A Case Study of Applewood Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC
Applewood Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC in Mississauga has been servicing the surrounding areas, including Oakville, Toronto, Burlington and Brampton since 1959, when they originally opened their doors as Denny Motors. They have since moved into their current location in the Erin Mills Auto Center and continue to pride themselves in delivering their customers with the highest level of quality service.
The Applewood Chevrolet dealership came on board with VenueVision as part of the Humberview Group, one of Canada’s largest automotive groups. The Executive team at Humberview, signed on with VenueVision at the end of 2018 and launched the suite of innovative solutions at their dealerships across the GTA and southern Ontario. Applewood Chevrolet was one of the first in the group to start the rollout.
The management and staff at Applewood are no strangers to providing a customer service experience that stands out from the rest. Take for example their restaurant-style customer café and lounge, with full complimentary meals for waiting service customers and unlimited hot and cold drinks. Adding VenueVision’s dealership solutions to their daily communication processes and functions enhances this level of specialized customer service even further.
Service department notices benefits right from the start
Paolo Glorioso, Fixed Operations Manager at Applewood, saw the benefits of these tools instantly. “Overall, a very positive change. It’s straight forward and easy to follow along and adapt to the new processes.” Paolo comments that the staff were able to quickly learn the new tools and integrate into their daily functions and communication with the customers.
Applewood’s Service department, managed by Phil Glorioso, has 30 service bays managed daily by 7 advisors, 5 Service Consultants and 2 Appointment Coordinators. All of these employees have access to the full set of tools, which include autoTEXT, Mobile Cashier and Shuttle Manager, to help them increase their level of Customer Service communication. Phil was really excited about the addition of Shuttle Manager and Shuttle Tracker to help with the daily coordination and transportation of the busy dealership’s Service customers. Applewood chose to also implement tablets with the Shuttle Manager system to give their drivers even more visibility and control when they are out on the road. “Shuttle is working fantastic! The Shuttle drivers are really taking to the tablets. I also like all of the information that I can pull from Shuttle Tracker, regarding Idling, seatbelt, speeding, etc. Great to help monitor the vehicle usage and driver activity.”
Dianne and Nicole, who work as Appointment Coordinators at the dealership, are sometimes the first point of contact that customers have. Once appointments are scheduled, customers will receive an Appointment Reminder notification by text the day before their appointment, and if they book ahead for a Shuttle, they will also receive a confirmation of that Scheduled pick up. “Customers really like it, they like being notified.” Says Nicole. “This Service Department is really busy, so this helps keeps everyone organized.”
Managing Shuttles has always been a challenge
As Appointment Coordinators, Nicole and Dianne also work closely with the Shuttle drivers to coordinate the trips to and from the dealership. Applewood has 3 Shuttles and 5 Shuttle Drivers who all drive throughout the day on varying schedules, so keeping them all organized can be a tough job. The Scheduling screen, which is located behind the Appointment Desk, helps the drivers and staff see right away when a customer’s shuttle request has been added. And with each driver paired with their own Tablet, they can use this device to assign and claim the passengers they will be taking. Everyone can see who’s been assigned or if there’s anyone still waiting, and all changes are shown in real-time.
The Shuttle drivers like the addition of the Scheduling screen. “The scheduling board is a good visual, helps you see the quickest route based on the markers.” says Shuttle driver Russ. He also likes the advantage of having the information on his tablet. “I have found with the tablets that there are a couple of ways to do things, which is great. I can find out what works best for me. I can add information like ‘closest intersection’ in the notes field, which also makes it very easy.”
Russ points out that the information that you need is all in one place. “Sometimes I need to know what advisor that customer has been working with in order to tell them something, and it shows it all right there.”
Sue, another of Applewood’s Shuttle drivers, was really looking forward to the addition of a management tool. “I think it’s a great way to go and to stay ahead. It’s better than the note paper and the dry erase board that we have been using. It was doing the job, but this will definitely be so much better. Being able to see the jobs pop up when I’m out on the road will be great.”
