Monthly Archives : June 2016

To Boost Revenue at Over 7,000 Automotive Locations with Auto Repair Financing

27Jun

Merchant Partners, LLC Partners with Confident Financial Solutions

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Merchant Partners, LLC Partners with Confident Financial Solutions To Boost Revenue at Over 7,000 Automotive Locations with Auto Repair Financing

Boulder, CO – June 27, 2016Confident Financial Solutions, (CFS) a consumer finance company, today announced a partnership with Merchant Partners, LLC., to help increase service drive activity at more than 7,000 participating service centers, increase revenue and enhance overall customer retention.

A Redmond, Washington based technology company, Merchant Partners 1stMile Software Suite is the leading payment management solution for thousands of automotive merchants. It offers a revolutionary approach to help automotive business owners utilize retail finance cards, fleet cards and other payment products to increase revenue while driving down processing costs to the lowest possible number. The solution is integrated into most of the leading automotive point of sale systems and the company also provides a broad menu of gateway services, fraud and risk management tools, mobile services as well as chip on card capabilities to over 7,000 automotive locations.

“With CFS, our service centers now have an outstanding auto repair financing program to help increase the number of Repair Orders and amounts.It also helps them recapture declined services and assist customers in paying for needed repairs with a solution which takes less than 5 minutes to complete and receive a loan decision,” said Bob Church, Senior VP Sales & Marketing, Merchant Partners, LLC. “Our partnership with CFS demonstrates our commitment to continue to expand our capabilities to grow revenue for our users.”

CFS is experiencing strong growth and is now in about 1,000 retailers in 36 states, including 410 franchised new-car dealers. While program results vary from store to store, CFS financing produces up to 100 monthly applications submitted per service center. By offering financing for service work, CFS creates an untapped revenue generator for auto service centers and helps capture work that otherwise might go elsewhere. Many 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.

“We’ve partnered with Merchant Partners to make our auto repair financing program available to all of their 7,000 automotive locations. This is a perfect relationship for both of our companies and should lead to increased customer loyalty and revenue at these service centers,” said John Dunning, CEO of CFS. “It used to be that everyone had multiple credit cards in their wallet with plenty of room to cover one time emergencies like an auto repair. Sadly, that just is not the case today. Credit cards have never been a good financial product for consumers and today they provide less help than ever; that’s where CFS comes in.”

CFS provides a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. The average CFS loan amount the dealership sees is $1,500. Customers can be approved for up to $7,500 and 83% of loans approved are for amounts larger than the repair estimated, leaving room for any additional needed work. 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.

Dealers interested in finding out more about CFS’ auto repair financing program for service centers and their customers can call: 855-808-5861 or visit: http://lift.mycfsapp.com/

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About Merchant Partners, LLC

Merchant Partners is a 20+ year old Redmond, Washington based technology company focused on providing payment management software to specified verticals as well as providing integrated payment services to hundreds of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) nationwide. The company provides a full array of payment and gateway services through a state-of- the- art front-end that processed $15 billion in 60 million transactions in 2014. Their 1stMile software is the leading payment management solution (by market share) in the automotive market.

Merchant Partners has strategic alliances with WorldPay, First Data, CitiBank, Credit First National, GE/Synchrony, Goodyear, Bridgestone-Firestone, Michelin, Big O Tires, and Midas to name a few and owns and operates two fully redundant data centers and processes all major credit cards, fleet cards, automotive private label cards, gift and loyalty cards. The company also has complete check processing capabilities and is integrated into virtually every U.S. merchant bank.

Merchant Partners has 50 full-time employees and is owned and operated by a small group of highly experienced executives from both software technology and financial services.

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, strategic 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.

 

Media Contact:

For More Information Contact:
Sara Callahan

Carter West Public Relations

727-288-2159

scallahan@carterwestpr.com

 

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23Jun

Increasing Service Revenue Is All in the Details

portfolio_poster2The service department is typically the largest revenue source for a dealership. In some cases, service departments carry the dealership and keep it in the black. Yet, no matter how much revenue a service department brings in, it would be hard to believe there is a single dealer out there that wouldn’t want to see it increase.

