How Walser Buick GMC Bloomington saves up to three hours a day with Tekion and Lyft
INDUSTRY | AUTOMOTIVE
Walser Buick GMC Bloomington, part of the Walser Automotive Group, wanted to improve operational efficiency and its customer experience.
In February of 2022, Tekion’s Automotive Retail Cloud with Lyft integration offered a seamless way for Walser Buick GMC Bloomington to streamline internal operations and the customer journey at their service center.
- Walser Buick GMC Bloomington estimates it saved 2-3 hours a day after switching to Lyft rideshare integration and a single, seamless platform that connects all operations
- Improved customer experience with personalized and rideshare transportation options
- Helped meet increased service demands in a challenging and stretched labor market
Walser Automotive Group’s commitment to customer satisfaction and operational excellence at their Buick GMC dealership led them to partner with Tekion and Lyft.
Minnesota-based Walser Automotive Group is a progressive leader in the auto industry, committed to growth, innovation, and the customer experience. Their Buick GMC Bloomington dealership was ranked the #1 volume Buick GMC dealership for both brands in Minnesota for 2020.
A drive to provide a high level of customer service while continuously innovating led Walser Automotive Group to partner with Tekion, a global company focused on building cloud applications for today’s modern dealership. No stranger to awards themselves, Tekion’s accolades have included: Forbes 2022 America’s Best Startup Employers, 2022 Game Changer Award from Innovation Tri Valley Leadership Group, Automotive News 2021 PACE Award Finalist, and Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Honoree for User Experience in 2019.
When these two award-winning organizations came together to improve operational efficiency, increase volume, and strengthen customer service by implementing Lyft’s rideshare solutions, it was a natural fit.
There are a lot of moving parts to managing operations within an automotive dealership. From checking in customers and advising on maintenance to creating invoices and arranging for transportation to and from a dealership, staff often needs to switch between multiple departments and systems in order to complete a single customer journey. With such a complicated and diverse workstream, it’s easy to get lost in the process and experience unnecessary delays.
“We’re all about collapsing time. We can collapse time for our customers and our employees. It is of prime importance to us to do both,” said Lindsey Trett, Director of Service Process and Implementation for fixed operations at Walser Automotive Group. “We are constantly challenging ourselves to be better.”
When you consider traditional customer transportation modes often used at dealerships—shuttles and service valets—you’re also tasked with saving time, money, and employee resources. With shuttles, there are insurance and maintenance costs, scheduling issues, and more. With concierge valet services, you’re taking employees out of their daily operational roles and putting them in the role of drivers.
“Whether it’s from the front of the house, the back of the house, the greeting of the customers, pushing the vehicles back to the technicians, or washing the vehicles for them, those things have to happen so strategically, it’s how we plan our day. It’s how we prepare for our appointment flow,” said Trett. “When a support role is taken out of the store, it’s like patching a hole in a raft, only to realize you’ve got a leak somewhere else.”
Walser Buick GMC Bloomington knew that for at least the shuttle and valet transportation parts of their operations, there was a better solution. “When Lyft came into the fold as an option, we saw an opportunity to collapse time for our customers and for our employees,” continued Trett. “We had to be smarter, and Lyft was the smarter choice. Anything that can save time for our customers, in our opinion, is worth it.”
“The business relationship from Tekion to Lyft to Walser was seamless and we didn’t have to worry about additional third parties. Lyft [provides access to] customer rides and Tekion created all-encompassing, user-friendly software for customers and our teams. Streamlining our process and toolset was key. ”
— Lindsey Trett
Director of Service Process and Implementation for fixed operations at Walser Automotive Group
With Lyft rideshare replacing shuttles and streamlining transportation services, Walser Buick GMC Bloomington was left to tackle lost time in operations. Enter Tekion’s flagship, Automotive Retail Cloud (ARC): an end-to-end retail automotive platform that seamlessly connects an entire dealer’s business.
