The Phil Long Dealerships late last year made a New Year’s resolution to focus on turning more of its customers into long-term relationships.
As part of the resolution, the Colorado-based dealer group in mid-February launched “My Ride-My Way,” a 5-point process designed to build a strong, long-lasting relationships with its customers.
It is a business approach that e-marketing director Gilbert A. Chavez says is a reflection of the Phil Long experience that reaches back more than 60 years.
“We look at this as a new business approach or a new advertising campaign,” Chavez says. “It’s customer focused so that the consumers truly do get their ride their way.”
Chavez says the five key elements are as follows:
- My Price: Low prices are guaranteed by a 3-day or 150 mile (241 km) money back guarantee on new and used vehicles. Used-vehicle prices are always below the current Kelley Blue Book price.
- My Way: All vehicles are sold at a low, pre-discounted no-hassle price. All prices, savings, payments, annual percentage-financing rate and trade information are presented clearly.
- My Trade: Buyers receive a check for the cash value of the trade, whether or not it’s traded in.
- My Peace of Mind: Phil Long will provide any recommended maintenance and oil changes on new and used vehicles at no charge for two years or 24,000 miles (38,616 km). Used vehicles are always certified or inspected, and are sold with a 5-year, 50,000 mile (80,450 km) limited warranty.
- My Choice: Customers may select from 21 showrooms and 16 franchises across the Colorado Front Range.
“We want to develop a long term relationship with each customer and make them a member of our Phil Long family,” says Phil Long CEO Jay Cimino. “The new ‘My Phil Long’ business approach is an evolution of how we have always done our business and keeps the customer at the focal point of everything we do.”
Chavez says the five points are expected to maintain a consistency in profitability.
“I think if you’re up front and don’t have any smoking mirrors, we’ll be able to maintain (profitability) consistently,” he says. “When you try to hide the APRs and other information, that’s when you lose the faith of the customer and you lose profits as well.”
Strong customer relations are nothing new to Phil Long Dealerships. Phil Long, a World War II veteran, opened the dealership shortly after the war ended in 1945. Generations of customers since have walked through Long’s dealerships’ doors.
“You have a grandfather coming in with his grandson for a new car and you appreciate that,” Chavez says, adding that it’s important to “stay current with the times.”
‘My Ride My Way’ was the brainchild of Phil Long partners. The points were developed based on the dealership’s early principles. Chavez says everyone had an opportunity to express his or her own opinion and, in the end, everyone agreed that the five points should be permanent.
“This is forever,” says Chavez. “We’re one of those establishments that once we make up our mind and have a direction, we stay with it. We’re evolving with what customers want, and that’s very positive.”
Phil Long operates 19 dealerships in Pueblo; Colorado Springs; and Denver, CO, that sell Ford, Saturn, Chrysler, Jeep, Suzuki, Kia, Mercedes, Audi, Mitsubishi and Hyundai brands.
The group generated $560.2 million in revenue and retailed about 9,000 new vehicles in 2006.