Finance and insurance offices have long been considered the keepers of compliance at dealerships. Panic over lost profits amid closures and social distancing edicts, necessary for containing the spread of the novel coronavirus, is prodding many dealerships to embrace remote sales either for the first time or at higher levels.
The U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in a patchwork of measures, strict in some regions and lax in others, upending or shuttering dealership operations across the country. For those unaffected, threats of closures and quarantine orders loom.
John Tabar, vice president of training at UDS/Brown & Brown Dealer Services, said the outbreak is disrupting store operations across the country at an unprecedented clip. But some things, such as the responsibility of an F&I manager, hold regardless of the storm clouds circling a dealership.
His cure for panic and fear? Action.
"This is a terrible time to take a wait-and-see approach to your F&I business," he said. "Your responsibilities as an F&I manager haven't changed."
With fewer deals flowing through the F&I office, maintaining robust processes and avoiding mistakes has never been more crucial, Tabar said.
For dealerships still serving customers either in store or remotely, now is the time to prioritize safety and accuracy. Dealerships that are temporarily closed or employees who have been laid off should use this time to practice skills and serve customers. While dealers need to adapt quickly to keep businesses functioning and employees and customers safe, now is not the time to relax standards or processes.