I believe in treating my customers how I would want my mother to be treated if she visited a car dealership where I had control over the experience. That means greeting them promptly and professionally in a welcoming environment and assisting them in any way possible. I understand that many people may feel nervous when entering a dealership, so I aim to make them feel comfortable by answering their questions and genuinely caring about their needs rather than just trying to make a sale and move on. A successful business and positive outcomes will naturally follow when you prioritize building solid relationships and caring for your customers.
Our dealership is a for-profit organization aiming to sell vehicles, but we can still provide exceptional customer service. We have a sales team and managers who genuinely care about the customer and strive to create a welcoming environment. We want our customers to feel comfortable and confident purchasing a vehicle from us. It’s not just about making a sale; it’s about building a positive relationship with the customer that will hopefully result in future business and referrals. Implementing Nextup helped us ensure that customers were served promptly and fairly, and we could see that contributing to our success. The system’s benefits were more than just avoiding a “shark tank” of salespeople; it also helped us create a positive customer experience.
Before the pandemic, how did Nextup help your dealership improve accountability and time management processes?
Several years ago, we implemented Nextup, which assigned two individuals to oversee the outside lot and inside showroom. This approach allowed the remaining team to focus on their daily tasks and maintain a higher level of organization. Our experience with the system has demonstrated its benefits in managing walk-ins and lot traffic; creating a welcoming environment for customers. Customers feel more comfortable when visiting or approaching our lot by avoiding the impression of an overly eager sales team ready to pounce.
On a scale of one to ten, how negatively would you rate the customer experience before Nextup, and where do you believe your store currently stands in terms of improvement?
The negativity level was around five or six. We received complaints about customers feeling intimidated when they entered the dealership. Implementing Nextup wasn’t the primary reason for its implementation, but it had a positive side effect. I no longer received complaints about customers not receiving assistance or too many people crowding around the front door.
How did the pandemic affect your dealership’s operations, and how did Nextup help you adapt to the changing market conditions?
The pandemic had a positive impact on us. We had to adjust to the changing environment as our leads started coming in through phone calls and internet inquiries rather than walk-in traffic. We had to ensure that our sales team was equipped to handle all the leads, irrespective of their source. This led us to adopt Nextup, which allowed us to rotate every lead through the system. Before the pandemic, we had a different system where walk-ins were prioritized, but with Nextup’s implementation, every lead was treated equally.
Did Nextup’s features and functionalities prove to be especially useful during the pandemic, and if so, why?
We leaned into Nextup’s app, which proved to be very useful. Its main features that stood out were the ability for our sales team and managers to access the system from their desktop or mobile device, allowing them to see the rotation and who was next up. Sales managers could view this information for their team and the individuals they managed, making it easier to follow up with customers, book appointments, and organize their day. This feature was crucial for us, allowing us to maintain a safe and comfortable environment during the pandemic. Additionally, the feature of receiving notifications on their cell phone or desktop meant that we no longer had large groups of people standing around, as our showroom was small. The benefit of having a mobile device was significant, as it allowed our team to use the system on their computer, eliminating the need for the two screens we had used in the past.
Based on what you said, you take charge of implementing Nextup and have installed it in different dealerships in the past. Is it because you find comfort in the live view of what’s happening on the floor rather than relying on reports that some stores might dive into every week? Having that real-time, in-the-moment view of what’s happening gives a sense of stability to the organization on the floor. Is that accurate?
Yes, that’s right. It’s worth its weight. Our dealership aims to be a welcoming place for customers where they receive help from our sales team. The salespeople also like it because they can come in and see their rotation on the Nextup app. They know if they’re first in line for two deliveries in the morning and can mark themselves as available once they are ready. This reduces animosity on the floor between salespeople fighting over customers. It also discourages groups of salespeople from hanging out together and waiting for customers to arrive.
Based on your experience using Nextup at multiple dealerships, would you recommend it to other dealerships?
Yes, I highly recommend it to other dealerships within our group and even to dealer friends in the industry. I first learned about it at a Dealer20 meeting, and a fellow dealer recommended it as the best idea. I immediately implemented it, which has been an excellent tool for us.
Suppose you had to trade one of your body parts to help to keep Nextup in your dealership. What would it be?
I would trade my big toe, I’ve got massive feet, so I could stand to lose an inch or two off there.