Why is the car buying experience so awful? Year after year, customers have made it clear that they hate it. They hate the time it wastes. They hate having to negotiate and being left wondering if they got played for a sucker. And yet, that’s the way most dealers still insist on playing it. Like every other industry though, the car selling business is about to undergo radical transformation. Not only will self-driving cars and car-sharing apps change the perceived need to own a car, but companies such as Hyundai Canada are experimenting with a direct-to-consumer car sales model that takes away the pain of today’s usual car buying process. In today’s Frank Reactions Podcast on Customer Experience interview, Tema Frank talks with Don Romano, CEO of Hyundai Canada.
Time to Make Car Buying an Effortless Experience
The book The Effortless Experience made powerful case, backed by research, that what customers today value more than anything is transactions that go quickly and easily. (You can hear Part 1 of my interview with Matt Dixon, co-author of The Effortless Experience here.) When Don Romano looked at what car buyers were saying, he realized that they too wanted a car buying experience that would be quick and easy.
So he and his team re-examined the car buying process and rebuilt it from the ground up. The focus was to be on making the whole process — from researching the car, doing a test drive, to buying the car and having it serviced — something car buyers could do from the comfort of their own homes or offices, with all-inclusive, transparent (no-negotiating) pricing.
What's Different in the Genesis Canada Car Buying & Ownership Process?
Here are some of the key differences, all of which came from the insight that people wanted to spend less time dealing with buying a car and having it serviced. Under this new model, says Romano, “all you have to do is put gas in it” and drive.
- Test drives when & where you want them. We all start by researching new car purchases online, so instead of having to go from the web to a showroom to do a test drive, you can book an appointment online and the car will be brought to you, at a time and place convenient for you.
- One all-inclusive, fixed price. 73% of consumers say they wish there was a fixed price so they wouldn’t have to haggle, according to research by Lab 42. Other car manufacturers have tried having a no-negotiation fixed price approach to car sales in the past, but it didn’t work, mainly because auto dealers have trained customers to believe they’ll be ripped off if they don’t negotiate. Genesis Canada is dealing with the issue by being 100% firm on the no negotiation policy AND by including a lot more than just the car in the price: it also includes regular maintenance and concierge services (described below).
- Hands-on customization and training. As cars become more and more sophisticated, able to do a wide range of things beyond just driving, figuring out how all the electronics work and getting the car set up to meet your needs can be a daunting task. So, when the car is delivered to you, the Genesis agent will spend time helping you get it set up just right and teaching you how to use all those lovely bells and whistles.
- They collect the car for service calls & return it to you. I love this one! One of my pet peeves is the time it takes to have to bring the car to the dealer for service and then either wait for a shuttle ride or sit there for hours. (Or force a friend to waste their time too, coming with you and giving you rides to and from the dealership.)
Figuring Out New Processes is Hard
Making all these changes hasn’t been easy. In fact, selling the global head office on the idea of letting Canada be the test case may have been the easiest part! But now there’s a lot riding on the new car sales model’s success.
According to Romano, figuring out how to make all the processes work has been complicated. For instance, how do you train the service technicians at regular Hyundai service centres to deliver the level of customer service your Genesis customers expect? (It helps that Genesis customers don’t generally go into a dealership, since the car is picked up and delivered. But there will be times, such as if it needs repair during a trip, that customers may go in.)
What's Next for Car Manufacturers & Their Customers?
You’ve heard the expression “innovate or die”? Well, Romano believes that is certainly true in the auto industry.
“If you don’t evolve, you are likely going to die; a violent business death.” – Don Romano, CEO @HyundaiCanada
As new technologies, such as self-driving cars, hit the road, constant innovation in the business model will be as important as innovation in the cars themselves. We need to challenge all our assumptions about how the car-buying process works. For example, why should we have to go to a separate place to deal with car registration and insurance after buying a car?
Always be thinking: What could make this process easier for the customer?
Episode 126 – Do You Dread Buying a New Car? This May Be the Car Buying Experience You’ve Been Dreaming of Posted on 06/26/2018
DON: We don’t want to sell cars to people that were forced to buying them, that felt pressured to buy them. We want people to want it.
TEMA: Welcome to Episode 126 of Frank Reactions, the podcast where we help you figure out how to please today’s hyper-demanding customers using the right mix of human skills and technology. Frank Reactions is a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB. My name is Tema Frank.