“Tekion’s mission is to build the world's best applications on the cloud,” said Marylou Hastert, Senior Director of Marketing at Tekion. “Lyft helps us deliver on this mission by enabling us to provide the best user experience to consumers, while also helping us simplify dealer operations.”
“Tekion worked with us directly. They were so helpful in making their design match what our journey and customer concept needed to be,” shared Trett. “They partner directly with Lyft, there’s no middle technology. So it was just that one-to-one connection, which means it's faster and it's more cost-effective.”
Because Lyft Concierge is easily integrated with Tekion’s ARC via Automotive Partner Cloud (APC), Tekion’s seamless and secure data sharing platform, dealerships can request a ride directly using the platform—or send a link to their customer, allowing the customer to request a ride on their own. With no third-party integration involved, once a ride is requested, dealerships can continue with the rest of their operations as usual.
The partnership between Tekion and Walser Buick GMC Bloomington began in February 2021. Switching dealer management systems (DMS) is a large undertaking for a dealership, and Walser Buick GMC Bloomington knew they would need to find just the right partner to maintain a customer database for a million records, streamline their operation flow, and improve the customer journey.
“We were in an outdated, old system that needed to be changed and Tekion brought something new, fresh, and progressive to the table,” added Trett. “It was hard not to have a deep discussion of futuristic relationships with them, because they really matched our way of thinking.”
With Lyft Concierge integrated into Tekion’s ARC, there are a couple of ways to request rides: Customers can request a ride when they book their service appointment online, over the phone, or via a dealership employee once they have arrived for their appointment.
If scheduling online, customers can select the Lyft option, creating a note on the ticket so the advisor who greets them will know to confirm their final destination and request a ride. The customer can also request a ride via phone with a designated agent, who will document the request with a specific transportation code so it is flagged within the system.
For return trips once their vehicle has been serviced, customers can either request agents when they are at the dealership for drop-off using Schedule ride option or they can request a flexible ride link that can be booked for 7 days in advance and valid for 24 hours so they can book themselves. “We can give them a link [to a flexible ride] so they can do it in one fell swoop,” shared Trett. “It’s important because then they don’t have to reach out. Our goal is to [request] them their ride back when they’re at the dealership for the first time so we don’t have to have a follow up conversation. The ride is hailed very seamlessly.”
The process is extremely user-friendly for both customers and employees. “The customers love how easy it is. They don’t have to ask a lot of questions. And it’s also employee friendly. We are happy with just how easy it is and how fast we were able to implement it.”
“Because of APC there is no third-party involvement so dealerships don’t have to switch from one platform or one tool to another tool,” said Priyanka Sharma, Product Manager at Tekion. “We have built a Lyft platform within the Tekion ARC application, and dealerships can [request] rides and continue with operations.”
“What’s cool about it is that the customers aren’t required to download the Lyft app to get the Lyft ride,” added Trett. “It’s all browser-based, and that is a selling point. They feel comfortable. I tell them you’re just going to get a link right to your phone via text message with the phone number on file that you’ve already agreed to message with, and here’s where you’ll see your driver, you’ll see the information.”
Tekion’s platform also allows dealerships to customize ride parameters and permissions. “We use the mileage restrictions and cost restrictions,” said Trett. “We have guidelines that we follow to ensure that it is something that can be utilized by everybody to the best of our ability in our market. So we normally go within 10 to 15 miles of the store to and from and then we’ll pay up to a certain dollar amount each time.”
And expense management is a breeze. “Tekion offers the entire DMS,” continued Sharma. “One of the advantages of Tekion with the Lyft integration is that dealerships can pass on the charges on the entire repair order and those charges can be added, either as a fee or under the warranty, and they can monitor it after each repair order level. Historically, the integration has been through a third-party tool that does not have the entire clarity on the repair order side.”
