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Transcript (please excuse any inaccuracies)


Welcome back to the 80s at the fixed ops roundtable, it is time for the fixed ops digital online service marketing panel. Nobody better to get things started with this esteemed panel than Owen Moon, the CEO. Oh, and welcome back to the roundtable. Hey, Ted, how are you doing, sir? Great to be here. Great to be back to super show so far, obviously back to the 80s. Pretty, pretty exciting stuff and look at even dressed up for the occasion. So I almost didn’t recognize you. But I do recognize the panel. I’m gonna let you do the introductions and I’ll get back and see you towards the end. So on the show was all yours. Yeah, absolutely. Got a great panel today. Some are returning panelists from our last online service marketing panel but got a new face here. So I’m going to kick it off. I want to everyone just kind of give a quick intro of who you are and who you’re with and kind of what you do for the organization starting with Jeremy. Hi, my name is Jeremy Stephens on the fixed operations director at the Hyster Automotive Group in North Carolina. Alright, thanks for being here. Jeremy. And you are the director how many stores are in your group? We got four dealerships to Chrysler and two Chevrolets. Okay, cool. Cool. glad. Glad you could join us today and return for another panel here on April 7. Tell everybody who gives everyone a little. They don’t know who you are given a little bit of feedback. April 7. I am the corporate internet and marketing director for Vornado grip. We added two more locations last week. So we’re up to 15. Wow, that’s crazy. Good. Good. Good work. You guys are dominating the Arizona market for sure. So thanks for getting your nation.



Well, you’re at the helm. I can see it happening. So Erin, welcome back. Hi, thank you. I’m Erin Sparks. I’m from to know your automotive family. And I am the Marketing Director there. And I have five rooftops for brands and yeah, for brands. And so looking forward to having the kind of Yeah, you guys are growing too. So Good work. Good work. Yeah, definitely another bright star in our industry. Thanks for being here. And then last, but definitely not least, Drew wants you if anyone doesn’t know who you are, give a quick introduction. Yeah, I’m Drew Benson. I work for the commodity Auto Group. I am currently service manager at Audi Lakeland, also do the fixed ops technology process managers. So we’re a couple of hats. But we have Audi in Lakeland, Florida, Volkswagen and Brandon, Florida, and then Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and St. Louis. Also. Awesome. Well, thanks for joining us again, I know you’re a return panelist on our panel. So yeah, you know, obviously, as we kind of move into the some of the questions I had for you guys are some of the discussion points I want to talk about, you know, one of the things that fix ops digital has really focused on over the last four plus years here is sort of helping dealerships evolve their service marketing, you know, not necessarily moving away from those retention based strategies, you know, direct mail, email marketing, you know, looking at certain list and customer in your database, you know, that is, you know, either at a defection point, that type of thing, I think they’re still great strategies and things that dealerships should definitely focus on, but really taking what we’ve sort of learned and seeing work from the sales side, and moving that to the service side with digital. And so obviously, a lot of what we talked about is, you know, sort of those strategies and how those, how we can help dealerships, you know, sort of evolve their websites and their online presence and that type of thing. So a lot of the discussion points that I want to talk about today, really kind of wrap around that. And I think where I want to start is really looking at the different profit centers. I mean, in the past, you know, we’ve really been focused on service and discounting, do you know, couponing, that type of thing. I think what we’re seeing with our client base, and what I’d like to maybe get some feedback from you guys on is, you know, the different profit centers, you know, you’ve got tires, you’ve got accessories, obviously, you’ve got parts, both retail and wholesale. And then you have, you know, even some collision opportunities for some of the stores that have body shops and things like that. So, let’s start with Aaron. Aaron, why don’t you give me a little bit of, you know, maybe, you know, if you guys are doing anything from a, you know, from a marketing standpoint to kind of really attack some of those other revenue opportunities inside those departments. Yeah, from a tire’s aspect, we really look at how can we be as upfront about pricing and information because at the end of the day, we know that our competitors, the ones that can do it quickly, are the ones that are the most upfront about pricing sometimes, and I think that that’s a really big downfall in the automotive dealership world is that we’ve made it essentially harder for our customer to get the same information and a lot



Other times we have better pricing, or at least match the pricing with a lot better service and, and a lot more experienced staff. And so we’ve got to really support the things that we do well, and the people that we have, and the assets that we have with being able to accurately communicate the opportunity that the customer has to work with us.



