Jason's older brother, Nick Savino, joins the podcast as a guest. Nick is the Fixed Operations Director of the All American Auto Mall in Old Bridge. He's in charge of the Ford, Subaru, Isuzu and Jerr-Dan Service, Parts & building operations in Old Bridge, NJ. Nick talks about the current landscape of automotive service, why he obviously recommends dealership service over 3rd party shops and gets into what makes our service center great. Some of those things include transparency with our texting & video tool, pricing, certifications, loaner fleet, Ford Mobile Service Van and of course the people who work here.
Hey everyone, I'm Jason Savino, the Marketing Director for the All American Auto Group and this is the All American Auto Mall in Old Bridge Updates podcast, this is episode number 49. And I have my brother here as a guest. He is our fixed ops director Nick Savino. So welcome to my podcast first time you're on it. But that's my fault. I don't think I've asked you. Thank you first time. So let's start with your history. Obviously, I know that the listeners do not start out on Long Island, talk about kind of your first position at the dealership that our father had on Long Island.Nick Savino:
So I started in the car business washing cars as a carwash when I was in high school. And I moved up in a year or so to LA. And then a couple years after that, I went to college, I stayed home for college. Unlike my two brothers who went away to University of Scranton, University of Maryland, I went to University of St. John's, I felt the need to stay home and help the family business while my brothers went out partied. So I worked through college as a night shift. service advisor at the time at the dealership in New York, we had a service department that was open till midnight. So I went to college all day, and then went to work for a couple hours. So midnight, per Monday to Thursday and work all day Saturday. So I worked up through the business as a service advisor and then I eventually became the service manager once I graduated college and got an opportunity on Long Island, and then continued the same career path must be moved to New Jersey. So when we moved here to New Jersey, you were the service manager, or did you start I was the service manager, I guess I didn't really know a whole lot about parts at that point. I was back in 2010 I guess there were so when we moved here. So I quickly adopted to the parts department and then became the parts of service director and eventually fixed operations director. Because as glorious as that sounds, fixed operations director and the difference between that and a person service manager is I get to organize cleaning toilets and plumbing and electrical work and construction around the dealership all operations of the dealership. So that's what makes ops is because I've said that before it's part service. I'm an operations. Alright, soJason Savino:
I always tout us and I brag about us as an Auto Group for sure. Our service department here 100% is the number one Ford service department in New Jersey, probably in the northeast, one of my neighbors On the contrary, and you've done a fantastic job growing now what do you attribute? You've never said that before. Thank you. I have definitely but now it's on record. So it's okay.Nick Savino:
You see this? But what do you attribute that to? Obviously, you as a leader, fantastic. Being family owned and operated helps a lot. I tell that a lot. But what else do you attribute it to? So I'd like to tell you that I had some magical formula that worked. But realistically, when I started here and took over in 2010, we had two service advisors, there was no manager here and had 10 technicians have now grown it I have over 12 service advisors and over 50 technicians here and simple basic premise and of being a service department unlike any other so my life experiences young in the business growing up was seeing how customer if the customer came in had this perception of dealerships and how much how much time they take how much they suck how expensive they are. The biggest thing is how expensive dealerships are. And that's really a big misconception. Most people don't realize you go to Jiffy Lube, and everybody thinks it's a 30 minute oil change, and they pay $10 for it. Well, if you look at a Jiffy Lube bill at the end of it, it's $70 for an oil change, because they tack on this fee that fee This is that this is add the upsell like crazy. They're programmed as a corporation to do that. And the 30 minute oil changes never ever come to fruition. You can't physically do an oil change in under 30 minutes and a tire rotation and multipoint inspection where you're safely looking at the vehicle safety attributes. So people see the signs on Route nine over here 30 minute oil changes. It's just it's complete nonsense. And it's just the customers perceptions even customers that don't go there they drive by and like oh man 30 min oil change. That's how much I should expect. And it just doesn't work that way. We're not about that we're, we really I focus on making sure that our prices are incredibly competitive with everybody else. fair market value prices is what I tell everybody. You know, I made sure that we are not ever taking our experience our knowledge, our our tools, and most other not none other technicians have in this world. I'm not we're not taking that and adding that expensive cost to the customer. I want to make sure that we were a dealership that always always is fair market value with everything and realistic with customers. So I trained Everybody that has come to work for me to treat everybody as they want to be treated. Remember their bad experiences, like everybody has bad experiences, but