Bringing the Garage From The Dealership to the Front Door with Jeremy Stephens

June 12, 2024
Dan Shine converses with Jeremy Stephens, Remote Service Director at Bozard Ford Lincoln.
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In this engaging from ASOTU CON 2024, Dan Shine converses with Jeremy Stephens, Remote Service Director at Bozard Ford Lincoln. They delve into the transformative power of mobile services in the automotive industry. Jeremy shares insights into how mobile service units have enhanced customer satisfaction by providing convenient, on-the-spot services. He highlights the growth of their fleet from seven to nineteen vans and discusses the unique training and customer-facing skills required for their technicians. Jeremy also touches on the operational benefits, such as freeing up main shop resources for more complex tasks.

Jeremy recounts various customer experiences, emphasizing the value of mobile service in eliminating common dealership pain points. By offering services at the customer’s location, Bozard Ford Lincoln not only enhances customer convenience but also strengthens customer retention and loyalty. This innovative approach has allowed them to swiftly address issues, sometimes even preventing potential deal breakouts. The session encapsulates the essence of customer-centric service, demonstrating how modern dealerships can adapt to meet customer needs more effectively.

0:00 Intro

0:24 Jeremy Stephens discusses mobile service at Bozard Ford.

1:47 Customer satisfaction and feedback on mobile services.

2:15 Growth from 7 to 19 mobile service vans.

3:23 Training and hiring for mobile service technicians.

4:43 The value proposition of mobile services for customers.

6:24 Service range and operational strategies.

7:34 Addressing small repairs without shop delays.

10:09 Turning potential negative experiences into positive ones.

Thanks to Effectv for making this episode of ASOTU CON Sessions possible! Learn more about Effect here:

Paul J Daly: 0:00

You're listening to the ASOTU CON sessions by Effectv live from ASOTU CON 2024.

Dan Shine: 0:09

Stan shine. I'm here at the ASOTU CON podcast stage in collaboration with Effectv sitting across from me now the one and only Jeremy Stephens, remote service director at Bozar. Ford, Lincoln, and beautiful St. Augustine, Florida. Welcome.

Jeremy Stephens: 0:23

Thank you for having me.

Dan Shine: 0:24

Now, when I think of mobile service, I think Bozar Ford, my think of mobile service Monday, mobile truck Mondays and LinkedIn, one of my favorite things. Tell me about getting into that business and how the customer is, is kind of receiving that. That offer of mobile services, is it? Is this a popular thing? Among your clientele?

Jeremy Stephens: 0:47

Oh, yeah, absolutely. So so when you buy a car from us, you have a great experience. But have you ever gotten that dumb letter in the mail that says, you have a recall on your vehicle? Yeah, you remember how that makes you feel? Yeah, you know, you're already in your head where it's like, oh, shoot, I don't got time to do this recall. And now this negative thoughts come in. And we have the nicest. We had the nicest dealership in Florida. And we even have a restaurant at our dealership, and customers still don't want to come to us. So what our customers love about mobile service, no matter where they're at their home, their office or anywhere. You know, we're right there at the doorsteps and the customers absolutely love it. We have, you know, we have great CSR, we have great Google reviews, get a ton of feedback. This is the first time I've been in a position where I'll get two or three emails a week, from customers that say in the technicians name that they were great. They treated me, you know, perfectly to talk to my kids. I mean, one technician, his highlight is pet and everybody's dog when they get to the neighborhood. So it's little stuff like that and showing think about the spin. Awesome.

Dan Shine: 1:51

Yeah. And it's a lot of times in this industry in the service industry. It's people are sending you a letter is this because I'm mad about something very often they very rarely will. Will you get something to say thanks. Great.

Jeremy Stephens: 2:02

Exactly. Yeah, you say, hey, this customer wants to speak to you. And you're, if you're new, you're dreading it. And it's like, Oh, crap, but and it's always good news. So that's, that's been, that's been a blast. And that's been our Sunday experience.

