The difference a loaner car makes
The competitive advantage of a loaner car program isn’t lost on Jorge Rosas, Service Manager for Mariano Rivera Honda, who said he’s worked to build a premium dealership atmosphere for customers who choose to bring their business to this new Honda dealership on Long Island, in New York.
“We’re selling experiences here. Where would you want to service your car? Where everyone’s happy, not where everyone’s miserable,” Rosas said. “The dealers around us don’t have loaner cars, and it’s attractive to people. We give them a car and tell them to go enjoy their day, and the word of mouth keeps traveling. Little by little, we’re taking everyone’s business.”
In addition to delivering a top-notch experience for customers who typically haven’t been provided a loaner car, Rosas’ strategy pays off on the bottom line, too. He estimated the average repair order for customers who don’t take a loaner car is about $50 — your “stop in for a quick oil change” customers. With a loaner car, the average R.O. reaches past $700.
“We find this is the biggest thing: we can sell a big repair job if we can put the customer in a loaner and get them out of here,” Rosas said.
The loaner car experience has to be right
Even before customers arrive, Dealerware is helping Rosas set up the fleet and his team to deliver the simple loaner experience that has the dealership’s growing customer base buzzing.
“I come in, in the morning, I open all my tabs and Dealerware is one of the first things I open. I see how many loaner cars we have on hand, how many are staged, how many we need for the day. I’m cool if I have enough cars for the day. But if not, Dealerware shows me that so I can go to my receptionist to start rescheduling some people, and start working with my advisors to see how different R.O.s are looking and get a game plan to get cars back,” Rosas said.
Vehicle availability is only half the game — contracts are the make-or-break moment for the customer experience. When Mariano Rivera Honda opened, Rosas says he knew right away Dealerware was the right tool to keep business moving. “The check in and check out, it’s just very, very simple,” he said. “I have people come in, they brought their laptop, they’re ready to work. And I get to tell them ‘take a car, get outta here, go enjoy your day,’ and it’s so quick.”
If customers come into the dealership looking to rent a vehicle, Dealerware helps deliver a great experience for them, too. Rosas explains: “When somebody comes in to rent a car, it’s really quick to make the change. It takes me 30 seconds to switch a car into the rental group and all the pricing is there,” so dealership rental customers get the same fast, simple experience as service department customers.
The message for those without loaner car programs
“People really enjoy just having a loaner car for the day. We just ‘wow’ our customers constantly, and the word of mouth travels. We’re getting busier and busier, and we’ve even sold so many cars by giving them out as loaners that we have a dedicated sales manager in our service department,” Rosas said.
“Dealerware makes managing a fleet so easy, it tells me everything I want to know as soon as I log in on the dashboard — how many cars I have on hand, how many are out, who the car is with and how many days they’re out with it,” Rosas said. “It’s so simple, and it recovers your costs. To me, it’s worth its weight in gold just by being able to recover those fees, just the fuel costs alone can cover what you’re spending on Dealerware every month.”