Soon after employing his first female service adviser, Roger Pipher had an epiphany: He should hire more women.
"I just watched her and the customers start to develop relationships that I never saw with men before," said Pipher, fixed-operations director of Coleman Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Lawrenceville, N.J. "I saw her ability to calm a situation down. It was very easy to sell stuff. It's just an instant connection."
With more female customers bringing cars in for service, Pipher wanted to explore how such connections could improve customer loyalty and subsequently sales and profits for his department.
After hiring a second female adviser a year later, he said, he "watched the same magic start to happen again."
That first female adviser -- Kim Goldacker, hired in 2007 -- is now service manager of the group's Cadillac shop where she leads a team of two female advisers. Pipher employs a female adviser at the Buick store's shop, along with two male service advisers. The group's parts manager is a woman.
Pipher ties the increase in female employees to improved performance. As a result of the relationships they build, the female advisers generally sell more than the male advisers. Monthly customer-pay sales per female adviser can be as much as $20,000 higher, Pipher said.