In 2011, General Motors introduced its Certified Elite program, which allows qualified dealers to make important customer service decisions without getting permission from GM along with other perks that helps the business run more efficiently. Only 300 of GM’s 4,300 dealers qualify for the designation, which they say provides countless benefits.
One of those dealers is Brasher Motor Co in Texas. The Service Manager there, Patrick Mackey, told Automotive News he recently had a customer who came to him for a repair after another dealer failed to fix the problem. Mackey convinced the owner to let him try to fix the car and paid his car payment for one month and extended his OnStar subscription for an extra year. Most dealers would have to file a form with GM to approve such a move, but not a GM Certified Elite dealership.
In order to be a GM Certified Elite dealer, the store in question must complete all technical training GM requires for each of its brands, fix all warranty repairs right the first time, use a target volume of Genuine GM Parts, perform all updates on new vehicles before delivering them and retain a target number of paying service customers within a 12-month period. Participating in the program is free of charge, however the criteria is extremely hard to meet.
Dealers with the Certified Elite Program have GM’s eyes on them a little less and can green light decisions without asking permission. For example, if a technician needs extra time to make a repair than GM normally pays for, the dealership doesn’t need to ask GM for approval before going ahead with the repairs.
“We don’t have to let someone in Detroit make warranty decisions for us. We know what’s right. We can handle it on the spot. It makes the customer happy,” explained Tommy Brasher, owner of Brasher Motor Co.
Brasher’s dealership has been Certified Elite for two years now and as a result, its customer satisfaction score has risen to the 81st percentile from the 76th, AN says. Revenues at Brasher’s store are also up, which he says is the result of an increased ability to serve his customers.