OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Matt O’Daniel’s family has been selling cars in Omaha since the 1950s, and while many businesses are closing due to the coronavirus, O’Daniel Honda is finding ways to keep its doors open and employees working.
“Our goal is to get through this and keep everybody employed because when this ends, and it will, we just don't know when, we want to make sure we still have the great staff we had going into it," O'Daniel said.
Like many businesses, the car dealership is taking measures to protect customers and employees, by wearing gloves when inside the vehicles, limiting in-person interactions and even delivering vehicles.
“We can actually bring the cars to them," said sales representative Mark Johnson. "We'll wipe it down, just try to make it as easy to spend as little as possible in the dealership for their comfort and convenience."
Johnson said he believes sales is about the relationship between the customer and the salesperson, and eliminating that face-to-face interaction can create a barrier to customer relationships.
“Sales is getting to know your client and, and be able to read them and you know; it's the whole process of just face to face," Johnson explained. "So you're kind of disconnected, when you're doing everything by phone and by video and emails. But I mean, everybody's kind of used to it now. We're just readjusting.”
With Honda being one of the first auto companies to suspend manufacturing in response to the coronavirus, O’Daniel knows some parts and vehicles may be a little late arriving at the store.
“Most manufacturers have closed some of their plants for small periods of time while they go in and clean them or whatever, so that's gonna affect the supply.”
But they he is hopeful business will soon be back to normal.
“When this kind of clears and business goes back to normal, for not just the car business, but for everybody, I think there's going to be a lot of a lot of activity out there.”
For now the dealership will find new ways to sell cars and continue operating its full-service garage.