Chip Alvey, Marketing Director, Oxmoor Auto Group
December 2015 Autobytel Dealer of the Month
We'd like to congratulate Chip Alvey, Marketing Director for the Oxmoor Auto Group, for being named Autobytel's Dealer of the Month for December 2015.
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, and mobile and emerging technologies.
We recently spoke with Chip about the importance of having a good process, following that process, and providing great customer service, and how these factors have helped his dealership outdistance itself from the competition.
Tell us about yourself and your store. What is your official title, what brands do you sell and what are your primary markets?
I am the Marketing Director for the Oxmoor Auto Group. We have five rooftops all located within a two-mile stretch and we sell new Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles. We are the largest volume Toyota store in the state, one of largest volume Ford dealerships, and our other dealerships are also large volume stores. Oxmoor Auto Group is the largest locally owned auto group in Kentucky, and we serve the greater Louisville area, parts of Southern Indiana, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and up to Frankfort, Kentucky. However, our unique inventory means we often sell to customers beyond our market's 20-mile radius.
How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?
We have been with Autobytel for four years, and one of the benefits is that we don't see a lot of overlap with the OEM leads we receive. Autobytel tends to get us leads we wouldn't get otherwise. With Autobytel, we also have the ability to hone in on exact areas that we want to focus on, which means that we can get down to zip code and micro manage those leads. It gives us the ability to penetrate specific areas. Another benefit is that we work really well with our Autobytel rep, and the Autobytel customer service is very good. Our rep really helps us refine our leads for each of our brands in an effort to maximize the types of leads we are looking for. For instance, Autobytel has helped us hone in on a particular demographic we are trying to attract, and by doing this, we have been able to increase our closing ratios.
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.
We run every store as a BDC, and we have processes in each store that are carefully followed. It's not rocket science. The key is answering each lead, actually reading each lead, responding to the customer with what they are looking for, calling the customer, and following up. Our job is to provide exceptional customer service. We know that customers are visiting fewer and fewer dealerships, and we want to give them exactly what they want because they can easily go somewhere else.
What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?
We've been partners with Autobytel for years now, and to have them recognize us is an honor. We truly appreciate it.
What are some tips or advice you would give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?
Establish a process and follow that process. Many people just don't do this, and maybe that's because it's easy to get lost in the minutia of the process. However, we know exactly how we are approaching our customers, and we know what we do on day one, day two, even on day 30. Follow your process and be consistent. Today's customers have done approximately 18 hours of research, and visit 1.3 dealerships, so they are looking for a reason to exclude you. One way to be excluded almost immediately is to read the customer's email and respond with "Just come in." That's just giving them a reason to knock you off their list. Listen to your customer and respond to their questions. That's the name of the game. If you're not doing this, someone else will.
What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at your dealership or with your brands that you'd like to share?
The industry is really transforming. It seems that more and more people are going online and doing more research before they walk through the door. Sometimes, customers will know more about some of our cars than our sales reps do. Trends are changing, and traditional media is on its way down, including TV, so we look at things that provide ROI. With Autobytel, I am able to see how many leads we get, and of those, we track how many appointments we get. Of those appointments, we look at how many came in, and of the people who came to our dealership, how many actually purchased. So, I know what I make with Autobytel and it's a very good investment.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself...what do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests of note?
I have four kids and they take up much of my free time. I love spending time with family whenever I can!
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.