The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 6 years ago

Chris Walsh: How to Create a Customer Care Culture


Our Guest 


Welcome back to The Dealer Playbook Podcast session #34! Our guest today is 30 year automotive vet Mr. Chris Walsh, founder of Vets-Cars and a wealth of knowledge and stories of the constant evolving automotive industry. 


Chris deliveries a lot of value that in todays market can help keep your team motivated, loyal and most importantly care about the customers. 


Session Preview

- Tips for employee satisfaction


- Tips on shifting your dealerships culture 


- Tips for employee satisfaction. 


Check out Vets-Cars here.


Connect with Chris on Facebook here.


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You're dialed into the dealer, playbookpodcast, where it's all about winning autodealer strategies that deliverproven results, and now Your House, Robert Weissman and Michael Serilla, hey there, and thank you for listeningto the dealer. Playbook podcast episode, Thirty Four, my name's Michael Serillo,I'm joined by Y'all, know him Robert Weisman how's IT GOING BUDDY HEY!What's going on Michael Welcome back thanks man a couple of weeks away:family, Vacata, Sokal I'll! Tell you what it's a heck of a lot warmer downthere than it is up here in cold Canada ut! You know what it was good muchneeded, thanks guys for listening in to the show. While we were away had somegood feedback. So we appreciate you stop them by every single week. We'retalking to the WHOS who, in and out of the automotive industry, to give youactionable insights that deliver results today, you're going to findthat same thing, we're sitting down with Chris Walshe's, the founder andmanaging partner of vet cars, which you'll hear him talk about a little bitnear the end of the episode so stick around. For that, Chris is a great guy.He's an air force vet and you know very passionate about you- know creating aculture of you know, customer satisfaction, but also of employeesatisfaction. 's been around the business for some time been around thebusiness. I think you know he said he took his first up in a four, so I was awapping two years old he's like the grandfather. I've never had this guythere you go. The grandfather he's never had, but just has some veryvaluable information for those of you listenng in so without further ado, let's just jumpinto our sit down with Chris Wash here we go, and we are here with Mr Chris Walsh-he's the founder and managing partner at vet cars. You know a company, an aprogram that I really like it's all about market segmentation and offeringprograms to our veterans who serve our country and provide the freedoms thatwe enjoy Chris, so glad to have you on the show, thanks for being here today, Hey Michael, thank you for having meit's an honor and a privilege. Absolutely and- and you know what we'vehad the opportunity to meet each other in person a few times- you knowconferences and such and I've had the privilege of listening to you speak. Iactually. I think the first time that I heard you speak was at an Internetsales, twenty group in Atlantic City, and it was funny because you got up andyou started saying: Hey guys. You know this isn't what I do. You know you almost took this likehumble approach and then and then of course knocked your presentation out ofthe park, and I was like what was he talking about he's a pro he's, an absolute perr you're, too kindyeah. I think you mighthot confused with somebody else, Michael No, youknow I was like okay. Well, you know seriously and all honestly at first Iwas like Oh man here we go. Don't don't ever tell people that you don't knowwhat you're doing or whatever, and then you were like Bo Bo Blah Bah ban. I waslike power bombs all over the place and I was like here we go that you knowthis guy. This guy's, you know, knows what he's doing he's like. Well, it'salways good to lower your audience. Es xut yeah. There you go there, you go nofor those in your audience who who have ever spoken publicly. You know up until about an hour beforeyou get up in front of the room. You know you've got your program, Nokyou've got it o line, you've got it bullet pointed and you stand up thereand all of a sudden you just you, know R. Your knees turn to Jelly and youjust winging it mouth dries. I will never rehearse. I will never rehearseanother speech again. Yeah Therre, fair enough, and sometimes I do better Oteothere ythat's, that's when Robert's going to duck out next time. anyways,you know so some of the stuff that you talk about is very, very intriguing.You know a lot about customer care. The...

