Jeff Hart, President and CEO, OneCommand


1. Strat­e­gy and Com­pa­ny Mis­sion.

At OneCom­mand we con­tin­ue to pro­vide a sophis­ti­cat­ed Cus­tomer Mar­ket­ing and Loy­al­ty Automa­tion Plat­form™ that uti­lizes lead­ing edge tech­nol­o­gy and lever­ages our AutoIn­tel­li­gence™ prod­ucts and tech­niques.  This plat­form enables us to deliv­er the right mes­sage, at the right time, to the right cus­tomer, through the right com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel. We’ve been focused on devel­op­ing the OneCom­mand plat­form and our AutoIn­tel­li­gence™ solu­tions because they are real­ly our secret sauce; our intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty.  So, that is our mis­sion.

As for our basic strat­e­gy, first and fore­most, we opti­mize our core offer­ing to ensure deal­ers and/or OEMs receive impact­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools that lead to high response rates, increased sales and ROs, increased dol­lars spent per RO, low­er mar­ket­ing costs and enhanced own­er loy­al­ty.

Sec­ond, we pride our­selves on deliv­er­ing cre­ative, rel­e­vant, and best prac­tice mes­sag­ing. It’s not just about pro­vid­ing the deal­ers or OEMs with anoth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool – it is real­ly about pro­vid­ing best prac­tice mes­sag­ing that enhances the rela­tion­ship between the OEM/dealer and its prospects/customers. We spend a lot of time think­ing about that because on one hand there are the com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools and on the oth­er hand there is the mes­sag­ing that goes along with the tools.  They have to be opti­mized and syn­chro­nized to deliv­er the ulti­mate val­ue.

Third, we think about how to expand the Plat­form to deliv­er best-in-class prod­ucts and ser­vices that sup­port the evo­lu­tion of the rela­tion­ship between the OEM, the deal­er, and the con­sumer. So, if we think back to Call­Com­mand (which is what the com­pa­ny was called ini­tial­ly), we start­ed with voice, then we went to email, then we pulled in direct mail and text. So we are con­stant­ly ask­ing our­selves, how do we extend the Plat­form and devel­op it, hence deep­en­ing the rela­tion­ship between the deal­er and con­sumer? We recent­ly just announced a cou­ple of new prod­uct offer­ings – one of them is called Newslet­ter­Con­nect, which helps deal­er­ships and OEMs stay in front of the cus­tomer each month, in turn enhanc­ing the rela­tion­ship with their cus­tomers.

Last­ly, OneCom­mand is increas­ing our focus on our Client Sup­port Team. I think this goes back to my core DNA that client ser­vice is para­mount to any orga­ni­za­tion. We strive to deliv­er indus­try lead­ing sup­port to ensure that each prod­uct is ful­ly uti­lized and tai­lored to meet the deal­ers or OEM’s spe­cif­ic needs. This approach takes the bur­den off the deal­er­ship, low­ers their mar­ket­ing costs, and dri­ves bet­ter response rates in their Sales and Ser­vice Depart­ments.


2. Mar­ket­ing Objec­tives and Oppor­tu­ni­ties for 2013 & Beyond.

Well, it always starts with the client in mind.  It doesn’t do us any good to devel­op ser­vices, prod­ucts, or process­es if they don’t help our clients. So, our fun­da­men­tal objec­tive, whether it is mar­ket­ing, prod­uct devel­op­ment, sales or ser­vice, it always starts with the client in mind.

Over the course of the last few years, we’ve been laser-focused on apply­ing sig­nif­i­cant effort in under­stand­ing the needs of our cus­tomers. This has allowed us to real­ly deliv­er a more scal­able, high-qual­i­ty prod­uct, along with ser­vices that have con­tin­u­ous­ly increased our cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. We’ve actu­al­ly increased our cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion by over 300%. You’re prob­a­bly ask­ing, how does this tie into mar­ket­ing? Well, under­stand­ing your client’s needs ulti­mate­ly leads to high­er reten­tion rates, high­er refer­rals, more ref­er­ences and renewals. To me that is a core fun­da­men­tal for mar­ket­ing.

Next, we are focused on sim­pli­fy­ing our mes­sage. As a com­pa­ny some­times we talk in our own lan­guage and what we real­ly need to do is talk in the lan­guage our deal­ers and OEMs under­stand. We spend a lot of time think­ing about the rel­e­vant voice that needs to deliv­er the real world mes­sage to our OEMs and deal­ers. Through­out our years of expe­ri­ence, we have gath­ered excel­lent cam­paign ana­lyt­ics, devel­oped best prac­tices and increased deliv­ery opti­miza­tion. The next step is help­ing deal­ers under­stand at a glance when, why and how they should com­mu­ni­cate with cus­tomers, remov­ing any uncer­tain­ty. Then we can tru­ly com­mu­ni­cate the val­ue of our solu­tions, which will res­onate with the deal­er or OEM and show the real ROI that is mean­ing­ful.

Also, we know that we have to focus on build­ing rela­tion­ships and part­ner­ships with the OEMs, deal­er groups and deal­ers. It is not just about being a ven­dor. We want to be viewed as an exten­sion of the team that real­ly is in line with their busi­ness objec­tives. If we do not help them achieve their busi­ness objec­tives, then we can’t exist as an orga­ni­za­tion. We don’t want to be just anoth­er ven­dor; we want to be a true busi­ness part­ner.

