The bar has been raised on customer experience, not only by automotive players like Carvana, but also by companies in the broader customer environment like Starbucks. Industry champion and MAX Digital Director of Strategic Accounts, Tim Scoutelas, will give practical tips and strategies to build a winning BDC and showroom experience to better compete with Carvana’s, and MAX Digital SVP, Kim Evenson will serve up some inspiration from Howard Schultz’s early leadership at Starbucks.
- Learn how to turn Carvana’s BDC centric model to your dealership’s advantage
- Uncover simple strategies for empowering your BDC and sales staff
- Understand smart ways to build in consistency of experience and brand value
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Kim’s Quick Summary
I want to allow a bunch of time for comments, but as a quick summary –as Tim went over, I really feel like the major lesson from Carvana is copy them where it makes sense, and then just dominate where it doesn’t, location matters. It is so important to be able to see people face-to-face I recently saw a fact that millennials love to shop local. I think that a lot of us have been misunderstanding frankly, that younger generations, are so in love with online. It’s not necessarily the case. In this case, I think the Carvana has done so well because frankly, we’ve let them down on the dealership side in terms of experience. And then in terms of Starbucks – really these are the lessons around being a phenomenal host or hostess. What are the things that you would do if you weren’t selling, but you were offering, you were inviting people in? Do those now. Those are the things that will really make the difference. And that’s where online is winning. That’s how they’re winning. So with that, I would just say to wrap it all up, just to make it easy for your team to consistently be awesome. That’s what they want to do and that’s what you want them to do. And then we’ll stop and take a chance to answer any questions that you might have.
Also, if you don’t have a secret shopper program, let us do it for you. It’s something we find a lot of value in whether or not you work with us. You can just request it at maxdigital.com/contact, and we’d be happy to do that for you.
Q & A on Building A Winning BDC to Showroom Experience
Moderator Mary Beth Vander Schaaf: Thanks, Kim and Tim, for that great information and share now we’ll turn it over to the audience for questions.
First question, how do you trade off time / opportunity lost versus secret shopping learning?
Kim: I think sometimes people feel like ‘I don’t want to use up any of my resources in having a secret shopping instance when I could be serving a real customer’. I would just say that, those training opportunities are priceless. Whatever, you think that you’re trading off, you’re going to more than gain in getting the learning from that.
Tim: And I’ll add something to that Kim. I know my work with the dealers. In my book of business, if a decision maker came to me and said, ‘Hey, would you do me a favor and mystery shop me? I need to see how my guys are doing.’ That’s another great way to leverage your partners in any industry. If you feel like it really would be a time crunch for you. The information we’ve learned from it when we do it with our dealers is so valuable both for presentations like this and to share back with our customers.
Mary Beth Vander Schaaf : Next question, our BDC is using our website, how do you justify internally having a dedicated application?
Tim: Okay, so I had this question asked of me just yesterday. And I think it’s a legitimate question. You spend a ton of money as a dealer on your website, and quite frankly, there are a lot of good vendors out there a lot of good websites. But I always come back to the idea that a website was built to convert and it’s a good website that will give you just enough to get the customer to call because that’s what dealers want. And until I see a lot of dealers change that behavior, well, maybe Carvana, I just think that that’s all you’re going to get. I’ll run a BDC person through a couple of questions and ask them to answer them quickly. And quite frankly, they struggle, or you have to enter your name. How many times do you go to your website, and have to enter your name to get to the next step? So a tool that sits by itself and works on its own that’s built to be a sales enablement tool. It can be quite efficient. It’s tested with consumer feedback. I think it just, it adds a lot of the stuff that Kim was talking about to your dealership presentation, Kim.
Kim: Yeah, I just I would second that so wholeheartedly. I had the pleasure of doing an interview as we started this new series of kind of anonymous interviews so that we could get real feedback from folks that work in BDCs. And I did our first one with a representative. And he was talking about having to juggle four websites. Because that’s how many sites his BDC served, and trying to find the car across those four websites, and then potential backups across those four websites.
