Tag Archive | "CoVideo"

DeLong Named VP of Covideo

NORCROSS, Ga. — April 6, 2017 — Covideo (a division of EasyCare) has appointed Mike DeLong to the position of Vice President, heading the company’s Dealer Services division. DeLong is a 30-year industry veteran who has been with Covideo since 2007.

“Mike has been critical to our success and growth over the last ten years,” said Jason Price, president of Covideo. “His experience in the automotive industry made him the best person to build the foundation for our automotive business development process. Mike’s new role will allow him to focus on corporate initiatives that will drive strong solutions for our dealers and long-term growth for our company.”

DeLong joined the company upon the sale of Nissan of Hickory (N.C.), where he served as operating partner. It was there that DeLong was first introduced to the Covideo platform, which is designed to help dealers easily create and distribute personalized videos for sales prospects. Prior to buying into Nissan of Hickory, DeLong spent 15 years as general manager of Brighton (Mich.) Ford.

“Covideo is the only form of video e mail that allows all areas of the dealership to engage with their customers on an extremely personal level. This is more important in today’s environment than ever before,” DeLong said. “My new role as vice president will enable me to focus on identifying additional dealership groups and other companies engaged in the automotive business who realize the power of personal video and who want to realize the same success our current customers have had in driving profits thru video engagement.”

For more information about the company, visit Covideo.com/Automotive.

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An Interview with Larry Dorfman

For Larry Dorfman, chairman and CEO of EasyCare, everything started in the 1980s, with the desire to help people have a better automobile ownership experience. The company was created because Dorfman hated getting his car serviced – he hated the process of it, and thought a third party could help. So service contracts just made sense to him. The EasyCare brand was purchased in 1987, and they began using the name nationally in the early 1990s.

“A consumer buying a car is spending a lot of money,” noted Dorfman. “It’s one of the biggest purchases they make, and it ought to be fun, and something they enjoy doing. We want to change the perception and reality of interaction between the customer and dealer.”

That desire to create a better experience is what still drives EasyCare today. The company places an emphasis on training its dealers on how to create the kind of atmosphere customers want to participate in. “The person buying the car should have a great time, and help the dealer make money,” Dorfman said. “Any other item you can buy anywhere is marked up – the dealer is entitled to make money, and customers understand that. So if they love the car, and they feel like they were treated well, then they feel like they got a great deal, and they’re happy.”

Dorfman sees agents as a key element in that strategy. The company currently works with 14 agencies around the country, with the “youngest” working with the company since 1999. However, in the near future, he noted, EasyCare is planning to open up new territories where their products aren’t currently represented. His strategy was, and remains, to find a single agent in each territory, offering them exclusivity. He prefers to build the company slowly over time with those relationships, rather than flood the market.

“In my opinion when two agents have the same product and are calling on a dealer, it lowers the value and integrity of the product,” Dorfman said. “So we stayed reasonably sized and are doing pretty well. Could we have been bigger by putting multiple agents in the same territory? Yeah, sure we could, but I was the ‘traffic light’ on that one. From a branding image perspective, we want to have one person in an area offering it at a high value.”

What is he looking for when it comes to new agents and new territories? “We look for people who are interested in developing the business while remaining focused on the dealer and consumer experience,” he explained. “We take a structured, holistic approach to the dealer. Most dealers have six product/volume centers, and we try to generate profit for them in every one of those, and the agents participate with us.”

Dorfman has focused on one area in particular, where both his dealers and agents are seeing benefits – the service drive. “That’s a tool most providers don’t offer,” he said. “We spent hours in service drives when we started, offering service contracts to customers. We faced challenges in the beginning, but our processes are working extremely well today because it’s a win for the dealer and the consumer. And agents are participating, and getting paid for it.”

Video is a big part of that strategy to help build the service drive as well. Covideo by EasyCare is used by dealerships to do more than just call a consumer and tell them “we found a problem.” Dorfman noted that using the service to connect with that customer, and then show them the problem, has done wonders for all aspects of the dealerships he works with.

“In that ‘we found a problem’ call to the consumer, the first thing they ask is ‘are you sure’ and the second is ‘what does it mean?’ Now a service manager can even use their cell phone to create a personalized Covideo showing the customer what needs to be repaired via e-mail or video text, then follows up with a call after that. The average closing on the call jumped from 44% to 81% just using Covideo. It’s believable, and builds trust,” Dorfman noted. And that trust, he has found, extends beyond the service department. His agents have reported that offering this service has gotten their foot in the door with new dealers, which then leads to the “what else do you have” conversation.

“What if you can go in and increase their service business by $20,000 per month at the average dealer?” asked Dorfman. “What if you can then help them close more Internet sales? We believe you can’t ask for more from a relationship than the time and effort you put into it, so we have developed a lot of value-added options we can bring to dealers and agents. We’re not trying to just get their business; we want to bring something different and unique to the relationship.”