Dan Shine: 2:15

So let's back up a little bit and tell me when you got involved in that first mobile van hit the road, and how many you're at right now.

Jeremy Stephens: 2:24

So I've been at Bozar since December. And at that point, we had, I think, seven or eight vans on the road. And right now we have 19 on the road 19 We got 35 technicians, we're in a development mode, where we're training a lot of our technicians, because technicians a little bit unique and different. So it takes us about four to six weeks to really train that technician to where we feel like he's comfortable in front of the customers and can do the job, right. So they'll grow when

Dan Shine: 2:53

we talk about training customer facing and how to train and what do you school them in?

Jeremy Stephens: 2:59

Well, most time we just hire the right person to begin with, because he had to have that kind of personality where they're not, they're open, they like to have a good time. If you talk to any of our technicians, you can tell there's something different about them and, and what's cool about us they're creating this environment themself. It's nothing that we're really focusing training. It's just we're bringing out their natural strengths and personality and we're just fertilizing it and mortar in it and see how far we can take it.

Dan Shine: 3:23

So they're when you ride along, they're usually to text in a van.

Jeremy Stephens: 3:27

Right now there's we have some solo riders right now we have six technicians that are solo, but rest of them are, they're paired with somebody just because we're in development mode right now.

Dan Shine: 3:37

And then but that other person is also a tech it's not like you have maybe like an advisor type person and the tech it's, there's two technicians there. So they're there. They're doing all the interaction with the customer. Yep. Okay, so they would take some, some training and just to make sure that there

Jeremy Stephens: 3:50

does in the customers you have you have your split yet customers did are very curious, they'll walk out there and, and the technicians will explain what they're doing and go over some stuff. And they absolutely love it. We had one technicians that was putting tires back on and after he tighten it up, they had their little boy with a torque wrench and they have no torque wrench, and that customer thought that was the best thing ever. And then you got some customers that don't want to see you they just you know, you just takes them down and they want to come to the door. Yeah,

Dan Shine: 4:19

whatever it takes. That's right. And kind of what's the for the customer? What do you think is the value proposition for them? What is What are they? What is the benefit to like a customer that haven't? You come to them as opposed to them coming into the shop? I mean, I know I was there was a convenience there. Yeah, but why didn't Why did they you might think that customers choose to have a mobile truck move and come out to them.

Jeremy Stephens: 4:44

So I was at a dinner a couple months ago and a customer explained to me perfectly well. It was after hours. I was eating chicken and and the coach. The guy said you work at Bozar and I was like oh shoot here we go. So I may not punch down punch down. I don't want to hear this And he says, You're responsible for that mobile service, aren't you? And I say, Yes, I was thinking I must have spilled something in his driveway or something. But he says you make my problems go away. And that's pretty much sums it up because he don't want to have to come to the dealership because his time is valuable, and he can work from home. And that was his biggest thing is as you take the issue away from it, y'all just come to me, I don't have to deal with it. You know, if you go step by step, as us, we're used to it because we grew up in the dealership, and we know exactly what to do at a dealership. But if you talk to someone else that's not used to it, it's a bigger deal to come into anybody's dealership because of the dealerships I go to the parking lot slammed full of cars, nobody really knows where to go. And the type they don't read signs. So you can have 1000 signs and are still go the wrong direction. So it takes that a little bit of stress off of them also, and you know, values their time.

Dan Shine: 5:53

And how wide an area do you can you cover in these veins? How What's your zone? I guess it was a Where were you? How far are we? Can you go to serve somebody? I'll call you. I'm in Detroit, and have you come up to Detroit now, Detroit? Not

Jeremy Stephens: 6:09

yet. But um, we have customers all over the place. So we we normally will go an hour out. Because we have such a huge customer base where we're at. So we've, you know, we will go prayer for four hours an hour, maybe a little bit more than that.

