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Dent Wizard Opens New Call Center


ST. LOUIS — Reconditioning and appearance protection provider Dent Wizard International recently moved its F&I division, customer service and claims management team to a new facility near the company’s headquarters there. The move was driven by the continued growth of Dent Wizard’s F&I business, officials said.

The new 3,800-square-foot call center, located just one mile from Dent Wizard’s headquarters, will accommodate all full-time employees who manage phone/online claims and customer inquiries for consumers as well as for Dent Wizard’s major partners, including dealer group and F&I insurance companies.

That team has tripled in four year, with the new space offering room for further growth, officials said.

With the move to the new call center, Dent Wizard has transition to a web-based communications service. The service, from NewVoiceMedia operating on a Salesforce Service Cloud platform, ensures that communications will not be interrupted in the event of a landline phone system failure at the call center.  It also allows Dent Wizard’s multilingual call center agents to work remotely, if necessary.

“We believe our industry-leading products and services are the best because they’re delivered and managed by our staff and techs, with minimal reliance on out-sourced people,” said Corey Schroeder, Dent Wizard’s director of F&I operations. “This investment in our team of dedicated, domestic employees is another example of our commitment to superior customer service and quality control.”

The new call center is located at 1801 Riverport Drive in Maryland Heights, Mo. For more, click here.

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Dent Wizard Hires Vice President of Customer Development


ST. LOUIS —  Paintless dent removal provider Dent Wizard International announced the hiring of Ryan Briggs to the newly created position of vice president of customer development. He will report Mike Black, the company’s senior vice president and COO.

Briggs will primarily focus on the Top 150 dealer groups, expanding the company’s relationships with those groups, particularly with Frontline Fast by Dent Wizard, a SMART reconditioning program. He will also be responsible for expanding services and programs with nontraditional resellers.

“Ryan has a proven track record for follow through and communication with customers and prospects, which are critical attributes for Dent Wizard’s superior customer service,” said Black. “His knowledge and passion for what we do will help our customers sell cars more quickly and for more money. He’ll be a valued partner to dealership groups that want to consolidate their recon services.”

Briggs brings more than a decade of professional experience to his role. He most recently served as national sales manager for DigitCut Systems, which specializes in installing automotive aftermarket products, including window tint and clear overlay paint protection film. He has a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Oklahoma.

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Dent Wizard Teams Up With F&I Express to Offer Digital Solution for Automotive Dealerships


Dent Wizard, the leading provider of automotive SMART (small to medium area repair techniques) reconditioning services and paintless dent repair (PDR), has joined F&I Express, the largest automotive F&I aftermarket product network.

“We have been looking forward to Dent Wizard’s integration with F&I Express,” said Brian Reed, President and CEO of F&I Express. “This digital solution supports F&I managers to accurately eRate and eContract F&I products and services instantly within a deal. It really simplifies the process and allows the F&I managers to focus on the customer’s deal, not the paperwork.”

“Dealers who provide the best customer experience will have a leg up in the marketplace and win the most deals,” said Lindsey Bird, Vice President of Aftersales for Dent Wizard. “In an increasingly competitive marketplace, we want to provide dealerships with every opportunity to improve their customer CSI. eContracting with F&I Express is just the beginning and we look forward to additional digital advancements with them in the new year.”

Currently, F&I Express is working with many auto retailers across the US to improve F&I processes. The company has aggregated a network of nearly 100 automotive aftermarket insurance providers in an online portal accessible by its dealers.

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Dent Wizard Adds Project Manager to Wheel Remanufacturing Team


St. LOUIS — Dent Wizard International has appointed Ben Ashby as project manager for the company’s growing wheel remanufacturing business.

In this newly-created role, Ashby will provide ongoing operational support and technical training for Dent Wizard’s wheel repair centers in St. Louis, Phoenix and New England. Ashby will work from Dent Wizard’s St. Louis headquarters, and report to Steve Carpenter, Dent Wizard’s director of operations.

Dent Wizard’s three wheel repair centers provide local, overnight services for the region’s auto dealerships, body shops and tire and wheel retailers, who otherwise are replacing alloy wheels with costly new wheels, or sending wheels out of town for service. The wheel repair centers’ route trucks make scheduled stops at auto repair operations in the region, or may be scheduled as needed through the dispatch service. Upon delivery to the Dent Wizard shop, a team of trained technicians goes to work to complete the repairs in the evening hours. In about 24 hours the wheels are delivered, repaired to factory specifications.

The wheel repair centers’ capabilities include refinishing, straightening, crack welding, powder coat finishing, CNC lathing, wheel polishing and custom coloring, a style trend that has grown in popularity in recent years. Various finishes of black, white and colors keyed to match a vehicle’s body paint are leading this trend. All repairs are done by Dent Wizard-trained technicians, and come with a lifetime workmanship guarantee.

Prior to joining Dent Wizard, Ashby worked for more than 10 years at B Auto Parts in the St. Louis area, where he managed all aspects of the business’s high-volume wheel refinishing shop.

