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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Denim Simkins

Denim Simkins Director, Fixed Ops

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Creating Customer Retention

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I’d like to introduce myself to the DrivingSales community. My name is Denim Simkins and I have spent the last 22 years living with multiple dealerships performing every job possible on the service side, most recently as Fixed Ops Director at the Ken Garff group. This week I have joined the fast moving, forward thinking team at DrivingSales to champion fixed operations and the people at the core of every profitable dealership. At DrivingSales, I will be growing and facilitating a community filled with industry experts from within the dealership that want to address and discuss todays automotive issues that face Fixed Operations today.

I will not be shy in sharing my views on how we can advance our careers and the success of our dealerships. Taking a look at the challenges that face the service department today, it is clear to me that we need to elevate our sights from day-to-day operations to the strategic role of Fixed Ops in service retention and repurchase loyalty. Is there any other metric as critical to the health of a store than service retention? Not only is it the key to near term service profitability, it is highly correlated with the likelihood of that consumer buying their next car from your store. Shouldn’t this be one of the top 5 metrics every DP or GM uses to manage their business?

I am not the only one with this passion. This morning I talked with Greg Noonan, one of the organizers of The Insight15 Customer Loyalty and Retention Conference in Orlando next week (March 24-26). Greg shared that in 2014 there were 34M new and used vehicles sold, potentially generating 112M RO’s in our service drives. Here is the scary part – our competitors (the aftermarket) will own about 60% of those RO’s. They often out-execute us in marketing and promotion, especially in volume items like tires and batteries. This is not inevitable if we take an attitude of creating “customers for life." This conference is bringing leaders from across the industry to help dealers take the offense in delivering superior experiences and retaining customers. I plan to be there and hope to connect with others sharing this passion. If you would like to attend you can register at http://insightcustomerloyalty.com/ or reach out directly to Greg at gnoonan.cei@gmail.com.

Gregory Noonan
Thank you DenimVery nice and appreciate you. Anyone wanting me to help them register I am happy to act as your personal concierge. Just e-mail me at gnoonan.cei@gmail.com or text me at 607-437-3061. I'll get back to you within minutes. I'm on EDT. When we look at NADA DATA for 2009 vs 2013 it is easy to see the memory of the recession is slipping away and the average dealers percentage of service is now at its lowest in 5 years while sales are at their highest. The worst we should see right now is that sales from service and parts should be at about $6,500,000 but they are at $4,789,000. There is no need to loose these $2,000,000 in sales or $166,000 per month for the average dealer especially considering the net profit contribution these sales make. If you look further at the average dealer spending $600 per new vehicle retailed doesn't it make sense that you can recover all advertising expense if you keep the customer in the service lane? And sell them a car on their 14 - 16 RO.The dealers are the experts so if any dealer or Fixed Ops Director wants to come to our conference and hash this out we have 40 sessions for you to state you case. Come on down and I'll escort you around the conference and intorduce you to any exhibitor or speaker you want. I bet you the cost of admission you leave Insight15 feeling pretty aggressive about your Customer Service plans and can't imagine you won't make thousands a month more just by coming.See you in Orlando and paste this into your browser and take a look at these phenomenal people presenting at Insight15. http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=250202&p=1 Thank you, Greg
Jonathan Dawson
Thanks for being part of the team and contributing your expertise!
Lori Hammond
I would love to hear your thoughts on service BDC and some advise on starting one. We are planning on taking on this venture in 2016. Thank you, Lori Hammond
Denim Simkins
What I see is that a dealer will start a BDC in effort to improve their service communications channels therefore improving service retention. However if not done correctly it could easily cause an adverse effect. The great news… the tools of the trade have improved so much your success in starting one today is far better than it used to be. There is a great deal you stand to gain from creating a BDC but before going into it I would make sure your surrounding team has discussed some of the “known” topics that you will face and have a action in place in how to handle them. Good luck, a service based BDC is the future of our business and plays a major role in creating long term loyal and active customers. In future articles I will be discussing BDC’s or as I like to call them SRC’s (service retention centers) and the role they play in todays market.
Alexander Lau
use http://www.3birdsmarketing.com/fixed-ops.

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