Texting speeds up customer communication and repair authorizations
With the new solutions, the Service Advisors at Applewood now have the ability to text customers throughout the day, right from their desktops. Customers also like the consistency of the automated messages that go out to welcome them in for Service or to let them know their vehicle is complete. And the option to pay ahead of time on their phone is a great advantage for busy customers. Service Advisor Zeljko, has found autoTEXT has been really beneficial for getting quick repair authorizations. “It’s much easier to show the part or area with a visual then trying to explain it over the phone. This allows the customer to see it in real-time, and they are more agreeable to go ahead with the additional repair.”
Similar to Russ, Zeljko has found the tools to be really flexible and have multiple uses and benefits. “I used it to help order some third party rims for a customer. I was able to add the Supplier as a customer and he could send me images that I could then forward on to our customer. It was a perfect set up and everyone was happy, and the transactions happened quickly.”
“I also like that we can schedule a Shuttle for even the next day, ahead of time,” Zeljko continues. “I might forget to do that the following morning, but, for instance, today, when I logged on, there was the Shuttle request for 9 am that I had scheduled the day before, and my Shuttle driver was already on it!”
Service Advisor James Foley, is really glad they can now text their customers, and without having to use their personal cell phones. James points out that the customers like receiving the texts, with customers letting him know they find it very impressive and modern. “I love the texting. It’s so quick for the customer’s replies to questions or information that we needed to send. Being able to schedule their shuttle right from autoTEXT is great as well. Very helpful.”
Mobile payments provide a great benefit to all the dealership departments
Not only can customers now text the dealership and receive service updates and notifications by text, but they can now also pay by text. With the addition of Mobile Cashier, customers have the option to view their invoice online and pay for their services through a secure and quick payment page. This can really speed things up at the end of the day when they’re picking up their vehicle. But the benefits of Mobile Cashier don’t stop there.
Any department in the dealership can take advantage of creating and sending secure payment links for any dealership service. The Parts department at Applewood uses it to collect down payments for large parts orders. This allows them to receive the down payment first before they order the part, and it saves the customer a trip down to the dealership to make the payment.
Kezro, a pre-owned vehicle sales advisor, has been using it almost daily to collect vehicle deposits. He says it gives his customers confidence, and the ability to secure a vehicle over the phone without having to come down. “It’s really efficient, quick and streamlined. It gives my customers peace of mind as they don’t have to give their credit card information over the phone or email it in, as they would have done in the past.”
When it comes to reconciling the payments, the Accounting Department at Applewood has only positive things to say about the system. “I absolutely love it! It’s so effective and quick. There’s a lot of information that is there, all of the info that you need for accounting.” says Dorothy, the dealership’s Accounting Manager.
System is very user-friendly
Dorothy noted that the Accounting department has also benefited from having Mobile Cashier. She now uses it to collect her monthly invoices from suppliers and even for overdue accounts. “It’s very smooth to use. The vendors that I send the payment links to really find it easy and safe, and very user-friendly. They used to want to pay by credit card over the phone, but were still wary about giving their details over the phone – they would always reconfirm that I was going to destroy any paper that I had written the credit card number down on. Now they don’t have to do that. I let them know I don’t see their credit information, only they do, and they control it all. They love it.”
Overall, the implementation and transition to the new tools at the Applewood dealership has been quite seamless. “When we had a couple of questions at the beginning, the support team at VenueVision were fantastic. They were very quick to respond and very helpful,” concludes Paolo. The whole dealership is really starting to see the benefits of these streamlined customer service tools and new processes.
VenueVision is extremely honoured to have been featured as an Innovator in the automotive industry by Auto Remarketing Canada. Their most recent November/December 2017 edition, the ‘Innovation Issue’ showcases North American innovators.
Our interview with author Sarah Rubenoff discusses how mobile trends are pushing innovation across all dealership departments. From Sales Departments to F&I to the Service Bay, technology is driving success rates. We discuss how VenueVision is developing some of today’s top technologies and innovations to help dealers stay ahead of the competition and provide the best customer experiences.
