Glenn Freedom Increases Customer Pay Gross Profits More Than $400,000 YOY
As one of the largest CDJR dealerships by volume in the state of Kentucky, Glenn’s Freedom Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram proudly serves the Lexington area with sizeable new and used vehicle inventories. In addition to finding the latest CDJR vehicles on the market, shoppers can confidently find all makes and models of used vehicles at the dealership, as each one is put through a rigorous 125-point inspection. This thorough inspection process gives customers confidence that they are buying a safe and reliable vehicle.
Putting the Customer First Is What Drives this Dealership
AutoSuccess sat down with Glenn’s Freedom’s Nathan Stahl, the general manager and operating partner, and Casey Dalton, the dealership’s service director, to learn more about the improvements they’ve made in Service and Parts and how they achieved an additional $400,000 in additional gross profits year over year.
“Our philosophy is to take care of customers in every capacity,” Stahl said. “Take care of all of their automotive needs from sales to service to parts to even the time they come in for a complimentary car wash. It’s that everyone is focused on every customer interaction, regardless of how small or how profitable. It’s every time a customer associates with us, we’re both bought into the fact that that’s our brand, that’s our success, that’s our culture. So, through the requirements of our standpoint is that you treat that customer like you treat family.
“We’re going to provide every customer the courtesy of an inspection and understanding where their vehicle stands every time they interact with our store, whether they decide to fix that issue or not,” Stahl continued. “And our job is to make them aware of anything they have going on with their vehicle, from recalls to maintenance to a repair. I think it’s our obligation representing the manufacturer and being that go-to expert from a customer’s perspective, to deliver that. If you don’t deliver that, you lose the ‘expert’ title the second that happens. Your customers defect to the aftermarket. We see it everywhere and I think that, from a customer standpoint, they’ve got to view you as someone who knows their vehicle better than anyone else.”
The dealership boasts a service department staffed with Mopar-certified technicians who reliably diagnose and service vehicles. Working out of three buildings, the dealership has approximately 50 bays, 38 service technicians and five service advisors. Needless to say, training is a critical part of the service department’s success, keeping all members of the team at peak performance.
Glenn’s Freedom decided to use DealerPRO Training to improve their Service and Parts performance. The company had been selected as the No. 1 Service Training organization for four straight years by dealers nationwide. This Dealers’ Choice award winner is headed up by Don Reed, a regular contributor to AutoSuccess and Dealer Service magazines. His emphasis on putting the customer first to maximize customer satisfaction and owner retention aligned perfectly with Glenn’s goals.
So, Stahl and Dalton worked together to roll out professional fixed ops training for their entire team. Dalton said their service department is a tight-knit group of people that she’s worked with prior to Glenn’s Freedom or has known in the industry. “Most of our techs have been here many, many years. It’s probably one of the least turnover service departments around.”
Keeping Customers for Life
By putting the customer first, Glenn’s Freedom keeps customers coming back with processes that make their satisfaction a top priority.
“We follow up with every single customer who comes in after they pick up their vehicle,” Dalton said. “We have a department that does follow up with those customers to make sure that everything exceeded expectations, and if there’s ever a concern, we have a process where myself or whoever applicable follows up immediately with any customer who has a concern. We err on the side of the customer and I think we have a strong group of people that aims for the same goal, which is to take care of our customers, grow our business, and be honest and accurate on any repair that we do.”
At some dealerships there’s often a disconnect between the service department and the front end. But the teams at Glenn’s Freedom stay connected with their focus on the customer.
“I think first and foremost it comes to your service manager and their philosophy on the business,” Stahl said. “What are they looking to accomplish on a day-to-day task? What’s the expectation? What’s their vision for their department? And then, does that correspond to the overall vision for management?
“But it’s something that, if it isn’t communicated to the customer, and that goes all the way to the inspection, they don’t see the value that exists in your service department and they’re not going to transact with you after the sale, and you missed a golden opportunity to have a customer who would likely buy vehicles from you in the future, service with you in the future, buy parts from you in the future. So, we’re really big on providing that value,” Stahl said.