...title of the presentation that we weretalking about preshow was creating a culture of customer care, and you knowyou had mentioned that. You know that could be pretty vague and broad of atopic to discuss. But you know it's. I think a hot topic we've had a couple ofpast episodes talking about creating a culture inside the dealership that isconducive to you, know, selling more vehicles, selling more FNI productservices, whatever it might be, but I want to get your take on this whenYouca say creating a culture of customer care. What's the starting point for you, howare you, how are you basing this culture? What's the foundation of thisculture? Well, I'm going to take you all back, Oone thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, when the very first car was soldon the Internet and many of us I'm an old timer. I was doing fni INA,Chrysler Plymouth, dealership back, then that's Howt farback! This was, andmany of us in the business were like this. This is going to change theentire paradign. It's going to change the industry, there's going to be noneed for brick and mortar dealerships. There certainly is not going to be anyneed for sales people. There really was an attitude for abouta year there, where you know its like the chicken little the sky is falling. Why are we even doing this? A heck? Itwas, even you know, a lees story and automotive news a couple of times. Well,I think now we fast forward to two thousand and fourteen that has not cometrue. Yes, the Internet has changed the way: People, Research and purchasevehicles. It's given people more information thanthey've ever had before, but what it's really done is fortified the need for agood, solid, handshake, the handshake human being to human being interaction,because, with almost sixteenhousand franchise rooftops from cee to shiningsea, consumers can go just about anywhere. They want. They know what acar costs they know what other consumers have paid for vehicles. Whatpayments should be based on their credit, they come into your showroom,fully armed with all of the dry data that they need to make an intelligentdecision right now. They've walked into your show room because they have made adecision based on your Internet presence, your presence in your community, some ofyour marketing and awareness not for Erl they've, come into your show roombecause they pretty much have said. I think this is one of the dealers. Iwant to attempt to give my business to they've already made up their mind. Soat that point, when someone is about to spend thirty two thousand seven hundredand fifty dollars which, by the way, was the average selling price of a carin the United States in two thousand and thirteen, it is yours to lose. So the whole idea of culture ofcustomer care starts with the Internet and BDC departments making th thosethose first attempts when people first get ahold of US making them feelspecial. I detest the robot responses. You know in some of some of mypresentations. I make the joke that you can email ABC motors and say there is abomb in your parts department set to go off at six tonight. Six minutes lateryou get an email back. Thank you for your interest and go o o camery one ofour gedicated sales. ASSOCIATS will be contacting you soon and it is our goalto exceed your expectations and, unfortunately, we've taken thepath of least resistance with those first contacts, be theytelephonic or VI the Internet. So I always felt that creating a culture ofcustomer care and let me throw in another sea control-...

...starts with the very first interactionyou have with a customer Nti'm going to take a breath here, turnWut, it's all about the t e the engagement where how, when the rightway well- and I like what we're talking about here- because you know for me-This is my own opinion- and I well- I mean it's yours too, because you justshared it with us that you know the customer qualifies themselves tovarying degrees and that's what actually leads them to your dealershipcorrection. That's not an opinion. That is an absolute fact there. It is okay,Therei Asi was trying to Geo Im trying to be just yeah, so you speak the factspeak the fact there there theyare, I just got reprimanded on Orr ces, just yeah yeah. You know what Imean, though, so what you're saying here really resonates, and I thinkthose are you listening Ain will agree with what Chris is saying. You knowyour customers, I mean we always we believe it, but for some reason Ifeel like we forget it it's when the customer comes through the door. Wesomehow like think that this is the first place. They've come. They haven'tdone any research online they're, just looking at prices and all those sortsof things, but it's scratch yeah they're starting from scratch, but thereality of it is like you said Chris they've already qualified themselves.They know the prices of vehicles, they know how vehicle sales work. You knowtherethe very rare, that somebody hasn't purchased a vehicle or purchaseproducts and services from a dealership at some point or another or at leastbeen involved to some degree, and so, if I may, Michael Cerk, sorry, yeah andand with the way that the web services today, though, that okay, so we'realways trained that when somebody comes into the showroom like listen you test,I don't care if they testr over the car before they don't want to you're goingto Testro we're going to take them through our steps of the sale. Do youthink that the steps of the sale still need to go and see Quenta like that,because let's say that you know the web allows us to experience a lot of thisand accomplishd a lot of things that we couldn't. We had to ad a dealershipwhich create the steps of the sale right now we coul advance ourselves.You know the end user can advance themselves further that they come in ifthey're just ready to get down, they should be able to just like get down.Go right into the you know, numbers you know. We've allheard the statistics. Customers are on between five to eight websites. Theyreshopping, shopand shopping, you shopping your your competition therther,their cross brand shamping, but those same customers that are on five totwelve websites are only physically visiting one point:Seven, seven dealer: okay, exactly so that's less than to so they'reaccomplishing that same research, they're doing the same Intel but to thenumber is even less from illinials. So I think, and again our business ischanging not only daily, but in some cases hourly do you sit your customer down and say:How would you like this process to go at what point in your research in yourcycles? Are you because I don't want to be redundant? I want to respect yourtime. I certainly want to respect your intelligence and whatever level ofresearch you've already accomplished, to get to an understanding of the twothousand and fifteen rogue, really good, O Michel. Let me ask you a question to.I want to hear your thought on this Sur. Sorry Chrish, because this is wherewe're att. Do you feel that you know that whensomebody come like coming in to do that that that would work you know like justcoming in hey? Where do you? Where are you at in this process? So we've gottento this? This is what we're looking to do right now. Yeah, I mean you knowwhat I don't know about you guys, but I think from a sales perspective, there'sno harm in qualifying. That customer I mean you know. I don't know if I'd usethose words like Yoo Dude, where you at...

