Matt Carpenter on Addressing Inefficiencies in Service Departments

June 14, 2023
Matt Carpenter is the CEO of Dealerware.
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Matt Carpenter is the CEO of Dealerware.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Dealerware focuses on solving time and cost inefficiencies related to courtesy vehicles in the service department.
  2. The service side of the automotive industry often receives less attention compared to the sales side, despite its importance in building customer relationships.
  3. Winning in the market requires prioritizing customer experience over price competition.
  4. Dealerware's solutions aim to replace outdated processes and improve the service experience through mobile contracts and streamlined operations.
  5. There is an opportunity for dealerships to leverage their distribution network and enter the local car rental market, offering better mobility solutions.
  6. The future vision includes providing a range of mobility options, from daily rentals to monthly subscriptions, within the dealership's product stack.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:00We got Matt Carpenter, CEO of dealerware.With us

Unknown: 0:04

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

Kyle Mountsier: 0:20

right Matt? Now all the other listeners don't know this, but this earlier today, we had a lot of snack foods with microphones, but we're not we're going to try and not do that for the next few

Paul Daly: 0:31

hours make it easy for you.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:33

Thanks for joining us on the show. Oh,yeah.

Matt Carpenter: 0:35

Thanks for having me. Absolutely. By the way, and for the record, you guys made it work. Ah vav challenge figures man. That's,

Paul Daly: 0:43

that's right. You must have encountered some in your day.

Matt Carpenter: 0:46

You bet a few you guys were smooth,

Kyle Mountsier: 0:48

always making it work? Well, you you have an interesting kind of path because a lot of people kind of like the final resting place for a lot of people in automotive kind of becomes the OEM, but you spent a lot of time in OEM AR and are now on the industry partner side. Talk a little bit about that transition and moving from being in the OEM world to being on the industry partner side.

Matt Carpenter: 1:12

Yeah, yeah,native son of Detroit, started in the industry was born into the industry came from a family families of the industry. And,you know, I did what native sons of Detroit do, or at least many of us, I went to school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, studied business, did internships at Ford Motor Company, went to work for Ford Motor Company, at a ball doing it had a great five years at a wonderful organization, made the move in2007 stayed in industry on the OEM side, and started a 12 year tour of duty as part of the Volkswagen Group mostly with Audi held a few key positions GME, US sales from 2011 through2015. For Audi and then CFO for North America 2016 through 2019,which brought me into a portfolio company of Audi's silvercar in 2019, have been leading the company since then,and managing our two businesses.

Paul Daly: 2:08

Very cool. Very cool.I mean, it is pretty, it's actually kind of a linear path.Yeah, it is.

Kyle Mountsier: 2:13

It is linear.And I love how, like, the portfolio company is now kind of, like, set in path and, and,and, and doing a thing, one of the one of the fun things also that happened this morning,besides the mic issues is I was able to ask kind of the whole room, like, who deals with the fixed operation side of the business. And it was like, if we had the crickets button right now, that's what we'd be playing in the audience in the audience,and you obviously were able to raise their hand. You know, as an industry, it's just something that, like, generally,obviously, our industry probably has more fixed ops employees,because of technicians and advisors and all that, then we maybe do even on the variable ops side, but for some reason,the variable ops side of the business just gets all of the publicity and all of the conversation but the other where specifically is really leaning into how do we serve customers after sales? Why do you see that as such a disparity in the way that we communicate as an industry?

Matt Carpenter: 3:12

Yeah, I'll lead in with an analogy, right? So in golf, the driver gets you the applause. But the putter wins you the championships, that's such a, such a.

Paul Daly: 3:25

I have a friend who's like a pro golfer. And he said,Oh, if I could put you'd be seeing me on TV,

Matt Carpenter: 3:32

right? So I love this whole industry. I love sales. I've had sales roles. I love after sales I've had after sales roles. But really, if you want to win a market, it's not about a transaction. It's about a relationship and a series of experiences that you can uniquely stand up. And that is the center of gravity for automotive service.

Paul Daly: 3:54

Yeah, well, who is dropping one liner that's gonna stick with me like sometimes somebody says something they're like, yep, that later. Yeah, but that one in the satchel?

Kyle Mountsier: 4:05

Well, yeah,because you think about the number of touch points that happen when you're with a customer from from the service side. And then because it doesn't get the publicity, it also a lot of times does not get the technology representation because this the sexy thing is to do is to support sales. And and because there's not a lot of technology representation on the service side, we have these difficult customer interactions and and just long processes that don't communicate well. And there's a renewed energy to that. So but you know, you are really attempting with with the company that you're with now,really attempting to solve that to make sure that customers aren't going through that painstaking process every time they have to service a vehicle.

Matt Carpenter: 4:50

Yeah, that's right. One improved, enhanced,elevated experience at a time and if you don't win on experience What do you do in this industry and others, you compete on price. That's it, you win on experience, or you compete on price. So our solutions origin story is identifying time and cost inefficiencies around the service department, most specifically, around the utilization of courtesy vehicles for service customers whose primary vehicles are in the shop. And it's historically been whiteboards and keyboards, and for some lightweight software solutions and or Excel spreadsheets to help try to, you know, manage the comings and goings of hundreds of service customers that are needing to use your fleet of in some cases,hundreds of vehicles 234 days at a time, those customers need to be credentialed, their insurance needs to be validated. And they like all of us don't have a whole lot of time. So how do you replace a paper contract with a mobile contract? How do you tell the fleet operator who's assigning a vehicle at a dealership to a customer for three days, whether or not the cars ready to go fill up with gas with a solid battery, and keys in hand? Like we just tried to make things a dealer were for the dealers and their customers,our customers are the dealers but we're servicing them so they can serve as their customers easier and faster. That's the whole

Kyle Mountsier: 6:21

the what's nuts about that particular interaction with customers is that literally whole businesses are built around managing that enterprise, Hertz, Alamo budget all like their whole business is built on just that that's all there people think about all day.

