore engagement, increases."2

This tip slots in at #4 because it relates to the end game – supporting your dealership staff to support your dealership customers.

Business advice expert Adam Toporek says forging a ‘customer-centric’ culture should be a priority for any leader with a team of frontline staff. He advises leaders to have frequent conversations with their team members about the needs of the customer.3

“No-one is closer to the customer than your frontline teams. They’re interacting every day and they know what issues they have to resolve,” Toporek says. “Having those conversations sends a message to team members about where their focus should be, and gets them thinking about what they can do to make the customer have a better, smoother, and more emotionally resonant experience.”

And he says it isn’t just frontline staff who have a role to play – backstage employees are equally as important when it comes to creating a rich customer-centric culture.

  1., 'h1. 2019 Dealership Staffing Study Released', (24 October 2022)
  2., 'h1. Balancing the Company’s Needs and Employee Satisfaction', (24 October 2022)
  3. 'Crack the Customer Code' podcast

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