“Is Bigger Better? – Most of the Nation’s Largest Dealers Rely on Best Practices to Drive Profitability and Satisfaction – What about the Rest of us?”

We’ve all heard it since we first got into the business, “good people, good processes and effective use of technology should allow a dealership (or for that matter any business) to make a good profit, retain its staff and keep customers continually satisfied.” So does the adage hold true only for big dealers? We here at Auto Credit Express (ACE) have scoured the available research and have concluded that while it holds true for large dealers, there’s no reason why any dealer can’t adopt the same best practices and become successful.

Over the past 20 years, automotive dealers have gone through dramatic changes fueled by economic, social and governmental issues, agendas and mandates. Whole automotive brands have come and gone; OEMs have merged, purged and formed new alliances and relationships that were unforeseen in this industry. However, after all of this industry churning, successful dealerships and dealership groups not only emerged but grew stronger and thrived. They used their newly found consolidated resources and engineered dealerships to ensure profitability and continued satisfaction – both for their employees as well as their customers. In essence they keyed on the following best practices:

People: The best and biggest dealerships invest significant time and resources to train their employees. They ensure they not only know their jobs, but are given clear goals and objectives that match those of the dealership in general. According to the Automotive News, in an article titled, “What makes dealership employees want to go above and beyond?”, 99% of the respondents interviewed at “big” dealerships for this article agreed with the statement “I feel part of a team working toward a shared goal” compared to 84% of the respondents from other dealerships. Bottom line, train people so they understand what they need to do to be successful and continually communicate and reinforce how their efforts support the bigger picture in your store.

Here at ACE, we support the notion of training for our dealer partners. As soon as a dealer signs up for our Premier Internet Leads, chooses to use our Business Development Center or decides to use our industry-leading LotPro® software suite to book inventory or desk their subprime deals, our staff springs into action. Within hours, we contact the store, arrange an appropriate time with each impacted person or department and then provide thorough, performance-based training to ensure they effectively and efficiently use our products and services to drive profitability and satisfaction. Didn’t get it the first time? ACE will continue to train your dealership staff until they believe their level of knowledge and skill is satisfactory to master the use of our products and services.

Process: Much like training, the best and biggest dealerships rely on proven processes to ensure that their stores are well run. This includes following guidelines and procedures that have been set up and are utilized daily by all employees. In addition, these stores continually aim to improve those processes to ensure profitability and continued satisfaction. According to J.D. Power and Associates as cited in their 2014 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM, six of the top 10 key performance (process) indicators for CSI involve service advisor-related best practices that are supported, reinforced and funded at larger dealerships, but are equally important to the success at all dealerships.

Over the past 23 years, ACE has pioneered the definitive subprime processes and procedures used by the most successful dealerships throughout North America. Our experts are just that; they have “been in the chair,” done the deals, identified the things gone wrong as well as the things gone right and have perfected industry leading processes allowing every dealer to take advantage of the largest growth opportunity for dealers today – the automotive subprime business!

Technology: Let’s face it, technology drives today’s dealerships. OEM, dealer and third-party websites provide vehicle and dealer information and drive customers into the stores. DMS and supplemental finance hardware and software desk deals, keep track of inventory and tell you when it’s time to send your customers a note that their lease is expiring. And let’s not forget the sophisticated gadgetry that drives the back-end of every store, keeping our customers’ vehicles functioning safely and efficiently. Large stores were early adopters of technology because they had the capital to invest in its use. However, today every dealership makes use of technology for marketing, store management and customer retention. As quoted in the Automotive News article from May 20, 2013, Dan McMillian, CFO of Joe Rizza Ford Orlando Park (a six-store dealer group), states “…Technology is just exploding…Be it good or bad, it’s technology where we have to go. We don’t have a choice.” Bottom line here, acquire and use technology that can best support your dealership’s goals and objectives.

ACE's LotPro® Auto Dealer Software for Subprime Car Sales offers a desking solution focusing on: 1) used car valuations, 2) deal structure based on finance company parameters, and 3) stand-alone lead management and tracking. Imagine never having to book out another car again. LotPro can do this and more. Using one of ACE’s live agents along with a combination of inventory feeds, pictures and our proprietary VIN decoder, we can accurately book out all of your vehicles with options. Again, software that is specific to your subprime business so you can do the deal the right way, offering the right car to your customer and maximizing grosses for your store!

So whether you’re a large, multi-store franchise group, or a small family run store, remember using best practices associated with People, Process and Technology really does drive profitability and satisfaction!

Auto Credit Express was founded in 1999. Today we are the largest automotive special finance total solution firm offering people in North America that have bad credit a selection of over 1,200 dealership and lender partners.

We take pride in helping first time buyers, people with various credit levels, repossessions and people after bankruptcy get financed for a new or late model car. We help real people across the country every day. It's one of the things that make us different, it makes us better!