“Every step is customized to be fully dealership branded so all communications the customer receives and all payment links they touch in the secure payment process look and feel like they are an extension of the dealership, giving greater confidence in the mobile payment.”DAVE HOOPER, CEO, VENUEVISION
Solutions like autoTEXT and Mobile Cashier allow dealerships and their staff members to communicate and conduct business easily and quickly with their customers. This in turn provides an increased level of customer service that ultimately puts time back into the customer’s hands.
VenueVision, which provides high-impact, real-time digital media solutions to automotive dealerships, has just launched autoTEXT – a centralized texting solution that lets staff seamlessly connect with their customers, regardless of their Dealer Management System (DMS). This enables dealers to improve communication and service department productivity through more efficient and faster messaging.
Increasingly, customers don’t want phone calls. They want texts. According to J.D. Power’s Customer Service Index, 27% of customers with mass market brand vehicles, 42% of premium brand customers and 41% of younger customers want to communicate by text.
With autoTEXT, dealers don’t have to rely solely on staff mobile phones and costly cellular plans to communicate with customers. With autoTEXT, everyone has access to a centralized desktop system that sends and receives texts. Dealers can set a single number – or different numbers for each department – to manage texts from one place. Customers can text to request appointments or ask questions. Dealership staff can send service status updates, get repair authorizations, notify on service completions with payment options and more. Not only does the system streamline communication, it eliminates the cost of individual mobile phones and wireless plans.
TEXTING BUILDS RETENTION
Texting doesn’t just make communication better – it builds retention. In the J.D. Power study, only half of the customers contacted by phone said they would return. For those who received texts, that rate jumped to two-thirds.
“Poor customer communication remains the biggest obstacle for dealerships to overcome,” says Dave Hooper, President of VenueVision. “By improving the service experience, dealerships will also improve shop productivity exponentially and get full visibility on customer communications – this is a win-win for dealerships.”
Texts take a lot less time than repeated calls, phone conversations and voice mails. And it doesn’t just benefit service departments. Parts departments can use autoTEXT to notify on special order parts arrivals, and sales departments can create and confirm sales appointments or test drives, follow up with customer and answer questions.
autoTEXT packages start at $139/month per store, and are available to dealerships in Canada and the United States. Packages for unlimited users, unlimited data and optional payment capabilities through Mobile Cashier are also available. To start a trial or sign up for the starter package, visit http://www3.venuevision.com/automotive-solutions/autoTEXT. Dealers can try the 7-day trial by enrolling online and be up and running by the next business day.
VenueVision, which provides high-impact, real-time digital media solutions to automotive dealerships, has just launched its latest mobile innovation, Mobile Cashier, at Key West Ford and Kia West in British Columbia. Serving the New Westminster area, Key West Ford is the #1 new and used Ford dealer in British Columbia. Kia West, serving Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and surrounding Lower Mainland is the #1 volume Kia dealership in Western Canada.
Mobile Cashier is an express e-payment solution that sends dealer-branded notifications to customers when their repairs are done. Customers can click the provided link to review their service invoice and pay directly from their mobile device or PC. Resulting in faster checkout times at the dealership. Mobile Cashier boosts convenience, reduces the 5:00pm rush and speeds up the pick-up process dramatically. This allows dealership staff more time with customers to review work completed and make recommendations for future repairs.
Dealer staff give rave reviews
Andrea Backman Galasso, Dealer Principal at Key West Ford, says “What impresses me most about Mobile Cashier is the control it puts back in the customer’s hands. These days everyone is so pressed for time that every moment counts. From the customer’s perspective, 10 minutes saved getting the service invoice amount and getting it paid is 10 minutes put back into their day, put back into their control. I also like that the customers now have a preview of the amount. If they have any questions they can call or email before arriving for pick up, once again saving the customer time.”
