02 Feb Why It Makes Sense to Keep F&I…For Now
It’s been said that the next 5-10 years of technology innovation will move faster than that of the past 100 years. Think about that for a moment…how long did it take to go from the lightbulb to the television? Decades. It really has become a ‘blink and you could miss it’ world we live in.
For dealerships, technology has been embraced at almost every level. Schedule a test drive, comparison shop make & models, book a service appointment…it can all be done online now at most stores. Full online engagement has touched nearly every department in the average dealership, except for one…F&I.
Dealers are now asking if they will need F&I staff in the future. With the advent of all digital F&I platforms already hitting the market and the last 9 months having dealers shift to digital deliveries due to COVID-19, dealers are wondering if F&I managers are even necessary.
Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why it’s still important to have an F&I staff and how the latest technology can work with them for greater profits and higher CSI:
1) The Human Factor – It’s a given that car shoppers don’t really mind being ‘in the box’ as long as they are treated well and in an ethical manner. People want to connect with other people and having an F&I manager available to walk through the options on financing and product does what a software program cannot do…tell stories of why the product is important to consider.
F&I managers can also ask/answer questions, empathize with customers, and connect at a level that, if done well, can help increase CSI and PVR through honest communication and transparency.
2) Helping Others – A digital F&I platform can do many things but it cannot provide tangible help to the salespeople if something goes wrong. They can help ease a buyer’s fears on payment terms or help explain complicated lease terms if the salesperson is struggling.
3) Generational Differences – Car buyers who were not born into the online age are more likely to want the person-to-person engagement that having a professional F&I manager can bring. They expect that talking with a human being at this stage is normal and that while extra tech advances have made much of the small steps much easier, they are still fine with being ‘in the box’ (again, as long as they are treated fairly and ethically).
There are valid arguments in some dealerships to go with a one-person-does-it-all sales consultant that erases the need for an F&I manager but we may not be there quite yet and not at every store.
Reach out to us at ExoGloss to see how we can help support your F&I department through industry leading products, administration, and claims support.