electricians and contractors and plumbers and cable cable company, they tell you, you be there to pitch cable from eight to 12. And they turn around and they're like, they are shocked to you get no phone call, they come. And they're terrible human beings, I say that game company. But we just I try and put that philosophy to all of my people. And my biggest philosophy, I think that I could attribute to it is a happy employee makes her happy customer. So I treat everybody that comes to work for me as respectful and keep them as happy as possible to make sure that that transcends towards the customer, and they're happy. Yep. And one of the things I talk about a lot on my podcast is that we have one of the longest tenured management staffs in the industry that is rapid with turnover. And you know, you're no different. You have Patsy as a service manager. I mean, he's been here and what, what wasn't he from? Oh, he was from oasis. He's been working in this building for 19 years, he was one of those two service advisors, I mentioned that he started a sandwich. That's crazy. So that, you know, plays a huge part I talk about all the time with sales how you know, Joe had, he's been here forever, Mark Powell, some of these folks that a lot of them we've been kept from oasis. So I think that goes a long way with our super manager Micromax started off here in oasis. He's also been in this building for about 17 years. And he was a technician, Senior Master certified technician. And after the untimely death of our service manager, Bill Osborne A few years ago, Mike said, you know, I'd like to take an opportunity. And I interviewed him, like, I interviewed a whole number of other candidates, and he was the best man for the job. And I can't even say good enough stuff about him. You mean, he's fantastic. Another part that I think I as a marketing director us a lot in our advertising is our transparency, which is a big problem everywhere right now. But you know, customers complain about from our auto industry standpoint. So the transparency part of it, you know, you signed up for a vendor fairly recently that basically, it's a texting platform and video platform, so can't get more transparent than a technician or service advisor taking a video and sending it to a customer. So how do you think that has done for our service department over the past year, year and a half that we've had it really, so we've had it for about two years, and with the pandemic, we really kind of honed our skills with how we use it because it is from a business perspective, it's very difficult thing to get employees to be active and go do this. First of all, a lot of people unlike Jason, and I don't like to be in front of the camera. And it's it's changing the way that the service department is run and operate because of how how beneficial This is to customers in their eyes, you know, essentially real quick process of what happens is a service advisor technician gets a car pulls it up and lift service advisor goes out with a camera a phone, goes out there and walks around the car and says okay, hey, this is your brakes, they're good. These your tires are good, your battery checked, okay, but look, here's a oil leak coming from here. It's going to be X amount of dollars replaces oil pan, you know, just text me back on this after you watch this video, when you call me text me discuss it, what do you want to do, boom, send that video. And it is so convenient. And customers so appreciate because so many times, part of what I teach and part of what the perception of dealerships is, you know, you get a car, it's a $60,000 investment, you drive into a dealership, it's got all kinds of problems with it, it disappears from the customer review, it goes into the shop, they have no idea who's looking at it, what's happening with it. And then all of a sudden, somebody calls him and says you need $10,000 worth work. And it's you know, paying that and putting that kind of money into a vehicle. You know, it's not a, it's not a watch, it's not clothing, it's food that you can enjoy. It's nothing that you have tangible. So people are like, Oh, I gotta get to spend that much money on a car. But at least this adds some validity to what we're trying to say. And when we have to call a customer in unfortunate situations and say, Hey, this isn't covered under warranty, this could cost you $1,000 to repair. Take a look at this is what we're talking about. So customer doesn't just think you know, we're changing a light bulb for $1,000 because again, they don't see it, they don't understand it. Very, very few people in this world really understand the inner workings of automobiles, especially in this day and age. Everything is caused from mechanical wares carburetor and for spark plugs and you could take it with your fingers and replace easily. And now it's an entire electrical minefield of this relay that fuse this connector and this wire goes into this module that connects to this module in a spiderweb of just nice head sensors everywhere I walk in the shop sometimes it's crazy. So those big stands with like computers on them and they're plugged into the car and gone readings and cut off. It's like I would assume that a lot of the local mechanics not to put them down or anything but I'm sure they don't have a lot of that stuff and you know They're not certified to work on forts necessarily, they don't have Ford OEM parts necessarily. So I think that makes a big difference here to Well, that's how that's how our competitors, and these are what we call these little repair shops that they work on 100 different cars at any given car, a million different engine sizes, transmissions and all that stuff. They don't have any of the license equipment