One sure way of knowing what's right at your dealership and how to fix what's wrong is to ask the people who know — your employees.
That's the advice from owners and managers of several dealerships honored as Automotive News' 100 Best Dealerships To Work For. They regularly solicit feedback from their rank and file through formal employee committees and councils or strong encouragement from management.
The groups represent a cross section of employees from porters to salespeople and typically exclude managers except owners or general managers. Participation is always voluntary.
"We're looking for the questions and the answers," said Adam Arens, president of Patriot Subaru of Saco, who lunches with employees in groups of eight to encourage them to identify problems and bottlenecks at the Maine dealership and how to fix them.
"As the owner, I'm not saying I have either," he said. "All I want to do is make sure we're continually getting better, that we're solving problems. If we're not changing, we're dying."