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Can Dealers Make More Money... Without Consumers Paying For It? | Car Dealership Guy Podcast

发布时间 2024-04-16 20:15:01    来源
And they said, we've never seen your kind of product before. This entrepreneur cracked the code on how car dealers could make more money while consumers pay less, but then came the hard part, actually building it. Today on the Card dealership guy podcast, I'm speaking with Jim Roche, CEO of WarCloud, a software company that is transforming the car business. Don't forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode.
他们说,我们从来没有见过你们这种产品。这位企业家成功地找到了汽车经销商如何赚更多钱,同时让消费者支付更少的方法,但接着困难的部分来了,就是实际建设它。今天在汽车经销商节目中,我和Jim Roche,WarCloud的首席执行官,一个正在改变汽车行业的软件公司进行对话。别忘了点击订阅,这样你就不会错过任何一集。

But before we dive into the show, this episode is brought to you by CDK Global. CDK Global has been empowering nearly 15,000 dealers with the tools and technology they need to build deeper relationships with customers. Their team is keenly aware of the state of dealership technology. And while many vendors promise seamless experiences between your CRM, DMS, digital retail and fixed ops, most of these bolt-on solutions tend to break workflows and cause more harm than good.
但在我们探讨节目内容之前,本集由CDK Global赞助提供。CDK Global已经为将近15,000家经销商提供了他们建立更深层次客户关系所需的工具和技术。他们的团队对经销商技术的现状非常清楚。尽管许多供应商承诺在您的CRM、DMS、数字零售和固定运营之间提供无缝体验,但大多数这些外挂解决方案往往会破坏工作流程,导致弊大于利。

That is why CDK has launched a new dealership experience platform. This new integrated software consists of everything you need to operate a dealership officially while delivering an unparalleled experience to your customers. Basically, everything working together, not separate, one system to run your dealership as opposed to 10. CDK developed it with an outside and approach listening to dealers every step of the way. You can learn more about CDK's dealership experience platform by visiting CDK Global dot com slash DXP or clicking the link in the show notes below.
这就是为什么CDK推出了一款全新的经销商体验平台。这个全新的综合软件包括了您经营经销店所需的一切,同时为您的客户提供无与伦比的体验。基本上,所有工作都在一起,而不是分开的,一个系统来运营您的经销店,而不是10个。CDK与外部合作开发了这个平台,并一直倾听经销商们的意见。您可以通过访问CDK Global dot com slash DXP或点击下面节目说明中的链接来了解更多关于CDK经销商体验平台的信息。

This episode is also brought to you by Private Auto, the first transactional marketplace that enables a safe and secure way to buy and sell vehicles privately. Private Auto provides a self-service platform that removes the middleman and uses proprietary banking technology. This allows buyers and sellers to safely complete a private party sale on their own at any time. They've thought of it all identity verification to avoid scams and e-bill of sale to simplify the paperwork, instant transfer of money between buyers and sellers and so much more. Learn more at private auto dot com and use code CDG to list your card for free.
本集节目也由Private Auto赞助,Private Auto是第一个交易市场,能够安全和保障地私下买卖车辆。Private Auto提供了一个自助平台,可以去掉中间人,使用独家银行技术。这使得买家和卖家可以在任何时间安全地完成私人交易。他们考虑了一切,包括身份验证以避免诈骗,电子销售账单以简化文件工作,买家和卖家之间的即时资金转移,等等。了解更多信息,请访问privateauto.com,并使用代码CDG免费列出您的汽车。

Lastly, this episode is also brought to you by WarCloud. I'd like to thank WarCloud for coming on as a guest and also supporting this podcast. Jim Roche on the CDG podcast. Jim, welcome. You'll see. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me. It's not very often where you get to bring on someone that has built a company that's truly changing an industry. And I say, and I don't say that lightly. I feel like your product, I spoke with some friends who are dealers and I'm very familiar with WarCloud, but I did speak with some deals prior to this podcast.

And I said, like, what comes to mind when you think of WarCloud? And what was very interesting to me was that it was like the sentiment was around. It's, it's like something that we don't know how we worked with without it prior, right? Like people don't know how they used to operate before WarCloud existed. And to me, as a marketer, like that tells me that you're doing something right. So anyways, we'll let you explain how we got to this point, but I just want you to know that, you know, I did do some homework and I love hearing that because that means that, you know, product market fit is just very, very strong and you have a strong value proposition.