Now, that’s a good point. I mean, obviously, getting that information out, there has always been a challenge from the website standpoint, and I think,



you know, starting there is always a great first step, you know, and then the thing that makes it interesting is that on the service side, you have a lot of opportunities to get e-commerce. Right. I mean, you know, a lot of the dealerships are tied in with a Dealer Tire and tire finder and stuff like that, I think it gives you a much easier way to finish that transaction. If you know, get that infrastructure in place, maybe on your website, or even just put some focus on it. Drew from a technology standpoint, obviously, that’s one of your big standpoints. anything there that you are seeing at your stores that kind of tie into this. Yeah, I mean, we’re trying to see what we can capitalize on where they are areas that we’re missing. Right. So opportunities, for example, he continued with the tire conversation, it’s with Alliance, right, we noticed when how do we get more alignments, right, and we promote it on our website, we spiff internally to get those things, you know, to get more action on the lane. And it’s really a competition, right? So we have friendly competitions between everybody. And so that they it’s like an internal competition and gives away gift cards. So we can kind of split them, you know, to see who does more. But yeah, it starts from the customer side on the website, and we promote it on the lane, and then it’s up to the advisor to capitalize on it, and then they have those friendly competitions and keep it fun. Yeah, competition is always a good thing, especially in the car business, I don’t think we are lacking any competitive nature in our business. Right. So, I like what you’re saying there. Because obviously, you know, one thing about fixed operations that may be a little different than the sales side is that a lot more of these things tie together, right? You talked about alignments that has nothing to do with tires, at the top of high level, but it has everything to do with tires, in that if your vehicles not properly aligned, and you’re not keeping, you know, your vehicle in in good working order there. It’s gonna affect other parts of the vehicle. And that tires are a big part of that. So I think that educating customers on why alignments aren’t important, and not only affects the vehicle but how it affects other areas like tires are really important. Jeremy, what are you seeing from, you know, from in the trenches as a fixed ops director, you know, are your stores starting to really focus on these other profit centers? Or is it you know, like, some stores where they just are a little understaffed and don’t have, you know, a lot of time to kind of put that focus on? Or what do you see, so we are, we have started a good run at it. You know, I was just thinking when Eric was talking about the tires, and I would date myself when I was a technician in the 90s rebrand tires out of the dealership because we did not want to part of them, we always send them down the road. So it’s crazy how now we’re, you know, trying to get that business back. And the same thing, when, when you spoke at our conference a couple of months ago, when you start talking about, you know, the internet and, you know, doing this, you know, promoting the services kind of people didn’t get it. And it’s crazy how it started to come through, but we’re actually trying to start to use our software, you know, that’s the number one thing we have. And, you know, we’re communicating with our marketing team to let them know this, like, Hey, these are our dead times in service. And, and I’m not looking for the heavy mechanical, it’s just like y’all are saying the tires, the alignments, you know, the little quick, fast, easy service that kind of helps us on our side. Well, and this good point, and we know that people are hanging out of their cars longer. So you know, they’re going to need those tires replaced, where maybe they were leasing or I had a lot of friends over the years that have traded, you know, like clockwork, every 18 months, well, it doesn’t take 18 months to usually go through a set of tires. So you’re never having to invest in that. Well. Now we are the same thing with accessories. If people want to keep up hanging on other vehicles longer, obviously, they want to personalize it. You know, a lot of times people are like, Hey, I might not be able to buy a new car today. But now I can go out and put some accessories on it and sort of give me that refresh of a, you know, that’s almost like new to me again. And I think more and more that’s happening. So, you know, as an industry, we’re definitely trying to lead that charge. But I think there’s so much more that can be done, kind of moving on APR, and I think it ties into this. You know, from a communication standpoint. Obviously, it’s one thing to be able to promote and advertise and that type of thing. But the other way is to be able to actually communicate it to customers in a way that makes sense to them. What are you kind of seeing from a communication standpoint that could maybe a