Dan Shine: 6:24

And I think I've heard too, that if you're going 45 minutes away, that you may even kind of look and see if you're if you're passing other dealerships, maybe the check, they're out there might be you might have a Ford or vehicle in there a lot that is under a recall that you could call up and say they were passing by, we'll stop and fix that recall for you on their used car that they have at their last so it's trying to maximize? Oh, yeah. The time of that mechanic and in the van.

Jeremy Stephens: 6:54

Yeah, we have couple of technicians at the end of the day, if like their last appointment cancels or something like that. They'll pull in a dealership and check some vans. And nobody ever says no, you can't do a recall on my lot. You know, they're surprised. And then we could do three or four and a lot at you know, in a couple hours right there on the spot.

Dan Shine: 7:12

So no, in during the pandemic in the you know, there was chips shortage, and there was parts shortages, and in kind of wait time to get into the get into the shop kind of grew. Is there an advantage? If I, I might, it might be two weeks before we maybe you can see me with my f150. But if but maybe you can see me in one or two days with the mobile service van.

Jeremy Stephens: 7:34

Yes. And that's the one thing that a lot of dealerships miss out on is, is that ability to do the small repairs without plugging up a bay in your shop, you always had that when I was a technician and I was rebuilding the transmission, it would, it would really hurt my nerves when somebody pulls me off to put a like a trim pan or a recall, because you pretty much just ruin that technicians day. So we're combing through our main shop appointments and pulling those jobs away from our main shop. So our main shop can be more efficient. So they're working on the bigger jobs that require a lift, right. And even, you know, we took it a step further, where if you had a check engine light, I'm not going to send my guys out to you, I'm pretty sure they may or may not be able to fix that problem. But at least they can do the diagnosis and order the part and the customer is much more happy. When we order the part and we can set that appointment. Instead, you're waiting for weeks out, they'd have to order the back in two days. Back order again. And then it's another eight weeks in the shop and stuff. So we were looking at it totally from the customer lenses, so and eliminate any roadblocks or hiccups that we have.

Dan Shine: 8:38

Yeah, I think it's just a great service. It's great customer outreach. I think it's good for retention, you know, keeps, you know, kind of that touch point with with the customer. And again, we hear so much about you know, dealing with the customer the way the customer wants to be dealt with or like you know, going through going through them in the way they want to be. And I think you know this is for for a certain segment. They love this idea of coming to them

Jeremy Stephens: 9:02

it is so in our sales is our biggest advocate. They love mobile service. They're they're our strongest supporters because this helps them sell so many cars because you imagine you're selling a car and you got the mobile team. Right now we got 19 trucks to back them up. So we had an instance a couple months ago where you know, it does happen customer bought a brand new Ford truck. And that very next morning, his dash lights quit working. And within by the time eight o'clock rolled around, we already had a technician in his driveway trying to fix that repair. And he couldn't fix it. But we called pickup and delivery and we solved that customer's issue within three or four days. But you know how there's deals turned out those deals never turn out, you know, you're backing out that deal so, so the customer send the email to all the managers thinking that you know, it was it was, you know, and explains it as well that we don't have silos in the dealership because it took every department in there to make that right what polarised our main shop, it started with our communication center, our mobile, our main shop parts in our accessories. And it was just pretty cool to step back and see the whole process workout.

Dan Shine: 10:09

Yeah, it's it's again, it's what you turned in what could have been a very bad customer experience in a positive one. They they reached out and thank you for Yeah,

Jeremy Stephens: 10:19

that's pretty sure he told somebody about that to that customer. Yeah.

Dan Shine: 10:22

So Jeremy joins the conversation. Thanks so much for your time. I thank you.

Paul J Daly: 10:35

Thank you for listening to this ASOTU CON session by Effectv if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday. Here on podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto Collabs Auto Collabs. And if you just want to go a little deeper and in this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to a We'll see you next time.

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