Being a successful auto dealership requires the perfect mix of good, old-fashioned customer service and high-tech analysis, say a pair of executives who spoke at the Automotive News Canada Congress in Toronto.
Roy Foss Automotive Group, Canada’s largest Cadillac retailer, likes “to go back to the future” to understand its customers, general manager James Ricci said.
He likened good customer service to “eating our vegetables” and “blocking and tackling” in football.
“I believe a core theme is excellence in the details. It’s the basics that make us great,” he said during a discussion panel about reshaping retail.
In order to better understand its customers, Foss has re-traced some its customers’ steps throughout the entire journey of the car-buying experience and is now armed with a library of data.
“What we wanted to do is, in a fundamental way, understand exactly what we are doing right now and what we need to do in the specifics to move the needle,” Ricci said.
The company can take that data and further tailor customer service.
Francesco Policaro, CEO of Policaro Automotive Family, said building a “community” is key. That’s why the group started a program cars and coffee more than a year ago. People simply enjoy coffee on the house and talk cars.
“We don’t sell a single product,” he said.
The program has grown to 300 participants from the 30 it started with.
But, Policaro also said his company is taking an innovative approach in dealing with customers, looking and first and foremost at technology.
Policaro, whose company is based in Brampton, Ont., paid to have software developed internally. His company is piloting a program in which customers can contact the company through their desktop and have a live experience with his team.
“If you’re sitting at your desktop and push a button, you’ll be welcomed by one of our concierge people who will greet you and then pass you on to one of our certified sales executives who can do a live walk around the showroom with you and communicate seamlessly,” he said. “It’s two ways in which we are trying to be as innovative as possible…to push forward and always be one step ahead of what’s coming.”