Dominion DMS Interviews Real Time Feedback at NADA 2024

Sharon Kitzman: All right, good afternoon NADA day two. We’re a little less than an hour from closing time, so we got the Die Hard still here at this point, right here on the Dominion DMS valued partner stage. We have Adam Alia, and he is going to talk to us about real-time feedback, and it’s not just the feedback; there’s technology behind it, and it touches every part of the dealership, right?

Adam Alfia: Exactly.

Sharon Kitzman: Awesome. So, welcome Adam, thanks for your partnership with Dominion DMS, and I’m excited to hear about real-time feedback.

Adam Alfia: All right, perfect. Thank you. So yeah, so we um started the platform because we saw a huge decrease in uh customers actually reaching out to a dealership and letting them know about an issue uh before they went on Google or Facebook and leave reviews. So a lot of times, that’s how they thought they would get the dealer’s attention is by leaving a negative review where it really doesn’t help either side when that happens because the dealer gets mad that they have a negative review, the customer feels like he’s getting revenge on the dealer, and they usually don’t come back, you know, especially a one-star rating. So what our platform really does is we like to say give them help before they Yelp. So we try to get in between them and find out if you have a happy customer, amplify that and send them to Google or wherever, and if it’s an unhappy customer, find out why. Our system will send either the sales manager or the service manager, depending on what kind of customer it is, for them to handle it. And we do also have a managed service solution, so for dealerships that don’t want to have their managers responding to, okay, dealing with it, right, dealing with it, we’ll have a 24-hour call center in our office in Dallas, Texas, that’ll answer the feedbacks exactly within 10 minutes of the feedback coming in, respond back to the customer. The customer gets a text message and has a two-way dialogue; usually, it’s just an apology, “We’re sorry that your car was returned dirty, next time we put a note in your account, we’ll make sure we wash it,” so on and so forth. If it’s a heat case, then what we do is, if we’re doing the manned services, the dealer will assign who he wants to have the feedback be relayed to.

Sharon Kitzman: Okay.

Adam Alfia: We assign the feedback to a store manager, and the manager gets a notification with an email, a text message, and a push notification and alert on their computer saying, “Hey, we have a heat case.” So, for example, somebody picks up their car from service, and they have oil in their driveway all of a sudden. We can’t handle that; we apologize, we’re going to have a manager call you, and then we monitor the situation. If within an hour somebody doesn’t respond to the customer in our system, then we actually will call the store and say, “Hey, we want to make sure you got the message and make sure that customer’s handled,” because you don’t want to have too much time pass, especially for a heat case, right?

Sharon Kitzman: So you’re not only theoretically managing the feedback, but you can also manage the process if it needs to escalate, right?

Adam Alfia: Yeah, so we make sure that it gets handled because there’s nothing worse than a customer flying off the hinge because all that time they could be telling friends, “I’m stuck here at the house because XYZ Toyota, you know, changed my oil, and I have oil in my garage, and I can’t drive the car.” So you want to contain that situation, right?

Sharon Kitzman: Right, absolutely.

Adam Alfia: So we help with that. So we do one of three ways. We’d like to say we give you a 360-degree view of your customer experience. The first way that we do that is in the dealership, the second way is post-checkout or post-sale, okay, and we do that through DMS integration like we have with Dominion, and the third one is through online review management because just because you tell customers, “Hey, leave us a Google review,” or if they leave you a positive or negative something online, you still want to respond to customers even if they leave you a five-star, you want to say thank you. So we do all three things. The first way is in the store, we’ll put QR codes by your coffee bar and your waiting area, on the glass overlooking the shop, that says, “Hey, if you want to communicate anything to management while you’re here, just scan this QR code.” It’ll open up a very simple platform page, like you see on the left, that’s branded. They can put in, “Hey, I was told 30 minutes for an oil change, I’m here for two hours,” and that goes to a service manager, which, you know, a lot of times the front desk staff will say, “Hey, you know, it’s only an hour,” and it ends up being three, which is very frustrating. So that’s the first way. We don’t get a bunch of interaction, but customers that want to relay something, it’s very, very useful.

Sharon Kitzman: So you’re kind of catching them there before they get on the Yelp, right?

Adam Alfia: And we have different ways that they can put it. They can put it on, we have hang tags, we have coffee bars, some we have a few dealerships that do a six-foot banner that says, “You know, let us know before you go,” kind of stuff, cashier desk, etc. Oh, the restroom, I like. I mean, you know, if they’re there longer than they expected to be, yeah, you never know because a lot of dealerships don’t have somebody going in the restrooms every 30 minutes to check, and if somebody, you know, made a mess, you want to make sure that somebody alerts you, right?

Sharon Kitzman: Yeah.

