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Key Idea: Cater To The Real Customer

Women are well represented at Rodgers Chevrolet, mirroring the general population as influencers in the car purchase decision-making process.

Key Question:


Pamela knows who her customers is. She knows, for example that many single women buy cars. She also knows that married women influence their husbands so the net affect is: women make more car buying decisions than men.

Q: How does this fact give Pamela and advantage over her competitors?

Pamela is the customer. Men can try to understand women but a woman has a better chance understanding a women than does a man.

Q: What do you see in this episode that makes the dealership female-friendly?

A: There is a play area for children. Women may have to wait for their car repairs to be done and may have children to care for so Pamela makes it easier for the Moms by providing a place for children to be happy. I know from being there that the entire place is squeaky clean. The rest rooms shine as do the floors and the massive windows.

Life is hard so when any of us have a chance to make people smile and feel good, take it. To make her customers smile, Pamela hired a theater set designer to create a fun environment for the service department. Rather than the clean, crisp walls we see in the rest of the dealership, the customer section of the service department is so remarkable it has become what Pamela considers to be one of her best business decisions.

Q: Ms. Rodger's Neighborhood is metaphor and the artwork, a daily, visible reminder about the fun side of automobiles. In your mind's eye, paint over the walls and eliminate the awnings and windows, and you have a typical car dealer's entry area to the service and collision centers. What does this artwork do? Why are aesthetics important?

This artwork changes our mood; it is an attitude adjuster. It tells us about the owner and the people of Rodgers Chevrolet. It sends a warm message without words. Customers feel they are in good hands and that the people they are dealing with are their good neighbors. Awnings painted above the parts department counter telegraph a small town feeling on the edge of one of America's largest cities, Detroit.

Think about it

Do you have a deep understanding of your customer? What can you do to make your customers more comfortable with every step of your selling and servicing process?

Clip from: Rodgers Chevrolet - Meet Pamela Rodgers!

Woodhaven, Michigan:  In a quiet suburb just south of Detroit, we go inside an American icon -- the car dealership -- to witness a "can-do" attitude in action. We meet a woman whose love affair with the car is as real and palpable as any romance going. And at this place where GM is sold, driving people to act upon that passion is her business.

Pamela Rodgers is the owner of Rodgers Chevrolet.  We learn that key to her repeat business success is service. From her originally designed, colorful waiting area featuring a speedway theme to a team of highly skilled service advisers, Rodgers Chevrolet is a company that never misfires when it comes to building long-term relationships with customers. This is a team that's as well trained in the mechanics of human dynamics as they are the electronics of today's automobile engine. Keeping that relationship running smoothly is a matter of individualized communications where customer satisfaction is not an optional service.

Pamela's story is all the more unique in that she is one of the few women in the world to own a dealership in her own right. It wasn't passed on to her by her father or a husband, and she took a failing location and turned it around.

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Rodgers Chevrolet

Pamela Rodgers, CEO

23755 Allen Road
Woodhaven, MI 48183

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1991

Cater To The Real Customer

HATTIE: (Voiceover) But for Pamela, this is all strictly business.

HATTIE: Don't you think women influence the purchasing at a huge percentage?

PAMELA: Huge. Very huge!

HATTIE: I mean do you all have any research?

PAMELA: The statistics are women own or purchase 50 % of all automobiles sold, and influence on about 85 to 90% of all automobiles that are purchased. So women play a major role!

HATTIE: And, you've got some women sales people.

PAMELA: We have women salespeople; we have a woman Parts Manager, F&I Manager, Controller. We have women at all ranks of our business which is unusual for a car dealership.

HATTIE: Have you ever worked for a dealership other than this one?

BECKY DOYLE: A few. I've been in dealerships for 22 years.

HATTIE: Wow! How is this different? And you don't have to – I mean just how is this different?

BECKY: Well, I don't know that it's uniquely different, because I've worked at a couple of pretty good stores, and this is certainly, I would say, one of the 2 very top stores that I have ever worked for. And what I like about it personally is I have my own latitude, if you will. I mean at other dealerships that I was in, I wasn't necessarily doing things that I always liked so well, so I like what I'm doing here.

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