Monthly Archives : January 2016

LIFT from CFS > 2016 > January
29Jan

The Long Arm of Loyalty

blogpost_customerretention

In the decades I’ve been in the automotive industry, I’ve rarely seen a dealerhips compete on anything other than price. After all, it’s pretty easy to compare pricing, especially with the advent of the internet. Today, more than ever, the consumer has the ability to shop faster, further and with all the tools that strip leverage away from the dealership. Frankly, we’ve done this to ourselves and, at the same time, failed to address the other differentiators, namely the product.

Really? The product? Sure, we’re all pulling from the same OEM lineup, but dealerships are selling more than cars and trucks – we’re selling relationships. And these relationships aren’t limited to “Year-End Clearances” or other seasonal promotions. The relationships with customers extend beyond selling a car. They’re about multiple cars over many years to one or more members of their friends and family. Sell a car, service that vehicle, sell them another car. We’re only now seeing the early benefits of customer lifecycle management, but it’s clear to me that we’re either in the business of selling relationships, or we’re doomed to push a commodity that marginalizes our unique contribution. What kind of dealership is yours? There’s a better question than that – it’s “Why buy here?”

Here’s the gut check because, as I mentioned, we’ve done this to ourselves. The good news is that we can climb our way out of the hole we’ve been digging – and it begins with the Service Department. Listen, we’ve sold the vehicle and there’s little chance we’re going to sell the customer another vehicle in six months time. Still, we can lay the ground work for another purchase years down the road with the months of quality service and care that our Service Department exhibits. Remember, figuratively speaking, we’re selling relationships, not cars and trucks. According to data research firm Information Resources, just under two-thirds of consumers (65 percent) say price is becoming more important than convenience in brand purchases.

It’s not to say that price isn’t important. Don’t focus on the two-thirds who say it is, but rather the one-third who would prefer to pay more for better service and convenience. With slim profit margins on vehicle sales, price isn’t as big a chasm to traverse as you’d think. What your competitor can’t compete on is the convenience you offer and the years of quality service your Service Department has provided that customer. You want that consumer to buy their next car from you? Then create a pleasurable experience in your service department that adds more positive touch-points. The better the customer experience, the more you’ll see that customer in your service drive, the more times you’ll inspect that vehicle, and the higher likelihood you’ll be in close proximity when that customer decides that the advantages of a new car purchase outweigh the benefits of repairing the existing vehicle. Conversely, without great service from your team, chances are your dealership isn’t even being considered by the consumer. That is, unless you’re willing to beat the price of the competing dealer. Such a vicious cycle we find ourselves in when we’ve underestimated the true value of customer loyalty and retention.

Put down the company punch you’ve been drinking long enough to ask yourself that insightful question, “Why buy here?” The answers should extract the points of differentiation that you’ll want to emphasize in all your consumer marketing and customer interactions. The research will only support the cause. A repeat customer spends 67% more than a new one (BIA/Kelsey) and, according to business analyst ClickFox, 48% of consumers said that the most critical time to gain their loyalty is when they make their first purchase or begin service. Sure, move cars and trucks, but sell relationships over a lifetime – there’s more opportunity, less competition and clear differentiation.

 

 


 

About The Author: Tom Cannata is the Vice President of East Coast Sales for Confident Financial Solutions, the nation’s largest provider of auto repair financing. Tom Cannata brings to CFS more than 30 years of sales and leadership experience in the automotive industry. Prior to joining CFS, Cannata served in an executive capacity at Toyota, Chrysler and J.D. Power & Associates. He has also consulted for OEM’s such as Kia as well as several large dealer groups. Among his many career highlights include serving as a member of the core team that developed and launched the industry standard Chrysler Five Star program and Chrysler MarketCenter. Tom can be reached at tom.cannata@confidentfs.com .

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

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25Jan

CFS Launches LIFT Resource Portal

pressrelease

Confident Financial Solutions Launches Resource Portal
To Help Boost Auto Service Centers Revenue with Auto Repair Financing

Boulder, CO – January 20, 2016 — Confident Financial Solutions, (CFS) a consumer finance company that offers auto repair financing to service centers and their customers, today announced the launch of LIFT.myCFSapp.com, a resource portal for strategic partner service centers to help further boost revenue through its auto repair finance program.