Adam Alfia: The second way is through integration, and what we do is, whether it’s both in sales and in service, as soon as we get that transactional data, within 10 minutes, we send out a text message. And that text message could be customized, but it’s usually something, you know, “Susan, this the Fox Motor service manager, thanks for trusting us with your vehicle service needs. On a scale of 1-5, please let us know how you’d rate your overall experience,” and it has a link. We try not to do everything through the text messages; we just give them a link because a web platform is a lot more inviting and easy to use. It opens up a very simple page with five stars. Sure, if they give them a five-star rating, it automatically takes them to Google or whatever other platform you want to leave a comment, to leave…

Sharon Kitzman: Yes.

Adam Alfia: …So this goes actually to Google. We have an integration with Google; they leave a comment, or just a star rating is just enough, and then as soon as that gets posted, it goes to your Google reviews. You can also send them to Yelp, to DealerRater, wherever it is you want. We even have a different flavor where you can send 80% of your customers to Google and 20% to Yelp, however it is you want to split it up. We have that capability. The third way is, the other way is if they don’t give you a five-star, you know, one, two, three, or four-star, it then opens up a window that says, “It looks like we fell short of your expectations, please let us know what the issue was, and we’ll correct the issue.” It’ll go to management, and the management will respond, and then whatever you put in that feedback platform will go straight to service or sales, however it came in, and through our platform, they can obviously take care of that situation. We track all sorts of data, like who the service adviser was, who the salesperson was. We actually, and we didn’t put this here, we actually have a page that’ll show all of your service advisers and all your salespeople, and it’ll show the aggregate of all the ratings that their customers gave them. So if you have a bad apple, we find out, we call the Bad Apple finder. You never know, you know, you might be getting negative reviews, and it could be from one service adviser that’s not calling customers back, rude on the phone, whatever it is. So we track all that for Monday morning meetings. Most of your reviews, most of your feedbacks are going to be positive, so, “Hey Bill, great job, you got 15 five stars last week. John, hey, you had a bunch of, you know, what’s going on over here?” And it’ll actually show you what the customers were complaining about in relationship to that service adviser or salesperson. So now you can drill down and, you know, retrain, etc. So everything’s contained in our system, and it doesn’t show it on this page, but we still, at the bottom of the page, still offer, “Or leave us a review on Google,” to stay compliant because otherwise, you’re gating. But we still give them the option, but we find that 99% of customers, if they get a chance to communicate with the dealership and try to fix the problem, they’re going to do so.

Adam Alfia: Yeah, so that’s how we do it there. The last thing that we do is, it’s very important, Google typically looks at four things when, um, they’re rating for SEO for local search and SEO. They’re looking to see how many reviews you’re getting, they’re looking to see the quality of those reviews, are you a 2.9 dealership or you’re a 4.4 dealership. So the higher ranking you are, that’s important. And then two other factors they look at are, are you responding to your Google reviews, and if you are, how long does it take you? So, how fast are you engaging with your customers that are leaving your Google reviews? So we have a platform called Realtime Reviews. It’ll aggregate your reviews from all the platforms out there, Google, Yelp, DealerRater, etc., put it on one easy-to-use platform for you to see. You can actually respond through our platform with Google. The cool thing is we have AI that’s built into this that’ll automatically respond to all your four and five-star reviews. It’ll call the person by name, “Hey Susan, thanks for leaving us a five-star review, we can’t wait to see you again.” So it’ll actually respond to all your four and fives, so you don’t have to do anything. The only ones you have to respond to are one, two, and three stars, and even with that, we have AI that’ll read their negative review and write a well-crafted apology that you can read and then post if you want. You can edit it, etc. But we also do all the stuff for you on the manned services.

Sharon Kitzman: So, this way, they can come here, they can handle it all very quickly in one format versus logging into Google, logging into Yelp, logging into all those things, which speeds up the process, but it also is going to positively impact the Google rating of their business.

Adam Alfia: Yeah, so if somebody searches “auto service near me,” they can see that. One thing that we do that a lot of the competitors don’t do is we have two different channels. So a lot of dealerships will have a Google My Business for their main dealership and a Google My Business for the service. We can have it that all of your sales go to your main dealership and all your service go to service. A lot of dealerships forget that they have a service Google My Business, and they neglect it, and a lot of times somebody will search “Toyota Service near me,” and their service, and they’ll only have 15 reviews, and there might be a 3.4-star rating. You know, the dealership, the service department funds the entire dealership, and so that’s really important to make sure that they have a very, very good Google score also on their service side. So we can split that up and make sure that you’re getting positive reviews on both those sites.

Sharon Kitzman: Right, right. Now, I’m not going to ask you to tell us what it was, but I’m just sure you have seen and your team has seen just all sorts of crazy stuff between consumers and dealers, right?

Adam Alfia: So one of the things that, um, you know, the I always tell our dealerships that the gold is really the four-star review. Oh, the four-star review is a customer that likes you but that cares enough to say, “Hey, you guys are great, there’s something small that really bothers me that I want to let you know about so you can be better.” Because people are very quick to either give you a five-star or a one-star, right? I hate you guys, and the one stars are typically, they’re just people that are really, really pissed off, and they’re not giving you constructive feedback; they’re just blasting you, right?