So that's my two cents on that. And to kick it off, can you tell the audience a little bit about yourself and your background? Well, sure, I'd be happy to. I'm smiling as you as you just gave that introduction because, you know, we recently had NADA and I don't know how many you guys, I mean, probably the audience has been to many of them, but there's a sort of a sameness to NADA. You know, I always ask people when I'm there, you know, what did you see that was a while? And I can't tell you how long it's been since somebody came back and they said, well, I saw a while. I mean, there's always a new CRM or a website and an app, but the last one, and I'm not trying to toot our horn, but you know, it was, Hey, WarCloud seems to be the wow.

And I was asking some dealers why that is. And they said, we've never seen your kind of product before. You're a category creator. And that makes me smile. Right. Anyway, it kind of dovetails into what you were just saying that, you know, it's, it's something new. It's fresh. We're solving a real problem. So that is, that is really encouraging. Sorry. I digress a little bit. No. And I will tell you, I think in general, something that's, you know, this is an exclusive to automotive, but I think in actually, you know, many times, what gets a lot of the attention is, you know, the shiny objects. And even more so on the consumer side, right? And so I think thinking like, Oh, B2B behind the scenes service, like, you know, submitting warranty, I mean, it's very dry.

But at the end of the day, that's why, like, that's where there's a ton of opportunity that isn't so visible to the market. And it worked out aside for a second. I think this is a, you know, when I just think about our industry in general, right? They think about where is their inefficiency, generally speaking, where are their opportunities? I think that service, you know, I've just seen, I've been seeing a lot of things pop up, right? Like I personally invested in, um, in like an AI software for, for, you know, phone calls for the service center, right? Something that like automatically scheduled. So the point I'm trying to make is like it's, it's crazy that even today you can call up a service center and no one picks up your phone. It's just crazy to think about that. Right. So right. Anywho, tell us, tell us how do we get to this point? What's, where did all this get started?

Sure. Well, you know, I started working with dealers and service departments right out of school. You know, this is probably 35 years ago now. And just fell in love with the industry and with dealership people. Uh, you know, I back in the napkin at one point, figured I'd visited over 2000 dealerships in over those 35 years. So seen a lot of things and started, started creating companies using technology to solve specific problems. Or I was an entrepreneur early into a company.

Uh, you know, I did something way back when, uh, that was called NuGen, uh, which is now Epsilon, uh, you know, founded a company called AutoPoint. Uh, was one of the guys in something called X time, which is now part of Cox. And then that led me to, to found a war club. And the, the genesis story really quickly was that, you know, through visiting those dealerships, if you open enough closet doors, eventually you find a little room with stacks of paper up to the ceiling. And that's the warranty clerk's office. And to me as an entrepreneur, always looking for ways to, to help, uh, optimize inefficiency stacks of paper was always, Hey, there's a, there's a sign of inefficiency, right?
嗯,你知道,我很久以前做过一些事情,那时叫做NuGen,现在叫做Epsilon,我还创办了一家叫AutoPoint的公司。我曾是一个叫X time的团队的成员,现在已经成为了Cox的一部分。那时候我开始创办了一家汽车服务俱乐部。整个起源故事很快就是,你知道,通过访问那些经销商,如果你打开足够多的衣柜门,最终你会发现一个房间,房间里积满了堆积如山的纸张。那就是保修员的办公室。作为一名企业家,我一直在寻找帮助提高效率的方法,堆积如山的纸张总是表示着浪费的迹象,不是吗?

Um, but it was a really astute service leader friend who pointed out to me when I was discussing this with him, he said, you know, that's not a stack of paper. That's a stack of uncashed checks. And that was really sort of the, the epiphany of, Oh, wait a minute, you know, tell me more. We founded War Cloud in 2014, 10 years ago, hard to believe thinking that it would take us a year to develop a solution. And it took us over seven years, which really speaks to the complexity of the problem we're trying to solve. Uh, but we came to market in 2021.
嗯,但当我和一位聪明的服务领导朋友讨论这个问题时,他指出了一点,他说:“你知道吗,那不是一叠纸,那是一叠未兑现的支票。” 这真的是一个顿悟的时刻,哦,等一下,告诉我更多。我们在2014年成立了战云公司,已经10年了,难以置信我们当初以为需要一年时间开发出解决方案。 实际上我们花了超过七年的时间,这真的说明了我们试图解决的问题的复杂性。但我们在2021年进入市场。

Uh, and before I knew it, yeah, I just called up dealer friends and said, Hey, I've got this idea. And, you know, they said, Hey, you know us, we know you a long time. We'll, we'll, we'll, we'll try whatever you got. And before I knew it, we had about 50 paying dealers. It started to feel like one of those right idea at the right time kind of things and fast forward. Now we've got coming up on 600 clients. Uh, and you know, it was really going gamebusters. So that was kind of where I, how, you know, how we got here. Yeah.

