Each day a vehicle is held up in reconditioning is another day it can’t be sold. And the slower the process, the longer it takes to get a car in front of shoppers. Delays in the reconditioning process also lead to more depreciation, holding costs and tied‑up capital.
A poor reconditioning process affects the entire business – from acquisition to customer experience to brand reputation to overall profitability. Simply missing reconditioning deadlines can throw your entire operation off track and hurt your bottom line.
So, how do you get ahead of potential issues before they become costly problems? Moving cars quickly from acquisition through reconditioning to the front line is most efficient and successful when you have good data, visibility and transparency fueling the process.
First, you must have accurate appraisals. This is important because profits decline when you underestimate the reconditioning work needed on cars. If you overestimate the work, you will miss out on inventory opportunities.
Securing an accurate appraisal happens in part when appraisers review wins and losses. Many lessons can be learned from analyzing where appraisers succeeded or failed. I believe if you aren’t evaluating your past, you are hindering your future, so make sure to continually assess your wins and losses, collect actionable data and evolve your best practices. Reinforce the necessity of tracking and cataloging everything you do at your dealership, good or bad.
Dealerships should also leverage software that allows everyone, regardless of title, to review appraisals and determine if they spent the right amount of time and money on appraisals. Leveraging technology helps appraisers and dealerships make data-driven decisions. While most appraisers rely on instinct, they should rely more on data. The data, with the correct market insights, always wins.
Next, dealers should keep sales and Business Development Centers (BDC) apprised of activities throughout the dealership. The sales team and BDC need real-time knowledge of every vehicle’s location and status in the reconditioning process to answer questions and set appointments.
How do you achieve this visibility at scale? Again, technology.
A top concern among dealers across the nation is the location of their cars in the reconditioning process. This is because you can’t sell a car, detail it or even talk to a customer about it if you don’t know its location. Bringing dealership employees together through automotive software allows siloed groups within the dealership to create symbiotic relationships that keep everyone informed of where each car is at any given moment in time.
Allowing everyone at the dealership to have visibility into the car’s lifecycle empowers employees to better perform their jobs within the reconditioning process. It also creates an environment in which people can bring awareness to a gap or issue. This is how you prevent small problems from snowballing into larger ones.
A transparent and data-driven reconditioning process is also critical to maintain a positive brand reputation. Poor or incomplete reconditioning jobs may lead to bad impressions resulting in aborted deals, service losses and negative reviews. Remember, it’s not about selling a customer a car today, it’s about creating a lasting relationship so you can sell them another car tomorrow.
Set yourself up for success by leveraging data and highly visible and transparent processes throughout reconditioning. When you drive a successful reconditioning process, you drive more sales.
Mike Boyd (pictured, above left) is senior director of business development and founder of vAuto’s iRecon.