Sharon Kitzman: Yeah.

Adam Alfia: The five-star, just, “Yeah, I had a great experience, five.” But the four-star is somebody that says, “It wasn’t perfect, and here’s why.” And that’s really the nugget of information where a good dealership can become great by taking positive or taking feedback that a customer who gave you a four-star rating says, “Everything was great, but…” And that “but” is really when you can respond to the customer and say, “Hey, Mr. Customer, thanks for letting us know. We’re going to take that into consideration, and next time you’re here, hopefully, you’ll see a change.”

Sharon Kitzman: Absolutely, no, it’s a great point because you’re right, it’s easy to just go five and not provide a lot of feedback. The four is when you, we see that the most comments will come with fours because those are the guys that say, “Hey, I want to let you know how you can be better because I love coming here.”

Sharon Kitzman: Now, dealers that are here at the show, are they able to meet with you? Do you have a booth here?

Adam Alfia: Yes, we do. Okay, yeah, um, we’re in the North Hall, North Hall 6463.

Sharon Kitzman: Okay.

Adam Alfia: I think it’s a great solution, but it’s also something that I’m not sure that dealers really pay a lot of attention to, or they’re trusting someone in their dealership to do it right as part of their job. They don’t, and maybe it gets done the last half hour of the day, or, you know, looks at it on lunch or whatever, and they’re not focused on it as often as they should.

Adam Alfia: So one of the things that I see dealerships do that is, I go, “Hey, how do you guys get Google reviews?” He goes, “Oh, we have our salespeople give them a little QR code to scan to leave a review.” I go, “But if it’s a bad experience, they’re not going to do that right there in front of the person they had a bad experience with.” So let, let them leave, let’s send them a text message. Typically, we’re generating, on average, an average dealership, about 200 five-star Google reviews every single month.

Sharon Kitzman: Wow.

Adam Alfia: Which is, we had one dealership in Florida that was a 4.2 on Google, we took them to a 4.9 within 3 months, and they started off with a thousand five-star reviews, now they’re at 4,000. It’s been seven or eight months.

Sharon Kitzman: Okay.

Adam Alfia: So it’s really, really important to do that. Now they’re number one in their market. Yeah, so when anybody Googles for Toyota sales or service, they come up first.

Sharon Kitzman: Yeah, right there. Now, as our partnership between your solutions and ours continues, um, I ask all of our partners to do this, you know, push us, um, to give you more information that you need. My goal is to make sure that you have everything that you need so that our common dealer, right, who’s using both of our systems, has the most efficient process possible. So what do you think is next steps for your business in this evolution of your solution?

Adam Alfia: I’m glad, so actually, we just unveiled this at the show. I didn’t have a slide on it, um, but we, because we just got the patent on it. This is a digital glove box clip that dealers that use feedback can give their customer. They put on the, it’s branded with your dealer logo, okay, it has a QR code, but something that’s really cool is it has NFC chips inside. You can put it on your sun visor, and as soon as you put your phone near the, uh, this device, it’ll open up a page on your, on your phone that has, it’s not an app, it’s a web base, and it has what we call a digital glove box. It has a link that has your owner’s manual on it, okay, it has a place for you to upload your insurance card, your AAA card, it has a place where you can schedule service for the dealership. So everything you need to know about your car is right there, and of course, feedback, if you want to message your dealership, it’s built into it as well, right? So they can, every time that they have a car that they sell, they just put that up there. So imagine if you have any kids, how many times you’re on a phone call, “Hey, Mom, I just got in an accident,” or “I just got pulled over, where’s the insurance card?” “And oh, it’s in the glove box.” “No, this one’s expired.” So now, all they have to do is tap it, and it has everything they need about the car.

Sharon Kitzman: Wow, that’s fantastic. And you patented it?

Adam Alfia: Yeah, yeah.

Sharon Kitzman: Can I see it?

Adam Alfia: Yeah, of course. So they would brand it right here, and that just slides on your, yeah, sun visor. Nice. We actually did this for the, and you’re going to like this as a shopper, I’m sure. We actually did another one that is going on a grocery cart, that you put your phone up to, and it has a store map, coupons, specials, recipes, everything about the store that you’re in.

Sharon Kitzman: Wow, for like the chains like Publix or whatever?

Adam Alfia: Yeah, we just, we’re doing a couple of pilot programs with a large grocery chain.

Sharon Kitzman: So, nice, really cool stuff. I’m excited.

Adam Alfia: Really cool stuff, yeah.

Sharon Kitzman: Well, again, I want to thank you for spending time with us here today. Thank you for the partnership. I can’t wait to see where this goes next, and I wish you the best of luck here at the convention.

Adam Alfia: Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.