What is Your Vendor's Role During COVID-19?
We live in challenging times. Your dealership or automotive repair shop has likely seen a significant drop in sales and service. In today's environment, how can you maintain relationships with current consumers, create new clients, and keep them and your employees all safe from COVID-19?
While you are having to adapt to this new way of life, social distancing, reduced hours and staff, do you have the time to source, price, and package proper PPE, disinfectant supplies, and the barrier products necessary to ensure your employees and customers remain safe? Of course, you don’t. This should be your vendors' role!
What to Expect from Your Vendor
During normal times, you place regular orders and your vendors fill them. Most of the process was seamless and didn’t require much thought. These are not normal times and now is the time for your vendor to step up for you and earn your future business.
Expect these things from your vendors during COVID-19:
Respect for Your Time
If your vendors are bringing you a catalog of random PPE and barrier products and asking you to decide which products are best, they are failing you. High quality vendors will already have product research complete when they meet with you. If they are doing their jobs and respecting your time, they will already know which products meet the EPA’s COVID-19 guidelines. They should bring recommendations and complete packages to you. By the end of your meeting, you should know your cost per vehicle and what to expect from your product package.
Honesty and Integrity
It is no secret that there are manufacturing shortages happening around the world. Honest vendors will be transparent about the availability of PPE and will do their best to accommodate. If your vendor is promising you unlimited masks and gloves, they are not being honest and are compromising their integrity to get the deal done. A vendor who values your relationship will work hard to address your specific goals during these stressful times and will not create additional stress by overpromising.
We are spending time thinking about disinfectants than ever before. Are you clear on what surfaces your disinfectant can be used on and what the dwell time is? Is your disinfectant killing COVID-19? Is your staff properly trained on installing barrier products? These are all great questions and should be answered by your product supplier. New COVID-19 related products are here to stay and training is essential to set your team up for success. Vendors, as they deliver protective products and supplies, should be providing proper training to ensure the safety of employees, customers, and vehicles as they arrive and leave the dealership.
Open Lines of Communication
Questions will arise and there is no room for error. Can you reach out to your vendor to get quick answers to your questions? Now more than ever, vendors need to be available to you for questions, concerns, or unexpected orders. During unpredictable times, communication is key.
During uncertain times, your business needs vendors who are partners and who genuinely have your best interest in mind. There are lots of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there now, so make sure you are receiving the service from your vendors that you deserve.