Oh no likeyo know but like JusDamatically, you know having a nic having a nice college like hey, youknow what just because we want to be able to help you and and whateverintothe is it insulting the intelligence to like be like listen, we already didthis okay, well, you'RE GOINGTO! Do it again, you know. Is that almost likeinsulting toher here, you know guys. I think we are on a generational cust inour business. You know we are sitting right now at a point where we have alot of managers and hey I'm fifty six years old. It's not like I'm talkinglike a millennial. Here I mean I took my very first o one thousand ninehundred and eighty four. So you know I seen the way the old way was done and-and you know what there's some good stuff about, how you know the steps tothe sale road o the stale was was IAG back in the old days, but you havemanagement and some ownership that will still sayto a salesperson. If you don't demo them, you can follow them home. Well, I don't know that type of rigidity inthe sales process, when you have so much more of an enlightened and engagedconsumer can probably cost you. If not some deals. Certainly some trustpoints with your customer. If you tell that customer I got to do this or mymanagers going to fire me. YHOW FRUSTRATING! Is that to go through that? Okay, so let me ask you Chris were: Where does a dealershipstart? We've talked about up to this point. You know back one thousand ninehundred and ninety seven. We thought the Internet was going to change theway things happened with the first car sale online.All those sorts of things were finding that customers still base a lot oftheir purchase decision off of that human interaction, trust credibility,all all of those sorts of things. What can dealerships listening today startdoing right now to I guess, marry the experience, that'sbeing delivered online to to the brick and mortar store so that they canincrease opportunities to sell products and services. Great Question: I'm going to take you back again abouta decade. I ran on Hev Store Fren. I have I mean you know life, I'm enjoyingI'm enjoying this box down. Erelan they're becoming my memories. I ran aChevy store for an absente owner who was my mentor and he has since passed.His name was Bob Newman. He was a fantastic guy and he would spend abouttwo months a year in the store and the rest of the time he would be inLongboat key Florida or Martha's Vineyard, and I would get two phonecalls a week where we would fight like cats and dogs and then kiss and make upand I'll call you, Tuesday, okay, Mer, nuwman. We went out to lunch one dayand we're driving back in to the lot and I'll. Never forget this. He pointedto the sign the big gold boat ti with Nuwman Chevrolet, and he said my best.Employees are the ones that, when they drive in in the morning they see theirname up there, not mine. How do you get there? How do you take ateam and give them mental ownership of the dealership? It's not easy, but every time you read studies about whatmotivates employees, whether or not they're in the K, W our business or anybusiness monetary compensation is never thefirst of the Secondar, sometimes even the third consideration. When employeesare Servey, the number one consideration is always quality of life. You know the old way of doing things ifyou don't work, sixty five, seventy hours a week, you're not on this team.This is why our business has such a...

