Six years after it opened, Toronto’s Pfaff Audi is now one of the top three Audi dealerships in Canada. Parent company Pfaff Automotive Partners was one of the winners of Deloitte’s Best Managed Companies Awards in 2010. That year, they had revenue over $10 million, and they kept it up last year too.
The reason for their success is simple—exemplary customer service.
Part of the Pfaff philosophy is relationship-building. The Pfaff website explains, “For us, it’s never been about making quotas or moving metal. It’s about building relationships. Ones based on trust. Ones that last.”
Mark Kellett, general manger of Pfaff Audi, has 32 years of automotive service experience.
“Most dealerships are run by sales-oriented people,” explains Kellett. “This dealership is managed by someone with a service background who knows sales.”
Kellett also works with Audi Canada on customer service focus groups. They interviewed Audi clients as well as clients of other luxury automobile brands. What did customers want?
“They didn’t want cheaper prices, more amenities in the store, or flat screen TVs everywhere. They just wanted to feel comfortable—they wanted a relationship,” Kellett says.
That’s not to say Pfaff Audi doesn’t have flat screen TVs or an espresso machine. It does.
“If it’s in our control we control it,” says Kellett.
Here’s an example. A customer ordered a 2012 car and while waiting for his order, Audi halted production and cancelled the order accidentally. When Pfaff staff found out, they lent him a brand new car for 3 months until his new one arrived.
“We’re still the face of Audi,” says assistant sales manager Patrick Kennedy. “You have to fall on your sword once in a while.”
Taking the time to explain
Anyone can come in and spend time with the sales staff at Pfaff Audi, even if they are planning to buy at other dealerships, or in a private sale. The staff are experts in all things Audi.
“You should talk to everybody like they’re buying today. Even if their buying three years from now, their going to remember the comfort they had,” says Kellett.
Kennedy offered up an example. A couple wanted to buy a used Audi TT privately. Kennedy spent 45 minutes reviewing their two potential purchases on the Internet. He suggested one of the cars. They left to look at the car he recommended.
He never expected to see the couple again, but was happy to help them anyway. They came back a week later and decided to buy a new TT from Kennedy because they felt they could trust him.
Audi quality sells itself
Nearly all Audis are Quattro in Canada because of our weather. Once you’ve experienced all wheel drive, it’s hard to go back.
On the way to visit the staff at Pfaff Audi, I saw an A5 with a vanity plate that simply read “SMOOTH.” When I shared the story with Kellett and Kennedy they laughed.
“It’s funny,” said Kennedy. “That is the word I hear from every single client, the word we always hear.”
Kellett and Kennedy agree people who visit the dealership come to buy an Audi because of the brand’s stellar reputation.
“Consider the comfort,” says Kellet. “Audi, of all the German vehicles, is always rated number one for interiors.”
Pfaff is soon to be Canada’s number one Audi service dealership. They offer valet pick up and delivery for your car when it requires service. This comes complete with a loaner car.
“We have staff that deliver cars to customers at their homes on the weekend,” says Kellett. Their staff is ready to go out of their way.
Pfaff Audi also offers valet service at Pearson airport so you can have your car serviced while you travel. They also deliver cars to small towns across Ontario.
Kellett’s 32 years of service experience have taught him how customers want to be treated when they have repairs done.
“We tell. We don’t sell,” he says. They simply tell you what needs to be done and don’t push any extra repairs. This approach has resulted in many loyal, long-term customers.
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