BMO spends 2011 listening and learning

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By Daniel Moher

Honing in on industry trends to take advantage of a constantly changing market can be difficult. But making changes according to these trends can be the difference between a great year and a mediocre one.

When it comes to national industry trends, Raymond O’Kane, national director at Bank of Montreal Retail Dealer Finance (RDF) said 2011 marked a year of “listening and learning” for the financial institution.

“First, we asked for dealer feedback from nearly 3,000 business managers or dealer principles through J.D. Power & Associates,” he explained. “Then we listened to what our dealers were telling us. The last step was what we do best, we responded to what’s been said by offering the best customer service in the industry.”

BMO RDF said it listened to clients during a series of conferences held throughout last year. Included was an information-networking conference exclusively offered to Ontario F&I managers in January, a national web conference attended by over 300 business managers in May and a user panel discussion in October.

“After asking and listening, we think what makes the biggest impact is how efficiently and effectively we are able to enhance our customer experience,” O’Kane said. “Whether it is the speed of approval or funding, calling clients back in a timely manner, visiting dealerships on a consistent basis or keeping them up to date with the status of a deal – extending customer service horizons is how BMO plans on responding to dealers’ demands.”

Mark Moffatt, senior sales manager for BMO RDF, said going into 2012, BMO RDF plans on extending customer service and responding to what dealers want through a concept called “relationship underwriting.”

“BMO relationship underwriters are accountable to contribute in their partnered store success and are always looking for ways to help. There are often good deals beyond the limitations of credit application that get booked once the business manager and underwriter work together and are familiar with each other’s standard business practices.”

He said even spot deliveries can happen seamlessly when you can contact your individual underwriting team to assist.

“The better our underwriters understand your store, the better they can help you deliver more sales.”

Moffatt said relationship underwriting includes joint dealership visits where both the sales rep and the underwriter visit the store regularly to increase familiarity and understanding.

“But more importantly, it’s about putting a face to the name they deal with on a daily basis,” he said. “Relationship underwriting is designed to enrich the partnership between BMO and the dealerships they serve on a national scale.”

BMO said the F&I networking and training conference will be an annual event. Conferences are already scheduled for Niagara Falls (Jan 12th -13th 2012), Edmonton (Feb 9th-10th 2012), and Vancouver (Feb 22nd-23rd 2012). There are also plans set for an upcoming Quebec conference as well.

For registration details please email: mark.moffatt@bmo.com.