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Switching Sides

An Illinois dealer took his store’s F&I performance from acceptable to exceptional after making the switch from a paper menu to an electronic version.

April 2013, F&I and Showroom - Cover Story

by Justina Ly

Mylas Copeland is the general manager of Green Toyota Scion Volkswagen Audi in Springfield, Ill.
Mylas Copeland is the general manager of Green Toyota Scion Volkswagen Audi in Springfield, Ill.

In the ongoing debate over paper vs. electronic menus, Mylas Copeland has chosen a side. Eight months ago, he replaced his dealership’s outdated paper menu with an electronic version.

Copeland serves as the general manager of Green Toyota Scion Volkswagen Audi in Springfield, Ill. The dealerships are part of the Green Family Stores, which operates 10 rooftops in Illinois and Iowa. He says he wanted a system that would make his dealership’s F&I process more professional and engaging for customers. He found those qualities in Reynolds and Reynolds’ docuPAD.

The docuPAD is a part of Reynolds’ Retail Management System and is a combination of software and hardware. The F&I solution includes a customizable, interactive menu presentation and document-processing system that plugs into Reynolds’ dealership management system. The hardware includes a 45-inch tabletop display screen with space-age glass and integrated speakers that can be set up on any desk or flat surface.

Copeland discovered the system last year, during one of the technology maker’s product shows for dealers. The 18-year industry veteran says docuPAD appeals to tech-savvy consumers and captures their interest in the F&I office.

“Customers usually walk into an F&I office and their guard comes up. Now, when they walk in, it’s a completely different experience. It’s cutting edge,” Copeland says. “When you look at what most people are using now — iPads, tablets, iPhones — this is a continuation of that. It’s the same type of software that customers are using every day.”

Copeland says it took less than a year for the docuPAD to positively affect F&I product sales. Customer satisfaction index (CSI) scores also are up at his operation, which sells a monthly average of 187 to 200 new and used vehicles. In addition to Copeland’s store, five other Springfield-located Green Family dealerships currently use the docuPAD.

The docuPAD was originally created by COINdata. Since 2008, Reynolds has maintained an ownership stake in the software company.
The docuPAD was originally created by COINdata. Since 2008, Reynolds has maintained an ownership stake in the software company.

Jon Strawsburg, vice president of product planning at Reynolds and Reynolds, says the size of the dealership or dealer group doesn’t matter when it comes to the docuPAD. What does matter is a dealer’s attitude about how customers should be treated. “We certainly have seen dealerships that are more progressive in working through processes to make sure customers are happy with what they buy and how they’re serviced,” he says. “Those [dealerships] naturally lean toward docuPAD.”

A New Way
Finding a more professional and interactive F&I presentation tool was the main motivation behind bringing in the docuPAD, but Copeland says he also wanted to take advantage of the monitoring tools today’s electronic menus offer. It’s not that he didn’t trust his producers; he just believes that today’s regulatory environment demands the added scrutiny.

“We had to rely upon the finance managers to give all of the products to all of the customers all of the time,” he says. “It was old school. It was paper-based. The F&I managers conducted interviews on the showroom floor.”

After the interview, F&I managers would offer whichever F&I products they thought were appropriate for each customer. This approach allowed the F&I managers to present products they thought met their customers’ needs, but Copeland says he had no way of knowing whether all products were presented consistently.

The docuPAD definitely fit the bill, but Copeland knew that replacing his dealership’s paper menu would drastically alter its existing F&I process. He says he expected some initial resistance from his staff, and knew going in that a “tool is only as good as the people behind it.”

But Copeland’s F&I managers didn’t disappoint, enduring three days of training from Reynolds and Reynolds. They learned the basics of how to navigate a menu presentation, capture electronic signatures and create a digital deal folder in the docuPAD. After that, his team took the initiative and familiarized themselves with the new system. “My team spent days role-playing and rehearsing with each other in order to become fluid with the docuPAD process,” Copeland says. “They would practice with each other, learning how to flip the screen and turn the angles.”  

Reynolds’ docuPAD includes a customizable menu presentation and document-processing system that plugs into the company’s DMS offerings.
Reynolds’ docuPAD includes a customizable menu presentation and document-processing system that plugs into the company’s DMS offerings.

And the F&I team was rewarded for their willingness to use the docuPAD and overhaul their F&I process, Copeland notes. “It’s forced our team to slow down. They’re spending enough time in the box. Sometimes they’re not having the best of days, but everybody gets the presentation.”

