Navigating Inventory, Processes & The Customer Experience Post COVID-19

Following Colorado state protocols regarding the coronavirus and adapting their business plan to meet customer demand, G-Force Powersports never slowed down.

Powersports enthusiasts turned owners of G-Force Powersports, Brent Flambures and his wife Beth run a well-oiled machine in Lakewood, CO, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s crazy to think that the world was going to come to an end one day, and the next, the industry saw that everyone wanted to stay home and ride,” Flambures said. Working with their Colorado Powersports Association, teams of dealers in the area banded together to help each other stay in business. 

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“We went back in our books to what happened in 2008 and had a plan B set up and ready to go,” Flambures explained. “We are part of the Spader Management Group. We learned a lot of things from a lot of great dealers who are out there. They always have us budgeting for a plan B. It’s definitely a decrease in expenses across the board and being ready to adapt, so the business is always stable and the cashflow is there to continually have the business doing the right thing. It’s actually a little scary to put those plans in place sometimes, but I’m sure glad we
have them.”

Following Colorado state protocols regarding the coronavirus and adapting their business plan to meet customer demand, G-Force Powersports never slowed down.

“We’ve been blessed that we’ve been able to provide for those people who are staying home and using our product,” Flambures said. “All of a sudden, it went from an outlook of, ‘we’re not going to have such a great year,’ to having a fantastic year right now. We’re seeing our highest numbers of repair orders in the service department. We’re seeing numbers in the parts department that are through the roof. We’ve increased ordering as much as we can, in certain areas, for the parts department to handle the service and the sales needs.”

Sales are up and inventory is low. With his team adjusting to the changing times and using advanced technology, like PSXDigital’s A.I.-powered customer experience management platform for powersports dealerships called CXMAi, which is focused on CRM, inventory, marketing automation and websites, keeping customers in the know regarding inventory is a top priority for G-Force Powersports. 

“I think a lot of dealers go into panic mode and that’s what really messes them up rather than sticking with their procedures,” Flambures said. “We were able to go into April with less than half of our staff, with the same procedures and have PSXDigital to back up the sales department.”

According to General Sales Manager Chris Norris, “Our biggest plan was to have more communication, especially with the staff and customers. The summer season is normally the busy season. It is slowing a little now, but that is because of what’s available out there for inventory. I think everyone’s in the same boat. There’s just not enough to go around right now. But either way, we’re prepared with our process in place to adjust if there is a little bit of a slowdown. It’s going to come down to managing and trying to get the right products in.”

Norris and his sales team focus on communicating with their customers about the inventory challenges as a result of COVID-19, along with solutions to facilitate a purchase when inventory does pick back up. 

“With the supply and demand issue, we are very verbal with our customers, whether it is putting deposits down on what’s coming in or giving them options on what we can find for them, whether it be used or new,” Norris said. “For us, the big thing is keeping communication with the customer and being upfront about what is available.”

Using PSXDigital’s follow-up system, customers stay in the know about what inventory is available at G-Force Powersports.

“We’re using the follow up system and as you can imagine, we’re getting a lot of leads through Cycle Trader or emails about availability,” Norris said. “Using the PSXDigital email templates really help us communicate to the customer.”

“Following up with all the leads coming through, we set the expectations for the consumer, and with the salesperson as well, to let them know what is coming and an ETA of when those products will become available,” said Sales Manager Donny Werner. “We educate the customer on what is available in stock right now and maybe move them from one machine that they’re looking for to something that is available. Most customers have started to realize that there are not a lot of choices out there, so they are being flexible on what they want to get.”

Keeping customer satisfaction up is a high priority for the team at G-Force Powersports, where processes have been put in place, long before the pandemic began, to make sure they exceed expectations. 

“We really haven’t changed a whole lot,” Flambures said. “We had great procedures in place beforehand on customer satisfaction. It’s a big deal in our dealership and to the management team. We really just had to make sure our procedures stayed in place that we had met before this whole thing and our customer satisfaction is really good because of it.”

Being Platinum with BRP, Polaris and Yamaha, and using tools to stay at the highest level with their OEM partners has only increased customer satisfaction at the dealership.

“We put an emphasis on our service department,” Flambures said. “I have a background in the service department and that’s what really sets us apart, because we have the largest service department in Colorado. I truly believe the more people that we can service and service the product properly and do a better job on the back side of the business, it really helps the front side with sales.

“We train a lot in this field. That’s a never-ending deal that we’ve been working on from day one, and that makes the difference,” Flambures continued. “It’s been very important to us for many, many years. We have to train our people to be better than the competition, and we truly
do that.”

Training the staff at G-Force Powersports doesn’t just stop at dealership operations, they’ve added CDC health and safety guidelines to their daily routine to make the dealership safe for both employees and customers. 

“Our employees are all wearing masks,” Flambures explained. “Since day one of the virus, we want to keep employees safe and the dealership healthy. We hired a full-time cleaning service. Our dealership has never been cleaner than it is now! We’re not specialists in the disease in any stretch of the imagination, but we’re trying to follow all the guidelines and we are fortunate to be open.”

When working with customers during the pandemic, Norris and his sales team understand that customers want to move quickly. “Whether it’s during this pandemic or not, customers want to get in and get out as fast as possible. With the processes we have in place, we’ve got a good way to streamline that and we are able to manage the customer experience at a much busier level right now.”

Reflecting on how dealers have managed to not only retain but bring in new customers during this pandemic, Larry Bruce, PSXDigital CEO, emphasized how technology helped pave the way to success.

“I don’t think any of us could have predicted what ultimately ended up happening with COVID-19. At first, it was working remotely via the mobile app and answering leads, taking phone calls outside of the dealership and still working like you’re in the dealership and making appointments and selling that way. That helped a lot of people, including G-Force Powersports and several other dealerships. Then as things transitioned into an inundation of leads, it became a priority to follow up on those leads. Many dealers found out that it became 10 times harder when leads went up by five times.

“So, it’s been a shift to how do we just handle the leads that come in and make sure they get handled and get followed up on a timely basis? The AI inside of PSXDigital helps that happen a little better for our dealers,” Bruce continued. “This has been good but also a real challenge for us, but it is something that we’ve learned a lot from. These are good problems to have and we’re fortunate to be able to be here to help our dealers get through this time.”

For more information about PSXDigital, visit psxdigital.com.

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