“Dent Wizard has invested significant resources in equipment, facilities and trucks to launch our newest Wheel Repair Centers in St. Louis and New England,” Carpenter said. “But it requires smart, hard-working people to make it all work. Ben’s background and technical knowledge will be a tremendous asset to our new enterprise and our customers.”

“About 60% of new cars today have alloy wheels, and that number is expected to increase, so the industry will continue to see more alloy wheel repairs,” said Mike Black, Dent Wizard’s chief operating officer. “Ben has been on the front lines through this evolution in our industry, so we’re confident he will help Dent Wizard address this growing need for our customers.”

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Dent Wizard Launches Service Plan Covering Pre-Existing Dents


ST. LOUIS — Dent Wizard International has introduced Ding Shield Drive, an appearance service plan sold through dealership service drives and body shops that is designed to protect customers’ investments and enhance customer loyalty. The Ding Shield Drive service plan covers pre-existing dents, reports F&I and Showroom Magazine.

Ding Shield Drive’s coverage includes repairs for up to three pre-existing dings on vehicles up to five years old; unlimited PDR coverage for up to 84 months; unlimited number of dents and dings removed over the life of the contract without ever having to file an auto insurance claim or pay a deductible; one day rental coverage; plus, additional hail coverage over life of the contract.

“Selling a service plan like this opens up a whole new revenue opportunity for dealer service drives and body shops,” said Aaron Cooper, Dent Wizard’s national director of F&I. “The fact that it covers pre-existing dents makes it much easier to sell than competing service plans.”

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Selling Appearance Protection


As dealership reserve shrinks, the pressure is increasing on the F&I office to find other avenues to enhance and replenish overall profit margins. Shoring up dealers’ bottom line in F&I is more critical than ever before. Historically, the focus in F&I has been on big-ticket items, but as lease penetration reaches new highs and reserves shrink, ensuring that a balance of products are being offered could be the key to maximizing profit. Offering and being well versed in appearance protection products might be just what the doctor ordered to stay ahead in today’s changing market.

Andy Parvich, national sales director, Siskin, has found that dealers are often unaware of their lack of focus on appearance protection. He believes the job of a general agent is to make the importance of this clear to the dealer on a profit level. “You have to reopen their eyes sometimes. At the end of the day, appearance products are the products the customer will benefit from on a daily basis.”

Lease and Cash Customers

The recent growth in luxury vehicle leasing is having a positive impact on the sale of appearance products. The benefits appearance protection products offer are especially applicable to cash and lease customers. They can enhance customers’ trade in value by keeping the car looking new. They can also prevent the customer from being charged for minor damages at the end of a lease.

When dealing with lease customers, Stan Starnes, executive vice president, Dent Zone Companies Inc., recommends being proactive. “Ask the customer why they would want to live with a dent for the entire term of their lease and then get the covered repair fixed just before they trade the car in?” Instead of selling protection that works this way, Starnes recommends offering protection that the customer can take advantage of as soon as a dent occurs.

“They want a new and fresh looking car every day,” added Jerry Biller, president, Usbergo Inc., “So ask them, ‘Would you like to look at a dent for three years (until the end of the lease term) or get it fixed right away?’ If you can get dealers to focus on enhancing the customer’s ownership experience, F&I will be more profitable.”

Aaron Cooper, director of F&I, Dent Wizard International, agreed, “Why get a program that doesn’t benefit them until the end of the lease? Customers like that approach.”

The Appeal for Dealers and Customers

Biller recommends including appearance products as a part of the core offering in F&I. “You want the customer to consider these products first and not just present appearance protection as an afterthought.” Biller says it’s the relevance to the customer that makes them core products. “A dealer needs to make sure that they are offering ‘actual products’ in the finance office – and not just contracts.”

Jeff Phillips, account manager, XPEL Technologies Corp., sells a protective film that he says works everyday ­­– unlike some products, such as theft recovery, that customers may never see the benefit from. “As people keep cars longer, products that maintain the vehicle’s appearance not only result in greater profits when a car is eventually traded in, but also improve the entire ownership experience.”

Cooper sees appearance protection products not only as revenue generators, but also as tools for increasing customer retentions. “When we sell appearance products and the customer comes back to the dealership, it provides another opportunity for the dealer to provide a positive experience for the customer that will hopefully result in them being a repeat customer.”

Appearance protection products can also be sold after the vehicle sale. Offering appearance products in the service drive and when a customer files a claim can be a successful strategy that give customers something of immediate value.

Despite the added value of selling in the service drive, Cooper says the greatest success comes from a well trained F&I manager who is knowledgeable about both the products and the disclosures. The panel agreed, adding that while service drive selling is an option, the F&I office is the best fit for offering these products.

Appearance Protection and the Sales Department

By training the sales department about product options, they can be the first to expose a customer to appearance products. By pointing out areas in which a new vehicle is not protected and then reassuring the customer that the dealership can provide a solution, the sales department whets the customer’s appetite, so to speak. Then, when customers arrive in F&I they are more interested and receptive to hearing about the products.