“Integrating Lyft Concierge helps us surprise and delight dealerships, because they are able to provide more best-in-class experiences and options for the consumer, which is ultimately what today’s consumer is looking for,” added Hastert. “We also simplify processes from a dealer operation side, and provide cost savings.”
TOP BENEFITS INCLUDE
Walser Buick GMC Bloomington sees about 45-50 people a day at their service department. From July 2021 to April 2022, they arranged 8,000 to 10,000 Lyft rides for their customers across a few of their locations in the metropolitan area of Minneapolis. When Tekion entered the picture in September of 2021, their cloud system revolutionized the Walser Buick GMC dealership’s workload.
“We’ve saved probably 2-3 hours a day, just in coordinating who’s where and what’s what. For us to have the ride integrated within a repair order, [lots of] time is saved.” —Lindsey Trett, Director of Service Process and Implementation for fixed operations at Walser Automotive Group
Innovative (and profitable) technology
Implementing Tekion’s ARC offers Walser Buick GMC Bloomington a cutting-edge platform to optimize operations and succeed in a crowded marketplace.
“Dealerships are in a very competitive market and things are changing very rapidly. We ensure they're able to sustain their business and actually compete and win by delivering next gen technology. We're in partnership with them and enable them to sell and service more vehicles.” —Marylou Hastert, Senior Director of Marketing at Tekion
Better customer experience
The traditional model of shuttles and/or loaners leaves a lot to be desired. Dealership customers are often at the mercy of drivers’ inconvenient schedules, and forced to participate in a ride that lacks a personal touch and 1:1 connection.
“Ultimately, dealerships are serving customers, and they need to make sure they are providing a smooth and convenient experience. Lyft is a very reliable option given that the rides can be on-demand or flexible. And even if a nearby ride is not available, they have the option to look for others.” —Priyanka Sharma, Product Manager at Tekion
Reduced cost, increased level of service
Integrated systems from Tekion and a worry-free transportation network from Lyft not only reduced costs, it enabled employees to better support each other, improve operations, and assist customers.
“On average, the customer Lyft Trip (shuttle service) cost was reduced by $10.75 per trip. But more importantly, kept dealership employees on-site to assist in the high volume of customers needing service.” —Lindsey Trett, Director of Service Process and Implementation for fixed operations at Walser Automotive Group
“Our relationship with Tekion is fantastic in the sense that they are willing to do whatever it takes to make our mission and our customer concept journey happen,” said Trett. “They also really care about how they integrate their design for our employees. So it’s not only to serve the customer, but to make sure that the employees have the best experience possible. Because it starts with the people first, the technology comes later. People are your foundation: what they need, how they solve their problems through their day, how they serve the population of our customers. Then the technology can come, but people, process, technology and in that order.
“And Tekion was able to match those expectations and it’s an ongoing relationship with fixing this or creating this. It’s a lot of creativity, a lot of putting our ideas on the table to see what makes sense and what does not. What worked, what isn’t working, and Lyft was a part of that. That was an evolution. That was something we had to build together, but everyone wanted the same goal, wanted the same outcome.”
Tekion plans to continue to innovate on their offerings for partners. “We have plans to integrate on the retail side where customers going for test drives can use Lyft,” said Sharma. “On the CRM side, we also have plans to utilize Lyft in other areas.”
Whatever the next step, Lyft plans to be there for the ride with Tekion and Walser Automotive Group. “Tekion is an active relationship and we’re hoping to see it continue to grow,” said Trett. “No other group has held a candle to Lyft in regard to ridesharing innovation for a dealership.”
Certain statements contained in this case study are “forward-looking statements” of Lyft within the meaning of the securities laws, including statements about Lyft's integration with Tekion’s Automotive Retail Cloud. Such statements, which are not of historical fact, involve estimates, assumptions, judgments and uncertainties. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those addressed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors are detailed in Lyft’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not undertake an obligation to update our forward-looking statements to reflect future events, except as required by applicable law.
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