Increasing Performance Through Training
With these day-to-day challenges, training has become a crucial part of Glenn’s Freedom’s success. The team relies on the experts at DealerPRO Training to elevate their performances and provide the best service.
“DealerPRO Training has provided not only me, but also our service advisors with proven and very concise, very in-depth training that we otherwise would not have received,” Dalton said. “It’s a 14-month in-dealership process, starting with two trainers for a solid week on-site. It then continues for three days a month, helping managers maintain a consistent game plan. During DealerPRO’s monthly visit, the trainer spends time with each service advisor. If somebody needs more time than another, they make sure and focus on what’s needed. They take that time and they take their years of experience and collective knowledge and are able to do training that otherwise I wouldn’t be offering on my own. I wouldn’t have the time or the resources to provide what they do.”
Strengthening Lines of Communication
Service advisors are a crucial line of communication between the customer and the dealership. Their performance can mean the difference between a happy and an unhappy customer. But working in a service industry isn’t easy.
“The biggest challenge that we face out here on a daily basis is just managing the volume of customers that come in and taking care of everyone in a personal way and in a way that holds true to our philosophies and our vision, which is, again, make sure that everyone is being treated with the same respect and care that you would not only expect to be treated, but what yourself, what your family members, what your friends want to be treated with,” Dalton said. “So, it is very hectic and very busy and very nonstop.”
“Our advisors do a great job,” she continued. “I’ve got advisors who come in before we open. Most of the time they’re here after we close. They really do put forth a lot of extra effort.”
Dalton also appreciates DealerPRO’s training plan being specifically tailored for Glenn’s Freedom CDJR.
“They make sure they focus on what we need and what our individual store needs,” she said. “They are able to analyze our store as far as our staffing, the number of vehicles that we service every month, the number of repair orders that we write up, the number of technicians we have, the number of bays. They have a very in-depth way to calculate all of those complicated inner-workings and see if we need to change something, tweak something.
“They’ve provided a lot of ideas that they have seen other dealerships do that work well for them,” she continued. “They’ve given us some good ideas as far as incentivizing for our staff to motivate them and encourage them to do a better job and want to do a better job.” She sees extensive benefits of DealerPRO’s training from better customer communications and processes, to accountability and profits.
“We’ve instilled an importance in accountability into some of the standard things that we had in place that maybe weren’t enforced as much as they should have been or explained why they’re so important,” Dalton said. “So the customers are getting better service out of what we do.”
“As far as for our dealership, the profits increased. The number of vehicles we service has increased,” she continued. “The number of hours on what we do, we have seen a lot of growth. When we started, we had one service building. Now, we do service out of three. That’s a big deal.”
Dalton reported that since working with DealerPRO Training, the service department is averaging more than $400,000 over last year’s customer pay gross profits.
“I actually ran the numbers,” she said. “DealerPRO started with us in August of last year. When I compared the dealership’s numbers between August 2017 and August 2018 versus August 2018 and August 2019, we’re up almost $800,000 in gross. And that’s just in service. Parts has increased as well. They’ve definitely had a direct hand in helping us achieve that.”
Menus: A Must
When asked what she believes has helped the most, she quickly responded with “service menus.” While the dealership had a basic service menu, it wasn’t being utilized.
“DealerPRO has a pretty in-depth online service menu as well as some pricing menus,” Dalton said. “We also changed over some of our pricing to more of a family pricing, which means, if you need a basic maintenance item like wiper blades, it’s going to be the same price no matter what vehicle, so it’s very easy and quick for service advisors and technicians to recommend those items and not spend a lot of time getting prices.”
“The accountability that’s provided via the inspection sheet, that’s very important,” she continued. “Part of making that right decision is making sure that we do a thorough and accurate inspection on everyone’s vehicle. When they come in, people believe that they’re going to get that, and when they leave, they need to feel assured that they did.”