Service Drive - May 2016

Page 16



Texas Honda Dealership Manages Satisfaction With Software Packages BY MARY WELCH


o many dealerships having 45 cars lined outside your service doors waiting for you to open is a nice problem but to Tony Pereira, service director, is was just a problem. “When you have that many people waiting for service so early in the day, it’s not a matter of if you upset a client, it’s a matter of how many and how badly. We had to get our arms around the flow or we would never have a satisfied customer, much less exceed their expectations.” First Texas Honda has the largest Honda footprint in the country. Pereira manages 102 service bays, 65 technicians, 18 service advisors; in all 105 employees. First Texas Honda is part of the Continental Automotive Group that includes Austin infiniti, Austin Subaru, BMW of Corpus Christi and MercedesBenz of Austin. He joined the Austin, Tex.-based First Texas Honda from another large dealership in August 2015 and quickly saw that the dealership had some challenges. The first was growth. It had moved to a new larger facility and went from 34 bays to 102. “They never got their arms around the increase so there many problems. I came in and began to evaluate everything from the get-go.” The first thing he noticed was that there was no appointment system. “None whatsoever. Of if they had one, their people were either not using it or not using it well. This was a big problem and I felt like we had gone back in time.”

16 Service Drive MAY 2016

First Texas Honda in Austin, Tex., has the largest Honda footprint in the country. (photo by Shelby Rae Photography)

Tony Pereira First Texas Honda, Service Manager

Customers would call the service department and were told “‘hey, come on down and we’ll get you done’ but that may take all day. There was a lot of customer frustration and many of our competitors were doing a much better job.” Despite the wait and frustration, the dealership’s service retention rate hovered around 57 percent. “I think anything north of 50 percent is winning rather than losing. But the dealer is in a very good location and they draw from other areas of influence. Even the people who were unhappy came back.” But, Pereira knew he had to make drastic changes if he wanted to achieve a sense of organization and flow in the service department, increase retention and grow profits.

And, he has. Since he came on board, customer satisfaction has gone up 4.8 points on a 100-point scale. In the first quarter of 2016, First Honda’s profits were up substantially over the 2015 results. “I’m analytical and I operate on what I can measure. One of our main metrics is labor hours per repair order, and it’s really important with Express. We will transact over 30,000 repair order this year in Express and we raised the labor hours sold by .48 per repair order; that’s an increase of 65 percent. That increase will mean over $1 million in additional revenue for the year. Typically, a service department would have a grand celebration with an increase of .10 or .20 hours/RO, but with this increase, well, I’ve just never seen that before. We are extremely pleased with our progress.” He turned to Xtime and its Spectrum software that is designed to create a consistent, high-quality ownership experience that improves customer loyalty. Spectrum is the industry’s first fully integrated, cloud-base system for the service drive. Spectrum consists of four tightly integrated products — Invite, Schedule, Engage and Inspect powered by Service Pro. Pereira had used the software previously and right away turned to its first three products. Schedule is a customer-facing portal that allows customers to set appointments anywhere,

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