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The Three S’s of Utilization: Improving the Use of Your Tech Stack

Puzzle pieces
Article Highlights:

  • Ensure "it's supposed to" is truly how your team uses the tools in place.
  • Help your staff, use your support system, and challenge the status quo.

Change is inevitable, especially in the automotive industry. From new federal mandates, to OEM announcements, all the way down to the specific changes you make, there’s almost always a learning curve that comes with it.

The big question for you is, when your business changes, how do you keep everyone on track for success and keep everything running efficiently? In my world, I boil all of this down to one action item: “improve utilization.”

Here’s my challenge for you: focus on your internal processes. Go beyond “this is how it’s supposed to…” and find out whether it’s actually happening. Consider these three “S’s” to identify the usage gaps in your system and processes, then establish the steps needed to boost utilization and make the most out of every investment.

Staff: A captain is only as strong as his crew.

There’s a good chance if you’ve implemented new solutions, you’re not the only person using them.

When you consider new technology, one of the biggest influences may be how quickly your team will adapt to new processes or tools, or if they’ll be receptive to something new at all. Consider how any change enacted at your dealership has gone over in the past:

  • Who learned quickly, and who struggled?
  • Did anyone not understand or agree with the change?
  • Why did you make the change, and did it help long-term?

Your people are a great starting point to evaluate the success of your tech stack, but not all will accept or learn at the same pace. So if you choose new solutions to improve your dealership, take care to make the transition easier. Identify your quick learners or mentors to help train and assist others on your staff. Share the benefits of new processes and solutions, not just by telling them how much money the dealership will save or make, but how it will make their day-to-day easier or more profitable for them.

After your technology has been in use for a while, ask around and see if your staff is adjusting well or if there are gaps you can solve with additional training. You may be surprised to find some of them utilize the new process better than you imagined! This may be an opportunity to encourage more team training and collaboration between your employees. Or, maybe this is your chance to identify common gaps to call into your technology provider’s support or training teams for guidance, which leads us into “S” number two.

Support: No one expects you to be an expert on everything.

There will always be a learning curve when you implement new solutions. It’s unlikely your team will be natural experts without time or training. However, your tech partner should be able to reduce potential lag time by providing support. Learning from solution experts should point your team in the right direction during installation and training.

Encourage your team to lean into this support, especially during the early stages following install. It can be a good way to learn tips and tricks to be more efficient. Your tech partner should be readily available to give you guidance. If this isn’t the case, then it may be time to consider a switch.

Status Quo: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” isn’t always the best mindset.

Everyone has some bias involved when approaching a new way of doing things — it’s just human nature. Past experiences, negative or positive, influence perceptions of change or how something should work before you even start to use it.

Dealing with change is hard, and when you have multiple processes to look over it’s easy to settle for “good enough.” When so much is on the line, why not make it great? Use your resources to build an even better process than you already have. Using your staff’s knowledge, considering their questions, and leaning on your support teams allows you to break the status quo and give your tech stack a chance to do what it was designed to do.

Utilization is a key part in ensuring your dealership runs as efficiently as possible. You’d be right to take it into account when you evaluate your current solutions. The next time you start questioning your processes or tools, stop and consider the three “S’s.”

  • What concerns does your staff have and what features can’t they function without?
  • Have you reached out for support from your tech partner and was it helpful in solving your problem?
  • Is your dealership stuck in the status quo somewhere down the line?

Your answers to these questions may help you find where you need to focus your efforts to ensure your dealership is getting the most out of your staff, your support, and your systems.

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Director, Reynolds Consulting Services

Carl Bennett is the vice president of customer success services. This team, under Bennet’s leadership, teaches automotive retailers in the U.S. and Canada how to achieve higher levels of success and better results throughout their dealership. Bennet has spent over 15 years with Reynolds, helping dealerships through training, consulting, and installation roles. Prior to joining Reynolds, Bennett worked in dealerships for 15 years as a general manager, finance director, and sales manager.

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