So, you know, you're a 10 year overnight success. As I like to say, now, now tell me about you were at Cox on a moon. Right. I saw an overlap. Explain that to us. Explain that to me, right? Like you're an executive at Cox auto, you know, running X time, you know, at a senior leadership, like what happened and, you know, what convinced you, what gave you that push to say I'm going to go out on my own and, you know, start building this product.

Well, first of all, I wasn't a leader of X time. You know, I was one of, one of the leaders at X time and then it went into Cox. And then for a while I was the Cox, you know, service department, subject matter expert wrote a couple of books on it, you know, that kind of thing. But we've incorporated a war cloud in 2014, but I'm not a programmer. So we had the idea, we knew what we wanted to do. And we started doing the development and I had accepted the position at X time.
首先,我并不是 X 公司的领导。我是 X 公司在某个时期的一位领导之一,然后公司被收购了。在一段时间里,我担任了客户服务部门的专家,还写了几本书。但是我们在 2014 年引入了云计算,我并不是程序员。我们有了想法,知道我们想要做什么。我们开始进行开发工作,而我则接受了 X 公司的职位。

You know, sort of, okay, we'll do that until we're done with war cloud. And as I said, it took seven years. A lot of the money in the early days came from me. So that helped me fund the building of war cloud while I was doing X time and then Cox automotive. But I'm an entrepreneur at heart. You know, I've always been that guy that liked the small companies or the startup energy. So in, in late 2019, I think it was, it was time to transition over because we were starting to feel like we had a solution that was ready for the marketplace. And so I sort of back home, if you will, when I came into war cloud before we had any customers.

This episode has brought you by my very own car dealership guy, industry job board, CDG jobs.com, my industry job board connecting the best talent and automotive with the best companies will remain absolutely free for CDG listeners to post and fill available roles at their companies. This free job board is for anyone in automotive vendors, dealers, lenders, manufacturers, auto tech, everyone already over a hundred companies have posted open positions, including lithium motors, recurrent credit acceptance, Vero's credit, cars, commerce, shift digital plug, full path, Westlake trade pending, you get the point. The best part is that when these companies hire through CDG jobs.com, they are hiring the most informed candidates in the marketplace. So don't hesitate. You can add your open roles today by visiting CDG jobs.com or clicking the link in the show notes below. That's CDG jobs.com.
这一期节目由我的汽车经销商职业网站CDG jobs.com支持。我的汽车职业网站连接了最优秀的汽车人才和最优秀的公司,将始终为CDG听众免费发布和填补公司可用职位。这个免费的职业网站适用于汽车供应商、经销商、放贷人、制造商、汽车技术人员等,已有超过一百家公司发布了空缺职位,包括锂动力汽车、经常性信贷机构、维罗斯信贷、汽车商务、shift数字插件、full path、Westlake贸易等。最棒的是,当这些公司通过CDG jobs.com招聘时,他们正在雇佣市场上最了解的候选人。所以不要犹豫,您可以通过访问CDG jobs.com或点击下方节目记录中的链接立即发布您的空缺职位。就在CDG jobs.com。

So just so I understand you said you launched in 2014. You went to market in 2021. Did I hear that correctly? You sure did. How the hell do you survive a seven-year feedback loop? Well, what? What go? What do you do? What goes through your head? I think anyone building anything, you could be building a dealership. I mean, how do you like a seven year feedback loop? Think about think about me right for a second, right? My feedback loop on content is like 30 seconds. It's like you put something out there to the world. If it's the world tells you this. If it's amazing, the world tells you it's amazing. 30 seconds. I have right away. I can tell you if this is going to, you know, if flop, if this is right, this is wrong, I made a mistake. Seven year feedback loop. How do you do that? It's a long learning process.

