About Power Ford
Power Ford is a new and used car dealership in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Matt Sneed, the Director of Operations at Power Ford, joined the team in August of 2017, three months after his brother purchased the dealership. Together, as the Managing Partner/General Manager and Director of Operations, the brothers are driven by squashing the traditional, negative consumer perception of auto dealerships. “We’re focused on creating an exceptional ownership experience, while setting an example of excellence for others,” said Matt. With this focus comes a commitment to bringing customer experience to the forefront of their dealership.
Shortly after acquiring Power Ford, Matt initially decided to implement Podium to help transform the dealership’s online reputation. Since then, they’ve partnered with Podium to modernize how they communicate with customers.
Before Podium and the Sneed brothers, Power Ford struggled with brand awareness online due to a lackluster star rating on Google with reviews left mostly by the few unhappy customers. In addition, the dealership grappled with challenges such as:
- Steep local competition
Of the four other dealers in the Albuquerque metro area, Power Ford’s biggest competitor—with a significantly higher marketing budget, Matt noted—had been the number one Ford dealer for 27+ years. Low brand awareness kept the Power Ford team from catching up to even the number two dealer in the area. “The first thing we had to do was build a brand and create an exceptional ownership experience,” said Matt. “And we needed to back it up with reviews so we started to look at how we could increase our Google rating.”
- Website leads falling through the cracks
Matt looked into live chat solutions, but they required customers to wait for answers to their inquiries, while also having to stay on the website to get an answer. The Power Ford team wanted and needed more from communication with potential customers. “[Chat boxes] are already small, especially on a mobile device. And then when customers try to go back to the conversation, it’s just not a great experience,” said Matt. Plus, with additional messaging channels, like Facebook Messenger, the Power Ford team struggled to maintain consistency with each conversation. “You might have four or five different conversation windows up on your computer and things are going to fall through the cracks.” And if a specific team member was assigned to a specific conversation, the conversation stalled if the employee had to leave early or was out of office.
- Email review requests weren’t working
“Before Podium, the only way we asked for reviews was via email—and that was less than excellent,” said Matt. “The reviews weren’t pushing to Google, so we needed to change that.” A lack of total reviews and reviews on the right sites created a challenge for the Power Ford team.
The Podium Solution
With the Podium platform, the Power Ford team saw incredible results—a better way to connect and communicate with customers throughout their customer journey. Reviews are easier to collect, lead response times are faster, revenue is up, and all messaging routes to a single inbox so no customer goes unanswered. More specifically, Power Ford uses Podium to deliver:
- A better, faster review request process
“One of the initial reasons we went with Podium was to help us with reviews and we could see that Podium was easy to use. It was clear Podium was the answer,” said Matt. The review invite is sent via text at 9:00 a.m. the morning after a purchase. “We saw results instantly. Our review collection rate went massively up, and so did our score. It’s made a huge difference for us,” said Matt. The team has also found success with the option to select which review site to focus on and prioritize. “Once we have enough Google reviews, we switch to DealerRater. We might switch it for two months and then go back to Google.” And when an occasional negative review is submitted, “it gives us an opportunity to fix any issues prior to the OEM CSI survey that is sent to the customer three or five days later.”
- A connected Webchat experience
“We are using Podium Webchat and it’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Matt. “Plus, we’re able to get a little PII, or Personal Identification Information, and that’s a huge benefit for us with Podium and transferring web conversations to text messages.” Now, customers can start conversations online and continue them on the go.
- A proactive approach to communicate with customers
Podium workflows tie directly into feedback from the customer. Now, when the service department opens a RO, they send a text message to the customer, introducing them to their service advisor and opening up the conversation via text. “It’s a direct line of communication and the easiest way for us to communicate,” said Matt.
- A centralized messaging inbox
With a centralized messaging inbox, customer messages across channels are all funneled to a single platform. Employees can easily respond to waiting customers and nobody gets ignored. “When you have a team of people looking at those messages and organizing them correctly, nobody goes unanswered,” said Matt. “Podium helps us respond to customers faster. And that provides a better experience.”
Results and ROI
In their four years partnering with Podium, Power Ford has enjoyed results like:
→ Power Ford—#1 Ford dealer on DealerRater for four years running
With a higher focus on reviews and 4.52 Google ranking, the team has improved their online reputation and search ranking, drawing in more leads and customers. “And Podium has been instrumental in that,” said Matt. “We’ve been the number one Ford dealer on DealerRater for four years running.”
→ An average net profit increase of 44.5% year over year
Now that Power Ford has an optimized GMB page, they’ve seen a 27.2% increase in phone calls and a 19.3% increase in website traffic directly from their listing. And with Webchat, they’re also seeing better quality leads that translate into sales. “We’ve seen an increase in leads and customers in the last four years and a massive increase in net profit,” said Matt. “In 2021 alone we hit an all-time record and we attribute a lot of that growth to Podium.”
→ Saved an estimated $42k from not having to hire another BDC employee
With the increased lead efficiency Power Ford has seen since using Podium, they’ve been able to adapt easily to increased demand—particularly in the last year. “It has honestly saved us in hiring another person in our Service BDC,” says Matt. “That’s around $42,000 in an annual salary.”
→ 12% increase in Service CSI scores from 2019 to 2020
When Power Ford switched to text messaging for the majority of their customer communications in their Service department, they saw a correlated increase in their CSI scores year over year. “We will still pick up the phone when we have to have hard or, you know, sensitive conversations with our customers, but overall our customers love the convenience of text updates—so much so that we’ve even seen a 12% increase in our CSI scores since we started doing it,” says Matt.
→ % Decreased average lead response times from 2.5 to <1 minute
“With Webchat we are able to get information to our customers faster, which creates a better customer experience,” says Matt. “We have actually also seen an increase in our CSI scores on the sales side—even during the pandemic. Even with customers paying more, they’re happier. And Webchat makes it easier for us to sift between hot leads and basic inquiries. Typically text message leads are a lot hotter than other leads. It has replaced a lot of phone calls coming in.”
→ Saved an estimated 83 hours per month and $21k per year in Service
Now that the Service department relies mainly on messaging to communicate with customers, advisors save a conservative estimate of 83 hours per month just by not having to make so many 5-minute—or longer—phone calls.“Customers love it because when you have a direct line of communication with the person who has your car, you feel better about that,” said Matt. “And we love it because it saves the team so much time. Advisors can carry on multiple texts at once rather than one phone call after another. We probably save around 83 hours a month just from that—and if you think about it, that’s like, $21,000 a year in cost savings, which is about half an employee salary. That’s a huge deal. It’s significant.”
Power Ford leads out in dealership customer experience with Podium
The Power Ford mission is to create an exceptional ownership experience. With Podium, they’re making it easier for customers to do business with them and changing the consumer’s perception of dealerships. And they plan to use more Podium in the near future. “Payments is next on my list,” says Matt. “Customers will be able to make payments via text before they even come pick up their vehicle. It’s modernizing the payment experience. And the customer experience,” said Matt.
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