Joe Shaker on Fixing Communication Gaps

May 24, 2023
Joe Shaker, is the Owner of Shaker Automotive Group and the Founder/CEO of TruVideo.
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Joe Shaker, is the Owner of Shaker Automotive Group and the Founder/CEO of TruVideo.

Key Takeaways:

  • Joe Shaker discusses how he manages his roles as a tech partner and dealer/operator simultaneously.
  • The TruVideo platform was initially developed as a video-first messaging platform to address the need for trust and transparency in the automotive industry.
  • By incorporating video messaging, TruVideo has improved customer trust, transparency, and communication within the dealership.
  • The platform's success has led to significant customer pay and warranty repair orders with video communication.
  • Effective communication, enabled by technology, leads to increased efficiency, transparency, and better customer reviews.
  • Joe highlights the importance of solving the human capital issue and leveraging AI to assist personnel in providing exceptional customer service.
  • The TruVideo platform has expanded beyond video messaging to address broader communication gaps in dealerships.

During Automotive Retail USA 2023 in Las Vegas, Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier interviewed dealers, OEM representatives, industry partners and more, looking to make the most innovative voices in retail automotive louder.

This is Amplify, the retail automotive podcast by Reuters Events and ASOTU.

Paul Daly: 0:01All right, we are here with Joe Shaker, the legend, Owner, Shaker automotive group and also founder CEO of TruVideo.

Unknown: 0:09

This is Amplify, a retail automotive podcast brought to you by Reuters events and ASOTU. It's time to make the most innovative voices in retail, automotive. Louder.

Paul Daly: 0:25

I can already tell by your energy, we just met each other. But this might be one of my favorites. I love it.

Joe Shaker: 0:30

Put your seatbelt on.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:31

There you go. I met Joe. little ways back because when I was still on the dealer side, the Shaker group and the group that I was with Nelson group, our good friends and go way back. And I've always partnered together know the Truvideo platform and all that.So it's it's fun finally having you on the show? Yeah, no.

Joe Shaker: 0:52

Wait till we're finished. And then you guys can say

Paul Daly: 0:55

Deeley No. So go ahead. You had a question?

Kyle Mountsier: 1:00

Yeah, no. So you you have there are very few people in our industry that have this unique kind of place where they sit, where it's like, hey,tech partner, to the industry,as well as dealer and operator on a daily basis? What's like,just give us the personal part of what it is like straddling that and engaging in it on a daily basis.

Joe Shaker: 1:24

Yeah, so people always ask me, How do you like juggle everything. And you know,we have a good, a good team in the auto space. So you know, I have a couple of partners in the business. And I really built up a management team at a very high level so that I could go acquire more stores. And what happened was when the whole Truvideo thing started, and and we were trying it out, and it took off,that team really became helpful.So instead of going out acquiring stores, doing deals,and spending my time doing that,we just stopped at the, you know, the 300 million level and just said, we're going to just do this and maybe buy out a couple of deals that are strategic and close and, and I spent 90% of my time really a Truvideo. It's just, it's been so crazy and so fast moving that you have to spend time there.

Paul Daly: 2:15

We'll talk about true video for a second. Explain.Explain the platform.

Joe Shaker: 2:19

Yeah, so you know,as you know, we started off with a video first messaging platform. And the goal was to solve for trust and transparency. I came to events like this, and I would come and somebody would be up there flapping away talking about trust and transparency. And I'd be like, hey, flapping away.Yeah, fantastic. Yeah, well, you know, I don't I don't, I don't like when people talk in theory,and they just can't deliver. I mean, you know what I mean? The truth is elusive. Like there's a lot of ideas in the world. Yeah,I mean, it's, I have a lot of ideas. I mean, it gave you guys an idea before we started, but unless we execute on it, it doesn't matter. Exactly. You can't be judged not you have to be judged on what you can get done. So that trust and transparency thing hit and as I said in the My thing today, you know, when you just call your best customers, and they go Yeah, I love you. But I have doubts. I don't know what happened back there, you know,so we started that video thing.And we really tested it for two years, because we didn't need a day job. My partner sold his first company to quest in a second company to Dell. And he was I call him the brains of the operation. Yeah,

Kyle Mountsier: 3:19

a couple things.hotdog cart. Yeah. So he's just so brilliant. And I was like, We got to try this. And and we did and did it for two years. And then we started got so successful that we decided to run it out. And now some of the earlier brands like I was telling you today, it's, you know, there's brands that have64% of their repair orders,customer pay and warranty.customer facing ones all have videos. Yeah, what? And you can see if you look at all the lists on customer experience and service, you can see who it is.Yeah,absolutely. No, I tell people all the time when we were utilizing Truvideo at the store,like the minute that gets extremely efficient and every customer every time you get massive trust better reviews,customers that will only do business with you. Like interesting stories, and then I got a question. So one, the follow on on that is profitability goes through the roof, right, which you

Joe Shaker: 4:20

know, people want to buy stuff for their cars, they just don't believe the funniest

Kyle Mountsier: 4:23

thing that ever happened. I'm going to tell a quick story. Sorry, I'm gonna butt into your conversation. But we had a customer that was at a cigar shop down the road, had his car dropped off with us.Similarly, sitting next to him at the cigar shop, was another customer that had his car at a store. On the other side of the road. There's like a commercial waiting to happen literally.They're both sitting there. The one guy is complaining about how he can't get updates from his service advisor. Meanwhile, our service advisor is texting them video texting him quotes, text and

Paul Daly: 4:58

even the setting of the cigar shop right

Kyle Mountsier: 5:00

Right, it's the smoke and so then get this. I know the general manager of the dealership but the the other dealership, the guy from the cigar shop walks into his office that General Manager of like three hours later calls me and goes, what Tom for you guys do

Joe Shaker: 5:17

we got a plan at the cigar shop. Yeah. tom foolery.Yeah, exactly.