The site includes Learning (training, education, learning and compliance); Insight (best practices, blog, CFS news and industry news); Forums (video testimonials, LIFT Performance Forum, webinars, FAQs); and Tools (marketing tools, downloads, support and digital assets).  LIFT will serve as a hub of information and resources to service centers that offer CFS’ auto repair finance program.  The easy-to-navigate website is not only useful to prospective and newly-registered strategic partner service centers during the on-boarding period, but is also a platform for established stores that introduce new employees to CFS’ innovative solutions.

“We’re always looking for ways to assist our strategic partners,” noted Sean Reyes, Vice President of Marketing for CFS.  “We want working with CFS to be easy for service personnel.  That means no login credentials necessary, thorough content, compelling video, useful tools and other resources that help strategic partners offer our solutions.  It’s all about success on demand – that’s what the LIFT site is all about.”

CFS provides a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. Customers apply online via a smart phone, tablet or computer and receive a credit decision in less than five minutes. Service centers get paid in 24-48 hours. With CFS, strategic partner service centers further increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue and enhance overall customer retention.

According to John Dunning, CEO of CFS, statistics on the credit crunch suggest that consumers are having a much more difficult time gaining access to much-needed capital and that’s where CFS comes in and why the site was launched as a new resource, “CFS is a financial technology company providing on-the-spot automotive repair financing to customers in need. We create a new customer channel for our service center affiliates by helping them find and retain customers.  The CFS business model is based on providing our products through a simple, convenient portal introduced to customers by service center personnel. We like to provide our strategic partners with as many resources as we can to help drive their success, hence the launch of the new LIFT site,” said Dunning.

While program results vary from store to store, many of CFS strategic partner service centers see an average 20 percent increase in monthly revenues; an increase in ROs and decrease in Service Declines; and bigger ticket ROs as customers can now get ALL the repairs done including transmissions, tires, collision, insurance deductible and more. In addition, the program provides affordable payments based on simple interest rather than compounding interest; almost 50 percent customer approval rate; loan approvals as low as mid-500 credit scores; loan terms available for 12-36 months; and increased customer retention.
“Getting off the blocks with a new program is critical, especially when it comes to something as important as consumer financing. Before you jump on the CFS bandwagon, we’ll train your team, either in person, or on the Internet — it’s not complex and can be completed in no time,” Dunning stated. “And, as it’s tough to remember all the details, we launched the LIFT website. Along with our support team, it’s there to help our affiliates if they should ever get stuck and need a little help – to give them the resources they need to be successful.  The portal also provides a wide breadth of information and marketing assets.  We’re demonstrating our commitment to the success of our affiliate service centers.  It’s all about providing resources on demand for those who we count on to introduce CFS to the consumer.”
For more information visit: LIFT.myCFSapp.com, or call 855.808.5861

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About Confident Financial Solutions:
Confident Financial Solutions is a consumer finance company that offers auto repair financing to service centers and their customers. Its primary goal is to provide a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. Customers apply online via a smart phone, tablet or computer and receive an instant credit decision. With CFS, partner service centers increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue at the service center and enhance overall customer retention. Based in Boulder, Colorado, CFS is the consumer’s choice for auto repair loans.

 


 

CFS Media Inquiries:  All inquiries from the media can be directed to Sean Reyes, CFS Strategic Marketing, at sean.reyes@confidentfs.com or by calling 949.246.6023.

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

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20Jan

Why the Fuss Over Customer Retention?

Our world is certainly changing. Due to technology and the ability to access incredible amounts of information, the consumer purchase cycle is completely different to that of just a decade ago. And, the dealership market area has changed too. Technology now enables dealerships on each coast to compete with each other for new sales. You no longer have to simply worry about the competitor down the street. Naturally, this gives consumers great choice. As a result, we are seeing an industry-wide increase in awareness about the importance of customer retention.