...high incidence of divorce alcoholism. You know we've beaten people likerented mules in this business and I think that that model is changed,especially with you know some of the larger chains that have said number one.We want family people, we want people who will give us theire off or fortyforty five hours a week. That makes a difference. The number tworeason that you see in a lot of these employment studies that make peoplehappy and make them want to stay at their job is bying that theirperformance and their opinion matters that they feel that they are part of ateam. You know the old way of doing things, it's my way or the highway thatthat doesn't cut it anymore. You have to take a group of people andsay whether you are the porter, the guy in the wash rack, the Seatech, asalesman, Fani manager, sales manager, GM or owner were all on the same team. Andand everybody's opinion matters,everybody's input as well as output matters, and you have to live by that. I I've seen dealerships turned on theirear when a salesman makes a suggestion that nobody ever thought of before.It's like that old anecdote about the the truck that gets caught under thetrestle and the state police, and this the state road gang is there and theycan't figure out how to get this dump truck out from underneath this. Thisoverpass and a little kid comes by and says: Why don't you let the air out ofthe tires? It's classic. We've all heard that R. So when everybody feels like their nameis on that side and a success or failure of that mission of thatdealership is directly based on their attitude and their output. You, you are much more apt to seesuccess, but it's got to be genuine. It's got to be compensated and itdoesn't always have to be monetarily compensated. You know to be able to let somebodywork if you want to work forty hours a week, if you feel that that's what youcan give me d and- and here are your goals, and here are your expectations?That's great! If you need to accompls, you need sixty hours to accomplishthose expectations and those goals. That's what it's going to take. Okay, so so speaking, sorry to cut youoff there, so n, I mean I was starting to Ramble Ono. It brings up a good point, because Imean this is something that I think you know, even in my own company issomething that I hopefully try to achieve where the teamyou know, input matters where we try and listen everybody's opinion andreward them or express appreciation, but for for the the dealer, principalor manager. Listening in what would you I mean you kind of prefaced this thisby saying you know it's not easy to do. What would some of the hesitations beto go down this path and some of the solutions, for example, I'm thinking ofyou know creating this culture where you know people have this mentalownership, but I could see a hesitation being like oh well, now, they're notgoing to have any respect for authority or they're going to just say: No, itdoesn't matter. What you want is the boss anymore, because you told me tohave mental ownership over what I'm doing. Do you know what I mean Iguess, that absolutely know, Yo Haocommit chain, ing command and Bas, sit theret, listen, I'm a militaryguy. There's always got to be a chain of command, but look at the Googlebusiness model the whole idea of authority. Everybody has authority atGoogle, you go out to Walnut Creek and everybody's voice matters. Yes, there is a chain of command.

What causes the hesitancy to change?Yeah Number One, the the verbal Hemlock we've always done itthis way. You Know My dad did it this way and we know all we know. You know another thing that myoldmentor used to say that always stuck with me was: you cannot have customer satisfactionwithout employee satisfaction, they go hand in hand and they feed off of eachother and they grow off of each other. So to create a culture of customer careand dealership. You know I'll go back to what I saidbefore you know. Customers can walk into a store and and sense unrest orlow morale. Ours is one of the few businesses where, whether you're,salesperson or manager, you are expected to act like an executive andyou are compensated as such, but at the same time you were out in the publiceye. Everybody's office is right there on the showroom you know, so anybodycan hear you on the phone with the bank. o Knowi just got a real, quick anecdote.I was in a pharmacy this morning I was in a CVS, picking up a prescription and yeah. As you all know, when you, whenyou go to drug store, to get a prescription, it takes twenty thirtyminutes for him to fill it, which I've never been able to figure out. Why youknow they're all labeled, just you know, throw twenty pills in a bag and get getme out. Owe'll have you on our pharmacy pox, I'm wandering the Isles, and I alreadyyou know, read cosmopolitan from the magazine Rack and I'm over by a backroom and I'm listening to two employees argue and talk about, apparently about the manager andthey're dropping F bombs. And you know this is a terrible place to work and ifhe thinks I'm working Friday he's got another thing coming and and they knew that they were literally fivesix feet away from the public that was in this this pharmacy and it apparentlydidn't matter to them, and I thought to myself have I ever done that? Do Peopleand Dealerships Complain About Their Commission statement or about thatcustomer with the bad credit or the one that gave them the bad dealerade orreview or out in public that stuff's got ta go in the back room?That's got to go in the lunch room for any manager to allow unrest to foment aanytime. You sense anything going onon theu showing floor. You got to get it out. You got to have a meeting. Youknow. I know all of a sudden. This call our members of Jim ziggler's new AlphaDog tribeo on facebook, which is a fantastic group, and somebody postedthis morning about how many meetings do you have a week and there's there'salways a reason for a meeting either it's a killer or curate deal meetingdeal review or if you sense that there's an issue going on with a coupleof your sales people, you got to get the whole team in and together and sitdown and tell the receptionst. You hold our phone calls for fifteen minutes,because we are brothers and sisters and we got a ironthis stuff out before thenext up is greeted on Ta Lot. You can't let unrest in bad morel foment andferment and growth you will never get to it. You willnever get to a place where you can create a culture of customer care untilyou have a culture of employee care and everybody on the team feels that they're empowered to help with the growth and success of that dealerships. Verygood, very good. This has been so helpful Chris. Thank you so much forbeing on the show today. I know it kind of came together, really quick, butwe're so glad that that you could take...