As the either working or that you could see, you know, being more of a focus, I think there’s a huge, huge missed opportunity right now with regard to dealers, websites, and fixed ops. And what I, I just kind of had this aha moment. Like recently, when you lock in, you talked about these other profit centers that have tires and accessories, almost any dealership you walk into, you’ll see the stacks of tires, right, and you’ll see the wall of accessories. But you go to all of their websites, and the majority of them won’t have tires on their website, or have accessories on their website. And it’s interesting to me, because the purpose of those things in the showroom, is so that people can see them, touch them, smell them, and hopefully, then ask about them so that we can sell them yet. We’ve now just recently, I’d say it was the last couple of years, you have everyone saying My website is my digital showroom like things are service departments in the fixed ops departments need to start saying, my website is my digital service lead. And we need to realize that the majority of our customers are not sitting around waiting in our lounge areas anymore, we’re doing more and more mobile service, we’re doing more and more pickup and drop off. And we’re doing more and more of customers drop their keys and go and come back later to pick up their vehicle. So where are they going to be communicated with and get the look of the tire and whether they’re there and what the accessories are. And all of those things should be done in the website. And we need to do a better job of communicating all of our offerings, like going to the website and saying we’re only going to put new cars and not put our used cars on the website, right? Why do we only have in our fixed ops, our oil change coupon and a tire rotation coupon and say that’s good enough. And that’s it? Right? I think that there’s just a huge opportunity. I’m happy that we’ve partnered with Owen and his team because they have helped us build a lot of those areas out. But we also do have full parts on our on our website, right? We are selling parts nationwide at this point, because well, I’m thankful maybe I shouldn’t tell you how to do it, because



we sell all over the place. So I think there’s an absolute opportunity for us to communicate what we offer better on our websites. Yeah. And I think that it’s there’s a kind of a disconnect that I’ve seen, because I’ve had that question get asked me a lot like, are you guys doing e-commerce, e-commerce? And I’m like, No, we’re more of like the, the infrastructure that kind of explains the, you know, whatever, that’s, you know, if it’s parts or tires, kind of gives people that information. And then we let people connect into those areas, just like we would do say, with a trade appraisal tool, right? I mean, it’s, Hey, we want to now we want to get a cash value on our vehicle. So let’s now tap into the resource that actually allows us to do that. And I think, I think, you know, Dealer Tire some of these other tire e-commerce, that a lot of the OEMs focus on, you know, are really going to become bigger parts of, you know, parts to your point APR parts, that type of thing.



Right, oh, I hear the conversion tool in the fixed stops, like 100% 100%. And I think that’s where, you know, we can come in, moving away from those older strategies into this, you know, there, it’s a lot of its education, and a lot of it’s sort of showing how it all kind of flows together. And speaking to that, Drew, I’m gonna go to you, since you’re kind of on the technology side, what are you seeing, from a tech standpoint, that has really helped you maybe with that flow? Or with those processes? That kind of work? Yeah, I mean, it’s just, it’s, it starts with educating the customer and knowing what to expect, you know, we obviously, before they come in, we send a text confirmation, and also has a video on what to expect. And it also holds our people accountable. So you know, they know they’re gonna come in, they know, they’re gonna get a video from our technician or multi-point inspection. You know, after that’s all done, we offer them a trade appraisal. And then April just made me think to add parts and accessories link to an offering 15% off since they’re already here and shopping with us, right. So there’s many different things we can do. But I think it starts with the communication of the customer and what to expect. And then these guys up front or gals up front have to deliver on that promise, because we already told them before they got to the store, what they’re going to be receiving, right so it’s really accountability to the people that work for us. But I think that’s uh, you know, I guess that I think April just gave me a good idea. I can offer a discount on parts and accessories while they’re already here. That would probably be a good idea, since they’re going to see it in the lounge, and they click a link and go to our website and then they can get 50% off while they’re already here. So impulse buy, right?






