Altesco Case Study Continued: Alexander Automall

When we sat down with Charles Smith, Fixed Operations Director of Alexander Automall in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, he had a lot to say about the Altesco System. Play the video to hear the complete story, straight from the horse’s mouth, or read highlights below.

Company Profile

Alexander Automall has been family owned and operated for more than 47 years. The Alexander Family takes great pride in delivering auto sales and service to a loyal base of longtime customers. Their tremendous showroom and service facility features American and Foreign brands, flexible hours for their busy customers, and a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction.

Need for Adviser Sales Tool

Mr. Charles Smith, Fixed Operations Director, was impressed with the way Altesco provides the customer with real-time visual feedback as each of 9 tests is completed and provides a color print out with plain-English test results. He felt this would be an excellent tool his maintenance advisers could use to open up conversations about the need for maintenance and repairs.
“Altesco is one of the best selling aids I have run across in all my years in the car business. It’s a wonderful visual aid for my customers to be able to see the test being performed has a lot of impact. It’s a lot easier to sell something to a customer when you can show them visually the rest results.”
~ Charles Smith

Financial Decision

The dealership owner was skeptical. Mr. Smith approached the decision-making process with a projection of return-on-investment (ROI). His projections showed a payback period of about five months. The dealer was convinced. His decision? “Go nuts!”

Installation

The system was installed by certified installers in one day, and a professional trainer provided hands-on training for service advisers for two full days. The Altesco installers worked around the service center schedule and made accommodations to avoid disruption of the ongoing business. The installers were presentable, polite, knowledgeable, and provided a high-quality installation service. Altesco has followed up ever since with additional training and new ideas on how the system is being used by others.

Implementation

The service advisers and repair technicians were even more skeptical than the dealer. To test the system, they ran Altesco on real customer vehicles then compared the alignment results to tests on the same vehicles using their alignment servicing machines. The results matched, and the skeptics were impressed.
“We’ve never needed to have the machine calibrated. We’ve had it since May 2005.”
~ Charles Smith

Consumer Reaction

Consumers were amazed by the speed and capabilities of Altesco. They loved the idea that the service is free every time they visit the shop. Consumers find the Altesco highly credible because it displays the results right in front of them, not from a back room. When the test indicates that there is a problem, the technician can put their car on the rack, pull the wheel, and let them see the problem firsthand.

Sales Results

Sales increases were immediate and dramatic.The went from 3 alignment jobs per day to 12 per day. Shock absorber sales went from 6 per month to an average of 40 per month. Front end parts and brake parts doubled.

Fleet Sales

Alexander Automall successfully recruited fleet accounts using presentations of the Altesco system. By providing tests at no charge, they were able to demonstrate to corporate decision-makers that they now catch minor problems before something breaks and become major problems. The bottom-line oriented corporate executives feel they are paying hundreds of dollars for minor repairs instead of thousands of dollars for major repairs.

Financial Results

Sales directly attributable to the Altesco system since 2005 are $873,595 in sales with $525,000 in net profit from one machine. Alexander Automall purchased a second Altesco system shortly thereafter and have achieved sales of $552,000 with net profits of $289,777 between parts and labor, grossing nearly 60%.

Accountability for Service Adviser Performance

Mr. Smith tracks service sales by service adviser on a spreadsheet on a weekly basis, capturing sales, gross profit, and percent labor and parts to total sales. At daily platform platform meeting, these results are discussed and analyzed to keep advisers focused on sales performance.
“Without Altesco, sales and profits would be much less.”
~ Charles Smith

Pros and Cons

On the positive side, Mr. Smith observed that the equipment is accurate and durable. Customers and advisers like the fact that the test takes less than a minute, including results. It has become a great marketing tool for the dealership. They have the advantage of advertising “Free Test While You Watch”. Customers get excited when they see the immediate and specific results. Customer satisfaction has risen dramatically. Advisers have the ability to identify a problem in these areas quickly and provide objective proof of need for repairs to their customers. The only negative Mr. Smith noted was that it took them a while to get organized for the increase in service business generated by Altesco, and the lanes would sometimes get backed up.

Summary

“I wish there were more tools out there to help us increase our customer base sales, especially in the market we’re in. Car sales are down. Altesco is a great customer retention tool. I can’t say enough good things about it. I wish I would have had it ten years ago.”
~ Charles Smith