For happier customers, sales and F&I need to talk

Automotive News | May 22, 2013 - 12:01 am EST

Good communication between sales and finance staff cannot be overstated.

That’s my takeaway from reading a recent chat on a Facebook page shared by finance managers.

Many pondered why a customer can sometimes complain to the sales manager that the F&I manager was rude when the F&I manager had believed his or her rapport with the customer had been good.

Some F&I managers wrote of situations in which they patiently and politely explained product offerings and even shared a few laughs with customers, only to have them later complain of pressure and rudeness.

There could be many explanations for these disconnects. For instance, an F&I manager might actually have been rude or a customer might have been a flake. But the driving reason has to be miscommunication -- and not just between the F&I manager and the customer.

It’s also poor communication between the salesperson and the F&I manager about that customer’s personality, lifestyle and needs.

Many dealerships have revamped how their salespeople transition customers from the showroom to the F&I office. Those stores believe they can get higher F&I sales if the F&I manager tailors products to meet customers’ specific needs. To do so, the F&I manager must have good information about each customer before that customer enters the F&I office.

And getting that information and conveying it to the finance manager is the salesperson’s job. When communication between sales and finance breaks down, the complaint box could start to fill up.

Jamie LaReau covers auto dealers for Automotive NewsJamie LaReau covers auto dealers for Automotive News

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