What If You Don’t Train Them – and They Stay?

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Ted Ings

Executive Director, CPI

@Ted_Ings

By Ted Ings, Customer Experience Expert #CX

Many dealerships fear training employees who may ultimately leave. But what they need to be afraid of is untrained employees that stay.

It seems like every time I visit the local dealership service department (which is a well-known chain) I get an Associate who, frankly, doesn’t know what they’re doing.

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Even just a simple service transaction sends them hunting and pecking through their computer system.

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Although it’s easy to get frustrated, this widespread lack of knowledge isn’t the employee’s fault – it’s the company’s. Limited training leads to poor customer service, along with many other problems.

6 bad things that happen by failing to train your employees

Like the service department mentioned, many dealerships don’t train their employees well enough. These companies fear that educated workers will find a better job and leave. So, they don’t devote the necessary (and costly) resources needed for proper training.

But instead of worrying about what could happen if trained workers leave, these dealerships should be asking themselves: what will happen if clueless employees stay? Here’s your answer.

1. Decreased customer satisfaction

My service department debacle illustrates just how aggravating undertrained employees can be. If you want to turn customers away in droves, put a salesperson who doesn’t know what they’re doing on the frontline. Worse yet, a service advisor or technician.

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Each of these employees plays a crucial role in the reputation – and success – of your dealership.

2. Low employee morale

Do you want to work where people are miserable, or where they’re happy and looking forward to work each day? Untrained employees have low morale and are generally gloomy. Education allows them to perform their job better, leading to increased confidence and job satisfaction.

3. Lost earnings

Untrained workers are often inefficient. They fumble through processes, damaging equipment and scaring off customers along the way. On the other hand, educated individuals get a lot accomplished in very little time, which cuts the number of payroll hours and reduces the total number of employees needed.

4. Greater employee turnover

No one wants to stay at a job where they feel incompetent. If employees don’t have the skills to deal with the task at hand, they get frustrated, discouraged and leave. Then you’re stuck on Indeed or Monster looking for a replacement. If you train your current employees right, you’ll have a better chance of keeping them. And that makes things easier for everyone.

5. Reduced safety

Think about it – do you really want an untrained technician using the shop oxyacetylene torch? Didn't think so. That means, in many cases, you’ll have to teach them how to use it. Untrained employees compromise their own safety, as well as the well-being of everyone around them. Don’t let it happen in your dealership.

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6. Inability to change

If you hire someone, and they stay but never update their skillset, where will they be in five, ten or twenty years? Helpless and unable to use the latest technology. Just think of individuals who haven’t adapted to smartphones, tablets – or even computers. There’s no work for them – anywhere. Even jobs that seem to be all manual labor on the surface require the use of the latest digital devices. Continuous development keeps your employees up to date, productive and happy.

7. Risky behavior

Training isn’t limited to skillset development. Behavioral education – such as diversity and sexual harassment – are equally important. Some employees need regular coaching on appropriate work behavior, or they start engaging in bad habits.

8. Poor company image

We touched on this earlier, but it’s important to reiterate: your employees are your reputation. If they’re uneducated and unproductive, that reflects poorly on you. And since nowadays, company image is everything (think Google and Yelp reviews), it’s more important than ever to put your best face forward.

Why employee training?

At the end of the day, employees are people. And not just random strangers, but in most cases, individuals you deal with on a daily basis. You may even call them your friends. So why wouldn’t you give them the opportunity to better themselves through training?

Start thinking of others by making your employees a priority, not a commodity. Once you do that, everything else will fall into place.

As Sir Richard Branson said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, and treat them well enough so they don't want to.”