0:00:32 Now, I want you to close your eyes for a minute, unless you’re driving that is, and imagine a perfect car buying experience. What would it be like?
0:00:42 Today’s guest, Don Romano, who is the CEO of Hyundai Canada, took that exercise seriously. The result is a new brand called Genesis, and a radically different car buying experience.
0:00:55 In today’s interview, we talk about:
Why the customer experience when buying a car is still usually so unpleasant;
What motivated him reimagine that process;
How he pitched it to the Korean head office;
As well as where he sees the future of car ownership and the related customer experience evolving.
0:01:16 Before we get there, just a quick word from our sponsor, the Alberta Podcast Network. The Alberta Podcast Network started in the summer of 2017 and, in that one year, has grown to more than 30 podcasts on subjects such as arts and entertainment, business, technology, leadership, self-improvement, sports, politics, and social issues. Find your new favorite show at albertapodcastnetwork.com.
0:01:40 And now, onto today’s interview with Don Romano.
[Interview starts at 0:01:47]
TEMA: Let’s start with this. Realistically, probably everybody listening to this show has had a frustrating car buying experience. Surely, the industry has got to know this, so why do you think the industry has been so resistant to change?
DON: Because it’s been 100 years. I think anything that’s survived that long under that type of a system is going to be resistant to change. It just isn’t like high-tech where change is sort of the norm, everybody is accustomed to it, and everybody adapts rather well.
0:02:23 We have dealers that are great-grandsons and daughters of dealers who started way, way back in the ’20s. And so, when you look at literally 100 years that some of these families have owned these operations, they’re institutions. It even goes back further. We have dealers whose great-great-great-grandparents were horse traders and buggy salespeople.
DON: It goes all the way back to the pioneer days, and so to change rapidly when you have that much history is not easy, again when you’re dealing with, in many cases, the sons and the daughters or the grandsons and the granddaughters, or even the great-grandsons and great-granddaughters. But, that doesn’t mean they’re resistant to change. It just means that, before you change, after 100 years, you want to make sure that the model you’re changing into is going to be as effective as the old model.
TEMA: Yeah, so that leads perfectly into what I was going to ask you about because you are trying to change that car model or the car sales model.
TEMA: Can you talk a little bit about what you’re trying to change and how you want to change that?
DON: Well, I think the first thing people would need to recognize is that, when you think of disruption in our industry, most people automatically gravitate to the product. They think of autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, connected vehicles, and all these changes that we read about. But, if you really look at the industry, in general, it’s not the product that changes; it’s the process.
0:04:09 For instance, you could take a look at Blockbuster. We used to go to video stores, and we used to pick out these videos. Along comes Reed Hastings who goes and says, “Hey, I’m going to do a mail order of DVDs instead, so you don’t have to come to the stores.”
DON: There was actually a time where the two got together–Wayne Huizenga, Blockbuster, and Reed Hastings–and talked about a merger. Wayne Huizenga said, “No. I think people like to come to the stores.”
DON: And so, today, Blockbuster is bankrupt and Reed Hastings’s business is worth $142 billion.
DON: To me, if you look at Amazon and Sears or Uber and the taxi business, you’re going to see the same thing over and over. It’s all the same product. It’s simply being distributed in a more efficient, more transparent manner that gives the customer the advantage of time and of ease. That’s all we’re trying to do now with our business model with Genesis is the exact same thing. We’re still distributing a car, a vehicle.
DON: But, the way in which we distribute it, we’re trying to make it as transparent and easy as possible. That was the purpose; that was the philosophy behind Genesis.
TEMA: How are you doing that? What are the things you’re doing to make it easier and more transparent?
DON: The first thing is, you can only buy a Genesis online.
DON: You can’t just walk into a traditional dealership and buy a Genesis. It doesn’t work that way. You can go to a boutique. You can arrange a test drive where they’ll come bring you the car. But, the people are not on commissions. We don’t have any commission salespeople.
0:05:56 We have no franchise Genesis dealers. We have agents. The agents, their only goal is to deliver the car. This is important to recognize as cars become more sophisticated, and I don’t think there’s anybody who would disagree that cars are becoming extremely sophisticated–
DON: –as they’re merging with our digital worlds and our cell phones. With that in mind, it’s taking much more time to acclimate and, I would say, custom fit a car to a consumer’s, to a customer’s, life.
