Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 23

23

* F E B R U A R Y 2020

For customers, seeing is believing

Dealerships adopt new
technology to show
needed repairs, because
it's easier for clients
to understand what
they see as opposed
to what they're told

to track down customers via phone,
Paquin said.
"There is no more phone tag,"
which is especially helpful during busy
seasons, such as when customers jam
voicemail trying to book winter tire
installations, he said.
Text2Drive research shows that 95
per cent of text messages are answered
within five minutes, Paquin said.
"You can imagine a service adviser
trying to get a customer on the phone.
With a text message, "even someone who
is in a meeting can answer with a simple
'yea' or 'nay.' "

By DOUG FIRBY

CALGARY CORRESPONDENT

SERVICE DEPARTMENTS ARE
turning to video and texting technology
as a way to increase business and customer trust.
A number of new tech providers -
such as Text2Drive, Quik Video and
Cox Automotive's Xtime - have
introduced smartphone apps that
enable service advisers and technicians
to send video of a vehicle's needed
repairs to the owners via text or email
for immediate e-signoff. Dealers told
Automotive News Canada that the video
helps validate the necessary work.
One of the early adopters of the new
technology in Canada is Rafih Auto
Group, which has 26 dealerships in
Ontario and Ohio.
The group implemented Xtime at all
its dealerships in the fourth quarter of
2019 and is rolling out video texting in
the first quarter of this year. For the past
six years, Rafih has been emailing customers generic photos and animations of
needed work. Xtime takes service to the
next level, said Zeyad Rafih, the retailer's
vice-president of group fixed operations.
"If they need new brakes, we'll show
them the brake pad [from their car],"
Rafih said. "There are no more generic
pictures."

BOOST IN U.S. SERVICE WORK
The new technology is a no-brainer,
he said, especially in light of evidence
from the United States, where the
technology is more common. Dealers
there have reported a 20- to- 30-per-cent
increase in approved work, Rafih said.
"There's a stigma in the industry.
People don't trust a dealer. We have
to make sure we're only selling them
what they need, not upselling them."
Mounir Karkanawi, a service adviser at Rafih's Windsor Mazda dealership
in southwestern Ontario, said he sees
the benefits on the front line.
"Anyone who can't see, feel or touch
[a problem] can't see the benefits. Now

CONNECTS WITH CUSTOMER

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS CANADA

FEBRUARY
FIXED OPS SPOTLIGHT

Rafih Auto Group was an early
adopter of video texting in Canada.
Zeyad Rafih points to a 20- to30-per-cent increase in approved
service work at U.S. dealerships that
use texting. F I L E P H O T O

customers can see their own car."
Providers of the video texting technology said it offers a variety of benefits to service departments: transparency, profitability, efficiency and customer satisfaction.
"A satisfied customer in the service lane is 80 per cent more likely to buy from that dealership," said
Jean-Philippe Paquin, president of
Text2Drive in Canada. "And they're
more likely to recommend that dealership to their friends.
"There's a real feeling of good service when a customer gets the photos.

"Anyone who can't see,
feel or touch [a problem]
can't see the benefits,"
says Mounir Karkanawi,
a service adviser at
Windsor Mazda. With
video texting, "customers
can see their own car."

