Rudy Brandes, owner of Advance German Car, has been involved in the industry since 1970. After working for a number of different independent shops, Brandes opened his shop in 1983.
Advance German Car is located in San Pedro, Calif., and specializes in German vehicles, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen. The garage is 2,000 square feet with two people on staff.
With such a small staff, owner Rudy Brandes had to do all of the customer outreach by himself. Because he had so many other demands, he wasn’t doing as good of a job as he felt he could have.
“Before, I was trying to do my own marketing,” Brandes says. “I was getting in touch manually, sending out postcards. I didn’t have any help.”
When he heard about Demandforce, an appointment and customer retention management system, he signed on. Brandes has used Demandforce since 2011.
How It Works:
Demandforce works with the majority of management systems out there, says Denise Slater, a Demandforce customer success manager that works with Brandes. Customer information is pulled from the management system and imported into Demandforce. Demandforce uses the Mitchell 1 database to get information on suggested time frames and intervals for maintenance, and then alerts customers with those vehicles when it’s time to bring the vehicle in.
Demandforce can also be used to send out emails. Within the system, there are a number of different templates that shop owners can use to send out promotions or customized newsletters or emails. In addition, Demandforce can be used as a scheduling tool and for collecting reviews.
Brandes, who once had to do everything manually, says that the system has helped him keep in touch with his customers in a more timely manner and that the support that Demandforce provides through its customer success managers, has made a huge difference.
“It has allowed us to get more business and better communicate with the customer,” Brandes says. “We are very happy with the service, especially with Denise helping us.”
Brandes mainly uses Demandforce for texting and sharing email specials with his customers.
Brandes and Slater speak at least once per month and more often during busy times, such as Christmas, to discuss a game plan.
“It’s totally freed up my time,” Brandes says.
Since Brandes no longer has to do all of his outreach by writing out postcards, he’s saved himself a few hours each month while increasing communication. With the automatic appointment reminders, he’s also been able to get his existing customers to come in more often.
Since he started using it, Brandes estimates that he’s increased his customer base by about 15 percent, thanks to an increase in customer retention and those existing customers spreading the word about Advance German Car. Brandes estimates that he brings in one to two new customers per week thanks to Demandforce.