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Service Express Article

Service Express

Steve Risso, President of Teddy Nissan in Bronx, New York, admits he was "a little skeptical" when he first learned about Nissan Express Service. But he soon changed his mind after at-tending the Nissan Express Service workshop. "After I saw all of the facts, I was impressed," says Steve. In fact, he says the Express Service program, which the dealership started in March 2011, has been very successful. "I am completely satisfied with it."

In particular, Steve is excited that Nissan Express Service addresses the service needs of the dealership's large base of new customers that comprise half of his business. "The biggest improvement that Express Service has done for our business is it has given us a tool for handling our two and three-year old and newer customers by getting them in and out quickly and making a positive impression." In addition, this has helped the dealership increase its average Parts and Labor dollars per Repair Order. And, the program is helping build trust and loyalty with Teddy Nissan owners.

Express Service solves multiple problems

Steve Risso and CEO Ted Bessen opened Teddy Nissan a year and a half ago. Like other Nissan dealers it felt the pinch of competition from independent shops and chain after-market providers, which dot the same thoroughfare as the dealership. On top of that, the new dealership experienced bottlenecks in its service department when it came to oil changes and tire rotations. "We didn't have a process for getting them in and out quickly," says Steve. "It was having a lot of bad side effects. Customers were upset for waiting so long and probably not coming back. We didn't have a solution for it."

Within three months of starting Express Service, however, Teddy Nissan witnessed a significant turnaround in its service department. Offering Express Service has enabled the service department to perform oil changes and other light maintenance in less than 30 minutes and at a competitive price. "We used to have this process of first come first serve," says Service Manager Jamie Risso. "Now we separate oil changes from everything else and they like it."

As such, oil change requests have dramatically increased. "When we first started, we did eight cars a day; now we do 11 to 15 cars and on Saturdays we could do up to 18," says Jamie. Additionally, he says, the department's average Express ticket has jumped from $45 an hour at the start of the program to $60. He's aiming for $100 per Express Service ticket within a year. Jamie also says his shop advisors and technicians are enthusiastic about the program and motivated to grow the business. "They love it because I am putting a carrot in front of them to earn more money."

Getting started

Steve and Jamie say the Express Service program has worked well from day one. The dealership has worked easily through the challenges of starting a new program, including figuring out how to move high numbers of customers in and out in less than 30 minutes on Saturdays. "I am sure all dealers are asking what happens when you have 19 oil changes?'", says Jamie. Teddy Nissan resolved this issue by adding six technicians in the main shop on Saturdays in addition the Express lane to handle any overflow.

At the same time, Teddy Nissan's tight quarters in New York City proved problematic at first. "We are a small dealership in the city with no parking or a parking lot," says Jamie. Cars would often stack up waiting to exit. This meant placing the lift and parts cabinet in strategic locations to allow vehicles to enter and exit seamlessly. "Now cars go right on the lift and right out the door and boom it is less work all the way around," says Steve. "Customers are completely wowed and say 'I can't believe it is done already!' It has relieved a lot of pressure on my place."

Creating a brighter future Today

Customer retention is 35 percent at Teddy Nissan. "At one time it was about 20 percent, so we are on right track," says Jamie, adding that the department is constantly working to build retention. He hopes to add an additional Express Service station and team to handle the growing business. "Our price is competitive and we get them in and out. Why wouldn't they come to us? We are the engineers of their cars."

For those Nissan dealers who are still debating whether or not to start a Nissan Express Service program, Steve advises them to do an ROI analysis at the very least. "If 50 percent of your business is three years and newer, that means you have a logjam and/or an opportunity. What will you sell to customers who are three years and newer? Maybe brakes and tires but customers are only there for light maintenance." Ultimately, he concludes, "you need a mechanism to see customers quickly