Scott Pollock, sales manager at Peel
Chrysler, west of Toronto, said his dealership was one of the first in Canada to
try Text2Drive about a year ago. With
monthly sales of 300 to 400 new vehicles and about 100 used, Peel is the
highest-volume FCA dealer in Canada,
according to the automaker.
PHOTO: ROB GURDEBEKE
While Pollock sees benefits on both
the sales and service side, he prefers
the technology as a way to communicate with customers.
It's the transparency."
"It's so much more appropriate to
Text2Drive provides its technology
send people a quick text," he
to about 1,500 U.S. dealerships,
said.
but Paquin said the service is
Pollock agreed the softjust catching on in Canada.
ware also facilitates the purAbout 50 dealerships, mostly in
chasing and servicing proOntario and Quebec, are using
cess.
the technology, he said.
"It makes buying a vehicle
The service costs a flat $699
easier, and it makes servicing
per month, plus third-party data
a vehicle easier," he said.
fees for dealership management
Pollock has found small
systems. The total cost is less
bugs with the software, but "I
than $1,000 per month, in most
Text2Drive's
wouldn't want to do business
cases. The price covers unlimit- Canada
without it."
ed numbers of customers, texts
president,
Other major dealerships
and users.
Jean-Philippe
in Canada are looking at such
Paquin, says
SATISFACTION 'SURGE'
systems. D'Arcy MacLean,
dealers who
general manager of Winnipeg
Dealerships that use the
use texting
Ford, part of the Birchwood
report "a
technology report "a huge
Group, said his dealership is
huge surge"
surge" in customer satisfactalking with its DMS providin customer
tion, Paquin said. The comer, MPi EDGE, to see whethsatisfaction.
pany's U.S. experience is that
er the video texting system
PHOTO VIA
customers authorize on avercould be integrated.
age $125 in additional work for JPAE AQNU-IPNH I L I P P E
"We're definitely doing it,"
their vehicle because of the
MacLean said, adding that he hopes to
video.
have something running by the end of
Jack Gardner, president of Xtime
this quarter.
competitor Quik Video, told sibling
"We're trying to find a way to build
publication Automotive News that using
more transparency into all our servideo will boost a typical dealership's
vices," MacLean said. "Who the cusclosing rate on recommended service
tomer trusts most is the technician,
by 25 to 30 per cent.
and yet they never get to see them.
The text-based technology can
This way, he said, "They meet the
save a technician or adviser one to
technician virtually." - ANC
two hours of lost time per day trying

Hyundai's Romano: 'Happy to show my stuff even if nobody else is here'
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PA GE

buy from companies not only
for their products but also
because they feel a connection
to that brand, and he said he
hopes the new auto show setup
will help Honda resonate more
with customers.

DEALERS STEP UP
Hyundai Canada CEO
Don Romano, a proponent
of auto shows, said such
events are competing with
research-and-development
spending on electrification and
autonomous-driving technology.
"We're producing cars that

Don Romano:
Hyundai is
under "very
tight" expense
challenges
due in part to
investments
in electric
technology
for cars "that
don't make
money."
FILE PHOTO

don't make money but are necessary for the future," Romano
said. "These are tough times.
And with the Canadian dollar at 75 [US] cents, and where
almost everything here with

a few exceptions is imported, we're all under very tight
expense challenges.
"I think auto shows are a
vital part of car culture, and I
think we need to continue to
find ways to leverage the auto
shows to better connect with
customers - but economically," Romano said.
"I hope to see everybody
coming back. But if not, that's
OK. I'm happy to show my stuff
even if nobody else is here."
Tim Reuss, CEO of the
Canadian Automobile Dealers
Association (CADA), said auto
shows remain vital to dealers. He cited the display organized at the Montreal show by

Mercedes dealers, who set up a
large selection of their brand's
vehicles despite the absence of
their automaker.
"The dealers saw the value
in stepping up themselves,"
Reuss said. "They don't have
the same resources that an
[automaker] would have, but
nevertheless, they were able to
put on a good product presentation.
"I think that, above everything else, shows what value
this has to our dealer members."
Auto shows remain particularly important to smaller mass-market players, said
Ted Lalka, Subaru Canada

vice-president of product planning and marketing. The
brand sees "a direct correlation" between the shows and
increased showroom traffic,
Lalka said.
"People come here, and in
the case of Subaru, they discover Subaru," he said. "They
may have heard of our brand,
but then they take a look at our
vehicles and say, 'The lineup is
really nice.'"
Romano agreed, saying
Hyundai meets numerous new
customers at each show.
"In one day, you can see
every new vehicle out there,"
he said. "Where else can you
do that?" - ANC



Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2

Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 5
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 6
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 8
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 9
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 10
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 11
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 12
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 13
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 14
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 15
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 16
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 17
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 18
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 19
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 20
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 21
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 22
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 23
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 24
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 25
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 26
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 27
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 28
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F1
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F2
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F3
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F4
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F5
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F6
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F7
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F8
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F9
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F10
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F11
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F12
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F13
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F14
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F15
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F16
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F17
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F18
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F19
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F20
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F21
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F22
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F23
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F24
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F25
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F26
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F27
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F28
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F29
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F30
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F31
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F32
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