Manufacturers are certainly pushing dealers to expand their service facilities to increase shop capacity. But what about that dealer that simply can’t afford it, doesn’t have the real estate or simply doesn’t want to make that investment?

Well, there is a simple way to guarantee an increase in service revenue — and it doesn’t require any additional investment – only something that service managers should be doing already. And that is analyzing service declines.

The reality is that dealers and service managers both know that money is walking out the door with just about every service customer. You may have the best upsell percentage in the universe but I highly doubt every customer that drives through your service lane is accepting every recommendation you present. There’s always room for improvement and knowing how much service revenue is walking out the door, and which services are being declined, is something that can easily be fixed through a small process change and training of your service advisers.

Many dealerships don’t track their declined services at all. Yet just about every DMS has the ability to do it. Why aren’t more dealers and service managers doing it? Perhaps the managers don’t want their dealer to know exactly how much isn’t getting captured.

With every open RO, there are service recommendations. In most instances, after presentation to the customer, a service advisor will then proceed to input codes for accepted services to add them to the repair order. The problem is that at many dealerships declined services don’t get codes attached to them, thus erasing their existence.

Simply implementing and enforcing a process whereby all recommended services get coded appropriately – whether accepted or declined – will give you the data you need to get hard answers to the big picture of how much revenue is leaving and which services are being declined. This data can also be broken up by service advisor, for better accountability

Let’s look at a few ways in which this data can be useful.

  • If you have a high decline rate on a specific repair, you now have the ability to analyze reasons. Perhaps you’re pricing yourself out of the market. Your customers have smartphones and can easily price shop your service costs — just as we know they do when buying a vehicle. Adjusting the price to be more competitive could help capture more of that specific repair work.
  • In the same scenario, perhaps your overall acceptance rate is average, but you find that you have one specific advisor that has a very high decline rate. Now you can consult with the advisor and try to diagnose the problem. Perhaps that the advisor simply needs more knowledge of the repair and its importance so that they can more effectively relay that information to your customer.
  • By contrast, maybe you have one service advisor who is spectacular at capturing a certain type of repair. Now you can talk with this employee, discover the secret to their success and then share those tactics or strategies with their fellow advisors, thus helping them all be more successful.

If you know how much total revenue is leaving your service department and can also break down those declined services by repair type and by advisor, you should be able to identify strengths and weaknesses of both the department and your team. With this knowledge you’ll be able to streamline your process, adjust pricing, analyze strengths and weaknesses of service advisors when it comes to recommendation upsells, and increase service revenue. All without expanding or hiring more technicians.

By Tim Clay

Chief Revenue Officer

Confident Financial Solutions

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17Jun

Confident Financial Solutions Boosts Auto Service Centers’ Revenue With Auto Repair Financing

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Boulder, CO – June 20, 2016Confident Financial Solutions, (CFS) a consumer finance company, today announced that due to the success of its auto repair financing program for service centers and their customers, the company is experiencing strong growth and is now in about 1,000 retailers in 36 states, including 410 franchised new-car dealers.

While program results vary from store to store, CFS financing produces up to 100 monthly applications submitted per service center. By offering financing for service work, CFS creates an untapped revenue generator for auto service centers and helps capture work that otherwise might go elsewhere. Many 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.

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, “It used to be that everyone had multiple credit cards in their wallet with plenty of room to cover one time emergencies like an auto repair.  In many cases that isn’t true today.  Credit cards have never been a good financial product for consumers and today they provide less help than ever; that’s where CFS comes in,” said Dunning.

CFS provides a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. The average CFS loan amount the dealership sees is $1,500. Customers can be approved for up to $7,500 and 83% of loans approved are for amounts larger than the repair estimated, leaving room for any additional needed work. 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.

The company enjoyed a 378% growth in the number of service centers using its service financing program in March 2016, versus March 2015, and is continuing this strong, steady increase.

Dealers interested in finding out more about CFS’ auto repair financing program for service centers and their customers can call: 855-808-5861 or visit: http://lift.mycfsapp.com/

# # # # #

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, strategic 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.

