Process improvement programs from TQM, to EDGE, to EXCEL, to CEE & more…all these acronyms represent the manufacturers’ commitment to proactively impact the customer experience across their diverse distribution channels. The objective for all is the same; implement systems & processes that will equip their dealers with tools and strategies, which they will in turn, teach their internal employees to affect the client experience (This is the gap).
The flaw in all of these programs is that although they possess good frameworks & strategies, they lack the necessary training content and resource for employee ongoing development, beyond the initial implementation. The key benefit of identifying & addressing this flaw is that it would provide the baseline for establishing a set of standards or core competencies for developing dealership front line employees. The added benefit is that it would not only ensure the success of these and future programs, but would significantly impact the dealerships profitability and ultimately the customer experience.
Sooner or later we must accept the fact that the reason why continuous improvement programs like those mentioned are falling on deaf ears is that the end users do not fully comprehend their value. They see these programs as just one more thing to do to meet some requirement for a bonus, or simply to make some boss happy, all because their current knowledge base is preventing them from seeing the big picture!
Knowledge Gaps are real, and addressing them by developing standards to measure the professional’s competency at correctly executing the necessary skills, systems & processes that they engage in daily to do their work, is the key to gaining the competitive edge in the marketplace. Just look at the specificity in the job description and requirements for the average corporate position, or even the length of training required to flip burgers at McDonald’s Restaurants; and then compare it to the automotive dealerships’ on-boarding process or the lack thereof and prerequisite knowledge required for a dealership front line employee who is ultimately responsible for engaging paying clients or more importantly, making these complex programs work. In the autopsy, you will understand why these programs continue to fail and impacting the customer experience is still just Corporate Speak.