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Autobytel Dealer Spotlight: Billy Burns, Taylor Kia of Boardman
Autobytel Dealer Spotlight: Billy Burns, Taylor Kia of Boardman

Bill Burns, BDC Manager, Taylor Kia of Boardman
February 2016 Autobytel Dealer of the Month

We'd like to congratulate Bill Burns, BDC Manager at Taylor Kia of Boardman, for being named Autobytel's Dealer of the Month for February 2016.

The Autobytel Dealer Awards Program honors exceptional dealers from a competitive field of thousands of automotive retailers who employ the highest standards in customer service, Internet automotive retail sales and lead management processes, and mobile and emerging technologies.

We recently spoke with Bill about the importance of responding quickly to customers, having a process on when and how to follow up with customers, and how these business tactics have helped this award-winning dealership become a success.

Tell us about yourself and your store. What is your official title, what brands do you sell and what are your primary markets?

We are a Kia dealership, and the Taylor family is celebrating its 50th year in business! I've been in the auto business for over 20 years. I have worked for Saturn, Honda, and I've been with Taylor Kia of Boardman for almost four years. We serve the area of Boardman, Ohio and surrounding areas including Mahoning, Columbiana, and Trumbull Counties in Ohio, and part of Pennsylvania. We are the only Kia store in our market.

How long have you been an Autobytel dealer and what do you think are the primary benefits of being on the Autobytel program?

We've been with Autobytel for a couple of years. Autobytel sends us good quality leads, and they are great about rectifying duplicate leads and issues. We're glad to be a partner with Autobytel. Our rep Leila is awesome. She checks in to see how things are going, and she also offers suggestions to help us generate business!

What do you think makes you so successful at meeting the needs of today's Internet consumers? Please share a few of your best practices in terms of managing Internet leads.

Our goal is to respond within five minutes or less. This is important to us and to our success. When we first started with Internet leads, our response time was within 60 minutes, but now we average five minutes. We have an auto responder for after hours, but once we get to work, we make sure leads are tended to immediately with our BDC department. I think it's very important that you respond as quickly as you can when a lead comes in. We also have a pretty extensive follow up process, and from start to finish we are in contact with customers for 140 days.

The way we see it, customers make contact with us, so it's our job to reach out to them and provide the right information they are requesting. We also have guides to deal with many different personalities. We understand that schedules get busy and things get hectic. We do our due diligence with our customers.

What are your thoughts about being named an Autobytel Dealer of the Month?

We were excited to find out that we were named Autobytel Dealer of the Month. It makes you feel good to know that all the hard work you do is noticed. With this recognition, we know that we're up against some pretty big players in other states, and it makes us want to work even harder.

What are some tips or advice you would give other retailers when it comes to effectively managing Internet customers?

Be open minded and don't get discouraged. There's not always an immediate response. Sometimes when you think it's time to give up and when you're just about ready to give up, the customer will contact you. Also, treat everyone the same and try to have a good attitude. Having a process is so important. We have safety nets in place so that no customer slips through the cracks. We keep reaching out and we try to keep our name out there.

What are your general thoughts about the auto industry right now? How are sales? Any interesting things happening at your dealership or with your brands that you'd like to share?

The nice thing about Kia is that they are always trying to stay up with latest and greatest in technology. It seems like every couple of years they do a refresh. I think that is a big part of our success. Our goal is to make a customer for life as long as they don't outgrow the product. Also, Kia has a great warranty that is fairly much unmatched (10 years, 100,000 miles). It's pretty extensive compared to other makes / models. Kia has come a long way since they first came out. Now, Kia is ranked up there with BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes, and we're winning awards all the time. Our dealership has won the President's Award from Kia for five years in a row! We're very proud of that.

We are also in the process of opening two other Taylor stores - one in Lancaster, Ohio, which is scheduled to open this June, and another in Hermitage, Pennsylvania about 12-18 months from now.

What are your thoughts on the new / emerging technologies coming out of Autobytel? For instance, receiving leads via text and texting with customers? Web based chat?

I think texting is a good technology. Everyone seems to be antisocial today, but they will respond via text. Chat is growing too.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...what do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests of note?

I enjoy golfing, and I have two teens who keep me pretty busy. My daughter is in 8th grade and she plays volleyball, softball, and basketball. She plays on traveling teams so we spend a lot of time traveling with her to games. Her team won the state championships for softball a few years back. That was exciting!

Each month, Autobytel's sales and dealer operations teams evaluate prospective candidates from a competitive field of thousands of automotive retailers in the Autobytel network, with a monthly finalist selected based on key online automotive best practices, including conversion rates, lead management processes, customer service principles, customer and brand retention analytics and Internet department practices, among others.

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