Pandemic validates telecommuting options for certain car dealerships

About half of this year’s winning dealerships said they offered telecommuting as a standard practice. And more than half of the stores on the list said their telecommuting rates increased after the pandemic began in early 2020, with some reporting that half or more of employees were working from home, according to a survey by Best Companies Group. , who has compiled a list of the best dealers to work for. Those rates have since moderated, although nearly a quarter of winning dealerships reported staff still telecommuting at higher levels than before the pandemic began.

At Faulkner Subaru, BDC’s response time to customer queries is now five to 10 minutes, up from 30 minutes before the pandemic, Jones said, citing data from the store’s customer relationship management system.

The secret sauce? Using the Slack communication platform allows employees to quickly send messages even when they are busy. Previously, BDC agents were forced to wait, say, for a sales manager to pick up a phone call or end a meeting before getting questions answered, Jones said.

Beyond the BDC, two office workers continued to work remotely, meaning that about 10% of the store’s four dozen employees are now telecommuting, up from zero before the pandemic, Jones said.

Additionally, remote employees seem to communicate more than usual to compensate for not being able to talk face to face with coworkers.

Kim Stanley, regional human resources manager for Penske, said telecommuting can help attract and retain employees.

“We believe that we will have to continue to seek these kinds of opportunities in order to attract and retain team members in the future,” Stanley wrote in response to a survey of winners conducted by Automotive News.

Diana Kennedy, Managing Director of Volvo Cars Marin in San Rafael, Calif. Owned by Price Simms Family Dealerships, said: “I can certainly see us doing more as we grow up, but there are limits.

Two of the Volvo store employees – a marketing manager and a BDC agent – currently work from home. These jobs are suitable for remote work because they don’t require ongoing face-to-face interaction with colleagues, clients or suppliers, Kennedy said.

“Our marketing manager is just as productive as before, if not more,” she said. “She enjoys having the freedom to structure her day according to her needs and says it helps a lot when she can stop and walk around to regroup mentally. It’s hard to do in the store, where you are always. interrupted by curve balls. “

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