OEC recently hosted a Parts Roundtable with three key players with differing perspectives on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the industry and how to move forward. The discussion primarily focused on industry struggles, tools for adjusting to adversity, and finally and most importantly, industry recovery. The panelists discussed how dealers can focus on recovery, addressing everything from maximizing your current customer base to the importance of promoting the benefits of Manufacturer parts.
The Panelists and Discussion Highlights
Parts Manager at Broadway Ford
“Good clear communication is the most important thing. Don’t tell them what you can’t do, tell them what you can do.”
Kevin has faced the same problems most dealerships have encountered, from store closures to staff limitations to parts delivery issues. Speaking from experience, Kevin offers great insight on how he and his parts department worked through some of these challenges, providing excellent advice to follow as the industry recovers. Kevin says: “The most important thing in our industry is relationships. That’s why we kept a skeleton crew here to pack and ship parts when the dealership was closed.”
Kevin also got the most out of the available tools to ensure he stayed connected with his customers while coming up with creative ways to keep parts moving.
Wholesale Parts Senior Manager at Volkswagen of America
“This is our business. We need to be making smart, educated decisions on how much value we’re bringing in.”
Dan is responsible for managing the Volkswagen field team, a group that has been grounded throughout the pandemic. He has the unique challenge of helping dealers create support strategies for the times when business is slow.
Despite the unprecedented challenges, Dan sees an opportunity to jump start online ordering and a way to make it the new norm in the industry. Dan says: “One thing that has really helped during this time is a focus on collecting customer email addresses. We are able to adjust on the fly and communicate with shops on their behalf. It’s important to open the lines of communication and let them know we are there to help them.”
Dan made it clear that parts managers don’t need to do this alone. He encourages parts managers to be in communication with their dealership’s owners, general managers, and their Manufacturer field team.
Associate Manager, OEC Field Services Group
“Open your mind to a new way of business. Don’t think you can do
Normally Bob’s team is on the road providing in-person coaching to dealers. However, they needed to adjust to coaching in a virtual setting to help dealers when they need it the most. Since the shift to online coaching, his team worked with hundreds of dealers through a virtual setting. Bob’s experience gives him a unique perspective from a variety of dealers.
Bob offers an in-depth discussion on the tools dealers are using during these challenging times, highlighting PSXLink, a solution OEC made available for free to its CollisionLink and RepairLink customers. Bob explains: “PSXLink gives dealerships data they normally wouldn’t have access to, and it is a really great way to maximize sales during this time.”
Watch the full video for even more insights and tips on what to focus on and how to work toward recovery.
Topics Overview with Timestamps:
- Pandemic struggles from OEC Perspective (2:48)
- Pandemic has affected all dealers in different ways
- Pandemic struggles from Dealer Perspective (5:11)
- The most important thing is relationships, which is why the kept a skelton crew
- Pandemic struggles from Manufacturer Perspective (6:25)
- Repurposed Manufacturer field team to help communicate with dealers
- Utilizing technology to get a better understanding of your customers reality and the importance of maintaining those relationships (8:28)
- Topic continued from dealer perspective (10:54)
- Online sales are the future of the industry (13:30)
- Focus on how to get more out of your existing customer base, no more than ever (16:30)
- Now is an opportunity to remarket the importance of Manufacturer parts and safe repairs (19:08)
- The importance of the commutation line from field team to dealer to shop (23:18)
- Creating plans to ride the wave of pent up customer demand (25:02)
- Being a good listener is key, understand what shops are going through (26:40)
- Parts managers need to be discussing recovery with dealer leadership (28:20)
- Get an outside perspective from outside resources (30:25)
- Simple tips for recovery (33:03)
- Call customers and let them know your hours (33:13)
- Open your mind to a new reality (33:44)
- Ask shops what you can do differently to help serve them (34:30)
- Focus on customer service and communicate clearly (35:02)
- Evaluate your business practices (37:45)
- Stay in contact with you field team and develop a plan (38:10)
- Focus on the fundamentals (42:06)
- Understand and leverage the tools available to you (43:58)