from Ford, because for being selling any of that stuff, we have hundreds of 1000s of dollars worth of equipment and helps us hone in on problems with the Ford vehicle. These other mechanics, they they go and they get a lot of non Ford parts. And it's how they're able to sometimes sell things at a blow they don't there is no more to any part that we put in at all American Ford comes with a two year unlimited mile warranty on part, because it's coming from Ford and Ford Motor Company, any dealership across the country, backseat, same warranty. So it's it's things like that, that a lot of customers don't perceive, you know, one of the other biggest things is, you know, foreign air engineers have a very specific guideline. So replacing something, for example, you replace a water pump, and an explorer and a 20. You know, 2018 core, it's got hardware, it's called one time use hardware, that's a nut or a bolt that once you take off for demand, engineers say it is extremely dangerous. If you ever put that same bolt back on, you have to replace it. So in a water pump job like that, it adds two $300 a cost worth of gaskets, hardware that for it and not just for the federal government also mandates certain safety criteria. So when you go to a mom and pop shop, we're like a Jiffy Lube. And they get a non Ford water pump from down the block. That's a couple bucks cheaper and it's only a couple bucks. It's never significant. Yeah. And they don't have any idea about this one time use hardware. It's two $300 less, but you're driving around with a safe and unreliable vehicle. And you don't want to put a couple $100 into a car at that kind of expense and have your family or your kids and yourself in danger because one of those bolts pops out and the water pump comes out and if engine overheats, and now you have to buy an engine if by transmission, there's probably damage on your car. It's it's stuff like that, that I try and teach my team and my staff to really try and educate customers to the best of their ability. Now it makes sense. Let's move on to our Ford mobile service fan. So we were I talked about a lot on the podcast, we were a pilot program. A pilot dealership, there's only five in the country initially selected. Ford Motor Company came out here we you know, I've talked about before that we did a video at my house, I believe I borrowed one of your dogs do you use in your video? Yes, so. So I'm talking about Ford mobile service van, the process behind it and what it can do, because I think when I talk about it, and I get questions on it, people assume that it could only be for oil changes. But really it's oil changes tire rotation, you know, recalls event. So talk a little bit about that. The biggest thing that we try and do is we try in this day and age where Amazon, you order a package and sometimes later in the afternoon or the next day that package is at someone's house. So people want instant, people don't want to leave their house for certain things. So this mobile van, we were on the cutting edge frontline, we were one of a very, very small handful of dealers that got this as a pilot program. And we kind of wrote the rulebook on what to do and what not to do. There's a perception that this is a money making, then it is not a money making band, we don't make money in this van, this is more of a customer retention tool. So what it's designed for and a marketing tool, I use it, I mean, it's so powerful. What we use this for is, you know, when we get backed up and shop and is a long wait for an appointment, you know, what we try to do is we hook them up with mobile service meant that they'll come to the house and do a quick oil change tire rotation recalls, they can make minor repairs on things. The van is ridiculously expensive, and it has all kinds of tools and equipment in there for almost every scenario. And one of the biggest things that we do the recalls on cars. You know, I am not naive to the fact that when a recall comes out, well yes, the customer does have to pay for that. People generally have to take a day off of work, have to come in on a day off, coming for an appointment, get a repo taken care of against the same scenario where it's not hat gloves, you don't get anything from it's not a recall, we get chocolate bar at the end like we do that. I mean, that would be up to our market. So it's just one of those things where we send them out to our house. Customers stay inside there's no contact and they just go away. They're not going to do this say hello, and to the nicest kids Max and pat the entire world and they just turn around and they do everything they had to do in the driveway or in the street real quick and excellent customer has done saves him so much time and energy and effort from coming to a dealership. Again, it's kind of worked out. Yep, no, definitely. If you look at our reviews, especially our service reviews, the biggest things are what we touched on. It's the fourth for mobile service fans. And is that true? parents say they love the hex and they love the video platform. So we have never gotten a single complaint about the service. And every survey we've gotten, it's never been anything less than 100%. Because people just love it. It's I mean, unmatched convenience, and you still don't see a lot of Ford dealerships adopting it. But it's because of what Nick said, it's very expensive, the oven investment, and it's not going to make you a ton of money. It's it's, it's customer attention from a family or an operated dealership like us, that's more important than making that quick buck on a on a quick oil change. Just to kind of wrap it up now. Talk a little bit about the loaner service situation right now, even the part situation how the