While there probably aren’t any empirical studies on this matter, and everyone at the dealership will likely own up to feeling some burnout, there is evidence that the individual who is under the most pressure today is the F&I manager.
Why the F&I Manager?
Shrinking margins, rising interest rates, rising vehicle prices, long hours and increased administrative work are some of the many reasons cited, according to a recent article by Kristine Cain writing for CBT News.
“Compliance requirements, longer hours, shrinking margins on vehicles, and increased buyer awareness of the car buying process (including F&I products) all make for a radically different environment for your F&I managers to work within,” she wrote. “Burnout and turnover have been increasing for the last few years and dealerships must scramble to help keep the F&I staff intact, especially if it is producing strong numbers.”
In other words, treat your F&I manager poorly at your own peril. Instead, consider some things you can do to reduce the load and the stress and prevent burnout.
Regularly check in with your F&I people. You don’t need to schedule a formal weekly meeting – this could potentially add to your F&I team’s stress by taking up more of their time. Check in with them informally and ask if they have everything they need to do their jobs, and if they need help. Their feedback might be informative, and the feeling that management cares can help stave off burnout.
Offer comp time. If your F&I staff has been working long hours, give them time off during the quieter times of the day or week to make up for it. Everyone needs time to recharge to avoid burnout, no matter how accustomed they are to working under pressure.
Check deals and paperwork. A good way to spot burnout is to look for sloppy work, which will inevitably come back to haunt your business.
“One of the ways burnout can manifest is how efficient they are with the mundane tasks they have to perform. Increase stress can lead to increased errors,” wrote Cain. “Look for an increase in chargebacks, too. Burnout in F&I can result in desperate or high-pressure sales tactics to increase PRU in an effort to make higher commissions. That almost never ends well with buyers after they leave the store.”
Ensure F&I personnel have the best possible tools. If employees are working with outdated, poorly integrated systems, they’re likely spending a lot of time wrestling with sub-par technology that wastes hours of their time each week. Consider updating your systems, applications and hardware to make their jobs easier.