So you start off with this idea, hey, let's automate warranty processing, right? How hard can it be? Famous, famous last words. And you build a solution that works with one DMS and one brand. And you're like, OK, there we go. We're done. Well, wait a minute. The other DMS has worked differently. Well, wait a minute. All the brands work differently. Oh, wait a minute. All the dealerships work differently. So as you as you work to try and scale a solution that will work, I mean, you know, our target market is is dealer groups, right? Which is sometimes it's one DMS. Sometimes it's two or three, but it's also multiple brands. So to try and bring a solution to a dealer group, you've got to have that breath and that scalability. In conversations that I had with with service leaders and dealers, I knew that it was a pain point for them. And as we worked through, we found out what the true costs were of warranty claims processing. And that really put us on the right path. As an example, what we found back in those days, it's since increased, but it appeared that the cost of warranty claims processing consumed about 6% of the revenue from warranty work, which I know, I mean, that is a huge bite. If you know anything about the typical cost of claims processing. And the last thing was that, that we just saw that no one was stepping up. You know, I expected, frankly, I was surprised in 2014 to find out that no one was tackling this problem. And over the years, I expected, you know, one or two or three other players would join, but nobody did. Well, that speaks to the complexity of the issue. And maybe what you've talked about, you know, it's a little dry until you realize how much, how much profit potential is there. And then it becomes not dry. Oh, I bet.

So let's talk about like, let's just simplify this for a second for anyone. Listen, that's not familiar, right? You go to a dealership, you get warranty work done on your vehicle and the service center, right? The dealer needs to submit that to the automated manufacturer to get reimbursed for that work, right? Because the dealer is not paying for that. Right. That was a manual process. And I think, again, the other interesting part for me was asking, was asking people, hey, like on average prior to, you know, automating this, how long did it take you to do this manual process behind the scenes? And I heard like five days, six days, that was more or less what I was hearing from, from some people and it's all, you know, it varies. And then I asked, okay, so with this now being automated, like, what is it taking you? And, you know, I've been hearing like half a day, stuff like that. So again, just found out as an interesting data point, but I go back to, you know, I go back to my explaining like a fifth grader, right? You are pretty much like you said, I love your, I love your heuristic of like, hey, where is that room with the pile of paper? That's what I want to fix as a entrepreneur as a tech. I mean, that's just, that's, that's brilliant because that's exactly what you're going after.

I want to ask you, I want to ask you a bit of a different question, right? We know that this market is challenged with affordability. And that means that people have less disposable income. And that means that they have less to spend on service work, right? What is the future of like servicing vehicles in general at the dealership look like? And does it are we headed towards a world where the majority of work done at dealerships will be bigger jobs that will inevitably, inevitably fall under, you know, the many on the manufacturers balance sheet. They're going to be pwning up that money, right? Like how can people at a certain point consumers cannot afford these massive jobs?

And so will we get to a world where it's really, hey, I'm either going to the dealership to do these massive jobs. They're going to be under warranty or I'm doing small jobs. I know that's a mouthful, but like give us a simplify that. Like where's the world headed with respect to work being done at dealerships for consumers? Yeah, great question. So over the next three years, we are projecting a 20% increase in warranty work at the dealership that will be driven by two things. One obvious and one very not obvious. The first obvious one is we're going to sell millions more cars in the coming years, which means millions more warranty covered vehicles will be on the road. So great. That's that's good for dealers. The other though is that JD Power released some information. They've been tracking the warranty costs on EVs. And what they found is that on average, the warranty cost in year one on an EV is 300% higher than an internal combustion engine.
我们将进入一个真正的世界,要么我要去经销店做这些大型工作。它们将在保修期内,要么我要做小型工作。我知道这有点复杂,但简化一下。对于经销店为消费者完成的工作,世界将朝着什么方向发展?是的,好问题。在接下来的三年里,我们预计经销店的保修工作将增加20%,这将由两个因素推动。一个是显而易见的,一个则非常不明显。首先,显而易见的原因是在未来数年里,我们将销售更多的汽车,这意味着更多的保修车辆将上路。这对经销店来说是一个好消息。另一个原因是JD Power发布了一些信息。他们一直在追踪电动车的保修成本。他们发现,在电动车第一年的平均保修成本比内燃机高出300%。

I know, right? That's the one where you don't you don't see that coming, but it's got to do with complexity and cost of components. So your guess is as good as mine is how many more EVs we're going to sell in the coming years, but we do know that there's over 150 planned to be launched in the coming years. So the mix is going to tilt more and more toward EVs, which I think means higher warranty costs. But what that also means is that we know an EV with 50% fewer moving parts has less maintenance opportunity. So, you know, the two primary revenue streams in a service department are customer pay and warranty.

So I think that dynamic means that we're going to see a continued shift, more warranty work, less customer pay. And I think that the other thing that the other tilt that we see over time, well, there's several. I think that as vehicle costs go up and they get more complex, I think the manufacturers may lengthen and deepen the warranties that are on these things. And then just a completely different one. But I think we're seeing a lot of energy now around mobile service and pickup and delivery. And I think that is something that we're going to see continue. You know, I've been saying for a couple of years, I think I put this in my second book that the decision dealers are going to have to make is do you want your the car to come to your service or your service to go to the car? And I think the final answer is it's got to be a mix of those if you really want to retain customers.

