I bought a van today. No, not the one in the picture, a better one. Superior has had our old delivery van for going on 14 years and over 500,000 miles. Yes, it was time for a new van.
I enjoy shopping for cars, even when I’m not really in the market. Shopping for a plain vanilla delivery van doesn’t quite deliver the fun factor for me, but I dove in anyway. I went to Ebay, Craigslist, Autotrader…the usual sources. I really didn’t want to travel for this vehicle and besides, how hard is it to find a white van anyway?
Not that hard, as it turns out. I noticed one of the ads was for a van at a place called Lone Star Cars, a used car dealer in Carrollton, only about 20 minutes away from the office. They had at least half a dozen vans that looked like they fit the bill. I met a gentleman named Gary Roberts that showed me their inventory and tossed me the keys for a quick test drive. Bam, next thing I know, Superior has a new van.
Gary got it detailed, inspected, oil changed and had it waiting for me the next morning. All that was left was the paperwork. Ah yes, the paperwork. Here is where things always get bogged down, right? I bought a used car recently and the transaction took almost 2 hours, including:
– Finding the vehicle on the lot.
– Getting the dead battery charged and a little gas so that it could be test-driven.
– Negotiation, back and forth from the sales office to the sales managers office, ugh.
– Then to the Finance Office, no thanks, we don’t need financing.
– Extended warranty? Paint protection program? VIN etching? Rust-proofing?
– Then lots and lots of paperwork (more in Florida than Texas, fyi).
– Finally put a paper tag on and you’re ready to go!
The streamlining of that process is what impressed me about today’s transaction at Lone Star Cars. Gary took a small deposit on the first day and when I spoke to him the next day, he said everything was ready to go. When I arrived at their dealership, the van was sitting out front cleaned and tagged. I went in and spent no more than 6 minutes doing paperwork and was handed the key and a request to leave them a good review on their website if I was happy with my experience.
Well, I was happy. Business operations like theirs take what is usually an experience that customers dread and make it a seamless, painless experience. Where can we find opportunities to deliver seamless, streamlined experiences for our customers? Do we have processes and steps in place that have gradually been added in over the years until we put our customers through a 2-hour process that should only take a fraction of that time? It’s always a good idea to take a look at our internal processes, then identify and eliminate unnecessary steps. Smaller companies seem to do better at this than larger ones, it seems.
So, thank you – Gary and Lone Star Cars, I’ll be back!