Business Strategy

Mobile Strategy Key to Auto Retail Employee Retention

July 8, 2015

  • Trey Dimond Trey Dimond

Developing a high quality workforce in the automotive industry is no easy task. Auto retail employee retention is poor. With some of the highest turnover rates across all vertical markets, it seems inevitable that turnover will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future.

What the Challenges Are

Today being a car sales consultant for an automotive dealer is one of the most difficult jobs to maintain. In 2013, the National Auto Dealer Association (NADA) conducted a study using over 2,240 dealerships and reported that the turnover rate for these dealerships was an astonishing 111%, and rising. The turnover for all employees in this industry is 35%, showing that the turnover is concentrated to the salesforce.

It’s no secret that obtaining and retaining quality employees is one of every dealer’s biggest pain points. As an example, 40% of salespeople are terminated just 90 days after they’re hired. There are numerous obstacles to employee retention, but dealerships struggle with key issues including employee onboarding, training, and reaching sales goals.

Conflicts while attempting to meet sales targets often leads to long hours and frequently affects family life. A December 2013 This American Life episode “129 Cars” captures some of this stress. In Act 5, the journalist lists the employees’ relationships that have been torn apart as a result of long hours at a dealership in Long Island.

Lextech proposes mobile apps as the key to success in automotive retail. A clear mobile app roadmap focuses on productivity, efficiency, reaching more customers, and keeping and growing a great team. See here how Lextech has used mobile apps to improve employee turnover by 75% at Sonic Automotive.

Millennials Expect More

“A new workforce generation demands mobile tools as the norm, and businesses must answer the call or disappear into obscurity.” -Alex Bratton

Addressing the needs of a millennial workforce must be forefront in the present and future strategy of automotive dealerships. By 2020 45% of the workforce in the United States are going to be millennials, and dealerships need to find a way to adapt—and fast—to be able to keep up with expectations and innovation.

Millennials are constantly judging where and who they want to work for based on their mobile implementations and engagement, and feel they can’t do their jobs effectively without it! Mobile is a vital component of how they work. Organizations cannot overlook a well-executed mobile strategy.

How Sonic Is Overcoming Turnover Challenges

Businesses should consider millennials, but mobile isn’t just for their generation. Mobile is for everyone. Sonic Automotive understands this, and they have a mobile strategy that demonstrates this. When Sonic dug in with their mobile strategy seven years ago, they wanted to accomplish a number of things, but at the top of their goals was employee retention increase and higher customer acquisition and retention rates. Lextech has worked with Sonic over the last several years to help them achieve many of these business goals.

Mobile Helps Everyone—Not Just Millennials

Apps are designed for ease of use, and tend to have a more gentle learning curve than traditional software solutions. This is just one of many reasons why mobile helps businesses move forward and succeed like Sonic.

We’ve seen this impact first hand with Sonic, with both new and experienced sales people. Some have even said that the Sonic suite of apps have allowed them to understand their job more fully.

Apps are designed for ease of use, so tend to have a more gentle learning curve. This is just one of main reasons why mobile helps businesses move forward and succeed like Sonic. As part of their suite of apps, Sonic Automotive and Imagine Bar has contributed to Sonic’s increasing employee retention to 75%, a huge operations savings.

What are Your Employee Retention Struggles?

Don’t give in to the inertia that is poor employee retention. There is an elegant set of tools to help with this problem. Those tools are mobile apps.

If you’re an auto retailer, chances are that you’re familiar with these challenges. If you’re in another industry, you may also be familiar with obstacles like severe employee turnover, training difficulties, and employee culture struggles.

Let us ask you: What do you consider your greatest challenge in employee retention? If you’re a salesperson, what is your biggest struggle at work? Have you used mobile devices at work or would you? Let us know.

Portions of this blog post were adapted from a talk given by Alex Bratton at Camp IT, a conference for businesses learning about new technologies and making critical IT decisions, in October 2014