Jaguar Land Rover of Fort Myers is savoring a worst-to-first journey these days.
The turnaround took off about two years ago, after the dealership's managers thought up ways to win back customers who had soured on the store. Some of those efforts are playing out miles away, in customers' driveways.
Instead of forcing a weary buyer to endure a lengthy but necessary tutorial on a new car at the time of sale, Jaguar Land Rover of Fort Myers delivers the lesson later, at the owner's home or business. And when it's time for repairs or maintenance, an owner can get a loaner car delivered to him or her and avoid the hassle of driving to the dealership for service.
Combined with some back-to-basics efforts on the sales front, the strategy helped Jaguar Land Rover of Fort Myers chalk up a near-perfect score in the company's third-party customer-satisfaction ratings, according to General Manager Brian Del Negro.
The dealership also has racked up honors from Jaguar Land Rover North America. And last year, the Fort Myers business was the top-rated Florida store on DealerRater.com, a website where customers grade dealerships. The ranking was confirmed by DealerRater.
Del Negro and his brother, General Sales Manager Nick Del Negro, took over the store management in 2010, six years after the dealership was bought by Automotive Management Services Inc., a 115-store group based in West Palm Beach.
Brian Del Negro had previously worked at a Toyota dealership in Fort Myers that is now owned by AutoNation Inc., the largest U.S. dealership group.
He estimates that the loaner program is used by 35 percent of his service customers, some who live as far as 60 miles from the store. Those who live or work nearby also can pick up loaners when they drop their cars off for service.
"We did it because we wanted to give the customer a luxury experience," Del Negro said. "Nine out of 10 times our high-line customers have busy schedules."