Elegant white table cloths and a gourmet buffet catered by North Kent Golf Course—all served up in the service garage at Decker Chevrolet—graced the Monday, November 2, Rockford Chamber After Hours. Host John Decker introduced his staff, and joked that some have been with him longer than his wife has, according to Decker.
Service and sales in the auto industry have changed drastically in the 23 years Decker has owned John Decker Chevrolet. “Service is totally different in today’s world. Sales has become very interesting and very efficient,” he said to the crowd of business professionals attending the event. “We have no control over the cars. The dealerships decide,” he said.
He also said nowadays no one makes a major purchase with out research, and most everyone uses the Internet. “When people come in, they may know as much about the cars as we do,” Decker stated.
According to Decker, people will drive up to 300 miles for a major purchase such as a car. In the “old” days, if a dealership had a particular used car on their lot, they felt as if they had the only one in the world. Now, if a dealership has a particular car for sale, there may be 200 more for sale within the distance a buyer is willing to drive.
Decker believes these changes in his industry means service is that much more important to his business and customers. “What it comes down to is trust. You find a place to buy and service a vehicle that is local,” he said. “The biggest store can show you more, but they can’t do a better job than us in taking care of our customer. It is good to know what your local car dealership can do for you.”
The Rockford Chamber of Commerce hosts every other month luncheons and After Hours events. The next Chamber luncheon will be Monday, December 7. The cost is $15 for Chamber members and $20 for non-Chamber members. Call (616) 866-2000 to find out more or to place a reservation.