Oliver Ford in Plymouth, Indiana is a thriving dealership with a clear call of duty: satisfy their customers. They do that by being proactive in their approach to customer service, by leaving no stone unturned, and by keeping customer needs first and foremost. It’s no surprise, then, that they have won the Ford President’s Award for 16 years. The secret? It’s in the details. While most dealerships focus on big and obvious issues to enhance the overall experience, Oliver Ford focuses in on the details that can often be overlooked – details that make a big difference to customers.
“We focus on every aspect of the customer experience,” says Jessica Oliver, CFO of Oliver Ford. “It’s a no brainer to do registration, as it saves the customer a trip to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), and makes the dealership a one-stop shop for their clients. Other dealerships in Indiana are losing out by not going the extra-mile and rounding out the customer experience.”
When you consider how much time and effort customers put into researching their purchase, it makes sense. Dealerships that provide value all the way through the last step in the sales and F&I process – the registration and titling of the vehicle – are the ones that build longer-term relationships with their customers. Dealerships like Oliver Ford are able to do so because they connect the retail experience through technology-enabled workflows that enhance the power and productivity of the team.
Oliver Ford is a perfect example: while most dealers do titling for the client, very few do registrations at the dealership, because it’s a task that takes time and effort, with no additional revenue as a result. Plus, customers don’t demand it, so…why would a dealership handle it? Perhaps it’s to gain an advantage over the competition. Or make a new car buyer happy. Because that’s the result of what Oliver Ford does: creating a competitive advantage by focusing on the entire customer experience, including registrations so buyers aren’t forced into one of those dreaded trips to the BMV.
95 Percent of Clients Want Registration
As simple as that sounds, well – it’s not unless you plan carefully and employ the right registration and titling technology for your store. Aspects like the calculation of an accurate excise tax at the point of sale add complexity. Oliver Ford handles this by creating a spot in the workflow – after the deal is agreed – in order to make sure the customer knows that it’s not part of the price. At that point, registration becomes an opt-in for the customer, and a value-add driven by the dealership. “We don’t raise it until after the sale, as this is a non-negotiable item,” says Oliver. “Then we ask the customer if they would like us to do their registration, and the finance manager indicates on the deal jacket whether or not the customer says yes.”
According to Gracie Fonseca, Title Clerk for Oliver Ford, over 95 percent say yes, please and thanks. “I call the client and ask them to make the payment via credit card,” says Fonseca. “When the credit card payment goes through, I process registration and title for the customer at the same time.” From Oliver’s perspective, it’s a winning strategy, even if processing credit card payments takes a small nip into their profits. “That’s like splitting hairs when you consider the total life time value of the customer,” said Oliver. “Some customers pay by check, and we take a little risk on them. But so far we have not had any issues with collecting payments from our customers when doing registration for them. The great customer experience brings us more service revenues as more clients bring their cars to the dealership for service.”
It may seem like a small thing. But it makes a big difference to the sales and service success of Oliver Ford. By treating registration and titling as a part of the entire sales experience, and by connecting comprehensive workflow technology to best practice customer service, they’re boosting satisfaction scores, increasing service revenue and creating long-term customer relationships. It’s a perfect example of the power of connected retail and the effectiveness of taking that one extra step to make a customer happy.