So it’s just an area where I think so many organizations are, you know, pennywise and pound foolish, because, again, you have paid so much money to get this person to call you. There’s not enough understanding of the web sensibility and I think it’s easy for me having grown up in online marketing, but when you go to a website and it doesn’t load under three seconds, you go away, and when you call someone and they don’t give you an answer in under three seconds you hang up. These are places where we’re making that search super easy. [The customer is thinking] ‘I’ve got four other dealerships I can call. I am now interviewing you and it’s your chance to lose me.’ Why wouldn’t you make a small investment? Give your BDC people the best tool that you can.
Mary Beth Vander Schaaf : What dealerships are models for the best Carvana like experience.
Kim: So when I first I first entered automotive about a year ago, and I started by doing some consumer research, because it’s my favorite thing to do, and what we found was there was one dealer website and it’s DGDG.com calm that popped to the top very consistently when we were comparing dealer websites, I did not test them against Carvana at the time so little disclaimer there, I don’t know for sure how they would have done. But across the dealer websites that we tested, they were very far at the top. And we did check them against CarMax and they did better. And a bunch of the things that they did were really capitalizing on some of the emotional side. So where Carvana, within their experience, uses a lot of white and blue that are very like calming relaxing colors. At DGDG there’s a lot of yellow. It’s very sunshine and happy and happiness, which is actually also very nice for this experience.
Tim: Yeah, so the group that comes to mind when I get asked this question are the guys that I talked about in my presentation up to Luther Motor Group in Minneapolis. They are unique in the fact they’re in the Minneapolis market has 22 of their 27 stores are within a 16 mile radius. You could check this out yourself. They recently launched a site, lutherbuyscars.com, and they are aggressively going out and trying to buy consumers, cars direct from them. So the website will walk you through a white label version of an appraisal tool that will be followed up by a call from a buyer. If necessary, they took an old KIA Soul, went down to the sign shop and had it wrapped with lutherbuyscars.com on it, and they’ll drive out to the customer’s house, look at the car and give the customer a check right on the spot. And those are the sorts of things that obviously Carvana will buy the car from you, but you know that it’s the next step because they’re kind of in market and they’re really building a name for themselves. So I would challenge dealerships today that kids in you to look at ways to source inventory. Because if you think about it Carvana is taking the page right from the CarMax playbook and sourcing cars from customers. It’s the most efficient way to keep your inventory costs down. Good question.
Mary Beth Vander Schaaf : How do you help your staff work well across the BDC and sales functions.
Kim: I think, honestly, there’s two things. One is, from an HR culture standpoint, it needs to be clear that they’re on the same team. Tim and I both work for Steve, who goes by Fitz, and he is a retired Navy SEAL, and there is absolutely no tolerance for any sort of backbiting. Everything is about the team and the mission and getting it done. I have literally never been in a more supportive environment. So I think it’s setting that cultural tone and that the fact that dueling departments, frankly just won’t be tolerated, that you’re all on one team. So that’s a piece of it.
I think the second piece of it is the technology. Whether it’s the software, which I don’t know what it is that USAA uses, where they just have a really great CRM experience that anyone can pick up that account, or whether it’s this MAX BDC tool that we’ve developed, making it easy for people to immediately be able to pick up the experience and continue it forward makes all the difference in the world – when people are empowered with that information.
If a customer comes in at a time when they were not scheduled, but can open up their phone, show a code to anyone in the store who can scan it and see – exactly what they were expecting in terms of the cars that they wanted to look at, the trade in that they were expecting to get in terms of an estimate, the monthly payments that they’re expecting to get – you can help them get to that deal so much more effectively. And conversely, if you’re holding back information from your people, if you’re saying, ‘you know what, I’m not going to give them any trading information unless they come in store, you’re setting up an adversarial environment instead of really welcoming people in and being an ideal host or hostess. How would you want your mother to be treated when she came into a car? I think it’s those basics.
Tim: And I’ll just add this. I really think every dealer, I hope, would work to build an internet dealership. That’s really the direction that we’re going in 2020. It’s the finding that person who can effectively communicate with a customer over the phone, via text, via email, and then when they get to the store, be able to handle themselves professionally, sell them a car, and do everything from cradle to grave. We’d probably promote that person and call them Sales Manager. If they’re really good, they become the GM. But I would be continuing to look for people who you can groom into what a salesperson will need to look like going forward.