After eight months of using docuPAD, the store’s average profit per retail unit jumped from an average of $900 per month to $1,200. Copeland says acceptance rates for vehicle service contracts, GAP and paint protection increased by 19, 15 and 8 percent, respectively. The product benefiting the most was tire and wheel, with the coverages acceptance rate rising from 16 to 40 percent — a 150 percent increase.

According to Strawsburg, it’s typical for dealers who use the docuPAD to see an improvement in F&I performance. But he believes customers’ reactions to the products they agree to purchase are even more telling of the system’s impact. “We see more of the decisions that get made by consumers during the F&I process stick. They feel like they made the right decision,” he says, referring to the typical drop in chargebacks users of the docuPAD experience.

System Reboot
The docuPAD was originally created and developed by COINdata, an automotive software company. Since 2008, Reynolds and Reynolds has maintained an ownership stake in the company, and it currently handles product development, sales, service and support for the docuPAD.

Last year, Reynolds and Reynolds redesigned the docuPAD’s physical components. The original docuPAD system featured a 32-inch display set atop a 3-inch platform that was built into a custom-made desk. Aside from the bigger display, the new version is no longer beholden to the desk. Reynolds also made some programming adjustments to improve the connection between the docuPAD and its Retail Management System.

“The redesign of the screen has made it more adaptable,” Strawsburg says. “You don’t have to redesign your office for it.”

The docuPAD includes a 45-inch tabletop display screen with space-age glass and integrated speakers that can be set up on any desk or flat surface.
The docuPAD includes a 45-inch tabletop display screen with space-age glass and integrated speakers that can be set up on any desk or flat surface.

Dealers also receive a scanner and color printer as part of the docuPAD system. Miscellaneous forms such as a customer’s pay stubs can be scanned and saved as part of a digital deal jacket. If needed, forms and documents can be printed in the same size and presented in a binder to customers. “It really changes customer perception and doesn’t seem clunky or unprofessional,” says Tim Yalich, product manager for Reynolds’ docuPAD.

Dealers also can customize the menu presentation so the menu, forms, contracts and lease information are displayed on the docuPAD’s screen. Written and audio disclosures also are available in multiple languages. “The system’s software guides the F&I manager so forms aren’t missed and signatures are captured where required,” Yalich notes.

Comment

  1. 1. tim [ April 16, 2013 @ 12:37PM ]

    iTapmenu is better and is a fraction of the cost! Get out of the office and go to the customer. iTapmenu allows you to be mobile without the 30 to 45 minute delay in getting into see the F&I manager.

  2. 2. Jim [ May 09, 2013 @ 04:08PM ]

    Great article! DocuPAD really does make the F&I experience fun! Accounting can see the signed documents in real time, AND the customer can get their copies on a USB! Can't do that on an iPAD. . .

  3. 3. Mitch [ May 09, 2013 @ 04:16PM ]

    Customers love the experience on DocuPAD. The ability to have an electronic deal jacket is key.

  4. 4. Mitch [ May 09, 2013 @ 04:16PM ]

    Customers love the experience on DocuPAD. The ability to have an electronic deal jacket is key.

  5. 5. Steve [ May 10, 2013 @ 04:10AM ]

    there is no comparing these products. One has a menu on a iPad and the other is a complete digital delivery and customer experience.

  6. 6. Mike [ May 10, 2013 @ 04:16AM ]

    There are many distractions on the sales floor that may keep the customer from concentrating on the presentation and there are Privacy Act concerns also.

  7. 7. Aubrey [ October 12, 2013 @ 08:06AM ]

    Whats the typical cost for DocuPAD? We have a large volume store and four F&I Managers...I think this would work really well for us.

  8. 8. Todd Rossi [ November 16, 2013 @ 10:38AM ]

    I'm very familiar with Docupad and in the past have trained several finance managers to use it. You still have to sell!! It does capture the customers attention more, however it won't automatically increase PVR across the board.

  9. 9. Kirk Moore [ November 14, 2016 @ 06:36AM ]

    questionable regarding pvr, cumbersome, time consuming, issue s with switching sales tactic quick enough without losing pace and tempo. That's a real review and 1st impression of a 30 year finance veteran in a volume domestic store. This system requires a finance managers with significant experience. Training new hires will be significantly longer than F&I managers that can be plug and play. The learning curve for current staff will be costly. I would suggest implantation in your slower months.

 

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