pandemic and production issues right now has kind of slowed stuff down, and kind of what you want customers to know if they're kind of unaware of what's actually happening here. So essentially, we have always prided ourselves, we've been the number one dealerships in northeast with the most loaner cars on the supersize Ford side for a while for a while we've had well over 150 vehicles here. And sometimes customers are surprised when they call us and we say, hey, two weeks for a loaner car appointment. So what we do in is, there are so many emergency situations that come up. And honestly, the other dealerships in our area, are quite terrible when it comes to assisting customers. They don't offer loaner cars if you don't buy the car from us, from them. So you know, we give car cars, everybody, you need wiper blades on the car, for some reason you got to get out before we can put wiper blades on, we give you a loaner car and they'll charge. You know, if you didn't buy the car from us, it doesn't matter when you make a reservation for longer or if you're an emergency situation. So what we do is we keep a small number of loaner cards each day for just those situations customer comes in, you know, it's just this morning downstairs. We had a woman come in with a young child and her vehicles overheating. It was 1998 I think Taurus, Wang and Ollie and she came in and she's like I you know, I didn't buy a car from you. I'm on vacation. You know, I'm from New Jersey, I don't know what to do a meeting my family down the beach. And we just took her no questions asked, I had an extra loaner car. So put her on a loaner car and send her on her way so she could continue on vacation. But she mentioned to me What stands out at what point I'm getting to here is that she called three other dealerships in the area and nobody would help her. They all said, we'll take you for two weeks. And then I make a lot of cars. And it's like, how do you tell somebody that kind of situation, you know, but that's sometimes Why then a customer calls up and if they need a loaner car for you know, they have a noise concern inside the car, or weatherstripping hanging down. And we tell me this will put you on a list for loaner car for a week or so. And you know, sometimes most of the time most of our customers understand and again, they wait for our proceed service. But there's, there's a whole mantra of well just take a car off the lot, you know, just any new car over there, grab a plate put on the back, man. And so if people say, for accounting reasons, insurance reasons, legal reasons, we can see a million different a million different reasons. So not to mention right now there's zero vehicles. So our biggest issue is, once this pandemic started, we have no new cars whatsoever, we took a lot of our loaner cars when and we took them out of service to try and sell them to our customers as new vehicles and use vehicles. So we had to go the auctions and get as many use vehicles as we could. So once we get these usually it goes from put into the shop and a rigorous 169 point inspection to certify the vehicle as if it was a US certified vehicle. So new tires, new brakes, everything new on that car, and now we've taken those and use them as used cars. But even that is dwindling down. And because we're taking more and more cars out and we have nothing not even use cars to replace. So now we're even shorter on the cars. So we just try and do the best we can to get vehicles in and out this and all last month or this month, we have technicians that, you know, I will pay a little bit extra money to each night to stay till eight o'clock. And some of the younger kids and the younger guys and you know they'll stay I feed them I give them a couple extra bucks in their pocket. And I stay in there try and get as much work done as possible because of this growing list of customers that that that need our help, and they need to get the vehicles in. And I think the majority of customers starting to understand I mean with new car inventory, I see the reviews. I see the comments on social media, they're starting to get it that I mean, there's some smaller Ford dealerships around us that literally have zero explore zero quantities on the ground. So of course they're not going to have basically any loners. So I mean, our size gives us that advantage at all times, especially now and I think people are starting to get it. But you know, everything you said is perfect as terms of what we do for our customers. And, you know, we do take care of our customers. But like we said, we'll take on anybody. We're family owned and operated. We're here for the long haul. We want people yeah, we want happy customers over that quick bother. It's always kind of been our mantra. So that's fantastic. Anything else you want to say closing remarks. Otherwise, wrap up the episode.Jason Savino:
How many episodes deep Are you in? 4949 How many have I been in so far? This is number one. I'm glad that you made it in before 50 you're in a very exclusive group I've only had a few guests actually two of your service advisors have been guests before they have been fantastic. Broke on the Ford side was amazing. And Lawrence on the Subaru side both service advisor for their incredible both amazing employees both have been here for a while. But are you doing anything special for 50th episode? I had a surprise guest come in. I had you on to lead up to that. So you should you should feel honored by that. But I feel like this is the last episode that's on my watch if you now start advertising 50 knowing that this is coming to the extravaganza 50th episode, as well. I appreciate it. Thanks, Nick. have you back on and thanks, everybody, and I'll be back next week.Unknown: