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Hawthorne Chevrolet Found a New Approach to Customer Experience

Article Highlights:

  • Steve Barna was looking for a change in his F&I office.
  • The docuPAD system pays for his Reynolds bills in all 5 stores.

In a world filled with technology, customers expectations have evolved. They demand quick, digital, and personalized. When your customers make it to F&I, are you still handing them paper after paper to sign? This isn’t the experience your customers want, and it could be costing you business.

Below is an excerpt from an interview with Steve Barna, dealer principal of Hawthorne Chevrolet in Hawthorne, New Jersey. His dealership implemented new technology in F&I and transformed the customer experience. Now these happy customers are boosting profit, enough additional profit to pay for his entire monthly Reynolds bill.

“Our dealership has been around since 1927. We are well established in the community and have a lot of repeat customers, which means they are familiar with the traditional car buying process. They buy the car, see the F&I person, and take it home. Rinse and repeat. It wasn’t really the best process, though, because of all of the paperwork involved. The F&I process took a long time, from offering aftermarket products using brochures to having them sign all of the necessary documents. The tedious and drawn out process made the customer lose interest very quickly. This caused a problem with our compliance. When we start to see customers lose interest, there is an urgency to hurry through the product presentations, which meant products were getting skipped. We were struggling with compliance and missing out on potential profit. It was a big issue.

“When the Reynolds rep first came in and presented new technology to fix this problem, I said, ‘Yeah yeah yeah, this is just another gadget to sell us.’ We are bombarded by technology every day and I figured this was like every other product I’d seen. Plus, we are located in metropolitan New York. Our customers are pretty street-wise and savvy, so I wasn’t sure they would like this change. However, when he did a live demonstration of the docuPAD® system for my F&I guys, they bought right in.

“Once we implemented the docuPAD system, we saw an increase in the sales growth of our department right away. We’ve now been using this system for a little over two years and our profitability has improved immensely. Our overall income has increased by $300 per car. Customers now leave the F&I office commenting about the amazing experience they had. We have the docuPAD system in all five of our stores and everybody is seeing similar, if not better, results. In fact, the docuPAD system is paying for our Reynolds systems in each of our stores.

“I’ve been a dealer for 34 years and the docuPAD system is the best product I’ve seen in many, many years. I’m not just saying that. We have the stats to prove it. Employee buy-in, customer buy-in, and dealer buy-in. It all works.”

With the right tools in place, you can provide your customers with a better experience and create additional profit for your dealership. You will become the one people are excited to visit again and again.

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Senior Vice President, Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Kasi Edwards is senior vice president of marketing at Reynolds and Reynolds. She is responsible for all marketing, including branding, advertising, communications, market research, and delivery of dealership marketing services. During her 23-year career with Reynolds, she’s built an accomplished background in sales, marketing, and product management.

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