Worth the Investment: Data Mining and the Service Drive

with Terry Kidd,
Kidd Ford, Ford Select Store

For the past 3-5 years the sales floor has felt a decline in walk-in traffic. The reason is obvious as research and shopping can be done online. However, most purchases still take place at the dealership. So, we asked ourselves: Where can we generate buying traffic for the sales department?

The answer was right in front of us and had been for years: the service customer! After several meetings with the management team, we realized that the best strategy for us to follow was internal data management, or “mining” as we know it today. Chatsworth Ford is not a large store, but a family run business. Changing the way we do business to increase sales through data mining was a major step. To do this, we chose AutoAlert in a partnership opportunity given to us by Ford Motor Company.

The plan was to integrate sales and service prospecting through our newly formed Business Development Center. No more third-party sources or vehicle listing sites. The team decided to change our web site provider and online service scheduling option. We also decided to integrate our service waiting area with the main showroom to expose customers to our new products. We have plenty of customers who wait for repairs as we schedule them on a timely basis, but the team chose not to bombard customers with a salesperson on the service line. Instead, we rely on the service staff to do their thing and make the customer feel welcomed.

Salespersons and Sales Managers always interact with the waiting customers in our showroom/waiting area. Through our data mining service, we always have something to discuss with the customers in a low pressure, comfortable atmosphere, such as ESP, routine maintenance, Ford Pass, or vehicle upgrade options. The process is working, and everyone feels good about the direction we are going. We have increased showroom sales over 8 units per month. We have also increased sales in the Service Department.

When we combine this with our organic approach to internet sales, we see a lot more workable traffic for all areas of the dealership. Because of this, everyone is a part of this journey. Results do not happen over night but when we plan properly, partner with suppliers who offer good products, and stay the course, we find a higher return on our investment.

Data mining is nothing new. However, every day AutoAlert proves to my team that if we take care of our customer, they will return and do business with us repeatedly! The AutoAlert data mining program puts everything we need to do in today’s competitive world into one program. It is user friendly, accurate and well worth the investment!

Terry Kidd

President/GM at Kidd Ford
Terry Kidd

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