Bands though, right? We want to have the gear they drive the cars why can’t they have umbrellas or keychains or things that they see



adds clothes, all that stuff. Why can’t they get that while they’re here? So they don’t wait until they’re home to go should buy it online, and then we miss out on that Moon, right? We haven’t had greeting cards, right, like happy birthdays and all that kind of stuff in our little boutiques.



Nice Well, one thing that I want to kind of, you know, a kind of a move to Aaron on this.



You know, we talk a lot about getting information out on the websites and all that. But it it actually is much more than just getting offers. Right. I mean, one of the things that I saw the other day was, I believe it’s Ford is now mandating mobile service. So what are some things that you’re seeing that are like, you know, sort of evolving trends inside the your brands or inside your fixed operations departments that would be a good place, you know, if you have a good infrastructure on your website, with to put this type of information, what are some things that you’re seeing out there that are maybe you’re new to the market over the last couple years that maybe weren’t there before? Yeah, so we have a Ford store and the push from Ford to present and make sure that every single customer knows that you have



pickup and delivery. And mobile service is huge, to the fact that they’ve actually taken away marketing dollars to allow for more marketing, from the OEM side of things to push both of those entities, you can look at that seven ways from Sunday about how that how that can and could be profitable for the company. But those that aren’t really buying in on those are not going to see the profit that the others are. So when we’re looking at profitability and trying to really gain market share in a mobile service perspective because that means that you and your next sports stores are very much overlapping.



And so if you’re looking at how can you communicate to people that you have the services, it’s working with our BDC to have the right conversation about do you would you like to consider having this service done Mobley, we can come to your work, we can come to your home, we can come to you know, while you’re at the grocery store, we have to just make sure that the every person that touches another customer has the right words around the offerings and how that can affect them. Another thing that we’ve learned along the way is that there is so many questions about it from an internal and external perspective. And so like really understanding it, and taking into consideration and asking customers how their experience was what they wanted out of it, what did they not get out of it has been really enlightening for us as well, too. And then going into that further, the ones that are really being successful with, especially mobile service is looking at recalls. That’s not something that everyone is focusing on. But you can focus on recalls from an individual and up from a a corporate standpoint as well, too. So those are just a couple of things that we’ve been really working on. And I can’t even say that we’re facing all of them either. So



it’s an ever-changing thing, that



you really have to have the whole team together and working towards in order to have it be successful. Yeah, no great points. I mean, obviously, we always talk about everybody kind of becoming one, one company, as opposed to a bunch of segments and departments. And I think that some of this newer technology, newer emphasis on different things has sort of forced the hand, right force the hand of dealerships, that maybe we’re a little more siloed now, obviously, some dealerships have already kind of had their rah rah, and they’re everybody’s, you know, kind of come together and, and they kind of are surfacey on it. But I think this is where, you know, your sales team, your service team and your marketing team have a real opportunity here to just sort of synergize all of those are key.



you know, additional things that are now coming to the forefront like pickup and delivery, like mobile service, that type of thing, Jeremy from a training standpoint, um, what are you seeing inside the inside your service departments, with your advisors and with your, you know, your maybe even your service? BDC kind of working together? Are you seeing that they’re, they’re grasping this and really, you know, absorbing it and embracing it, or are you still kind of getting, you know, maybe a little bit of pushback from some maybe some of those older dogs that have been there for a while it’s kind of set their own way, right.



Yeah, it’s, it’s normal for them to have a little pushback.



But, you know, when you explain why you’re doing it, you know, because I know that’s, that’s the new thing. You know, just explain, you know, this is what we’re trying to get at and to get to that point, this is what we need.



to do, and the hardest thing we’ve had trouble with is getting everybody on the same page. Because in service, it’s like as fast forward as soon as you step in the door. So it’s hard to slow the train down to, for you to start that training and make sure your BDC and your, your service advisors and even your service manager because our service managers will throw an email blast out and the BDCs that last one to know about it. They get blindsided. It’s like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. And, and we like, you know, you know, we’d like we don’t get our stuff together. So, so weird way to say.



