OEC Blog

Why it’s OK to be afraid of technology

Why it’s OK to be afraid of technology

As technology advances, it’s easy to be set in your ways of what you know. You’re comfortable doing things a certain way, and you’re fine with it. Unfortunately, the market today isn’t forgiving of the ways you like, and worse – it doesn’t care.

Being afraid of technology isn’t all that uncommon. In fact, last year in a Survey of American Fears by Chapman University, technology was ranked second behind national disasters.¹ And according to the survey, adults are less afraid of crime than technology. If you really think about it, it’s crazy!

Technology is a completely different world and not what you are used to; almost as if you can’t control it. This is how I felt a few days ago when I reluctantly joined the Hiking club my family got me into so I could meet “other” singles. It was terrifying, and it kind of felt like jumping into the world of fast-paced of technology for the first time.

Technology operates as something you think you can’t grasp at first. And that’s OK – but that’s no excuse to avoid it.

Having the right tools does not guarantee success

Dodging technology can really mean missing out on making more money. More sleep? Maybe tomorrow. More cookies? Okay maybe just one. More money? Well, that’s just a no-brainer.

You’d be surprised at how many dealerships buy technology and don’t use it to its fullest potential – or even at all – yet expect incremental sales to come out of thin air. Parts Managers may have understandable visions of expanding business, but fail to communicate to customers – or even worse – their own counter staff. Doesn’t seem effective or rational, does it? Unfortunately this happens a lot and this is where the biggest potential for growth and opportunity are.

A good example is with a hypothetical Parts Manager we’ll call Gary. He buys golf clubs because his buddies always go on Sundays and he wants to learn and join them. Gary doesn’t practice strategy or technique, yet he shows up to the course on Sunday. When he goes to swing his club, he feels awkward and inadequate, proving that buying a new set of clubs does not make him a golfer.

On a less-hypothetical note, I was recently talking with a friend over a morning coffee where he said, “It’s funny how the world is proving more and more that there’s no way we will ever be replaced by the futuristic robots we see in so many movies.” When I simply asked why, he said, “The human connection. Simple as that. There is no programming for the human touch or emotion.” I knew this was true because I remembered my younger sister’s teen years. If a droid existed to dissolve dramatic teen tantrums, I would have forked over a blank check and been first in line to purchase.

Although software may not take over the world like War of the Worlds or The Matrix, it can reduce a ton of wasted time, but keep customer relationships intact, and making employees more productive. And if we do the math: time equals production, production equals time, and time is money. So where’s the real downfall?

It takes a village to hate, or embrace, technology

On the other side of things, there are Parts Managers who whole heartedly buy into the values these Mechanical, Collision, Consumer, etc. software programs can provide their departments and customers. However, they sit back and watch their efforts go to waste while their staff places calls on hold and still cringe when they hear the words “computer” or “software.” With those cringes comes the fear that they may be replaced by this spooky, futuristic software, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Some counter staff feel they can get the same job done over the phone. If they sell the original part the customer called for, then they did their job and can move on to the next call. They didn’t need technology – the phone works just fine! But when you sit back and ask, “Is that the most efficient way to work?” The answer is a resounding “NO.” With cost-effective technology (think labor hours, upsells, etc.), your counter staff can multiply their efforts, increase their worth, and help the dealership succeed at a substantially higher level. While it can take a whole staff to neglect technology, it also takes a whole staff to embrace it to make it work. Driving understanding of this technology is just as – if not more – important than the use of the technology itself.

How to apply new technology when you don’t want to

To streamline successful technology through your dealership you need a few things, but the most important one is the right mindset.

It will take time to get used to technology, but here is the beauty in it – that’s ok. No one expects you to put your industry knowledge on a shelf and run to work for the Geek Squad. As much as the world of technology seems intimidating, it provides you with the opportunity to grow business –YOUR business – to its full potential.

Once you are done thinking of all the issues you have with technology and are ready to improve your dealership workflows (leading to increasing sales and a stronger customer base), what do you do next? Use that new mindset to be a consistent tech enforcer.

Let’s go back to our hypothetical Parts Manager, Gary, for a moment. While he needs to work on his golf game, he also endorses the idea of possible technological growth at his dealership. Unfortunately, words only get you so far and he really doesn’t want to put in any “extra” effort. Little does Gary know that a little “extra” effort now has the potential pay huge dividends with increasing ROIs in the future.

Once technology becomes more natural with him and within his dealership, he will start to see consistency which results in sales and success. Technology doesn’t take away from the hard work put in at shops and dealerships; it establishes more efficient, productive, and profitable work. As for Gary’s backswing…well that’s a different story.

Using technology to better your staff, not replace it

A computer will not replace superior customer service, but it can help you and your staff improve it. In the end, it won’t be the computer or the software that will grant instant success. It is you and your parts department that will generate more OE parts sales. The software just helps guide/get you there.

If you need more help getting your staff to adopt technology, or at least the idea of it, check out this article for more tips.


¹Source: The Atlantic, “Americans Are More Afraid of Robots Than Death.” October 16 2015.