Here are a few things I believe have contributed to the return of customer retention to the spotlight and how to use them to your benefit to stand out from the crowd:

Explosion of Social Networks –  Imagine if a news truck pulled up to your dealership and started broadcasting. It would definitely provide a sense of urgency to ensure that your dealership is presented in the best light. You’d probably be concerned and take immediate steps to find out what’s going on. You’d take action to put out whatever fire may exist to avoid any bad image in your community.

Well, the reality is that every customer with a smartphone now has a ‘virtual’ news truck in their hands. And it’s not just the community they can broadcast to… it’s the World. Consumers have the ability to reach mass audiences including their social networks through social media posts and live video… right at your dealership. As a result, the customer experience is more important than ever before. Today, it has to be a great customer experience for every customer, all of the time. News, both good and bad, travels fast. So, make sure it is good news. And keep up on your social networks. Make sure you know what is going on. Answer your customers’ questions and concerns on social media. Be a resource for your local community. Give them a reason to think AND talk well of you.

More Choice – In the past, consumers were limited to a small geographic region where they shopped for products and services. With the rise of the Internet, that geographic area is now limitless. With the simple click of a mouse, consumers can shop globally through marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, with complete confidence. There is no way to combat that. It is the new reality. The one thing that has not changed is that customers will stick with businesses that deliver an exceptional customer experience. However, it’s no longer enough to deliver common courtesy. To stand out to the customer we must deliver “uncommon” courtesy. Take the time to establish what your customer’s want. What will make them drive by that other dealership onto your service drive, or into your showroom? What do you offer that is unique and different? Build up your image. Trust is extremely important to consumers, and that is one thing that is unlikely to change any time soon.  You can’t be everything to everybody and everybody isn’t who you should be worrying about. It’s your customers. Nobody understand them better than you. Figure out who your customers are and what they expect. If you don’t know, ask them.

Competition – An increase in consumer choice is logically accompanied by an increase in competition. It costs more than ever before to acquire new customers for the simple reason that the cost of marketing to them has increased. What is the cost of acquiring a new customer compared to the cost of keeping an existing customer? There is no definitive answer to this question, but most sources say the answer is that it costs between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Where would you rather spend your money? Don’t forget, the lifetime value of a customer includes everything they will ever buy from you today, tomorrow, and in the years ahead. How and what are you doing to retain your existing clients and customers? Do you have a system in place that will make your existing clients and customers raving fans of your business and a constant source of referrals for your business?

Customer Lifecycle – It hasn’t always been easy to accurately track and visualize a customer lifecycle. Technology and analytics have completely changed that. The customer lifecycle is now real and quantifiable. We can draw the circle of life on a graph and actually see the lifetime value of a customer with confidence and assign direct attribution to our marketing sources. It is now possible to see how much each customer means right now, as well as their value in the future. How often will they service their vehicle and how much will they spend? When will they purchase their next vehicle? What is their real lifetime value? Technology enables you to go beyond simply tracking them. You can now find breaks in that customer lifecycle. For those dealerships that are paying attention, you can notice aberrations quickly and take steps to intervene and perhaps save that customer from being lost to the competition.

Legacy Sales – I am sure that every dealership has customers that are an excellent source of referrals from their friends, associates and family members. In the past, these types of legacy sales were mostly limited to generations and family members. You would sell a car to grandma, then to mom and then to daughter. With the explosion of social networks, legacy sales now have an incredible potential of reaching deep into your customers’ social networks. This shift has increased the value of each customer relationship and the potential quantity of referral opportunities. It is yet another reason to ensure that your dealership has a vibrant and active social presence. Be sure to interact well with your customers via social media. Post quality content. Watch, listen for and answer customer posts, questions and comments on your social media.

Commodities – Your products and services are commodities. It’s no longer realistic to rest on your laurels simply because you’re the only Ford dealer in town. Whether you are or not, the fact is that consumers now have a huge variety of sources where they can research, purchase and service their vehicles. Failure to continuously provide them with a great experience and a reason to return will quickly drive them to your competition. Be sure to stand out and differentiate your dealership from any competition. A great customer experience doesn’t mean that you have to install a Starbucks in the lobby, discount all of your services or give away the farm. Simply give your customers every reason to do business with you by removing any reasons for them not to. And, be creative. Be a resource for your community. Offer car care clinics for mothers and check child safety seats for free. Hold technology days where you go over all those new tech features in the car. Partner with the top charity in your community and involve your customers. Whatever resonates with YOUR customers and YOUR community. Find these partnerships and embrace them and your customers will appreciate it.