Media Contact:
For More Information Contact:
Sara Callahan

Carter West Public Relations

727-288-2159

scallahan@carterwestpr.com

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16Jun

How can we Alter Consumer Perception that Car Buying is Painful?

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According to an article published on Forbes.com, even world-renowned professors at Harvard Business School have a painful experience when shopping for a new car.

The Forbes article, part of a series that examines industries that provide bad customer experiences (ouch) and offers advice on how they can be fixed, describes many stories from consumers and just what things in the car buying experience they find so painful.. Here are just a few that the article shared:

  • Salespeople ignoring a female buyer and directing conversation towards the husband or male that accompanied her.
  • Salespeople telling customers what they want rather than listening to what the customer wants.
  • The whole back-and-forth game leading to the customer leaving just for the dealership to frantically call them later agreeing to accept the terms for the sale.
  • The time consuming process from the moment an agreement is made through all of the documents and vehicle prep being completed.

I’m sure that you’ve heard all of these stories. Whether they occur in your dealership or not is irrelevant. The fact is that these are some of the types of concerns and pain points that consumers expect – and hate – in the car buying process.

Since the point of the Forbes article is to not only describe the poor customer experience, but also provide advice on how to fix it, the problem these Harvard professors believe prevents customer experience improvement in the auto industry is that we have a structural problem:

The deep divide between car manufacturers and dealerships.

Jill Avery, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School, and also the subject of one of the examples above, believes that automakers and dealers don’t have the same goals. Automakers, according to Avery, are focused on long-term relationships with consumers. While dealers are simply focused on selling a car today.

In a bigger picture, this may have a ring of truth. However, any dealer can tell you just how many calls they receive on the last day of the month from their regional OEM rep, to keep track of sales. Manufacturers are just as interested in dealerships selling cars – as long as they are new or CPO. So why do these professors believe that dealers don’t care about building long-term relationships with customers?

According to the article, “dealers enjoy an information asymmetry advantage over the consumer. The article asks, “What’s the incentive to add more transparency on things like invoice markups and service costs?”

Avery shared how an experience buying a rug in the Middle East should be how cars are bought. The rug salesperson acted as a consultant listening to her wishes, needs and desires. And, only after the perfect rug was found, was price discussed.

Consultative selling in the auto industry has been commonplace for years. The steps to the sale include discovering the customer’s needs and wants. It’s much easier to close a deal by listening to a customer and landing them on the perfect vehicle. And Avery is correct in that “price changes the discussion.”

Perhaps the dealership(s) Avery has shopped at don’t value customer experience or lifetime customer value as she believes. I believe that most dealerships understand that retention is important. That the lifetime value of a customer far outweighs the revenue generated from a single sale and that customer loyalty is important. It’s sad to read Schlesinger describe the car buying process as a transaction which is “a fight to the death between the buyer, sales rep, and the unseen manager in the backroom.”

The reality is that these Harvard Business School professors are certainly part of the pool of consumers. And there is no doubt that some consumers share similar stories and perceptions of car buying that mimic the professors.

Customer loyalty and trust is built from the first greeting. If salespeople aren’t respecting a customer in the car buying process, chances are poor that the customer will “want” to return to the dealership. Notice I said want. They may still come back for free services, warranty work or other services that they’ve decided are best filled by the dealer. But in no way does that mean that the customer trusts or is loyal to the dealership — nor has their perception of the dealership changed.

And therein lies the problem that our industry faces. Building customer loyalty doesn’t begin after the sale, but from the first interaction. Any friction, turbulence, or perceived slight can damage this relationship that is still in its most fragile stage.

While I believe that many dealerships “get it” and try to provide excellent customer experiences, we have a long hard battle ahead in changing consumer perception and the only way to accomplish that is the simplest one: prove them wrong.

When a customer comes in expecting it to be painful, make it easy. Show the customer their business is valued and appreciated in every way possible. By doing this, you be well on your way to earning a loyal customer. And you could also successfully change the customer’s perception of the car buying process. You have to start the race to finish the marathon!\

-Tony Orlando, VP Partner Development

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