...the time for us today. This is so suchincredible information. I mean I love what you said about you know you can't have customersatisfaction without employee satisfaction and so for those of youlistenain, if you're curious about what you can start doing today, to improvethe atmosphere of your dealership to start seeing more productivity out ofyour team. Chris has brought up some really good points, give them mentalownership. Of course that goes. You know like, like we talked about that.That goes with. You know, making sure that there's a chain of command inplace right, Chris and and also you know, having a process and place firesout, yeah put putting the fires out, and I love what you said about you knowI think a lot of dealerships just say: Okay, you know next Wednesdays ourmeeting for this, but I love what you said about just you know havingmeetings as they are there. That obviously involves the management beingmore intune and kind of n hiding in their offices and just kind of keepingan eye out and observing. What's going on and just addressing you know, likeyou, said, the unrest or low morale as it's happening before the next. Youknow up comes into the show room or is greeted. Those are some things that you canstart doing today. If you want more information, please don't hesitate,visit US triplwt the dealer playbookcom forward, thirty, four and Chris. Howcan those listening and get in touch with you? Well, my website is ww. Vetzvets, Dash cars com and my direct email is s walsh at vetsdash Carscom, and Iwould love to hear from you and Jus remember. This is a just remember. Thisis the greatest business in the world and we dedicate huge portion of our lives to it.There's nothing like the car business and agreed there's just so much passion,an talent O ti, think everybody hears in it. Yeah there you GOCRI, yeah, Hey Chris thanksfor the trips down memory lane today, man appreciate not now. That's I niceto watch it. Just before we say goodbye, tell me a little bit just you know twothree minutes about vet cars and what you guys are doing over there. Vets cars is an association ofdealerships nationwide, who we invite to be part of the association whopledged to a code of conduct that we teach how to prospect, attract capture and, mostimportantly, serve consumers who are members of the forty five millionmember military and veteran family. The military and consumer demographicis the largest demographic other than male versusfemale about one out of thery, four o five people that walk into your showroom has a director family relationship to the military, and it's very, veryimportant to these folks o to us. We are Veternan and operated. I am an AirForce veteran that that our service is acknowledgedand that a clear, transparent, respectful experience is going to beoffered on the show on floor. We've got about two hundred dealers andthirty one states right now, and we feel that we make a real nice addition to a dealer's awarenessefforts and we can show you how to see some real incremental sales gains bybecoming known as the go to dealership for a vet friendly experience in yourmarket area love it. Thank you so much Chris and again, if you guys want tolearn more about what Chris is doing over at bet, cars as well as learn moreabout what we've talked about today, don't hesitate triple W dot. The dealerplaybookcom Ford, thirty, four Chris thanks for being on the show. Thank you, Michael God, blessed.Gentlemen, have a great day you to take... of Tleter Chris Byebye, and there you have it. That was ourfriend Chris Walsh again at vets, cars, all the information, everything that hetalked about pluses social links which he didn't mention will put those intoshow notes if you want to connect with them. Michael. What do you think yeah?You know that's a good point. I would. I would absolutely recommend you getconnected to Chris. You could tell just listening in the guy: Just has so muchinformation and knowledge. You know rolling around in his head. Thirty, youknow thirty years in the business you know pushing moving metal and allthat kind of stuff gives them just a ton of experience. Ton of insights Icould tell there was so much more that he could talk about. We kind of had toput the breaks on him a little bit, but you know what those make the easiestinterviews, because you never have to worry about which direction you'regoing to go. You know it goes without saying you andI are big on culture and creating the right culture within the dealership andand like I said, I love what he said about you know you can't have customersatisfaction without employee satisfaction. That was a big takeawayfor me, yeah and, and something else is just that thes simple fact of you knowthe number two reason that makes people happy is that, having a say having avoice will just like askin for feeback, something that small ask in theiropinion is so easy caust you nothing to do, but could increase morale whichwould increase. You know productivity totally, yeah, absolutely so I thinkthat's where we leave it. Let's, let's take this out Robert H. How do we getpeople in touch with US dealer? The dealer play triplw the dealerplaybookcom all the links. Everything will be in the show noites there foreverything discussed in thissession check out Michael at where are you atat Michael Sirra, Mat Michael, a Sirilo and at Michael aserillocom meat, RobertWeismancom and every twaer anything to add Oh yeah, my Mike Twitter, at yourhuntdagcom. Still, I think. That's it man thanks so much for listening Ain,we'll talk to you next time later.

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