Last­ly, we have real­ly but­toned up our recruit­ing, inter­view­ing and hir­ing process­es. We are aggres­sive­ly recruit­ing and hir­ing top tier sales and client rela­tions tal­ent. When I joined the com­pa­ny in 2009 we com­plete­ly reengi­neered this process because we real­ized that if we want­ed to be world class, we had to have world class peo­ple. We go through a team inter­view process to ensure every­body we bring to the table can deliv­er val­ue to our OEMs, deal­er groups and deal­ers.


3. What is your assess­ment of the auto­mo­tive mar­ket & the indus­try right now?

I think even though we have seen the aver­age age of vehi­cles on the road increase, the indus­try is def­i­nite­ly com­ing back. In 2012 every­body was expect­ing that the indus­try would sell over 14 mil­lion vehi­cles; I think we will meet or exceed that esti­mate.  The OEMs are pro­duc­ing great prod­ucts, the deal­er net­work has weath­ered the storm and depend­ing on the impact of the “Fis­cal Cliff”, we may see a very strong 2013.

From our per­spec­tive, we see that the OEMs, deal­er groups and deal­ers are focused on the most impor­tant asset, their cus­tomers. They’ve invest­ed in solu­tions that enhance the rela­tion­ship between the OEM and con­sumers, and between the deal­ers and con­sumers. That means build­ing a healthy, friend­ly pipeline with prospects and nur­tur­ing them through the buy­ing process. Then they real­ly work to build those rela­tion­ships to enhance the consumer’s ser­vice expe­ri­ence and get them to come back into the ser­vice dri­ve — all the more extend­ing cus­tomer loy­al­ty.

We feel that the deal­ers have made a sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment and are very laser-focused on their cus­tomer base, def­i­nite­ly more so than I saw in the past. It is real­ly refresh­ing to see this cus­tomer-cen­tered world hit the auto­mo­tive sec­tor. I am very impressed with what the OEMs have done with their prod­ucts, and I am very impressed with the way the deal­ers talk about their cus­tomers, mak­ing sure they main­tain a pos­i­tive rela­tion­ship and ulti­mate­ly grow their mar­ket share. Every­one in the indus­try has done a won­der­ful job.


4. What do you con­sid­er OneCommand’s most sig­nif­i­cant accom­plish­ments?

There are actu­al­ly four accom­plish­ments that come to mind.

First is Call­Com­mand. OneCom­mand real­ly helped fos­ter and cre­ate an indus­try of cus­tomer loy­al­ty using dig­i­tal solu­tions to dri­ve sales, own­er loy­al­ty, repeat pur­chase, etc. You know, I think about what this com­pa­ny was doing with tech­nol­o­gy before I joined and how it has real­ly mor­phed, they laid a nice frame­work for us to deliv­er high val­ue ser­vices to our deal­ers.

Sec­ond, we were very inno­v­a­tive and we have done won­der­ful things here at OneCom­mand. I am very proud of this orga­ni­za­tion for their qual­i­ty focus, specif­i­cal­ly around prod­ucts and ser­vices. It is very strong and our mar­ket is rec­og­niz­ing it and rein­forc­ing that our Plat­form is best in class. I am so proud of how the peo­ple here real­ly take a lot of pride in what they do. When I left the ener­gy space and was look­ing to see what was next for me, I was real­ly wowed by OneCom­mand – the peo­ple and their will­ing­ness to fight for the auto indus­try when the mar­ket was dif­fi­cult in 2008 and 2009, as well as their com­mit­ment to improve our prod­ucts and ser­vices. So, I am very proud of the accom­plish­ments that we have made here.

As an out­come of that sec­ond point, qual­i­ty of prod­ucts and ser­vices, we have been able to cel­e­brate record growth with the num­ber of deal­ers and OEMs who have signed up on our Plat­form. We actu­al­ly have one OEM that has an 85% sat­u­ra­tion of our solu­tion into their deal­er­ships. This is pret­ty phe­nom­e­nal giv­en that a num­ber of years ago it was very dif­fi­cult to get co-op dol­lars for a dig­i­tal solu­tion that enhances own­er loy­al­ty and sales dri­ven tools.

OneCom­mand is also very much an inno­va­tor in tech­nol­o­gy. We con­tin­ue to make huge invest­ments in our tech­nol­o­gy and not just in the cus­tomer fac­ing area. We are spend­ing a very sig­nif­i­cant amount of mon­ey right now on the back­end infra­struc­ture. My phi­los­o­phy is to always use tier-one tech­nol­o­gy. What we are try­ing to do is real­ly ensure high avail­abil­i­ty, reli­a­bil­i­ty, and scal­a­bil­i­ty. These are pri­mar­i­ly ‘unseen’ ele­ments, but they’re so incred­i­bly impor­tant.

Last­ly, we are mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment to rethink and reengi­neer the client expe­ri­ence. We look at the Plat­form and process­es that we have invest­ed in over the years and try to fig­ure out how can we sim­pli­fy it and make it more intu­itive, eas­i­er for the OEMs and deal­ers to use. They have their deal­er­ships to run, right? They need to sell cars, they need to finance cars, they need to ser­vice vehi­cles, and they need to get parts. They don’t need to be bogged down by a sys­tem that is not intu­itive and easy.  They need a plat­form and ser­vice orga­ni­za­tion that makes their job eas­i­er. We real­ly want to spend more time under­stand­ing those require­ments, mak­ing it eas­i­er for our clients to use our solu­tion.  Some of that will be through ser­vices, and some of that will be through tech­nol­o­gy, but nonethe­less we are real­ly spend­ing time try­ing to lis­ten to our clients.



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