Another area he believes is key is compliance, especially around finance plans. He believes that reserves are going to start to decline – they won’t disappear, and it won’t happen overnight, but he does believe they will flatten out, and stay that way. The key, he noted, and what agents need to be helping educate dealers about, is to make financing through the dealership the method that makes the most financial sense for the consumer.

“But when we try to make our money on reserve, we lose all the confidence when the bank calls [the consumer] and says they could have financed for two points less. We’re not making them trust us,” said Dorfman. “Now compare that to a customer who buys products such as key replacement, GAP, service contract, etc., and sees the value propositions. I see no value in reserve other than to pump up the bottom line; making a half point or a point on finance is fair, but making $400-$800 on a reserve did not add value to a customer’s purchase and leaves us open to possible discrimination. Even though tiered rates and pricing is not an issue related to race, sexual preference, etc., and has to do with their credit rating, the variable makes us look bad. This is why it’s going to go away, and anyone working with dealers needs to teach them to focus on value-added benefits.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer experience. Dorfman believes that technology and changing consumer needs will have a strong impact on dealers, with those who find ways to balance the new with the traditional are setting themselves up for success far into the future.

“I think there will always be traditional dealers, and that’s not bad,” Dorfman said. “But as more new customers come to the market, they want to get in and out; part of doing business will be how smoothly you can make the transaction. It has to feel like going to an Apple store, where anyone can take care of you. It is a totally different experience than car buying, and those dealers who are able to create a personal connection while rolling out new technologies will have an advantage. In the next 2-3 years, I believe the whole finance department is going to change. There are consumers who want to spend dollars in the finance office, but we need to get better about building the value and letting them select the products.”

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EasyCare and PureCars Partner to Create a Communication Experience

ATLANTA – EasyCare® and PureCars™ announce joining forces to help provide a more effective way for consumers to receive complete information on vehicles they are considering.

EasyCare CoVideo now enables dealers to automatically deliver customized and personalized video messages bundled with comprehensive PureCars Value Reports to consumers inquiring about pre-owned vehicles online. The consumer will receive a CoVideo message from a manager along with a comprehensive PureCars Value Report on their vehicle of interest.

The PureCars Value Report showcases the vehicle’s value drivers such as below market price, certification, accident and ownership history of the car, truck, or SUV, a listing of all options with photos, a pricing and value comparison of similar vehicles currently for sale in the local market, as well as historical value and price data on vehicles that have recently sold.

Jeremy Anspach, President of PureCars said, “We’re proud to have EasyCare and their CoVideo application as an integrated partner. With our two technologies working seamlessly together, a bond between the customer and the dealer will be established before they even visit the dealer’s lot.”

Larry Dorfman, CEO of EasyCare added, “The main driver of this partnership between EasyCare and PureCars is our commitment to provide a better buying experience for shoppers at EasyCare dealerships. The customized and personalized EasyCare CoVideo message, combined with comprehensive PureCars Value Reports, will give EasyCare dealers a competitive advantage during the most critical step of the car shopping phase, when customers are making their first contact with a dealership.”

EasyCare and PureCars aim to extend this alliance in ways that will further develop customer confidence when shopping for pre-owned vehicles.

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EasyCare Acquires CoVideo, Offers Dealers Video E-mail Tool

ATLANTA and WEST LAFAYETTE — EasyCare recently acquired CoVideo, a technology company that offers a proprietary format for streaming video e-mail. Dealers can use this technology to facilitate personalized, effective communications with current and prospective customers.

CoVideo utilizes video technology that leapfrogs existing video e-mail programs in ease of use, for both the sender and recipient, reported F&I and Showroom.

“When customers are sent a video e-mail message, it makes an impression because of the face-to-face interaction and emotion conveyed by a ’real’ person,” says Jennifer Silverberg, vice president of marketing and customer experience for EasyCare. “This helps strengthen the bond between the sales or service person at the dealership and the customer even before they ever walk into the dealership, because the customer feels they have already ‘met’. This process has proven especially effective on getting results on Internet leads.”

“CoVideo has developed an application that takes interpersonal communication with the customer to a new level. Whether it is communicating with customers in the dealer’s current database, responding to an Internet request, campaigning for new opportunities in service or sales, or giving the dealer or managers the ability to personally communicate with each other internally, the CoVideo process ‘touches’ the consumer differently and creates a bond that is stronger than any other we have seen,” said Larry Dorfman, chairman/CEO of EasyCare. “Also, it has created a much better way for us to communicate within our almost 600-person organization and the nearly 2,000 dealers we support with EasyCare benefits and services.”

“Over our six years in business we have worked with several dealerships and groups and gotten very strong results. We are excited to extend our reach significantly deeper into the automotive category as a part of EasyCare,” says Ed Mugg, CEO of CoVideo. “Dealers tell us that they count on EasyCare to bring them innovative solutions that differentiate their dealership and drive customer interest and loyalty, and we’re excited to add CoVideo to the EasyCare package of benefits.”

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