It would be hard to choose which is more awe-inspiring: The fact that behind the wheel of his Shelby Mustang Funny Car, Bob Tasca III regularly goes from 0 to 60 mph in about half a second, or the fact that he leads a dealership group that has seen consistent, high-level success for 75 years now.
Both of these awesome feats require a lot of skill, a lot of heart, and a dedicated team. At the Tasca Automotive Group dealerships – located in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts – a strong sense of team unity was established from day one by Tasca’s late grandfather, Bob Tasca Sr. That unity is a natural byproduct of a focus squarely on the customer.
Tasca Sr. even wrote a book, titled You Will Be Satisfied, that still today serves as the philosophy behind the dealerships’ approach to an excellent experience for every customer at every stop along the journey.
“We have a time capsule where we filmed my grandfather, and all new hires watch the video when they go through orientation,” Tasca says. “It makes a difference to see him and to hear in his voice what we expect.”
With chapter titles like “Service Is the Backbone of Any Business” and “Leadership: A Constant Challenge, Not a Reward,” the classic values that his grandfather taught still apply today. Tasca now gets to see four generations of families buy from the dealerships. A few key ingredients that fuel that success include culture, processes, and yes, speed (of service!).
First and Foremost: Culture
In an industry where turnover is high, the long tenure of employees at the Tasca dealerships is refreshing. Some have even been working there for almost 50 years.
“I’m very proud of my team. We’re one big family, all here to serve the customer,” says Tasca. “And our customers are an extension of our family too.”
A culture centered around the customer is the number-one driving factor behind the company’s success, Tasca says. Supporting what they learn through Tasca Sr.’s “You Will Be Satisfied” philosophy, employees are given a “blank check” to do whatever it takes, within reason, to make sure that every customer leaves satisfied. Empowering the entire team, not just managers, to do the right thing in this way leads to a great deal of employee satisfaction too.
Tasca says “The culture that we’ve created is that we expect every customer to be satisfied. That only happens through our team.”
“At the end of the day, buildings don’t sell or service cars, people do,”
Finely Tuned Processes
Just as important as culture, the company’s sales and service processes can also be attributed with ensuring a successful customer journey. These processes have been finely tuned over 75 years of business to best meet the needs of current and future customers.
“As much as things have changed, things have stayed the same,” Tasca says. “It’s still a people business. We still need to earn the customer’s trust and loyalty.”
Repeatable processes, carried out by a well-trained staff, create a consistent experience that helps build trust in the dealership.
On the Sales side, the team starts the process with a guest survey in order to truly understand all of the customer’s needs and wants in their next vehicle. In Service, the team goes through an electronic menu outlining exactly what every vehicle (based on year and mileage) needs, leaving nothing to chance. This rigorous process ensures that every vehicle leaves with the proper work done, or at least recommended.
“With great people behind the processes, including an experienced leadership team that inspects what we expect throughout the process, we can deliver a truly exceptional journey,” Tasca says.
Pedal to the Metal?
Speed of service is certainly important to the customer journey. But at Tasca Automotive Group, the team has learned that faster isn’t always better.
Yes, technology has allowed them to speed up processes that would otherwise waste a lot of the customer’s time. For example, AutoFi allows customers to fill out paperwork before coming into the dealership. The team also uses AutoAlert to cut through the clutter and pinpoint precisely which customers are in an ideal position to swap keys today.
“When they do come into the dealership, they want the car to be out front, gassed up and ready to go,” Tasca says. “We include this in our processes.”
However, there are other times when speed actually works against both the dealership and the customer.
“Customers often come into the dealership having spent a lot of time online, and there are times when you want to slow down,” Tasca says. “You want to make sure that it’s the right car for the customer, make sure it has all the options and equipment they need. And make sure they’re making the right decision.”
Living the Dream
It was Tasca’s grandfather who coined the phrase “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” Tasca lives that quote today, giving him an authenticity in both his work at his dealerships and on the racetrack. Being with fans, signing autographs at the ropes, is his favorite spot to be. But that enthusiasm carries over into the dealership.
When asked what it’s like to drive the nitro-fueled Shelby Mustang, going from 0 to 100 in less than a second, covering the length of a football field every half second once past half-track, experiencing a 13-G swing between the 6 Gs of acceleration and the -7 Gs when the parachute deploys, he responds:
“It’s indescribable. I asked my good friend Tony Pedregon, who has a lot more runs than me in a car, How do you describe it? And, humbly, you really can’t describe it. I’ve used analogies, like pulling the trigger of a gun and riding the bullet …. As a fan, sometimes I’ll sit in the stands, and I see the cars come by at the finish line, and I still can’t believe there’s a human being in that car who knows when to shut it off. Being able to see the whole thing in person to me is as impressive as being in the car.”
“The passion for Ford and for racing, for winning, losing, and the whole experience, it translates right into the showroom. The same people who support us at the racetrack are back in the showroom buying our vehicles,” he says.
Tasca is a modest leader. When asked what he’s most proud of in his work, he doesn’t hesitate: “My team. They come in every day, ready to work hard. I couldn’t ask for better people.”