At a typical dealership, what do you see as a split between customer pay, work and service center versus warranty pay? Yeah, if you look historically, you know, it's about two thirds, one third, two third being customer pay, one third being warranty. But that's where I think the dynamic is going to shift because there are going to be few maintenance opportunities. Maintenance is always customer pay and it's going to tilt more toward warranty. So I wouldn't be surprised in the next three to five years if we see that becoming almost 50 50. And when it comes to the manufacturers, give us like the behind the scenes, right? Like, are they, you know, do they play nice when it comes to paying these warranties? Is high, I see your smiling. Are there some that play nicer than others?

Are there some that, you know, maybe don't play so nice and give us the, you know, the scoop. What, what happens here behind the scenes when it comes to the manufacturer deal in relationship? Well, every OEM has their own sort of proprietary bureaucracy or administration for processing warranty claim submissions. And it's interesting because if you think about why they have those bureaucracies, there are actually three reasons. The first one far and away is the most important. But what, what, what they want, they want that data as quickly and as correctly as possible so that they can analyze it and then ripple it through the supply chain to get in front of quality problems.

I mean, you can, if you get in front of a quality problem before it's out in a significant number, you know, out in the wild, you can save tens and tens of millions of dollars in costs. So the most important reason why the manufacturers want that warranty as quickly as possible is to analyze it for, for quality control. The second and third reasons are related. They want to prevent fraud and they want to prevent error. Those are related reasons.

Well, first of all, WarCloud checks all three boxes because we get the claims within 24 hours and we get them as correct as possible. Um, so in those, in that context, you know, all the OEMs are going to be nice, assuming that you're getting the claims in within 24 hours and they have a high degree of first time submission correctness. As far as, you know, who plays nice, who doesn't play nice? I mean, it varies by OEM. Uh, you know, we find they all have their positives and negatives for whatever reason. And again, this isn't WarCloud. This is just what our dealers tell us.

You know, Toyota Lexus dealers, Honda dealers tend to speak very positively about the warranty submission process for their dealers, but we hear that from, from lots of them. That just seems to be predominant for, you know, for whatever reason. Diving a bit more into service, right? What are the main metrics? Would you say that the service lane, quote unquote, how is it being judged by automakers? Like what are the key metrics that whether you're a dealer or a consumer and you're listening to this and you're wondering like when I, when I step into that service lane, like we know, what are they incentivized to do? But what are what metrics are they incentivized to hit?

Well, sure. I mean, yeah, I mean, in the service lane, and let's just talk about the breadth of the service experience. I mean, the manufacturers want to drive very high CSI or customer satisfaction because that's has a direct correlation to retention to loyalty, right? And when you have a loyal customer, all of the data shows that loyal customers come back more frequently. And when they come back, they spend more and they're less price sensitive because they feel they're getting better value.

And you know, the old saw, you know, sales sells the first one and service sells the ones after that. So, you know, great service experiences, loyal customers mean to more and more vehicle sales. It's a virtual cycle. The stuff that's embedded in that is, you know, you want convenient scheduling. You want a prompt and thorough write up. You want regular updates. You want the vehicle when it was promised. You want it fixed to first the first time. But all of those things roll up into this customer satisfaction score, which ultimately drives retention.

And then in terms of retention, tell us a bit a bit about how that is measured, right? And what are you seeing as best practices? Well, I mean, you know, retention is measured slightly differently from OEM to OEM. You know, has to do with your PMA, your primary market area and things of that nature. But it's how often does the customer return to you, whether you bought it from them or whether you bought it from another dealer, but you're in that primary market area.

How often do they come back? And maybe more importantly, do they continue to come back when the warranty period is up, because that is a major point of defection. In terms of the experience, you know, what people are looking for more and more, I think pick up and delivery and mobile service are major drivers of loyalty. But once someone comes to the dealership, one of the things that I think dealers could do a much better job on is providing the option of technology enabled experiences.

You know, we all manage our lives based on that device we've got in our pocket, you know, being able to schedule from your phone, getting updates on your phone, give the option of a high touch experience.

Sure. You know, if you want to wait in the waiting room or you want somebody to call you, of course, that's the way it's always worked. But being able to manage that experience, not high touch, but through your device, I think it's a huge opportunity for dealers to drive loyalty. It feels like this is, this is one of those rare cases for the car business where it's sort of a win-win-win, right? Meaning the car dealer is more profitable with being able to collect this cash flow faster from a manufacturer. The consumer is more inclined to get better, faster service.

