Ailed Riverol, 35
Customer care director, Mercedes-Benz of Pompano
Four years ago, Ailed Riverol stepped into a dealership in the midst of a construction rebuild to take over its service and parts business. The department has only grown in the years since, notably generating a 62 percent surge in gross profit on customer service work.
Riverol attributes her success at Mercedes-Benz of Pompano in Pompano Beach, Fla., to a combination of cutting service loaner vehicle expense, developing new partnerships and tools and building a better culture — one focused on employee appreciation — among the 91 employees she supervises.
“That is one thing that I wanted to change the most because as much as you can change one thing or another, it will not stick unless the culture is right,” said Riverol, one of about a dozen women leading service and parts departments for AutoNation’s about 230 stores.
To trim loaner fleet expense, she partnered with nearby businesses to offer customers special pricing for manicures, pedicures, hair blowouts or lunch while their vehicles were in for service. Riverol also launched an electronic multipoint inspection program that shows customers photos of their vehicles in real time over text or email and the service work recommended.
“It really did help for a lot more work to be performed through the shop and vehicles to be inspected a lot better,” she said.
Riverol’s auto retail career began on a whim when she was a high school student. In 2003, she popped into South Motors BMW in Miami and asked whether there was anything for her to do.
The next day, she started working as a receptionist and greeter. She stayed for 12 years, including while attending Florida International University.
At the BMW dealership, she held roles such as warranty administrator assistant, warranty manager and service manager before joining AutoNation as a service manager. Riverol was promoted by AutoNation less than a year later to her current position.
Riverol, who emigrated from Cuba as a child, now has her eyes on becoming a general manager for AutoNation. She said she has been selected for the next class of AutoNation’s General Manager University program.
“The beautiful part about this company is that they don’t just let you step into a role,” Riverol said. “They train you ... and give you all the support in the world, which is one of the main reasons that I thought this would be the right place for me.”
— Melissa Burden