Kalolo Toafa, Internet Director, Garden Grove Hyundai
November 2014 Autobytel Dealer of the Month
We'd like to congratulate Kalolo Toafa, Internet Director of Garden Grove Hyundai for being named Autobytel's Dealer of the Month for November 2014.
The Autobytel Dealer Awards Program honors exceptional dealers from a competitive field of thousands of automotive retailers who employ the highest standards in customer service, Internet automotive retail sales and lead management processes.
We recently spoke with Kalolo about the importance of response times, process, and accountability, and how these factors have been a critical part in driving his store's success.
Tell us about yourself and your store. What is your official title, what brands do you sell and what are your primary markets?
My name is Kalolo Toafa and I'm the Internet Director at Garden Grove Hyundai in Garden Grove, California. We sell new and pre-owned Hyundais and we serve customers in Garden Grove and the surrounding areas, and customers throughout Orange County, California.
How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?
Garden Grove Hyundai has been with the Autobytel program for at least 10 years. The program has been extremely beneficial for our eCommerce business. The lead quality is great! The leads are really good, and we know it's because Autobytel is very reputable, and many people research with Auotbytel so we know it's a trusted source. When we receive an Autobytel lead, we understand that those people are ready to buy and are well informed buyers, so we jump on those leads immediately.
What do you think makes you so successful at meeting the needs of today's Internet consumers? Please share a few of your best practices in terms of managing Internet leads.
The key is efficiency! Getting back to a customer quickly with all the info they need is critical, and creating a comfortable buying experience is important! At Garden Grove Hyundai, we try to make our customers feel at ease, while making the Internet buying process a little less invasive. We readily give customers the information they are looking for rather than dancing around with info. Our goal is to earn the customer's trust.
What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?
It's an honor to be named the Autobytel Dealer of the Month. It means that we're doing things right, and moving in the right direction.
What are some tips or advice you would give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?
Understand that time is of the essence. Try to be efficient, and be proactive in terms of meeting the customer's needs. It's all about timing!
What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at Garden Grove Hyundai or with the brand that you'd like to share?
The Hyundai brand in general is definitely moving in the right direction. And with respect to car buying and car selling, we know that you have to have the processes in place to meet consumer demands, and you have to adapt! Everyone goes online to research a car, and in a perfect world, I think customers would like to hit a button to buy a car, and the car would be delivered. At some point, we might have to adapt to something like that, but we know we must adapt to whatever comes next.
What are your thoughts on the new / emerging technologies introduced by Autobytel?We feel that texting is an area that we will need to focus on, and an area where we will have to adapt. We feel it's a big opportunity. I really think the technologies coming out of Autobytel are interesting, and I feel that we will need to fit them in to our process.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself...what do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests of note?
Working in this business, there's not much time for hobby. I do like to play golf on my days off.
Each month, Autobytel's sales and dealer operations teams evaluate prospective candidates from a competitive field of thousands of automotive retailers in the Autobytel network, with a monthly finalist selected based on key online automotive best practices, including conversion rates, lead management processes, customer service principles, customer and brand retention analytics and Internet department practices, among others.