Kyle Mountsier: 5:21

Well, and what's interesting, your platform has migrated like it started with video. But now actually and from the conversations that we've had today, and when you're on stage,like you've migrated and recognize that communication is actually the bigger gap that you're filling that it's a lot broader than just like send a video, it's a lot more of the communication of what's happening across the dealership,right? Yeah, and

Joe Shaker: 5:43

you know, and I humbly admit, when I, you heard me when I'm up there, you know,I didn't figure a lot of this stuff out until we started rolling with it. And you know,the time wasted, they always come in and they say, Well, you can do this for service that for service, have the repair orders already ready in the parts at the counter. And that saves me like three minutes. When you fix communication, it saves you like25 minutes, not only to save you25 minutes, but the efficiency,the transparency, people share the video, that whole thing about sharing the video, they share. I mean, it's like phone game is going on every day very complex for stuff that really matters. So there's so many things that it fixed. And then again, like I said, just think of if we just look at our environment today, the most use app on a phone is really text or messaging. Yep. And then you look at when you look at human behavior, like 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook alone,so no one reads, so those two customer behaviors merge with telephones that take better videos than Hollywood cameras did 10 years ago, Wi Fi six and5g streaming. So when you see all of these things, both technological and customer behaviors, it was easy. Now that I look back to get a big run,because we had this platform, it kind of aligned all the stars.So and then ultimately solving all these problems, and then learning about the data and analytics and then building up these pure sets of conversations and data's that we can apply AI to today, and we're not talking about it. It's currently working right now. Yeah, in dealerships.So it's amazing. Everybody else is talking about it, you're actually doing it. Yeah, I just I don't know. I mean, I don't say that to bust people's chops or even sound like, you know,arrogant. It's all it's it's just saying it's reality. Yeah,I just get tired with everything. I mean, not not just business, but everything, you know, you know, it's

Kyle Mountsier: 7:30

coming in Q five, you know?

Paul Daly: 7:34

It's politics. Does everybody. Does everybody in this audience know what Q five is?

Kyle Mountsier: 7:39

Probably not.Let's explain it. So there's joke, especially among like, the marketers, and technologists of the retail side of the industry is that, you know, you're on a call with an industry partner,and you're like, hey, does it do X? And, and the salesperson is just like, yeah, yeah, it's,we're coming out, you know, it's like, it's like march like, end of q2, right? At that moment,you know what that means? It's Q five, which, honestly doesn't exist. It's like, it's like the second Tuesday of next week.Neither of them exist, but it's out there somewhere. And so I love that it's like, talk about what you're practically doing.Now, I do want to go a little bit horizon, because in your seat, on the dealership side,you obviously are seeing more and more gaps in customer communication, or the technology that's needed to meet, you know,growing customer demand for experience? What type of gaps are you seeing that we either need to solve as an industry that aren't being solved or that you are planning to work on?

Joe Shaker: 8:37

You know, so I listen to a lot of folks today,but one of the things I'm very sure of, is that there's a human capital issue, right? So people always go, you need to bring in people, you need to train them,you need to do this. And I'm like, Well, you don't really work in a business, right? And we're in, you know, in the car business, we don't have schools,throwing out people going, Hey,what are you doing? What do you want to be when you grew up?Kid, I want to be in the car business, right? So at the end of the day, dealerships are going to be process driven, and using technology to reaffirm the process and provide great, great stuff. So the gaps I see, you know, are with personnel. And when you do get personnel, how do you assist them to take a c plus person? You know, I actually tell my kids, sometimes I go, Hey, look, we live in a C minus world. That's the bad news. The great news is we live in a C minus world need to be a B plus B pluses. And you're gonna kill it, kill it. So the reality is is still hope you have to have read as good as your process is good as your training and as good as your your systems are hiring great people is difficult. So the gaps have to be with the gaps have to be plugging in areas where, you know, humans can fail and we want that's why the AI stuff that we bring in, it's there to assist. Then that young lady and I asked her what do you like about the AI? She goes well,when I type in and I press send,it gives me my text, and then it gives me the suggested text. I always select the suggested text It just makes me feel smarter.And I'm like, Well, you know,she has issues writing and grammar issues, but she's a fantastic customer service person. Yeah. So the AI is able to take her from that, you know,B level to the A level because her gap was her writing and communication and take the truly

Paul Daly: 10:19

unscalable asset,someone who's great at customer service, and those people like keeping that and keeping it out front. Yeah,

Joe Shaker: 10:26

she's a poor writer,as an example are poor. Have you seen teenagers?

Paul Daly: 10:31

It's not getting better.

Joe Shaker: 10:34

I always joke around when people say, I wonder if this messaging thing's gonna last. I noticed when we were kids, I used to go over to my brother, you dummy. You're a complete dummy, right? Today. He just texted across the room. I had one kid text into another you're a complete dummy. Like what? You know? Yeah. Even when I could say it. Motion there.You gotta yell.

Kyle Mountsier: 10:54

gotta yell. You just gotta Yeah. Well, Joe,thank you so much for spending a little bit of time with us. It's clear that you have a passion for the industry and a heart for people. I love the way you enter that, and I can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Joe Shaker: 11:06

Hey, looking forward to seeing you boys again. Thank you.

Unknown: 11:09

Thanks for listening to the AMPLIFY podcast brought to you by Reuters events and ASOTU.For more engaging episodes like this, subscribe or follow on your favorite podcast platform.You can learn more about our hosts Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier by visiting

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