So, why the fuss over customer retention? It’s certainly much easier these days for customers to defect to the competition. Take steps to evaluate your customer churn, identify pain points that may be causing them to leave and make an effort to remove the reasons for defection. Utilize the data you have in your DMS to identify at-risk customers and reach out to them. It might be too late. But, then again, it may not be. The only way to find out is to reach out to them. Endeavour to create a customer experience where each customer feels valued and appreciated – in whatever manner you are able. Be creative! If you are exceptional to them, you just may find that they will be exceptional right back.

 

 


 

execs_tony

About The Author: Tony Orlando is CFS’ Vice President of Partner Development.  More than 15 years Automotive retail, OEM and third-party lead provider experience. Two years dealership sales and service experience and 13 years with both import and domestic OEMs. This is Tony’s second automotive startup company. He spent three years with TrueCar cultivating its business in the Southwest states. Maintains relationship with over 600 franchised automotive dealers and industry leaders. Tony has a Business Administration and Marketing degree from Mary Washington College Fredericksburg, VA.

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

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5Jan

Developing Strategic Partnerships That Last

blogpost_customerquote

At CFS, we believe strategic partnerships are an invaluable way to create mutually beneficial relationships. However, just as in love and marriage, the chances of success increase greatly when both sides have the same goals and visions. In that spirit, I would like to quickly cover some of the benefits CFS offers our strategic partners:

One of the pain points between many vendors and dealers is marketing attribution. How do you answer that darned question, “Where’s my ROI?” I am sure you have all had dealers shoot down attribution reports, stating that they would have made those sales anyways; or that those customers would have come in without your service. Our Auto Repair Finance Program has built in reporting that clearly shows direct attribution. It’s really tough for a dealer to claim that they would have earned that service business, or sold those tires, when our reports clearly show that a customer utilized our financing to pay for them. Perhaps they may have – eventually. However, the feedback we receive from consumers is that they would have declined the work without the financing option.

When it comes to marketing, there are about a million different ways to tell the market about your products and services.  Especially in this digital age of Internet marketing, it can be a little intimidating. The good news is that CFS Marketing is here to help you position our Auto Repair Finance Program.  So let’s go tell the market together utilizing strategies that we know work – from social media to pay-per-click, affiliate marketing to direct mail.

An additional layer of expertise CFS Marketing can offer relates to consumer lending laws.  You should know that CFS’ Auto Repair Finance Program is subject to all the fair lending laws that the federal government imposes, and monitors through the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB).  As such, CFS subscribes to the highest level of transparency when discussing its lending practices and guidelines.  All of our marketing language, from brochures to website content, has been scrutinized by our Legal & Compliance Department to ensure that it is in line with truth-in-lending statutes.  We share this with our partner shops to advise them to seek our assistance with any additional marketing efforts they would like to embark on.  This is for the peace of mind of our partners as well as ours.  We’re here to help and encourage you to bring us into the loop early on in the process.

Marketing the benefits of our Auto Repair Finance Program to consumers is proven to increase service revenue and aftermarket sales. We also offer our partners white label programs, which can provide an even more seamless and transparent integration for both dealers and their customers. Dealers utilizing this program can market a new value-added benefit to their customers, and stand out from the competition. Our primary goal is to provide a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. Customers apply online via a smart phone, tablet or computer and receive an instant credit decision. With CFS, partner service centers increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue at the service center and enhance overall customer retention.

Financing in service presents a unique and convenient offering for consumers, whether they’re spending $7,500 for a major repair, or just a few hundred dollars. The ability to spread the payments out, and pay an amount that is affordable on a monthly basis, is attractive to many consumers. It produces revenue that is otherwise lost if the customer is forced to decline needed work due to lack of available funds.

The ability to offer financing also presents service advisors with an easy, non-aggressive avenue for upsells – and it reduces the money objection. This, in turn, leads to decreased service declines. CFS handles everything from approvals, to payment processing.