Because the car dealer is getting their cash flow reimbursed faster from the manufacturer. So it feels like it's in sort of a virtuous cycle where everybody wins. Have you, do you measure, like, have you seen what impacts this has on customer experience specifically? And I asked that because again, we have a lot of, you know, and I'm talking about the last couple of years, you have the Carvanas, but you don't have the service vanas. And I say that kind of facetiously, but I'm also serious again that it's sometimes the biggest opportunities are actually lurking behind the scenes. And so what impacts have you seen or have you been able to kind of measure by what you're building on actual customer experience?

So the warranty claims process is pretty invisible to the consumer. You know, happily, they bring the car in, it gets things done, and then they pick it up and they're gone. Though the warranty claims process, getting the dealer paid is sort of out of sight of the typical consumer. But what WorkCloud does is it helps the dealer get paid more accurately and faster. That, of course, creates a healthier dealer financially, which is great for everybody. One thing that's really down in the weeds is, you know, technicians forever, service tax have been concerned or complained about the labor times, the amount of money that the manufacturer will pay for a given service. And that's a source of technician dissatisfaction.

One of the things you have to do and that WorkCloud does is you have to make sure that you sweep the corners of every claim to get every 10th you're legitimately entitled to, to get every administration fee so that you optimize the amount of money that you're getting paid for that claim. That helps with technician satisfaction, but it also creates a healthier dealership. So while the consumer doesn't directly see it is impacted by those, they're important from a dealer side. Yep. Like I say, it's just all interconnected.

So tell us about the biggest issues you're seeing today in the dealership, you know, service lane. Like what are the biggest areas of opportunity? Given we're off the crazy hype of 21, 22 things have cooled down. You know, things are much more stable, right? So what are the biggest areas of opportunities that you're seeing today? Yeah, I smile because, you know, I use the term. It's not raining money anymore. And hey, God bless America when it's raining money. I mean, it's a wonderful thing. But in my experience, and this is seen over decades, the auto industry is a pendulum, right? And it swings back and forth between a focus on vehicle sales and a focus on service. And the pendulum is now swinging back. It's swinging away from vehicle sales and it's swinging back towards service. And if you just look at the key metrics in the industry, I mean, margins, you know, we're seeing margin compression really coming back quickly on new vehicle sales.

Uh, wholesale prices unused is tough. F and I income is down for a variety of reasons. The regulatory environment is tightened up. Interest rates are up. And those are all the reasons why the pendulum is swinging back to service. Historically, you know, service contributes more than 50% of total gross generated by a dealership. So you always want to be paying attention to it, but it's becoming even more important because, you know, that pendulum is swinging back and the market factors are making it more difficult to make money on the variable side of the house.

So, you know, what do you need to be doing there? Well, the things you should always do, but look, you can't focus on everything equally all the time. What you should be focused on number one is running a tight operation, right? I mean, you know, you need to be focused on getting cost efficiencies, making sure that, you know, you're, you're leveraging technology wherever you can. And you're focused on the guest experience, as I said, so you're creating loyal customers who come back more often aren't just price sensitive. Uh, and ultimately want to buy that next vehicle from you. So, you know, at a high level, those are, I think those are the keys today. Although you know, you should always be focused on those.

When we think about what you just said, you know, focusing on focusing on service and experience, who is that? Like, who's the one of the most impressive examples of, you know, the dealership service experience in America? Like, I'm curious to know you visited a ton of dealerships. There has to be someone in your head right now. They're like, wow, they just crush it. And here's why. Is there someone that comes to mind? And if so, like, what does that experience like, like, try to put us in that scenario? Sure. Well, I mean, you have iconic dealers that everybody knows about, you know, you have your souls that are, that are just, you know, worldwide known for their hyper focused on the guest experience. Um, I'll tell you, uh, one of my favorite dealer groups for focus on the customer is the Fred Beens group, uh, primarily headquartered out in Pennsylvania.
当我们考虑你刚刚说的话,你知道,专注于服务和体验,那是谁?谁是美国最引人瞩目的汽车经销商服务经验的典范?我很想知道你参观过很多家经销商,你脑海中一定有一个人选。他们让你印象深刻,他们做得非常出色。是不是有人出现在你脑海中?如果有的话,那种体验是什么样的,能否让我们感受一下那种情景? 当然。我是说,你知道,大家都知道那些标志性的经销商,你知道,有些经销商以世界闻名,因为他们对客人的体验非常专注。我可以告诉你,一个我最喜欢的经销商集团,专注于客户的Fred Beens集团,总部主要位于宾夕法尼亚。

