Automotive News 40 Under 40

Allison Centore

AGE: 38

POSITION: Director, e-commerce and service support, Ted Britt Automotive Group, Fairfax, Va.

Allison Centore

Ted Britt Ford-Lincoln lacked only a high customer satisfaction index score to qualify for Ford Motor Co.'s prestigious Triple Crown for dealers.

Vehicle sales were strong, as were service sales. Enter Allison Centore to improve customer satisfaction.

She was responsible for establishing a customer service department in 2010, with two dedicated employees in each of Ted Britt's two Ford stores, to ensure that customers were happy with their new vehicles or service.

Before customers head to the finance and insurance office to sign paperwork after a sale, her service reps ask them about their experience, troubleshoot any concerns and explain the CSI survey process, Centore said.

The time also presents an opportunity to market accessories and set appointments for additional customer training on the vehicle, including how to work infotainment systems.

The strategy, which she hatched with General Manager John Adamson, and other practice improvements have paid off. Ted Britt Ford-Lincoln achieved a CSI sales satisfaction score of 86.7 in 2012, earning the group a spot among the 22 Triple Crown dealerships named by Ford. Before the new department, the group's sales satisfaction score traditionally hovered in the low to mid-70s, Centore said.

The group's Internet sales group, or business development center, also has surged under Centore. In April alone, the group received 1,350 Internet leads through a combination of strong brand recognition in its market, widespread search engine marketing and aggressive activity on third-party car-shopping sites, she said.

Those leads, in which contact information is left by shoppers, resulted in 267 vehicle sales in April, or about half the 500 new and used vehicles typically sold by the two stores a month. The group also owns a Chevrolet store.

-- David Barkholz