EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the sixth of seven stories devoted to leading women in the auto industry. The series originally ran in the December 2020 print edition of Automotive News Canada. You can watch the pair of roundtable discussions here. And, you can read previously published digital versions of the stories here.
The feminine touch in the showroom can increase sales and revenue, auto industry executives say.
With women influencing 80 per cent of car buying decisions, it is critical for businesses to employ a workforce that represents their customer base, said Joy Quaile, manager of the customer experience team at Hyundai Canada.
“We want to make sure our customers understand they’re represented and, if they ask questions, that they can be responded to by people that understand them,” Quaile said during the Automotive News Canada Leading Women Roundtable.
“When there are conversations that have to be had, especially if they’re not necessarily positive ones or there’s a ‘no’ that has to be delivered, we have the representation [and] their needs are being met.”
A growing body of research points to the benefits of a diverse workforce. Organizations with an inclusive culture are twice as likely to meet or exceed their financial targets, six times more likely to be innovative and agile and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes, according to a 2018 report by Deloitte titled “The Diversity and Inclusion Revolution.”
And a 2018 report from the global-management consulting firm McKinsey and Co. found that of 1,000 companies surveyed in 12 countries, those within the top 25 per cent of female representation in leadership were 21 per cent more likely to be more profitable.
Women could also be more adept at closing sales than men. A 2017 study performed by the marketing software developer HubSpot analyzed more than 30,000 sales calls and found that women had an 11 per cent higher closure rate.
Laura Zanchin, executive vice-president of Zanchin Auto Group, said hiring women for consumer-facing roles has improved customer satisfaction at her dealerships.
“People tend to feel a little bit less intimidated if they have to ask a question about a car or about a service. [Women] bring about a different way to communicate through conflict. We don’t necessarily go chest-out. We like to understand why the customer is feeling the way that they are, and then we’ll go about it to try and find a resolution.”