With over 70 years in the automotive industry, the Qvale Auto Group has seen its fair share of retail evolutions.
Kjell Qvale started in the automobile industry selling Willy’s Jeeps before becoming one of the pioneers of importing foreign cars to America.
Founded in 1947, today Qvale Auto Group owns and operates dealerships across the U.S. — from California to Texas and Florida. Since the beginning, they have been committed to providing value, quality and excellence in sales and service; inspired by their customers’ standards and the Qvale family reputation.
“It should come as no surprise to those who know us that we are constantly looking to improve upon the customer experience at our dealerships,” said Geno Walsh, executive manager of retail operations at Qvale. “When you hear that only 1 percent of customers are satisfied with their car purchasing experience, you really have no choice but to make a change.”
Qvale, as an organization, decided it was time to have a single customer experience for all of their franchises, whether their customers chose to engage them on the web or walk into the dealership directly. The challenge became that none of their current software providers could provide the single solution they were looking for.
At the 2016 NADA, members of the Qvale organization were introduced to Darwin Automotive by their F&I product provider, JM&A. “When we first looked at their product, we felt that Darwin had an electronic F&I menu and selling system that was in a league of its own,” Walsh said. “Their philosophy on how F&I product should be presented to customers and how customers should be treated was similar to ours, only they actually had the software to make it a reality. Our group has had great success with the Darwin F&I menu since we rolled it out platform wide.”
Qvale, after considering multiple software options that didn’t work, approached Jeff Stafford, chief marketing officer of Darwin Automotive, and suggested that with some custom software enhancements, the Darwin software could be the one solution they were looking for. Jeff and his brother Nick have been known in the industry for over 12 years as “The Menu Brothers,” as they were part of the original team that created one of the first electronic menus in the industry (MenuVantage) over 12 years ago and are back at it today, providing the industry with yet another game changer. Qvale knew that they were onto something that could also be a game changer for their organization.
Qvale and Darwin worked together along with engagement and oversight from Audi directly to create a unique customer experience where the customer who engages Qvale on the web and then comes in the dealership is treated the same way. Customers can engage on their phones, tablets or desktops both in and out of the dealership and complete parts of the transaction right from their own home.
The core of this approach is a transparent, frictionless, easy customer experience that provides their customers exactly what they are looking for while providing a profitable deal for Qvale — the ultimate win-win.
“Today, we are able to give our customers what we feel is the perfect mix of providing the information they want in a manner that allows us to maximize each and every opportunity.”
— Geno Walsh, executive manager of retail operations at Qvale Auto Group
“Through the years, Darwin has proven to be a solid partner, so we were excited to implement their digital retailing solution as a big part of this single experience,” Walsh said. “The other digital retailing tools we looked at weren’t focusing enough on the presentation and personalization of F&I products and the customer experience as much as Darwin was. With F&I being such a large portion of our revenue, we knew this piece of the puzzle would be vital for successfully implementing a digital retailing solution.
“What came as a surprise was how connecting the digital retailing front to the F&I software in the back would be such a great experience in our showroom. I can take my iPad, go to our store’s inventory, pick a vehicle, choose the payment the customer wants and launch directly into the F&I product presentation. There were a lot of steps that we had to do in the process before implementing Darwin that really just wasted our customers’ valuable time. Today, we are able to give our customers what we feel is the perfect mix of providing the information they want in a manner that allows us to maximize each and every opportunity.”
“We’ve been blessed to work with some really outstanding partners through the years,” Jeff Stafford said. “Qvale is a great example of that and being able to help them to ultimately deliver the experience they want to deliver their customers is a very rewarding experience. I remember when we met at NADA, one of the features they really appreciated within the Darwin F&I menu was the ability to connect to customers who weren’t in the store.”
“We operate in all 50 states and across all stores there were a lot of deals where F&I just wasn’t getting the opportunity that they now have,” Walsh said. “In a couple of clicks, the Darwin in-store F&I menu connects to the customer’s cell phone, tablet or computer. This is picking up on lost opportunities and it’s features like this that have allowed us to grow our F&I income since being on the product.”
In addition, Darwin has also recently launched a product they refer to as Darwin Direct, which allows a dealer to personally follow up with customers who didn’t purchase F&I protection and give the customer the ability to purchase that protection straight on the dealer’s website via Paypal or Service Payment Plan’s zero percent financing.
“At Qvale, we are focused on making interacting with us as easy and pain free as possible and so far every solution we’ve implemented of Darwin’s has allowed us to do exactly that,” Walsh said. “A big thank you to ‘The Menu Brothers’ for making our concept a reality.”
Click here to view more solutions from Phil Battista and Darwin Automotive.