Vandergriff Chevrolet's F&I staffers ask customers buying new or certified used vehicles an unusual first question: "How was your tour?"
After a 2012 store remodeling, staff members started giving car buyers "bucket tours" of the Arlington, Texas, dealership as a way to better acquaint them with the renovations.
The short tour, which included a gift bucket with dealer information and car-care products, was received so well that the dealership decided to make the tour a part of the purchase process for customers.
"It's been great. People appreciate it," said Rick Cantalini, managing partner of the store. "Our whole point is we want to teach you how to use our facility to your convenience."
Customers start on the showroom floor with their salesperson, eventually making their way through the 60,000-square-foot dealership — from waiting area and online department to service, parts and accessories — and into the F&I department to finish their purchase.
"I was a big proponent of process, so I wanted everybody to go the same way," said Cantalini, who bought the store in 1999. "We were trying to perfect our sales and service handoff. ... We had all of these new areas — the parts counter, service appointment area and service drive. We said, 'We can make all these things go together.' It really works well."
Along the way, customers receive the Vandergriff Chevrolet bucket — a tradition of the dealership for about 15 years — that has information about the dealership and off-site collision centers, as well as Zak car-care products including a sponge, shammy, soap and tire and glass cleaner.
"It's just a question of giving somebody a gift. They're $10 to $12, but I buy 500 or 1,000 at a time," he said. "We've done the buckets for years, but they weren't used 100 percent of the time, so we just integrated it into the tour."