So, so what we had to do is to kind of restructure our meetings where we have a meeting at the same time every week. And in the beginning, we didn’t invite BDC, because they’re kind of, you know, I’m sorry, but there were Tutton in the back room. And, you know, they’re out of sight, out of mind. But as soon as we pulled them out and got them participating in the meetings, and you know, they felt like they had a voice and they were talking, it’s like, Oh, crap, we’ve we’ve missed a whole section, our business, these are the most important people because they’re handling hundreds of phone calls every day. And they should know everything about the service and stuff. So we’re doing a lot better job getting everybody together on that same page. Absolutely. Well, that’s and I’ve seen that a lot, you know, just more training more process. I think it’s also a great time to, you know, at that edit while you’re doing training on process, and you’re doing training on customer service, and all that it’s also a great time to talk about your technology and your marketing, because a lot of that is old, older strategies, and a lot of cases that have never evolved with, you know, with the rest of it. So what a great time to be in this side of the business. Obviously, you know, TEDx and this roundtable has put a huge spotlight on other opportunities, and you know, from everything from training to product to marketing, that type of thing, but I feel like more dealerships that I talked to right now are really focusing on the training aspect. And I always tell them, Don’t forget about the technology. Don’t forget about the marketing as you’re doing it, because I think it all ties together. APR, quick question for you on recalls. I know Aaron mentioned it quick. But I was reading something last week. And I think in two days 140,000 Volkswagen Atlas owners and like 500 and some 1000 Honda CRV owners, you know, got the word that they had an open recall, that just got announced. You know, this is a trend that I don’t see going away. I feel like it’s getting worse in a lot of cases. What are you seeing? I mean, obviously, from all the different brands you have, you know, are you seeing that this is an issue is are you seeing that the OEMs? are doing enough? Or is this something that the dealerships really need to sort of, you know, put in part as part of their strategy as well. It massively has to be part of our strategy. And it really all boils down to the communication and, and then how you can execute. But I’ll give you a perfect because two things on recalls. Number one, we had a massive issue when we started marketing, via text message Hey, you’ve got an open recall, call us so we can schedule. And all you want to talk about is floodgates, we couldn’t even handle the phone calls with so much so that we actually had one of our stores we burned off like people are getting busy signals because it was that bad.



We learned a lesson and now we communicate open recall to the trickle, right? So now we only do a percentage every day. And it’s a slow trickle of other people that we’re going to communicate with so that when they do call us, we can actually handle and schedule those recalls that need to come in. But one of the more proactive things. And I think in order to effectively communicate going forward, whether you’re talking to service or sales, we have to do it in a much more proactive fashion. Because here’s the issue. It’s fine for the BDC to communicate because that’s a human talking to another human. Or if you don’t have a BDC and it’s still your advisor, that’s the person communicating, that’s fine. But go look at your website, the most clicked-on page on any website out there. And I promise this is scheduled service, which means the majority of your customers are doing this on their own with no communication, no proactiveness. And then when they show up at the store, and now it’s like well, I came in for this and you’ve got me doing this and now we have a disconnect there. We have got to figure out whether we’re utilizing technology or we’re utilizing people how to more proactively how those conversations. So if a customer schedules an appointment for an oil change for two days from now, I can see that appointment. Can we proactively call that customer now and say Hey, Mr. Customer, by the way, you also have an open recall that will extend your time here but do we want to go ahead and take care of scheduling that now. And if we transition it proactively then we don’t have you know over promise under delivery experience when the customer