DON: That time is very valuable. That time today is being used in the finance office, and that’s just not right. That model has to change. We put the finance office online so that, when you go online, you know exactly what you’re paying. It’s one price. It includes all the maintenance, all the pickup, all the delivery. We just want to make your life easier.
0:07:00 It’s not negotiable, so there’s no haggling, so nobody is going to get a better deal than you because you went on the last day of the month or it was a snowy Friday. It doesn’t matter. The car is priced fairly. It’s priced competitively. It’s much, much better than the competition in terms of pricing and much better in terms of value because it includes everything.
0:07:24 All you have to do is put gas in it, and you go. You buy it online, and then we come to you. We’ll deliver it to you. We’ll deliver it to your office, your home.
DON: Meet you at a Starbucks; it doesn’t matter. Even at our boutiques, we do have arrangements where you can test drive the cars, again with a noncommissioned salesperson; really just with a product expert.
DON: No pressure at all. The rest you just kind of do at home, so you know if you want an extended warranty, if you want anything in terms of the way it’s financed, you can do it yourself.
TEMA: If I wanted to do a test drive, will you also bring it to the home for a test drive, or you have to…?
DON: Not only that. Not only that. Our system will actually — you pick the car. We’ll see if it’s available.
DON: We have to make sure the exact car you want is available and in the area that the agent is available. We have the agent’s calendar. We know the inventory of the cars available for test driving. You will see the dates and the times that are available. Pick what works for you, and we bring it to you.
TEMA: That’s beautiful. Talk to me about the agent and the boutique. You’ve used those terms. In what way is that different from a standard dealership? We get that the commission and negotiation aren’t happening there, but what else about it is different?
DON: You’re buying the car from us, the manufacturer. The agent is facilitating the transaction. We pay them to facilitate. We pay them to give test drives. We pay them to take care of the customers. But, we do not pay them commission.
DON: They just get an agency. They’re not a franchise. A franchise is an independent operation. When you deal with a franchise, you are not dealing with the factory.
DON: The only two companies where you deal directly with the factory are Genesis and Tesla. That’s it. That’s it.
DON: There is no other. There’s no other model out there where you deal directly with the factory. If you have a problem, you’re dealing directly with us. Again, the agents are just there to facilitate.
0:09:43 We invest a lot of time and energy training them and trying to keep them on the forefront of the technology that we’re putting into the vehicles so that they can explain it to our customers. But, you’re buying from us. With a franchise, you’re buying from somebody who bought the car from us.
TEMA: Which also means, presumably then, you can cut out a certain layer of cost. I’m trying to figure out how you make this affordable. You’re saying that your cars are priced at or better than your competitors. Yet, you’re offering much more service.
TEMA: I’m trying to figure out, okay, where do the finances work out?
DON: We’re offering a much better car, too.
DON: I would say our competition is overpriced because they have these brands, and you’re paying for that brand. It’s just like any other product, right?
DON: When a brand gets well-known and desirable, then the people that own that brand charge a lot more. We have Canada Goose jackets.
DON: I would argue; is a Canada Goose jacket really worth $1,000? Is it really that much better? They are excellent, so I’m not slamming Canada Goose. I think it’s a fabulous product.
DON: But, you are paying for that name, that logo that goes on that coat, as you are if you’re buying from our competition. With Genesis, it’s an unknown brand at this point, so you’re not paying for that. That’s where the savings comes in.
TEMA: So, this is a great time to buy a Genesis car. [Laughter]
TEMA: I should get a commission for that. No. [Laughter]
DON: It’s a great time simply because it’s your time. The way I look at it, if you want to sit there on your phone or an iPad or your computer, it doesn’t matter. There’s no obligation. We’ll bring it to you. You can check it out. If you like it, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too.
0:11:41 We don’t want to sell cars to people that were forced to buying them, that felt pressured to buying them. We want people to want it. You don’t see a bunch of Canada Goose salespeople out there trying to peddle Canada Goose jackets. If you walk into any of the stores, there’s a line. They want it, they desire it, and that’s where we need to be.
TEMA: Absolutely. Talk to me a little bit about the research you did that gave you the confidence to take this sort of gamble, because this is a radical change.
TEMA: How did you come to the conclusion that this made sense? What went into that background and research?