If you would like to leverage CFS to improve your marketing efforts with your clients. Or, if you would like us to bring more value to your current product suite or offerings, we’d love to talk with you and see whether a strategic partnership with us makes sense.

 


 

execs_dan

About The Author: Dan Beres is CFS’ Vice President of Corporate Development.  Dan has 20 years experience selling and managing technology/marketing solutions in the auto industry. Managing Partner and EVP of MyCustomerData, 8th employee and key team member building Who’sCalling; Corporate track record at BMW, Mini, MB, Volvo, FCA, Autonation, Sonic, Penske, Asbury and Van Tuyl dealer groups. BA, Eastern Illinois.  Dan also sits on the Board of Directors for Providence Speech and Hearing Center, a nonprofit organization providing services to the speech and hearing impaired of Orange County, California

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

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4Jan

CFS Announces Data Integration with Moxy Solutions

pressrelease

moxylogo

Confident Financial Solutions’ Data Integration with Moxy Solutions
Creates Untapped Revenue Generator for Auto Service Centers

Boulder, CO – January 4, 2016 — Confident Financial Solutions, (CFS) a consumer finance company that offers auto repair financing to service centers and their customers, today announced a partnership and data integration with Moxy Solutions. Through it’s comprehensive product suite, Moxy serves the vehicle service contract (VSC) industry to manage call centers, track contracts in transit, monitor the process, and provide additional revenue streams for auto retailers, in both sales and service. The integration opens up an untapped revenue generator and customer retention solution for service centers.

“As a Technology leader in the direct to consumer industry for automotive products, we continuously look for innovative solutions to expose to our Call Centers, Automotive Retailers and Service Centers,” said JJ Demma, Owner, Moxy Solutions. “The CFS relationship has opened up an untapped revenue generator and customer retention solution for our clients.  CFS’ repair finance product is the perfect addition to our suite of products and continues to be received with great enthusiasm.”

Moxy Solutions streamlines the sales and deal-closing process from end-to-end, helping service centers work smarter and faster than ever before. It provides accurate VSC rates for the vehicle the customer is purchasing, compares multiple companies to ensure the best program is presented, and ensures that coverage levels are just right for each transaction. CFS provides a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. Customers apply online via a smart phone, tablet or computer and receive a credit decision in less than five minutes. With CFS, partner service centers further increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue and enhance overall customer retention.

“This partnership really is a win-win for all concerned and should lead to increased customer loyalty and revenue” said John Dunning, CEO of CFS. “Through the Moxy/CFS data integration, customer’s that don’t qualify for an Extended Vehicle Service Contract, or that are faced with a denied claim, will now be offered the CFS auto repair financing application.  Consumers can apply for the financing to cover their ‘out of pocket’ automotive repair costs. The Moxy software platform powers about half of all Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) call centers nationwide.  All of our financing data automatically pre-populates in the application so this same integration can now be passed over to any of our partners. The call center has all the VIN data and the customer data automatically pre-populates the screen. With just a couple of clicks, that customer can be approved for financing with CFS at a monthly payment they can afford,” Dunning added.

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About Moxy Solutions:
An innovation in service contract sales, Moxy Solutions streamlines the sales and deal-closing process from end-to-end. It helps team members work smarter and faster than ever before to provide accurate quotes, stellar follow-up, and team member reporting. And now, with CMT, Moxy Solutions has even automated policy fulfillment. This means fewer errors and overnight transmittal to certified facilities, enabling same-day printing and closing the loop with industry leading mail tracking to verify delivery to customers.

About Confident Financial Solutions:
Confident Financial Solutions is a consumer finance company that offers auto repair financing to service centers and their customers. Its primary goal is to provide a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. Customers apply online via a smart phone, tablet or computer and receive an instant credit decision. With CFS, partner service centers increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue at the service center and enhance overall customer retention. Based in Boulder, Colorado, CFS is the consumer’s choice for auto repair loans.

 


 

CFS Media Inquiries:  All inquiries from the media can be directed to Sean Reyes, CFS Strategic Marketing, at sean.reyes@confidentfs.com or by calling 949.246.6023.

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

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