Phillips says he has seen the most success when the dealer takes advantage of the downtime after the customer selects a car and the sales department does a soft sell presenting the products. “Often it is as simple as exposing the need for products earlier to the customer. Point out dents and dings on the customer’s trade-in when they first bring the vehicle in and let them know that those dents and dings will lower their trade-in value.”

Pavich agreed that there is an advantage to involving the sales department. “They need to know what the products are and what the coverage is. Sit down with the sales team and make sure they know the ins and outs of the products. Training them as well as F&I can make a big difference.”

Another way the sales team can facilitate the sale of F&I products is by giving the customer a live demo. “Make it fun,” says Pavich, “If the sales team can involve customers in a way that is fun, that’s great.”

“You can only present so many things,” added Starnes, “We talk about needs awareness. You have to develop this and set the stage. Our value proposition is, ‘You will get a dent. What will you do?’ You only have to get three dents and the product is paid for.” Starnes says their products “play well with others” and also do not require a lengthy presentation when it comes down to the array of products offered on the menu.

Menu Selling and Price

The placement of appearance protection on the menu is a factor worth considering. Pavich says that F&I managers are often trained to present service contracts first on a menu. However in his experience, Pavich says this can turn customers off. He recommends presenting appearance products first. “Appearance matters to everyone. Whether they are a Chevy buyer or a Mercedes buyer, people want their vehicle to look nice. It is a matter of opening their eyes and offering products at a reasonable price. When you do this, they will see the value in it.”

“It goes back to what is important to the dealer.” said Cooper, “Sit down with them, evaluate the customer base and decide if appearance protection should be a product that is presented third, sixth or higher on the menu.”

Pavich pointed out that pricing coverage right is a critical component when presenting product offerings. The customer’s monthly payment needs to be taken into consideration when offering appearance products. “It would be tough to bump a payment up $40 for someone with a lease for $199 per month. The payment increase for the product needs to fall in the $6 to $10 range.”

To Bundle or Not to Bundle

Cooper reports he has seen better penetration with bundled product presentations. “A customer can choose if they want to add products to a bundle. We see this as a better play for dealers, and what customers gravitate towards.”

Pavich, on the other hand, reports seeing huge success when products are sold individually. “What benefit is the customer getting with a bundle? Windshield is not going to cover full replacement, it is repair only. The benefit is going to be actual replacement. Some packages of dent protection only provide $250 of dent.”

In a few states, where contracts are now cancelable, bundling products may come with added risk, warned Pavich. He thinks other states may soon start following this practice. “Putting everything on one form could make the whole thing cancelable.”

Understanding and Explaining Coverage

Making sure the customers understand the limits of coverage as well as the F&I managers is very important. Starnes says someone could have a giant scratch keyed across the entire car door and assume it is covered if they weren’t fully informed of what the product covers when they purchased it.

Biller added that the F&I manager must explain what is included and excluded, and note the limitations, deductible, and out of pocket costs. “Paying attention to the benefits when presenting to a customer is important.”

“Lay out the exclusions,” recommends Cooper, “You don’t want something [incorrect] being said when the product is sold and it coming back to you later. If the car comes back with the customer having lots of issues, guess what? The F&I department is not going to sell the product anymore! It sounds like a no brainer but it goes back to getting the correct picture painted with the F&I manager of what is and isn’t covered. It’s critically important in that process.”

In the event that a customer did not understand the coverage and is obviously upset about something not being covered, Pavich suggests that in certain situations, it may be worth it to oblige the customer and eat the cost. “If we need to pay extra to keep that customer coming back and telling their friends, then it’s worth it.”

Making sure that all of a dealer’s F&I managers not only understand the coverage, but are on board and convinced of a product’s value, as well as it’s reliability and effectiveness is crucial. “There is always one F&I manager who sells everything except for one product.” says Phillips, “They have to be convinced that the product is not like ones they have seen in the past that were not quality products. For example, they may have seen a coating in the past that eventually yellowed or became hazy. They need to see and be convinced that the products they are selling are quality products. And we have to show them that they are top quality.”

Technology and Sales

As the push for electronic and digital training and presentations grows, the panel discussed how they are meeting these demands. Cooper emphasized that having cutting edge technology for presentations can make a big difference in capturing customers’ interest.

Biller agreed and expects the demand and appeal to continue to grow. He recommends making technology available to facilitate the process of selling appearance protection products. He believes technology can also offer a means for including the sales department in the process, “If the sales department is part of the process, are they given tools, such as a mobile app, to present products?”.

Taking advantage of the latest advancements technology has to offer is a must as everything becomes more digital, says Starnes. In response, his team, as well as other appearance protection companies, are investing in digital training modules and iPad presentations. “More and more, our clients are leaning towards electronics and are asking for technology.”

Technology can also be used to provide frequent and effective training in the actual application of products. This method is especially valuable in light of the high turnover in the F&I office that dealers face. Most appearance care companies offer various electronic training and videos that can prevent the agent representing the products from having to visit a dealership every time the dealership experiences employee turnover.

If you have not done so already, this panel says it’s worth giving appearance care products a second look. Offering customers a variety of products beyond the service contract can be a great way to shore up the dealer’s bottom line. And that is something all agents want to cash in on!

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