DON: Well, the first thing was just watching other industries that were being disrupted and transformed and knowing that we’re not immune to technology and technological advancements. When you look at the hotel industry and then you see Airbnb, you look at the taxi industry and you see Uber and Lyft, and then you see Amazon and Amazon’s Prime service and what they’re doing with customers in saving them time.
0:12:50 Again, you look at how we consume media now and what’s going on with newspapers versus online news media. When you look at movies, again Netflix and how we consume things together, information. It was inevitable. It is inevitable, I think, for the industry, that it’s going to have to transform.
0:13:15 Low and behold, a company comes out making an electric vehicle in Silicon Valley and going direct. I saw a lot of advantages and a lot of disadvantages. I thought, the advantages is on the transparency, ease of doing business, and acquiring the product. But, the disadvantage–and if you ask a Tesla owner, they’ll tell you–is getting it serviced.
DON: I thought, okay, well, we have invested just hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in equipment to take care of cars. Whether they’re electric or not, it doesn’t really matter. They have wheels. They have brakes. They have things that move that will break.
DON: We have snow, and we have salt. When you put that all together, you have to have a very sophisticated service structure so that your customers could be taken care of quickly.
0:14:11 We thought, okay, let’s put those two together, and we’re going to go direct, but we are going to leverage the best Hyundai dealers’ service capabilities out there. You will eventually see showrooms that are going to be built close to the Hyundai facilities where we can leverage the technicians’ capabilities and all the equipment that we have to invest in to take care of these machines. But, at the same time while they’re investing, they are still working for us.
0:14:46 They are not franchise dealers. They are agents. But, they can service. If you’re driving somewhere, something happens, and it’s not in the area that you acquired the car, it doesn’t matter. We have over 216 Hyundai dealers across the country that will step in, take care of you, and help you out. That relationship I wanted to leverage for the servicing of the vehicles while providing a unique purchase experience.
TEMA: Now, in a way, though, you’re competing with those dealers, so how can you expect them to offer the level of service that you want for these customers when they’re not benefitting from it, when they’re potentially actually losing business because of…?
DON: Oh, they’re not. The only people losing business are going to be the Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and Infinity, but not Hyundai because it’s a different demographic, it’s a different buyer, and it’s actually a great experience, I think, for all of our Hyundai dealers to have an opportunity to deal with luxury customers.
0:15:52 Unfortunately, that’s always in service because, when it comes to the sales side, there’s very few. There are only agents. There are no franchises. But, when it comes to service, we just want to make sure our infrastructure can take care of everybody. The dealers are more than happy to do that, and we’re paying them to do that.
DON: Everybody kind of wins in this situation but, unfortunately, the capabilities of selling the product are only limited to a handful of agents. That’s just because we’re small. We couldn’t afford to have 216 agents across the country. Not at this stage.
TEMA: Now, I know that in dealing with my own car dealership, it’s often the service folks who drive me crazy. Often, actually, the system surrounding them that drive me crazy. How do you make sure that your customers are getting the level of service they need, or I guess they don’t have to bring it in. Do you guys bring it in for them?
DON: They don’t bring it in. No, no. Eventually, they’ll be able to if they want to come in because sometimes you do have people who like to come in and see the new stuff. We will, eventually, have showrooms.
0:17:10 Right now, you had asked the question about boutiques. You have to go to malls; basically, malls or the airport if you wanted to see the product in person without it coming to you because that’s the only place we actually display the vehicles. We don’t have showrooms anywhere in the country, so you go to Square One, or you can go to Pearson in the domestic area and get a chance to check it out and learn about it.
TEMA: Mm-hmm. But, if service is needed, how is that dealt with?
DON: We just pick it up. You just call us, or you hit your app, and you just say, “Hey, it’s time for service,” or, “Hey, it’s making–” our cars don’t make noise or break down, but if that happened–
TEMA: [Laughter] Yes.
DON: If it just so happened, yeah, we come and pick it up. It’s that simple. You just tell us where you are. We have roadside assistance, obviously, if something were to happen on the road. But, for the most part, 95%, 98% off these products, it’s an oil change, it’s putting winter tires on, it’s checking the brakes and the alignment. You might have hit a curb a little too hard. That’s all right. Just let us know. We’ll come pick it up, and we take care of the bill because you paid for it when you bought the car.
TEMA: Right. I know that you’re the Canadian CEO.