As a service manager I am happy with how much it will improve evening pick-ups and enhance the customer communication flow.”DAN NORTHCOTE, FIXED OPERATIONS MANAGER, KIA WEST
“We are very happy with the launch of Mobile Cashier,” says Dan Northcote. Kia West’s Fixed Operations Manager. “Our service advisors are excited by the product because it takes very little extra work on their part. It offers our customers an added convenience that they can’t get anywhere else. As a service manager I am happy with how much it will improve evening pick-ups and enhance the customer communication flow.”
“We launched Mobile Cashier late last year and the response has been phenomenal,” says Dave Hooper, President of VenueVision. “Dealers love it because it’s an innovative way to improve the customer experience. Dealerships like Key West Ford and Kia West who stay ahead of the curve to provide the best customer experience, are far more likely to succeed in the competitive automotive marketplace.”
Designed with customers in mind
The new express e-payment solution is designed with customer ease-of-use top of mind. “From the dealership’s perspective, I really am impressed with the level of automation and how much information is pre-populated in the forms giving very little room for error,” added Backman Galasso.
"The automated billing and payment process takes steps off of our service advisors’ hands, freeing up time for other customer interaction."ANDREA BACKMAN GALASSO, DEALER PRINCIPAL, KEY WEST FORD
Backman Galasso says that at Key West Ford, Mobile Cashier helps with increasing staff efficiency. “With our large volume of relatively standard maintenance repair orders, the automated billing and payment process takes steps off of our service advisors’ hands, freeing up time for other customer interaction. While it is just one step in the service process, it is one that blends well into our goal of making our customer’s service experiences as easy and transparent as possible. Honestly, it is hard to believe that this isn’t something we’ve been doing for years!”
Mobile Cashier isn’t just for the service department. Every part of the dealership can take advantage of the easy e-payment capabilities. Parts departments can use PAY BY TEXT to allow customers to pay invoices collect for parts deposits. Sales departments can use DEPOSITS BY TEXT to collect new and used vehicle deposits faster. Even Accounting can do A/R BY TEXT to speed up receivables collection.
With Mobile Cashier by VenueVision, dealerships can offer easy mobile payment options for customers on the go.
VenueVision Media Systems, which provides high-impact, real-time digital media solutions to automotive dealerships, has just launched Mobile Cashier, an express e-payment solution for parts and service departments. Customers get dealer-branded notifications of repair completion along with a copy of their invoice on their smartphone, tablet or PC. This notification link allows customers to review and pay for their repair in advance of picking up their car.
“Mobile Cashier is an innovative leap forward for auto dealers and their service customers alike,” says Dave Hooper, President of VenueVision. “This express mobile payment solution allows service customers to skip the cashier line and pick up their vehicle at their convenience while drastically reducing the 5:00 pm rush for dealership staff. In the competitive, fast-paced automotive marketplace, great service with an emphasis on ease and convenience is vital.”
Here’s how mobile payment works:
- Once a service repair is complete and ready for pick-up, the customer is automatically notified by email or text. The notification contains an invoice and a link to the dealer-branded payment page. This page is pre-populated with the customer’s name, invoice number and invoice amount.
- The secure payment portal prompts the customer to enter credit card information. The transaction is then completed and notifies the dealer’s cashier of confirmed payment.
- The customer receives a text or email confirming payment and picks up their vehicle when convenient.
- Customers can access the dealer-branded Mobile Cashier dashboard from any mobile or PC-based browser without specialized hardware or software requirements. On the backend, Mobile Cashier is fully integrated with VenueVision’s service applications, enabling it to complete transactions in real-time.
Mobile Cashier offers an exciting opportunity for automotive dealerships to improve the customer experience, hence positively impacting a customer’s service perception directly on their personal smartphones. With mobile payment, customers don’t have to rush to pick up their vehicles before the service department closes. Additionally, service cashiers get a break from the ‘5 pm rush’. Customers can pick up their keys at reception anytime before the dealership closes – their service is already paid for. It’s a value-added service that everyone will appreciate.