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How Your Dealership Employees Can Work From Home

Connected Podcast
Article Highlights:

  • How to make sure you're set up to work remotely.
  • Maintenance opportunities that may need to be reviewed.

In this episode of Reynolds’ new video podcast, Connected, the director of DMS Product Planning, Scott Worthington, explains how to get set up to work from home and gives suggestions on maintenance opportunities that can be handled remotely.


Greg Uland: Hello, I’m Greg Uland, marketing director at Reynolds and Reynolds, and this is Connected – the podcast with best practices and ideas to help you navigate what is happening in the automotive retail industry and the world today. As the COVID-19 virus continues to change our world and how we live and work daily, this podcast discusses ways to continue operating in this unprecedented social environment. Today we have with us Scott Worthington, director of product planning at Reynolds and Reynolds. Scott, thanks so much for joining.


Scott Worthington: Hey, Greg. Thanks for having me on today.


GU: Absolutely. So, Scott, today I’m hoping to talk a little bit about working from home for dealerships that are able to continue operating right now. A lot of employees are remote. So to start, what’s needed for dealership employees to effectively work from home from a technology perspective?


SW: Well, for many roles, employees will need to get connected to the dealership’s network. For others, basic internet connectivity is just fine, especially with a lot of the hosted applications for those that need to get connected to the network. This can typically be accomplished by working with your network provider to gain access through the firewall and then ultimately to the system. But the simplest way really is if you already have a VPN and you can directly connect to the network and access the applications you need to.


One of the easiest things to do really is to contact your network provider and review the options that they have for you. And once you do that, you should be up and running to be connected. Also, you’ll need to look and make sure you’ve got the licensed applications that you need to do your job. And then once you get that, you should be in good shape.


GU: Good deal. I was talking with Dave Bates a few days ago, and he was saying that the Technical Assistance Centre was helping with this a lot as well.


SW: Absolutely. They’re a great resource to help you out with this.


GU: So once employees are up and running, obviously business is much different today than it was just a few weeks ago. So there’s likely some downtime for folks. What are some maintenance things that people might be able to do? Some things that probably should be done on a regular basis, but there’s just not time for it in a lot of instances?


SW: To start, you almost need to give yourself permission to work on those types of things. And it’s really kind of a mindset change. Going from your normal busyness to working from home is really quite a different thing. So, once you have decided that things are different and that you can work differently, you need to evaluate your goals and figure out what you need to accomplish, either daily, weekly, or in some cases monthly. And then, do those things that you’ve said, “well if I only had the time, I’d do X”. Well, the reality of it is, some of us now have time to do some of those things. So if you’re going to do a system cleanup, for instance, you need to look and prioritize what you’re trying to accomplish and figure out the specific tasks you need to do that.


Another thing that’s easy to accomplish, but there usually isn’t time during normal business hours, is training and education; making yourself smarter on the different applications and tools that you have, whether it’s DMS or CRM or what have you. You may have time now to take advantage of reviewing enhancement materials, tutorials, and videos. Some people participate in online training sessions and are doing those things that can help you get smarter about the tools you have. It also helps to either practice or go in and setup those capabilities that you’ve just learned. So the hope is you learn a lot while you have the opportunity and then you’re ahead of the game when things get back to normal.


GU: That makes a lot of sense. And it is hard, I know I can speak for myself. It’s hard to find time to do that kind of system training and get really good at using the tools you have. You mentioned there, Scott, system maintenance too. Are there any high level things that a lot of people could focus on? Maybe a couple that you could call out that can have big impacts as far as just updating the system and maintaining your system?


SW: Sure. Another one that seems to never get done because it seems so overwhelming to do is the customer database cleanup. That’s the idea of consolidating duplicates and purging old records that either don’t have contact info or bad contact info. It can seem like tedious work, but if you take the time to do it, it pays big dividends from a customer communication standpoint, and down the road because you don’t have multiple Greg Ulands sitting out there and trying to pick the right one to use for contact information. So if you can take the time, that one will payoff big time.


Along the same lines, a lot of folks can use time like this to clean up vendors. And that means getting rid of ones that you haven’t done business with in years. Another system maintenance, system cleanup kind of thing. A third one that would be a good one to spend some time on is actually looking at the integration from F&I into accounting. And a lot of times there’s an opportunity to fine tune that integration and basically look at how a deal is derived or built in F&I and how it integrates into accounting. And a lot of times, if you can do a better job with mapping the deals over to accounting, it saves a tremendous amount of time in posting the deals. Quite honestly, we’re busy with the day to day and we usually don’t take time to sit down and look at that. Over time a lot of enhancements and changes come out that make that a lot easier, and typically we haven’t taken the time to take advantage of those. Now’s a good time to look at that mapping and then hopefully save minutes on each deal which become hours a month on posting time.


GU: Great things to look at. Definitely appreciate it. Scott, while we’re here and we have the audience, before we hop off, is there anything else that you would want to touch on today or anything you want to mention?


SW: Sure. You know, it’s just if you’re able to work from home, really try to make the most of it. In this unprecedented time, business is not the way it was. And we’re basically all learning to adjust as best we can. Hopefully soon we’ll get back to normal. But in the meantime, I really encourage everyone to not only try to complete your basic tasks, but take some time to learn the applications, learn some of the new enhancements, do some of the system cleanup tasks, and all this should help you and your team be more efficient until we can all resume somewhat of a normal life.


GU: Good point, Scott. Definitely appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your day to hop on and share this with everybody. Again, I can’t thank you enough.


SW: Glad to help out. Talk to you later.


GU: All right. Thanks. This has been Connected. Stay safe and we’ll see you on the next episode.


Continue to tune in often to see new episodes on best practices and tips for navigating the automotive industry during this unprecedented time.

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