Paul Daly: 6:40

Well, let me drop a little anecdotal story because first of all, that part of the ownership experience is the worst part. It's the part where we have to bring your car to service, you're wondering how am I going to get around to my stuff, it's the part that disrupts your life the most,right? So if anything goes wrong there, it's just likely to just elevate in your brain because your life is moving. Right? And it can't stop. Just a few weeks ago, I drive in Lincoln. And you know, so whenever my car goes in, I get a loaner. It's great.But the paperwork is always the worst part of it was like, Hold on, let me get this triplicate form. And the deal I go to, I think just installed your software. And the service writers, I go here and I was like, what it was done, like,like, super fast. And I was like, why? Even like the gas and the gas on the return, it was all right. And it was all beautiful. And it's just like every great piece of technology,you just you're like, oh, like you feel away when it's done like that was I did have to do.

Matt Carpenter: 7:39

Once you get in there with with a real solution that solves a real problem, you find the next problem to solve,right. So then like, we launched the tools product. So at that Lincoln store, when your car's in the shop in your inner courtesy Lincoln, and you're going through tolls in the local market, you don't have to stop and pull out your wallet,because we built an integration with an aggregator of total of a tolling solution that sets up all the transaction integrations, we need to automate the payments of the tool to just build better just like enterprise. We're just gonna think about it. I just got. So you know, you mentioned enterprise, and they are, you know, really a remarkable company. But our our story arc from here, and our product strategy from here is once you have installed technology, and prepare dealers to be really good fleet managers. Why not give them front end interface,retail experience hail rental bookings? Yeah, why not point that same fleet of vehicles at that same dealership with that same staff in the direction of in my opinion, a car rental market, that still leaves a little something to be desired,especially in the local markets,the airport car rental game is a different game. I don't know if a lot of dealers have a right to win there. It's so regulated,gotta be on premise, tough business, right? That's a whole different business. But in the local market, which is 40% of the US karma rental market.dealers have an operational right to win

Kyle Mountsier: 9:08

well, and just if you map the total volume of dealers per capita indifference to the total volume of rental companies per capita, and the amount of vehicles that we could service, not just that, but what's really wild and this this is, this is a whole nother like conversation topic. But when the pandemic hit supply chain was was broken. All of a sudden, we we sacrifice two things. One,the OEM still had to supply some level of supply to the rental companies, but also had to basically shut down rental companies to be able to give the limited supply to dealers. And so now we actually solve like a general cultural consumer problem. It's a mobility problem like solving full mobility problem if you can turn on the retail opportunity where you're just talking to someone else about the venture operator At in auto going like, hey, look,these are pain points that we can solve because we already have these things happening. And how do we unlock that? That next layer of culture engagement, and what you're saying is like, hey,we can actually broaden this into more cultural issues and less like dealership centric issues.

Matt Carpenter: 10:18

And what better distribution network to bring mobility as a service at scale to life? Right? Yeah, mentioned18,000 zip codes, right? That we are everywhere. Retail Automotive is every no corner of the country. It's not more more car dealers in the US than Starbucks locations and McDonald's locations like talk about that's interesting

Paul Daly: 10:35

to think about more than the start. I mean,unbelievable. I just, there's five in this hotel with

Matt Carpenter: 10:40

this hallway. So so bear with me, right? Like if you're a consumer, and you need mobility, you got a solution?Basically, from one day to two weeks with carbon, a solution?Is it perfect? No, but it's a solution for traditional leasing. Two to three years, if you're willing to make that contractual commitment, and you need the car. Dealers, bring it to life ownership model works,finance, pay cash, trade, and yep, you have this gap for the consumer. If you need a ride, if you need a vehicle on demand between two weeks in two years,there's a huge void in the market. Yeah. Now, follow me on the ark. So we've gone from smart modern time and cost efficient fleet management, to putting the dealers in the car rental market. What's the difference between a five day car rental contract and a 30 day that recurs that feels a bit like vehicle subscription. And then you got to full mobility as a service vehicle on demand product stack, a dealer's got a daily rental product, a monthly subscription product, and then the leasing in the ownership model that they've been.

Paul Daly: 11:50

Oh, Steve Greenfield is just bringing cookies and coffee.

Matt Carpenter: 11:55

I can't resist.You never can resist cookies and coffee guy. That's

Paul Daly: 11:59

really reason they brought it on. Oh, another guest is eating a cookie. Thanks,Steve. Thank you.

Kyle Mountsier: 12:08

Know, I love it.I was one of our good friends.Liza Portus. She's like, we want to be the mobility solution, not just the car sales solutions,think

Paul Daly: 12:17

how this ties into that?

Matt Carpenter: 12:19

daily, weekly,monthly? Yeah. And then the ownership model. These things benefit one another. Yeah, in the same distribution network,ultimately is going to bring them both to life. And that's what has me excited. We want to build the one screen, the one platform that allows dealers to manage the one fleet that does all the things.

Paul Daly: 12:39

Well, Matt, thank you for spending some time with us today. Just harness the entrepreneurial nature of industry partners. Thank you.

Matt Carpenter: 12:46

Yeah, yeah.Appreciate you both.

Unknown: 12:50

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