You're smiling. I take it. You might. I'm smiling because I just got connected to Fred and I, and an email about a potential podcast. So I'm going to send this to Fred and be like, now you have to come on. Fred and his staff, uh, so a gentleman by the name of Julie and Drago runs his service departments. I think Fred has 25 stores now. Uh, but they just have a hyper focus on the customer. They are always looking at their processes. Uh, you know, how to continually improve. I tell you a quick anecdote. I wrote about this in one of my books. I was out, uh, visiting Fred. Uh, this is going back. I can, I may be 10 years ago and it was winter time.

And, uh, Fred and I are going to dinner and he's driving and it was dark and we're driving by his Ford Ford store in Doyle's town. Slams on the brakes, throws it into park and says, I'll be right back and just jumps out the car still running. Right. And I was like, Oh my gosh, what happened? Fred disappears about 10 minutes later, he climbs back in, shuts the door. And he says, sorry about that. Uh, I said, Fred, what happened? He said, I saw a customer in the showroom and no one was talking to them and I want to make, I wanted to make sure that they were taking care of my goodness.

I know. Right. Now, this is a guy who's been a dealer for 15 years. Right. At the time, I think Fred was in his 70s. Uh, but an unattended customer was stopped. He said, I'm going to take care of it. There's that philosophy of customer care that just comes from your DNA and that permeates the whole organization. Now they invest in a technology enabled experience. They're very advanced. They're very progressive, but there's that culture that, uh, that is just take care of the customer first. So as you can tell, I get all excited because I've experienced it firsthand. Uh, and I'm glad to hear it.

You know, you're going to talk about a podcast with Fred. Uh, you know, uh, and, and if you want to focus on service, Julian hit Julian Dragos, his service guy also embodies that whole customer focus. You know, I think at the end of the day, any, if you as a business can make a customer feel a certain way and you can scale that, right? You turn, I mean, every, I mean, at the end of the day, like that's a brand. And you know, if you, if you look at the dealership and you look at it from a hospitality perspective, I really, really feel like your point, it makes a world of a difference with any business. But like I think about this all the time, right? Everything we do, everything we put out, I ask myself, like, how do we want our audience to feel, right? What do we want them to get out of this? What's the benefit? And ultimately, you know, every touch point builds that brand. So I, I think, well, I love that story because you're right. It's the small things that permeate through the organization and that attention to detail. That's really what makes for breaks the business long term and the brand. Well stated.

Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. It really comes back to culture. You can layer the technology enabled experiences on top of it. But fundamentally, it comes down to just the whole organization being focused on making, you know, optimizing that guest experience. And that's just not something you can create in a minute. You can't create it through hanging up a sign. You know, it's got it. You've got to embody it. It's got to be deeply embedded in your DNA. So I'm glad you enjoyed it. We're really glad you're going to be talking to Fred. He is. He is a hoot in many, many ways. Jim, talk to me about the future. I mean, you've, you've done some amazing thing.

How many dealers did you say you're working with right now? We're coming up on 600. Wow. How have you, how have you attracted these dealers? Was it has been like word of mouth or? Yeah, it's mostly word of mouth. You know, I mean, when we first came to market, I just started calling my friends, including Fred beans. Like I said, it just started to feel like one of those right idea at the right time kind of things, you know, being a guy who did X time and before that auto point, we had always been about software, you know, a tool that the dealer used. But we really pivoted in a different direction for War Cloud. War Cloud is a service. You know, we take over your warranty processing. You have, you have an app that we call Chirp that is a window into what War Cloud is doing, but, but mostly, you know, 99% we do all the work, which means we don't have to install technology at the dealership. We don't have to train your people because changing human behavior is always the hardest thing.
你说你现在和多少家经销商合作?我们即将达到600家了。哇。你是如何吸引这些经销商的?是口口相传吗?是的,主要是口口相传。你知道,当我们第一次进入市场时,我开始给我的朋友们打电话,包括弗雷德·比恩斯。就像我说的,它开始感觉像是那种在正确的时间拥有正确的想法的事情,你知道,我之前一直在做X工作,之前是auto point,我们始终关注软件,这是经销商使用的工具。但是我们为War Cloud走了不同的方向。War Cloud是一种服务。我们接管您的保修处理。您有一个我们称之为Chirp的应用程序,这是对War Cloud正在进行的工作的窗口,但是大部分时间,你知道,99%的工作都由我们完成,这意味着我们不需要在经销商那里安装技术。我们也不需要培训您的员工,因为改变人的行为总是最困难的。

