How Xtime is Working to Increase Customer Loyalty in the Service Department – David Foutz, Cox Automotive


Recently, the CBT Automotive Network was on-location at NADA 2020 in beautiful Las Vegas where host Jim Fitzpatrick spoke with David Foutz, Vice President of Sales at Xtime, Dealertrack DMS and Kelley Blue Book.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Let’s talk a little bit about this end-to-end service experience that you guys are talking a lot about.


David Foutz: Thank you. Yeah, so the opportunity with fixed ops is all about retention.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that’s for sure.

David Foutz: 7 out of 10 consumers that don’t choose to come back after the warranty period.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Unbelievable, yeah.

David Foutz: So our focus is really about, how can you interact with each service engagement to maximize the chance that that customer is going to come back the next time?

David Foutz: So end-to-end refers to, how do we engage the first moment they’re scheduling an appointment or they’re seeing us online? And how do we engage when they’re coming into the lane? But it’s also about, how do we do our inspections? And how do we communicate about what’s wrong with the car? And then how do we deliver the vehicle? And how do we interact then to really promote the value? And then finally all the followups.

David Foutz: So, there’s five opportunities to win or lose in each service interaction. And our view is, you really have to execute tightly on that whole spectrum, end-to-end, in order to make sure they’re coming back.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So what specific products and features promote transparency and productivity for customers?

David Foutz: Thank you. So a lot of new things here at NADA that really didn’t exist a year ago for us.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

David Foutz: One of them is a deep Lyft integration.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

David Foutz: So when I’m scheduling my appointment, I can actually schedule a Lyft pickup at the same time that I’m showing up.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Nice.

David Foutz: And the dealership can choose to pay for that for me if they want.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh, that’s cool.

David Foutz: So instead of the bus, or instead of a loaner car-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, much more personalized service.

David Foutz: And less expensive, more efficient for the dealer. So there’s one example. Multimedia. So providing those quotes and additional service recommendations with video, with obviously pictures, but then the interactive, swipe left, swipe right to approve those line items. Just making it so easy for that customer to say yes or no.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great.

David Foutz: Service tracker is another thing we’ve brought to life. So automatic updates. We know that 55% of consumers say, “If you keep me updated during my service appointment, I’m more likely to come back.” And that, that number jumps to 67% say, “I’m likely to come back if you send me text updates during my service appointment.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. I can see that.

David Foutz: Surface trackers no different than Domino’s pizza or you know, Amazon.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, sure. That we’re all used to.

David Foutz: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: They kind of paved the way.

David Foutz: You get an automated update about where your vehicle is during this process. It takes the load off of the phone calls and keeps your customers happy. So there’s just some examples of what’s new.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. Talk to us about the service staff in the dealership at large. And that’s still a challenge, isn’t it?

David Foutz: It is. Turnover’s huge. 10 additions are precious.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right? Right. Where do you find your next technicians? It’s incredible.

David Foutz: Yeah, absolutely. It’s been my observation that winning cures a lot of ills. A lot of the frustration you hear dealership staff express is about the obstacles to keeping customers happy, the frustrations that they experience at having to use multiple systems. And just the heavy lifting it takes to find answers to a customer’s question.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. It’s crazy.

David Foutz: How much is this going to cost me? When is it going to be done? What’s the recall? How come she told me I had 10% off, but you’re telling me there’s no 10% off and all of this stuff-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Kills it.

David Foutz: … we can help with systems and as an employee, as a team member, when I’m able to greet a customer by name every time, because my tablet says this is Mrs. White, and this is her Corolla and she’s here for 40,000 miles. I start that interaction saying, “Welcome.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yep, makes all the difference.

David Foutz: She’s happy. I’m winning. I like this. This is fun. And so there’s a lot we can do to help with turnover and with satisfaction.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And little things like that, that personalization means so much to that consumer. They get it on Amazon. How come they’re not getting it when they spend $60,000 on an SUV? Right? So the time’s come for something like that. Right?

David Foutz: Absolutely. You know, I knew a dealer that used to do this in a very manual way. He print off all the ROs, he’d read them every morning, he’d get out there and greet people.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I think we worked for the same guy. Because I worked for a dealer that did a similar program.

