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Marty Ross' Shop

What do you do when a local Ford Motor Co. dealership sues you for copyright infringement for being known as “The Ford Guy?”

You remain The Ford Guy and change your name. No matter what you call it, quality work endures.

That’s part of the story of Marty Ross and TFG Automotive, Ross’ Ford-focused repair shop outside Nashville, TN. Though Ross also works primarily with Lincoln, Nissan, Honda, Kia, Hyundai and Saturn vehicles, his commitment to quality began with Ford and the same holds true today. Trained at a dealership in California and soon striking out on his own, Ross is a veteran and self-described machinist by trade and analytical thinker who sees, “All six sides of the cube; two sides of the coin never tells the whole story.”

To help him see all six sides of his business, his clients, and his goals, he relies upon KUKUI and its suite of communication services.

“Everyone still calls us the Ford Guys,” Ross reflects on his decade-plus experience as a business owner and Ford certified master technician. 

“Being my own boss suits me,” he says. “The way the dealership I worked at treated customers was not anything with which I wanted my name associated. (After taking his talent with him, the dealership had to fire three other employees it couldn’t afford to keep without Ross’ skills and efficiency.) Today, TFG Automotive sits on two acres, roughly 5,500 square feet, six bays and enjoys a robust and loyal clientele. 

Ross knows his market and is focused on getting the shop to run seamlessly. He says he faces the same challenges all owners face, and though he’s not interested in expansion, he is interested in maximum efficiency. To help achieve those goals, he started working with KUKUI in 2013 and hasn’t looked back.

“My main focus was to fill in the gap in our CRM software,” he says, “and we weren’t getting the one-on-one attention we needed. KUKUI designed and built our website and I was using them as our primary customer retention tool, mostly focusing on reviews at the time.”

As time went on, Ross became more comfortable with the suite of options and started using them as both a marketing platform to solicit new customers and to strengthen relationships with old ones. He sent postcards around the holidays, and as more data (and customers) became available, he was able to see and manipulate the shop marketing numbers more and more. 

“I’m a data guy; I like to see the numbers, and KUKUI was very customizable for what we needed,” he says. “We eventually got into DVI; I had used it more for internal training to see where I needed help in my own assessment abilities, and we’ll continue to use more of its features as we become more familiar with it.” 

 

Automate for Simple Solutions

Since the onset of the pandemic, Ross has utilized KUKUI’s texting features more and more. “It’s such a new way of communicating as an owner that I’m taking it cautiously and don’t want to go too fast and make mistakes,” he says. 

To help further avoid mistakes, Ross speaks with his dedicated KUKUI account manager fairly regularly. “I like having an account manager who assists me,” he says, “and I like that anyone can go to my site and set appointments. It integrates well with our other shop software, auto populating all the right fields and keeping us on pace for the day.”

Ross says that as an owner, any tool that reliably eliminates steps is a tool he can get behind. “I also like the ease of approving customers’ appointments with optional times for them if the primary one doesn’t work,” he continues. “Automated rating asks are also great; as an owner, that’s one less thing to worry about.”

Ross knows his customers receive automatic appointment reminders and gentle nudges inquiring about regular maintenance appointments, “and that’s been effective,” he says.

“Overall, KUKUI is hands-down doing what we expect them to do and even a little more,” he says. This year, Ross expects to make a little more as well--his shop is on pace to make 2021 their best ever.

Since I use them for retention marketing, my customers are getting the emails and the “haven’t seen you in a while” notes, and that’s been effective. Right now, KUKUI is hands-down doing what we expect them to do and a little bit more.

A little bit more is a great mantra for TFG Automotive, and Ross plans to add an additional employee and continue to familiarize himself with KUKUI’s tools. “Utilizing the text platform will greatly increase our communication with customers and is faster than leaving a message,” he says, “and we embrace anything that makes our lives easier.” 

To see how KUKUI can help make your shop life easier, check out kukui.com.

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