Dealership Newsmaker Q&A: Mario Murgado

Jan. 1, 2020
Mario Murgado is the president, CEO and co-owner of Brickell Honda in Miami, a new and used vehicle dealership that also serves Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah and Hollywood.

Mario Murgado is the president, CEO and co-owner of Brickell Honda in Miami, a new and used vehicle dealership that also serves Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah and Hollywood. Brickell operates 26 service bays (six allocated to quick service) with 21 technicians, and recently extended its service hours so that the department now closes at 8 p.m.

Why did you decide to extend your service departments hours?

What we wanted to do was expand our hours to offer more flexibility to our consumers. It was really a decision we made for the betterment of the consumer. We're a downtown store, an inner city store. Closing the shop up at 5:30 or 6:00 wasn't really reasonable.

In most cases, what predicates a move like that is that you have constraints or limitations in the number of bays. That wasn't our problem. People are just more stressed today, they have a lot of pressures on them because of the economy. They're keeping their cars an extra six months or a year, and they need more maintenance. So we extended our hours for the benefit of the consumers.

Have you seen an increased demand for service and parts?

If you take a look at the national trends, there was some increased slack over the past few years. We've been trying to grow our business, and part of growing the business is having more sensitivity to what consumer wants. As a dealer, whoever has greater flexibility and can take a more proactive approach to what the consumer wants, that will drive business and give you more success. Even with people buying fewer cars, you'll still see service grow.

What kind of operational changes have you had to make to accommodate the new hours?

First you have to get buy-in from your employees. Second, you want to be fair, so you need to be able to split schedules. The buy in is important; you have to provide the rationale and the understanding of what you're trying to do, and the purpose of doing it.

Expanding hours has really given us an opportunity to showcase the store in a different light. You can also do certain promotions. If you have restaurant close by, you can do a special where you buy one entrée and get the second one on Brickell. There are a lot of opportunities, and we're working on those things right now.

PAGE 2

How do the shifts work?

Before we had everyone come in at same time. Now, we're staggering it. You have four teams, and the A and B teams open up at 7, then you have the C and D teams open three hours later. Remember, we weren't doing this to increase productivity. We just wanted to offer convenience to our customers, which in turn will give us more business.

As a manager, how do you get the sales and service operations to work together to drive new business?

The biggest thing you can do as a dealer is have great communication with everyone. Everyone needs to understand every part of the business, and how every action gives you a different reaction.

Everyone has to understand what we're going through from an economic standpoint. Everyone has to understand how we want to approach the market. We've had an opportunity this year to play offense and make sure we get more than our fair share of the market. The way you do that is through customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, making sure you have a plan and executing well on that plan. You have to have good matrixes that you can measure your performance against, and hold yourself accountable.

With other OEMs shrinking their dealership base, have you been able to convert many customers?

Anything with four wheels, we're competing against them. What you want to do is offer the best service possible, and let them know why they should do business with you. What makes Brickell special?

We work with our people on a constant basis. We encourage them, motivate them.
We make sure our advisors are involved, we make sure the shops have different incentives, make sure that we're measuring things. In the old days, we only did reporting once a month. But we produce every day, so why don't we look at how many cars we had in, how many we processed, how many parts we special ordered, and do that every day? What's our productivity? What are our hours per R.O.? When you start to measure and share with your people, you'd be surprised how much your people can help you improve.

What other ways have you tried to drum up service business this year?

You have to go out to the market. How do you target that audience? Some of it is traditional advertising, some of it is digital, and some is calendar driven. If spring is coming, the hot weather is coming, so what are you doing for air conditioning? Or for brakes? You have to put together a plan of action. Right now, I'm looking at the fourth quarter and the first quarter of 2011 and deciding what programs we're going to offer. When you take that approach, it's a better way to go after that business.

Mario Murgado is the president, CEO and co-owner of Brickell Honda in Miami, a new and used vehicle dealership that also serves Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah and Hollywood. Brickell operates 26 service bays (six allocated to quick service) with 21 technicians, and recently extended its service hours so that the department now closes at 8 p.m.

Why did you decide to extend your service departments hours?

What we wanted to do was expand our hours to offer more flexibility to our consumers. It was really a decision we made for the betterment of the consumer. We're a downtown store, an inner city store. Closing the shop up at 5:30 or 6:00 wasn't really reasonable.

In most cases, what predicates a move like that is that you have constraints or limitations in the number of bays. That wasn't our problem. People are just more stressed today, they have a lot of pressures on them because of the economy. They're keeping their cars an extra six months or a year, and they need more maintenance. So we extended our hours for the benefit of the consumers.

Have you seen an increased demand for service and parts?

If you take a look at the national trends, there was some increased slack over the past few years. We've been trying to grow our business, and part of growing the business is having more sensitivity to what consumer wants. As a dealer, whoever has greater flexibility and can take a more proactive approach to what the consumer wants, that will drive business and give you more success. Even with people buying fewer cars, you'll still see service grow.

What kind of operational changes have you had to make to accommodate the new hours?

First you have to get buy-in from your employees. Second, you want to be fair, so you need to be able to split schedules. The buy in is important; you have to provide the rationale and the understanding of what you're trying to do, and the purpose of doing it.

Expanding hours has really given us an opportunity to showcase the store in a different light. You can also do certain promotions. If you have restaurant close by, you can do a special where you buy one entrée and get the second one on Brickell. There are a lot of opportunities, and we're working on those things right now.

PAGE 2

How do the shifts work?

Before we had everyone come in at same time. Now, we're staggering it. You have four teams, and the A and B teams open up at 7, then you have the C and D teams open three hours later. Remember, we weren't doing this to increase productivity. We just wanted to offer convenience to our customers, which in turn will give us more business.

As a manager, how do you get the sales and service operations to work together to drive new business?

The biggest thing you can do as a dealer is have great communication with everyone. Everyone needs to understand every part of the business, and how every action gives you a different reaction.

Everyone has to understand what we're going through from an economic standpoint. Everyone has to understand how we want to approach the market. We've had an opportunity this year to play offense and make sure we get more than our fair share of the market. The way you do that is through customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, making sure you have a plan and executing well on that plan. You have to have good matrixes that you can measure your performance against, and hold yourself accountable.

With other OEMs shrinking their dealership base, have you been able to convert many customers?

Anything with four wheels, we're competing against them. What you want to do is offer the best service possible, and let them know why they should do business with you. What makes Brickell special?

We work with our people on a constant basis. We encourage them, motivate them.
We make sure our advisors are involved, we make sure the shops have different incentives, make sure that we're measuring things. In the old days, we only did reporting once a month. But we produce every day, so why don't we look at how many cars we had in, how many we processed, how many parts we special ordered, and do that every day? What's our productivity? What are our hours per R.O.? When you start to measure and share with your people, you'd be surprised how much your people can help you improve.

What other ways have you tried to drum up service business this year?

You have to go out to the market. How do you target that audience? Some of it is traditional advertising, some of it is digital, and some is calendar driven. If spring is coming, the hot weather is coming, so what are you doing for air conditioning? Or for brakes? You have to put together a plan of action. Right now, I'm looking at the fourth quarter and the first quarter of 2011 and deciding what programs we're going to offer. When you take that approach, it's a better way to go after that business.

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