David Foutz: And it’s powerful. It is really hard to sustain. Again, another example of ways systems can help this happen.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I worked at a dealership where the guy would go out and put on a whiteboard, this is how far back I’m going. We didn’t even have the nice screens or what have you. And he put on the whiteboard, Welcome, these customers with their first and last name and even that little touch made a difference. People drive in and see their name on there, and then of course the person would come over and say, “Welcome Mrs. White.”

David Foutz: So we talk about one-to-one marketing. It’s just being thoughtful. It’s, you remember who I am. You know why I’m here and you demonstrate that you care about me by knowing.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Everybody hates being redundant with the information that they give to their vendor or their company or whatever. And it’s the next person gets on the line, “Oh yeah, what kind of car do you have? Oh, what are you in for?” “I just gave it to the last person. Did you not talk to them?” It’s crazy

David Foutz: Right. So frustrating.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Technology out there and when we should be winning this game, I know you guys had Xtime are helping dealers to do just that. Beyond creating the end-to-end service cycle, what advice would you offer to dealers for maximizing fixed ops revenue for 2020?

David Foutz: I think at a high level we really ask dealers to focus on, this service appointment is your opportunity to win the next one. And so rather than trying to maximize the transaction, it’s not about dollars per RO, it’s about selling hours today. We have a capacity of hours. Let’s get them all sold. But if that’s 15 or if that’s 25 does it really matter how many ROs it takes?

David Foutz: And so caring for the customer, treating them fairly is the key. Making recommendations that you would give to your mother or to your father or your brother, that’s the test. Would I recommend that they do this? Not over recommending, not under recommending. And again, just educating vehicle owners. They want to know what’s happening and be equipped to make a decision. So maybe that’s a long answer, but in short, the opportunity is if they come back year eight or year nine because you’ve won their trust, that’s when the big repairs happen. And those are the repairs we’re not seeing at our dealerships today. That’s the opportunity to grow.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. That’s right. And dealerships have a responsibility that when the suggestions are made from the service advisor or such, that say, “Hey, this is everything that we recommend on your service visit here today.” And the customer says, “Well, I’m going to do number number one and number four and number six and but I’ll leave that other stuff for another time.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: As far as I’m concerned, the dealership’s got a responsibility to follow up with that customer about the other ones that the customer chose not to do at that service interval. To remind them, if nothing else, to say, “Hey, for your own safety and the safety of your family, did you want to reschedule a time to get these other things handled?”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Because I know when that happens to me and I have, I worked with a great dealership that does that. I’m like, “You know what? I’m so glad that you did. Yes, I’m going to be going away. Can you take the car in? Let’s get these things done.” It’s for the consumer.

David Foutz: You’re absolutely right. If we look at it through the eyes of your customer, their best report is green, right? Nothing’s needed today. It’s also the best report to earn credibility.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And that’s true.

David Foutz: The next best is like you’re saying, yellow. You don’t need those brakes today. I know you came in here thinking you needed brakes. You don’t. But next time you probably will. And then again, that followup.

David Foutz: And our systems help people do just this in a sustainable way so that when I come back you say, “Last time we talked to you about brakes, we’re going to inspect them again today. If they’re off, my price is $535 to fix. Would you like me to take care of it if we need to?” “Yes.” That leads to a growing servicing business.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. No questions about it. And dealers need a growing service business for sure because 2020 we’re going to see a little bit of a dip in the SAR from what the people tell us out there, the analysts and the specialist, maybe selling a few less new cars.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Services. This is a great year to focus, really focus on fixed ops and obviously the guys at Xtime do a phenomenal job. So David Foutz I want to thank you so much for joining us here on CBT. It’s always a pleasure.

David Foutz: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Jim Fitzpatrick: You guys are always on the ball. So dealers Xtime… Is it

David Foutz: Yes. Yeah. It’s

Jim Fitzpatrick: Spend 15 minutes if you’re not here at the NADA show in Vegas today, go spend 15 minutes on their site. You’re not going to be sorry. So thanks again. I appreciate it.

David Foutz: Thank you very much.