Service Star: Alexander Chevrolet GMC Buick

Alexander Chevrolet GMC Buick Uses Xtime to Educate Customers Every Opportunity

Anyone who has worked as a dealership technician knows how crucial timeliness, productivity and customer engagement are to the success of a dealership. Tony Howitt can speak to such experience, having worked for over 30 years as a technician before becoming Service Manager at Alexander Chevrolet GMC Buick in Dickson, Tennessee. We sat down with him to talk about how the dealership uses Xtime Spectrum to engage with customers and ensure complete dealership productivity.

Tony Howitt
Service Manager at Alexander Chevrolet GMC Buick in Dickson

How did you hear about Xtime?
My predecessor heard about it and brought it into the dealership. I was a technician at that time and we started using it. It kicked up our business in that I didn’t have technicians standing in front of parts advisors for a full day getting estimates and approvals. It made things move a lot easier in the shop.

How long as Alexander Chevrolet GMC Buick been an Xtime partner, and why did you choose Xtime?
We’ve been an Xtime partner for about a year now. We were trying to solve flow issues in the shop. We wanted our advisors to be able to deal with customers more quickly and easily, yet still provide great service. In order to provide a great service, you have to ask customers a bunch of questions, but it’s easier when you have a tablet to input data into.

Xtime provided us with such a great platform for added services as well. Xtime made it easier to do so with a click of a button. It also makes the technicians’ lives easier. A tech can walk to the station and know everything about each car in the queue, which parts are in stock and basically what his day looks like. No technicians are out of their stalls for hours a day; instead, they’re productive and working on the cars.

Which products did you start with and which ones do you use now?
We started with the full Xtime Spectrum suite—Invite, Schedule, Engage, Inspect—all at once, which made my advisors a lot happier. With the iPads for Engage, we can walk around each car with each customer, and it speeds up the write-up process, which customers love.

How was the implementation process?
It was easy and our Xtime partners got us where we needed to be. It’s a lot to learn quickly but it’s an easy system to interact with, so we at Alexander had no problem making sure it was easy for everyone in the dealership to use. We monitored everyone for the first month or so to make sure the solutions were being used, and after that, once everyone saw how easy it was to use, the system practically ran itself.

Alexander Chevrolet GMC Buick’s Xtime Engage utilization rate is 77 percent1. How did you get everyone to use it?
That was the easiest part in that if you provide anything that makes a service advisor’s life easier, they’ll use it. We didn’t have to get after anyone and tell them that had to use [the solutions]. How much work it did for them was the major selling point. Our service advisors can hit the ground running when morning traffic pulls in and it’s all easy from there.

Your dealership’s average check-in time is under 1.5 minutes1.
Why is this good for your customers?
The way I see it is that customers already have one foot out the door when they arrive at the dealership—there are so many other places they’d rather be. When we can do walk-arounds quickly, customers like that. We like that. Obviously, serious diagnostics are another story, but everything else—even added services—can be done quickly without losing a customer’s attention. The least amount of time a customer has to spend with us is a win for them, but it’s a win for us because we can handle more customers and spend more meaningful time with them and capture all the info we need. If we can speed up the time it takes to do customer intake but still get to spend quality time with them, that’s a win for us as well.

On that note, how does Xtime Spectrum allow you to better allocate time with customers?
The amount of time it takes to do a write-up with a customer using the iPad allows us to capture the information we need without wasting any time. Customers often know what they want, and with dealerships, they know they want you to get their vehicle information right the first time, which we do. There are a lot of times [wherein] customers want to add a service or have a concern, and that can be handled easily with Xtime. The technicians also love being able to add comments and reading the info the customers can provide in detail. Xtime is a marvelous tool for all of this.

In April 2018, Alexander Chevrolet GMC Buick had a show rate of 88.8 percent and an average repair order of $261 per customer2. How did Xtime contribute to these numbers?
It’s a simple fact that in human nature, we forget things. If a service has been offered in the past, we have a way of tracking it. As far as the full Xtime Spectrum is concerned, when you can show a customer what you’ve recommended in the past and why it’s necessary, they’ll do it. We can’t miss opportunities to tell them more about their vehicles.

Does your dealership track additional recommendations with Xtime Inspect?
I like Inspect. From added services to offers and declined services, it helps us look at where we can do a better job. It has changed our dealership for the better.

How does Xtime Spectrum keep customers coming back?
It gives a personal touch. I was worried that a system like this would remove personal touches, but it connects you to customers even more by including them in the process. If they’re not included, they’re less likely to come back.

How have your customers responded to the Xtime solutions?
They love the ease of Xtime, and they like that it makes us look like we know a lot. It gives a personal touch. They think it’s special we remember them and their needs and offer a perspective on as letting them know how much we know about them individually. Not one Xtime product outshines the other—they’re all great. I was a tech for over 30 years and was skeptical about it at first. But once I saw how easy it was to use and how productivity went up and how happy it made our customers, it just made sense to use Xtime. It makes everything so much easier and keeps customers happy, and when that happens, we all win.

Why use software such as Xtime’s in a dealership?
That’s simple—production. Xtime has raised our repair order count significantly, and month to month, that makes a difference. Previous paperwork was so ugly and greasy and was easy to misplace. With Xtime, we can interact with customers in a more professional manner and in a platform customers know and respect.

Overall, what do you think of Xtime Spectrum?
The majority of my experience was as a technician. The ease of use and the fact that I could stay in my work station made it that much easier for me. Now that I am in the office, it makes it easier for me as far as looking at everything from start to finish and I can rack everything, see where we can do better, and keep an eye on our daily operations.

What do you hope to continue to gain from Xtime?
We hope to keep that personal touch with customers, and with Xtime, I know we can. It’s proven that Xtime can grow your business.

1 Dealership data May 2017 – April 2018
2 Dealership data April 2018