How Dealerware's mobile-first tools and access to more data help Lexus of Tulsa deliver efficient luxury service experiences.
How Dealerware's mobile-first tools and access to more data help Lexus of Tulsa deliver efficient luxury service experiences.

Lexus customers have high expectations for simple, comfortable and straightforward service experiences. As Kindal Smith, Service Drive Manager at Lexus of Tulsa explains, “these are business owners and doctors – people that have places to be.“

To make their customer service more efficient and increase visibility into their fleet’s performance, Lexus of Tulsa began using Dealerware as their fleet management tool in February 2020.

Simpler Customer Service

The most immediate benefit of their switch to Dealerware was an improvement in customer service processes, which the dealership had already been working to accelerate. When Smith moved into management a few years ago, contracting took an average of 30 minutes, and he helped the team reduce those wait times by about half by the start of 2020, before signing up with Dealerware.

“When we added Dealerware in, we shaved off another 5 minutes, which is huge,” Smith said. “When you’re talking about going from a 15-minute writeup to a 10-minute writeup, you’re talking about a 30% increase in efficiency just from moving to this tool – so we’ve been really happy with it.”

Smith also noted that Dealerware helped him keep better track of his vehicles and identify potential issues with vehicle pickup and delivery processes. By tracking contracting missteps in Dealerware, Smith was able to work with his team to correct bad habits.

“You could pinpoint the advisors that weren’t necessarily following all the steps… so that was huge right at the beginning, we ended up building a whole new process around how we check out vehicles and how they’re transferred from customer to customer,” Smith said

Control Over the Fleet

Improved vehicle contracting processes were particularly important for Lexus of Tulsa’s field pickup and delivery drivers, several of whom regularly transfer vehicles between customers in Bentonville, Arkansas, two hours away from the dealership.

Smith explained that his dealership is the closest Lexus dealer to the northwest Arkansas headquarters of Walmart. Several of the dealership’s customers live in Bentonville and rely on pickup and delivery to get their vehicles serviced. Unfortunately, there were times when the previous fleet management tool and old contracting processes left the team unsure that loaner agreements were always properly switched between customers. “Talk about exposure when you’ve got three $60,000 cars driving around in Bentonville, and you don’t have any documentation on them,” Smith said.

Smith also noted that Dealerware helped him keep better track of his vehicles and identify potential issues with vehicle pickup and delivery processes. By tracking contracting missteps in Dealerware, Smith was able to work with his team to correct bad habits.

“You could pinpoint the advisors that weren’t necessarily following all the steps… so that was huge right at the beginning, we ended up building a whole new process around how we check out vehicles and how they’re transferred from customer to customer,” Smith said.

That problem was quickly solved when they started with Dealerware. Smith and his team used Dealerware’s Connected Car Services to track vehicle locations and make sure all the right steps were completed between contracts. “It was really huge to be able to go ‘hey, we have three cars in Bentonville today that don’t have loaner agreements on them. Who do they belong to and how do we make that work? It changed our entire pickup and delivery process.”

Control Over the Fleet

Improved vehicle contracting processes were particularly important for Lexus of Tulsa’s field pickup and delivery drivers, several of whom regularly transfer vehicles between customers in Bentonville, Arkansas, two hours away from the dealership.

Smith explained that his dealership is the closest Lexus dealer to the northwest Arkansas headquarters of Walmart. Several of the dealership’s customers live in Bentonville and rely on pickup and delivery to get their vehicles serviced. Unfortunately, there were times when the previous fleet management tool and old contracting processes left the team unsure that loaner agreements were always properly switched between customers. “Talk about exposure when you’ve got three $60,000 cars driving around in Bentonville, and you don’t have any documentation on them,” Smith said.

That problem was quickly solved when they started with Dealerware. Smith and his team used Dealerware’s Connected Car Services to track vehicle locations and make sure all the right steps were completed between contracts. “It was really huge to be able to go ‘hey, we have three cars in Bentonville today that don’t have loaner agreements on them. Who do they belong to and how do we make that work? It changed our entire pickup and delivery process.”

You’re talking about a 30% increase in efficiency just from moving to this tool – so we’ve been really happy with it.”

– Kindal Smith, Service Drive Manager, Lexus of Tulsa

You’re talking about a 30% increase in efficiency just from moving to this tool – so we’ve been really happy with it.”

– Kindal Smith, Service Drive Manager, Lexus of Tulsa

Software Built for Real Problems

Since beginning to manage his 75-car fleet with Dealerware, better visibility has been a theme for Smith. Not just visibility into where vehicles are, but also into how healthy the fleet is and how vehicles are being utilized. “The reporting tool side of this, it’s not even close to what we were doing before,” he explained. Compared to the system Smith previously used, Dealerware is “more modern, it’s active and constantly moving.”

“It’s been a lot easier to keep track of our loaner fleet this way because you can depend on it. You can drill into it really quickly and say, for example, we have 11, 12, of these cars sitting, we know exactly why they’re sitting, we know exactly what they are, and we can identify them really easily on the reporting.” Smith said. 

Especially in a year where outside forces have pulled utilization rates and general business volume down for the entire industry, the added visibility into what’s happening with each car helped Smith report on fleet performance more clearly and make better-informed decisions about fleet size and utilization.

 “I’ve been challenged lately to look at whether we are utilizing all the cars we have, to say if we need to have less cars… before you were kind of blind, honestly,” Smith said. “Now I have data to come back and say ‘No, I think we’re where we need to be.”

“I have an allotment of cars I’m allowed to use, and that number has fluctuated because of a recall, and it’s a moving target,” Smith said. “Now I’ve got an active report that I can pull up and, no matter where the target is for the day, I can stay on it and be really confident that I’m staying inside [program] guidelines.”

Especially in a year where outside forces have pulled utilization rates and general business volume down for the entire industry, the added visibility into what’s happening with each car helped Smith report on fleet performance more clearly and make better-informed decisions about fleet size and utilization.

“I’ve been challenged lately to look at whether we are utilizing all the cars we have, to say if we need to have less cars… before you were kind of blind, honestly,” Smith said. “Now I have data to come back and say ‘No, I think we’re where we need to be.”

“I have an allotment of cars I’m allowed to use, and that number has fluctuated because of a recall, and it’s a moving target,” Smith said. “Now I’ve got an active report that I can pull up and, no matter where the target is for the day, I can stay on it and be really confident that I’m staying inside [program] guidelines.”

As he looks to the future, Smith also said he feels confident that Dealerware will continue to adapt and improve along with his fleet program.

“I tell my staff here all the time and I’ve seen it with Dealerware too, when you’re really good, that’s when it’s hard to improve,” he said. “So, I see Dealerware making small tweaks to things that are already really good, to make them better, and that’s what excites me about being involved with this tool moving forward.”

As he looks to the future, Smith also said he feels confident that Dealerware will continue to adapt and improve along with his fleet program.

“I tell my staff here all the time and I’ve seen it with Dealerware too, when you’re really good, that’s when it’s hard to improve,” he said. “So, I see Dealerware making small tweaks to things that are already really good, to make them better, and that’s what excites me about being involved with this tool moving forward.”