Dealerships across Canada are stepping up to the plate to keep the automotive industry thriving amid a crisis. Nearly two million new cars were sold in 2019 in the True North, and the auto industry is one that buoys the economy. Millions of customers count on vehicle servicing, repairs, and sales. Times of crisis are no different.
Expectations have changed though and small adjustments can make a big difference to customer confidence.
Whether you’ve successfully transitioned to selling cars exclusively online or are welcoming walk-in traffic, there are few guidelines that will help you safely conduct business under current conditions.
Cleaning & disinfection measures
The coronavirus crisis has ramped up sterilization efforts worldwide.
The CDC and Health Canada have established guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting homes and workplaces. Following these guidelines will help prevent the spread of the disease while maintaining availability for your store’s essential services.
- Disposable water bottles, coffee cups, tissues, mugs – if the surface has come into contact with a person and it’s not essential, get rid of it.
- Keep desks free from clutter and encourage or insist on the use of single-use items rather than reusable cups and bottles, for example.
- Ensure paperwork is filed or destroyed and not left out in the open. Uncluttered surfaces make cleaning more thorough and less time-consuming.
Clean & disinfect commonly touched surfaces
- Health Canada recommends cleaning phones, electronics, door handles, table surfaces, and remotes DAILY for at-home use. That standard should be the minimum requirement in your store but certainly should be looked at more frequently based on traffic volume.
- Bathrooms, sinks, and hand-washing stations, not to mention commonly touched door handles and even hand sanitizer stations, could be disinfected more often.
Guidelines for in-house cleaning
Since flattening the curve is everyone’s social responsibility, each team member should know how to properly clean their work station and be encouraged to keep it clean and disinfected at all times.
Health Canada’s recommendations for disinfecting surfaces are straightforward:
- Use regular commercially-available disinfectants. That may be Lysol wipes or a household spray cleaner, for instance.
- Alcohol solutions with a minimum of 70% alcohol are effective.
- A diluted bleach solution of 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of water is a simple mix. Ensure the bleach is not past its expiration date.
Prior to disinfecting, dirty items can be cleaned with a simple mixture of detergent and water.
If you’ve hired a cleaning company for day-to-day dealership cleaning, they should be equipped for adequate deep cleaning and disinfection. If not, make it a priority to source a cleaning company that is up to the task. It will need to be a repetitive process for the coming weeks and months.
Guidelines for vehicles & vehicle delivery
All vehicles on the lot need to be regularly cleaned and disinfected. All commonly touched areas including:
- Door handles (interior & exterior)
- Steering wheel
- Rear-view mirror
- Centre console (buttons, knobs, air vents, touchscreen, etc)
- Console armrest
- The key(s)
should be routinely sterilized with alcohol and other cleaners before and after anyone sits into the driver’s seat. Do not use bleach or hydrogen peroxide on the vehicle’s interior.
For vehicle delivery, dealership reps should carry disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, and ensure they are adhering to social distancing protocol by keeping six feet away from the customer and anyone else they interact with.
Wash your hands as often as you can.
Leverage social channels to make customers feel safe
Whatever lengths you’ve gone to satisfy federal and provincial guidelines as well as your own unique standards, make sure your prospective customers know exactly what you’re doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With a plan in place to keep the dealership and vehicles clean and sterilized, ensure your customers know about it.
- Send a mass email detailing the proactive steps you’re taking.
- Advertise your rigorous sterilization standards on your website homepage along with social distancing-compatible services like online sales and home delivery.
- Leverage social media to showcase recent disinfection and detailing efforts.
Customers need to be confident that you’ve done your part, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to maintain dealership visibility at this time.
This too shall pass. The automotive industry is resilient. There may be uncertainty but we’re confident that dealerships can weather the storm, adapt to customer needs during a crisis, and come out the other side stronger.
Canada Drives can deliver high-intent customers to your business. Speak to one of our account managers today to discuss how we can help you sell more cars when walk-in traffic is at a standstill.