Joe Shaker, Co-founder
Joe Shaker, the owner of six car dealerships and one automobile repair shop, has been chasing numbers all his life. While working all aspects of the business and operating several dealerships, he had to closely monitor and work toward improving figures such as client retention rate, loyalty, customer satisfaction, and revenue numbers. In doing so, Shaker admittedly “lost sight” of the factor that dictates the growth of each metric—trust. “Had I focused on building trust—between customers, advisors, and technicians— rather than chasing numbers, the metrics would have risen by default,” he says. The realization dawned on Shaker when he interviewed his most loyal customers, many of whom had serviced their cars with him for years, “I asked them all the same question: ‘when you spent thousands at my dealership or auto garage, did you ever have doubts about needing the repair?’ The answer was a resounding ‘yes.’”
From those conversations, Shaker deduced that the “lack of trust” didn’t stem from the quality of service provided by technicians or prices quoted by the dealership—rather that they couldn’t see or understand why an air filter or transmission fluid needed to be changed,” explains Shaker, while highlighting the predicament faced by every car owner that leaves their vehicle, “Most don’t know if the repairs are necessary.”
When smartphones evolved to the point where video communication and live streaming services were commonplace, Shaker saw value in giving customers firsthand access to the work uncovered on their vehicles. By early 2015, Shaker teamed up with Douglas Chrystall—a renowned technologist—and conceived the idea for TruVideo.
After developing the software, Shaker tested its functionality across 50 dealerships and sought the opinion of over 500 technicians and service advisors. “We dedicated 18 months on testing to ensure the product was topnotch,” says Shaker, a member of two NADA 20 Groups.
Today, TruVideo’s award-winning video and texting platform is a must-have for dealerships and repair shops across the country. The platform includes solutions for services, sales and condition reporting, including texting and mobile payment tools. While the services app allows repair shops to record and send custom videos to customers, the new car sales app enables dealerships to respond to a customer inquiry on a pre-owned vehicle through a personalized video. Meanwhile, dealerships can avail the vehicle condition reporting app to record a walkaround video of every vehicle that enters or leaves their premises. This way, dealerships can present time-stamped videos showing the wear-and-tear on the vehicle when it arrived on the lot and the condition when it was returned to the customer.
Along with the videos, TruVideo is a comprehensive two-way texting platform that allows customers to quickly receive answers to any queries about their vehicle. An omni-channel platform, TruVideo opens all communications with customers through videos that are baked in with call-to-action links and instant messaging modules.
Another key benefit of TruVideo is the increased trust between technicians and advisors. Shaker explains, “While technicians feel their recommendations are watered down by advisors, the latter feels technicians oversell on products/ services. Now, since technicians can directly connect with customers, there is a lot of transparency.” Besides fostering trust among various stakeholders, TruVideo provides CRM-like functionalities for auto dealerships and repair shops, helping them streamline their internal functions. For example, every time a customer watches a video, a notification is sent to the advisor at the auto dealership. Additionally, dealerships can track all the conversations between customers, advisors, and technicians.
There is little debating the unlimited benefits of TruVideo. Just take the example of a dealership that was doing $120 in labor per repair order before switching to TruVideo. Within 30 days, the dealership was doing $200 per repair order as part of 700 customer-pay monthly ROs. Shaker reveals, “They are doing $56,000 in additional revenue per month without acquiring any new customers! Also, their customer satisfaction rate is up significantly.”
These are exciting times for the Massachusetts-based auto dealership communication solution provider. This Fall, TruVideo will launch a new feature to their app that will allow customers to shoot a quick video—in the event that their car breaks down— and communicate directly with a list of service providers. “We do not just program software; we actually talk to customers, and that’s our biggest differentiator,” concludes Shaker. TruVideo is typically installed and trained in a service department in two-to-four weeks.