So that's been a real, a real sea change. And, you know, the idea is just taken off. Once it was clear that this was something that the market really wanted. We hired a direct sales team whose job it is to go out and just talk to dealers and talk to service leaders, identify where there's a need, where there's a problem we can help. And of course, now we started to do things as we've grown. For example, as you heard, we were at at NADA, our second year with a booth there. Um, you know, I do a lot of thought leadership, uh, like this in talking to people because warranty processing is just isn't something that we've talked about ever.

I guess it goes back to my earlier comment about, you know, creating a category that's new, but it's, it's, it's important and it's becoming increasingly important for dealer profitability as we go forward in time because the mix is going to shift more and more to warranty and you've got to optimize profitability. So, so I think to come back to your original question, where do I think we're going to wind up? I think that the, the, the, the, the, the, I think, I think the pendulum is swinging back towards service. I think that service, uh, if you look at the two primary revenue streams, warranty is a sentence, uh, and optimizing profit just across the board, but particularly as warranty revenue grows is going to be critically important. And of course, just generally you should always be looking at the latest technologies to find ways to optimize efficiencies in your dealership.

You know, it is getting harder and harder. The competitive environment is getting more and more, uh, difficult to manage. So you've got to leverage technology and, and, and new ideas in every part of the operation. And of course that's, that's one of the things that we're doing. And before we wrap up, I want to ask you one final question. What is the most surprising thing you've learned throughout this journey? Right. As you've, as you really descend in and gone to all these dealerships and you know, really picked up the process and built technology to streamline yada yada, but what have you learned or what has you seen that just surprised you about, you know, the operations of a dealership or the way things have been done up until today? I mean, the first big surprise was how much of the gross profit of the dealer is attributable to service.

I mean, that wasn't evident because so much energy, so much investment goes into selling cars. Uh, now that has shifted over the years, but we're nowhere near the focus that we should have on fixed operations given its profit contribution. So I think that that's a big area of opportunity is just really making sure that you're making key investments, considering that it's over 50% of total dealership gross. And I think another thing that has been surprising is what I would consider to be the sort of the slow lack of adoption of modern technologies in managing the businesses. I mean, if you look across any other way of life, I give you, give me an example. Well, we, while we are talking here, I could have my phone in one hand and I could book airfare to China, hotel and rental car, round trip.

Um, could you do that today with a service appointment, uh, or some other aspect of the dealership experience? And I think generally speaking, it would be a lot more difficult. Uh, and I'm not sure it needs to be. So, you know, and part of that is that there is a lack of integrations across the experience. There's a lack of technologies that, that talk to one another. But I think there's really some, some opportunity there to step up and adopt technologies quicker that just improve dealership operations and the guest experience. And your point, your money worry about this. So I'm excited to see how you keep building from here, Jim. Thanks for coming on.

Uh, this has been really, really, you know, just amazing conversation. Love the story about Fred. So we'll definitely send that out. Uh, and I think people, people will really appreciate it. I, if anyone wants to learn more about, uh, of course you and War Cloud, we're going to throw the link up in the show notes below, uh, with, you know, the right thing to your website, you can check it out. Uh, you're doing some great stuff, Jim. Thanks so much for what you're doing for the industry and, you know, well, I'm sure we'll talk a lot more in the future about what you're up to. Thanks. Thanks for doing what you're doing.
嗯,这真的是一次非常、非常棒的对话。喜欢关于Fred的故事。我们一定会发送出去的。我觉得人们会非常欣赏的。如果有人想了解更多关于你和War Cloud的信息,我们会在下方的节目笔记中附上链接,你可以查看。Jim,你在做一些很棒的事情。非常感谢你为这个行业所做的贡献,我敢肯定我们将来会更多地谈论你正在做的事情。谢谢。谢谢你所做的一切。

You know, you are one of the top, if not the top, I think you're one of the top two or three trusted brands and automotive. Uh, and I think that's in part because this has been a, just a fun experience, a lot of great, uh, important questions. Uh, I'm glad we're able to pull it together and it would love to come back sometime, give you the follow up story. Appreciate you. Uh, you got it. Thanks for implementing. All right.

Hope you enjoyed that episode. Please give the podcast a rating. Consider subscribing to the show and check the show notes for links to what we talked about. Thanks for tuning in. I'll see you guys next time.

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