actually comes in. And that’s something I’m seeing a lot of is, again, we’re forgetting that a lot of these things are not happening in the traditional way. And people are doing it on the website themselves. And we’ve got to figure out a way to communicate so that we have a good experience at the dealership. Yeah, I think what I take from that is that we have more opportunity to talk, look at the things that customers turned down, maybe the last visit, and really create a customer experience that they say, Hey, I’m coming in, I got the day off, I’m going to spend two hours of my day in the service center in the morning, or maybe I’m gonna spend 30 minutes and get a ride back to my house because I’ve got other things I got to do. But now you’re not playing this ping pong game where it’s like I’m coming in today, they don’t have the part I’m gonna come back in next week. Pretty soon, it’s three, four weeks down the road. And this person’s upset, because they might only get one day off a week or you know, maybe one weekday and one weekend day or something. And all of a sudden, they’re spending all their time at the dealership, which could be very well avoided. So I think that that’s where I feel like most dealerships that I talked to a few years ago was kind of like, how do I automate all this? And I think now people are starting to realize that automating it might not be the best answer in every case, you know, that type of thing. Drew, what are your thoughts on that, as far as you know, not only recalls, but just, you know, from a standpoint of utilizing technology to create that customer experience, per se. Yeah, we have a, you know, a handful of recalls that the minimum is five hours, you know, it’s either a software update in the manufacturers working on trying to get it faster, and give us a better time to get it done. There’s also fuel recalls where we have to, you know, run the car for a certain number of hours. So it’s just, it’s time-consuming stuff, but how do we, how do we utilize our strategies with pickup and drop off or Uber or whatever it may be to then satisfy them? Some people will wait, they want to wait for six hours with their laptop in the lounge. How can we make sure their experience is good, you know, but at the same time when their cars in the shop, and we’re doing these recalls to the customer, they’re free, right? But then how can we do a safety check and a good multi-point inspection and a good tech video to then wow them to see that they came in, they’re not just doing the recall, but they’re getting value out of it, right? So we got to just be able to provide that experience, let them know that their car is safe, and then good, better, best, right? This needs to be done. Now, you can wait. And then, you know, look at the good stuff, too. It’s not all has to be bad. And then we’re taking care of everything all in one shot. So I think it’s, you know, how do we treat the customer the way that we would want to be treated? How do we deliver that experience and give them a good digital process? There’s no question, they just click links, they view things easily, they give you instant feedback. And then they interact with everybody in the store this, they’re gonna see the cars in the showroom like April said, the accessories, there’s a lot of different stuff we can all do together. And it’s just, it’s open communication with the whole store, right. And I think Jeremy had a good point is getting everybody involved in having everybody be on the same page is key, because then we all have the common goal of getting to the next level. And that’s, that’s what’s important. And it starts with the customer. And Aaron had a good point too, with the feedback, we always send a text message, the night of the repairer, closing, Hey, how’s your experience, and those come back instantly. So we have that time period before the manufacturer survey goes out, we can kind of do some, we can take that feedback or damage control whatever it may need, you know, and change our processes. So it works out? Well. And I would say that kind of tying back to, you know, training and process and technology and marketing, it’s a great time to look at all of it because things have changed so much. And I think that a dealership should kind of look at all from a very magnifying glass and say, Hey, what is what am I doing here? Is it all flowing? Where are the breakdowns, you know, that type of thing. And so I guarantee that if everybody puts a little more time into all of this, right, whether it’s service marketing, whether it’s their training, their process, kind of bring it all together, they’re going to do one thing, and that’s make more Moon.



So Well, thank you, guys, for everything today, obviously great conversations, I think there’s a lot of really good nuggets that a dealership can take away, and obviously with every dealership sort of in their own, you know, path and they’re on all different parts of this process. I don’t think we can go from A to Z at any time. But I think that you know, we got to get there in stages. And I think that, you know, that’s the most important thing that hey, it’s always about moving forward. It’s always about where am I today. What do I do really well, let’s capitalize on that. And then where are my areas of opportunity? So with that said, I’m going to send it back to you and appreciate the time today. Oh, and this may be your best panel yet. What a great blend you’ve got for talent on here, you know, Drew, April, Jeremy, and Aaron. Just amazing. And oh and show us how you do anything with the Moon again.



Got that the Moon? There we go. Gotta make the Moon.



All right everyone. If you want the Moon and want to reach out to FIXED OPS DIGITAL – Owen what is the best place to reach out?



You can call me at (605) 376-0915 or email me directly at Our website also has a lot of great information at

Julie Branum

Julie Branum

Julie has a decade of experience in the car business and marketing specifically for manufacturer dealerships in the U.S. Utilizing best practices and her background in design, Julie believes in presenting and converting dealerships online visitors into high RO Service and Parts Department customers.

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