Focusing on the Road Ahead

It all starts with a plan

Whether talking about organizing a financial situation, creating a workout to get in shape, continuing education, or writing an article for Non-Prime Times, it’s smart to have a plan in place before you begin.

This time of year, in addition to coming off the bustle of tax season’s impact on the auto industry, is a good time to take stock and revisit your plan for your auto finance organization for the remainder of 2019.

As you work through the uptick (hopefully) in business during the first half of the year, certain things may pop up that are specific to the consumer experience and can serve as areas of improvement going forward. While each company has specific details for their particular situations, here are three key areas to consider addressing right now for the rest of this year … and beyond.

Yes, it’s a word that can make some people drowsy or keep others up at night. But not having a good process can exhaust not only one’s workforce, but also a business as a whole. Now is a good time to review your processes – both internally and externally.
Internally, review how your organization is, well, organized. Look for areas that could be streamlined and create a solution for rolling out a more productive process. Make sure resources are appropriately allocated to run efficiently and that there aren’t any duplications of tasks or redundancies.

Externally, review how your auto financing process works for consumers from start to finish. Think about your business from an end-user perspective. Is it as uncomplicated as possible? Is all of the information needed to do business with your company easy to find and is customer support readily available? If there are certain issues you’re hearing from customers, log those issues and put a process in place to fix them.

Yes, the obvious objective is to grow your business. But looking past just the bottom line, consider some corporate objectives that can be put into place to improve the company. Take time this month to look at your organization’s previous-year results and objectives and see what you did right. What areas you had successes. And what areas could use some improvement. Then come up with some tangible objectives that can be reached, and some others that might seem like a stretch, but could actually be possible.
Initiatives such as completing thorough compliance training, becoming more involved in your community through volunteering or career fair events, cutting back on unnecessary expenses, and upping your game for customer service, can all be excellent ways to improve your business, and also have a positive effect on a company’s reputation and consumer opinion.

Who knows? By the end of this year, you might look back and be surprised by how many of the objectives you create today you actually met – and even exceeded.

Of the three areas of focus mentioned here, this is the big one. It’s where the rubber meets the road, and creating a plan for ways to enhance the consumer experience is essential to being a top company.

Improving technology and digital capabilities can set you up for a strong 2019 and years ahead. One thing to consider – an app. If you haven’t developed a good app for your auto finance company, you may already be losing potential customers.

“Your brand image is critical for your success,” according to an article by MentorMate. “Without a mobile app or other technical capabilities, you might appear outdated or removed from modern trends. This can have an indirect impact on the performance and future prospects of your business. We’ve moved beyond the days of a mobile app alone as a differentiator. For many consumers, it’s an expectation.”

Mobile devices continue to grow as the preferred way for today’s consumer to do business. Recently, I went with my teenager to open his first bank account. Sitting down with the bank representative, we went through all of the usual procedures and paperwork.

This portion of our bank visit was boring to a teen, of course, but when the rep mentioned downloading an app to have access to his account, his interest was piqued. Like many Millennials and those of the Gen Z population group, the mobile device is their must-have accessory. Snapchat anyone? So he excitedly downloaded the app right there in the office.

After we left the bank, we had fun exploring the new app together and going through all of the features. The app was a hit and proved that having one to do business in today’s world is key to reaching consumers where they want to interact.

Use this time of year to take a good look at the work you’re doing and how it’s being done. Putting a plan in place to address the above three areas can better position your business for not only 2019, but for a long time to come.