A family-owned Ford dealership in Quebec doubled its sales volume and net profits over several years by systematically investing in infrastructure and processes to improve the customer experience.
Carle Ford in Gatineau, across the river from Ottawa, received the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association’s 2023 CADA Laureate for retail operations in recognition of its achievement.
When General Manager Hugues Carle acquired the dealership from his father, Louis, in 2015, it had already won the Ford President’s Award several times, Carle said.
“Thanks to the example of [my father’s] diligent work, he left us with a healthy business ready to prosper,” said Carle. “He was for us a model and a driving force for our creativity.”
But Carle and his team recognised that changing consumer behaviour would require the dealership to refocus its marketing. The team developed initiatives to monitor, measure and respond to consumer communications. It also introduced changes in processes to optimize customer service.
The team digitized the entire sales process and implemented rigorous follow-ups with every customer who came in for vehicle service. In 2022, tracking showed 70 per cent of sales were a result of the personal touch that service customers received, Carle said. Of that group, 30 per cent were new sales customers, he said.
“And 70 per cent of our new-car customers come back for their first oil change,” Carle said.