TEMA: It’s still an international company. How did you persuade them to take this gamble, or did you have to? Was it something you decided entirely on your own?
DON: No. Yeah, I had to go to Korea with a business plan. Yeah.
TEMA: Okay. How did they react to that?
DON: I think they’ve always been supportive of new ideas and new ways of doing things. The business plan was pretty ironclad. We knew that if we didn’t try to push volume, if we didn’t try to overtake Mercedes and BMW in our first year that if we were patient, and we developed the brand methodically, and took care of our customers are priority number one, we would succeed.
0:19:18 They were interested in the idea. Fortunately, Canada is a tenth of the size of the U.S. You couldn’t really take a risk like that when you’re dealing with such a big market. But, our market is small, and I think we’re fortunate in our country. We’re a big geography country but, man, are we small when it comes down to relationships.
DON: You go down to the States and you say, “Yeah, I’m from St. Louis,” and some guy will say, “Oh, do you happen to know Joe Johnson?” They’d be like, “No. Come on. Are you crazy? There are over 300 million people. Not a chance.”
0:19:58 But here, you’ll be on a trip and say, “Yeah, I’m from Calgary.” “Oh, you know, I happen to know a John Johnson in Calgary.” “So do I! In fact, I know his cousins. I know his brothers and sisters.”
0:20:11 I mean it actually happens. We’re 30 million. It’s not that big.
DON: And so, your reputation will follow you. We explain that if you let us do this, we will build a reputation for life and Canadians will embrace it. But, they’re going to want us to prove our medal, and we’re going to have to do it cautiously and patiently over time and one car at a time. That’s what we’re doing.
TEMA: When did you launch this?
DON: Last November, so we’re not even a year old yet. [Laughter] We haven’t had our first birthday yet.
TEMA: Okay, so it’s still getting the word out, frankly, then.
DON: Oh, yeah. Yeah, awareness is still very low.
TEMA: In setting all this up, you had to develop systems. You had to develop infrastructure, processes, and train people. Out of all that, what has been the most difficult part?
DON: Well, the most difficult part is generating awareness. To develop a brand takes time. The products are just spectacular. I know I’m biased, obviously.
DON: I’ve worked for other car companies. I’ve been doing this business for 35 years. These are not rebadged Hyundais. These cars are built from the ground up as a Genesis, so there is no, like if you were to buy a Lexus. It really is a Toyota that’s been rebadged. If you were to buy an Infinity, it’s a Nissan. An Audi is really a Volkswagen. I’m not putting them down. I’m just saying that that is their business model.
0:21:49 Our model is, we build the Genesis from the ground up as a luxury car, so we’re not adjusting a non-luxury car to fit a luxury model. As a result, the cars are just spectacular. We have a lot of confidence in the product. The key, the big challenge was the process.
DON: Could we develop a process? Then the other issue is consumer behavior. We say we hate to haggle. Some people love to hate, or they say one thing, but then they want to haggle. It’s not always the dealer.
0:22:29 We look at the dealers and say, “Ah, they’re always trying to rip us off. They’re trying to coerce us into things that we don’t need,” but it’s not really that way. For the most part, even dealerships today, they’re very transparent, and they’re really just trying to accommodate the customer’s needs. But then, the customers are coming back saying, “Oh, can you knock another $10,000 off of that $10,000 car?”
TEMA: Well, they’ve trained us. They’ve trained us to do that, right?
TEMA: As you say, over a long time.
DON: It’s 100 years.
DON: It was done with horses.
DON: It was done, literally. It’s part of, I think, our forefathers and the way they did business. But, I don’t see that anymore like the marketplace doesn’t do that. You don’t go to Amazon and say, “Well, I’ll take it, but will you knock a couple bucks off that instrument or that thing I’m going to buy?”
TEMA: Well, and also, I think people who are buying in that way, as you pointed out, they’re very time sensitive, and so, often, they don’t want to spend the time bargaining either.
DON: Well, the other issue on bargaining is, I don’t want to be taken advantage of, and I don’t want to pay a higher price than the girl or the guy, whoever came in before me – period.
DON: I think we address that. I had a person come up to me and say, “Hey, listen. I think your lease price on this car,” and this is back last November, “your lease price is too high.”
DON: I said, “Really?” I said, “That’s too bad. That is the lease price.”
DON: He goes, “Well, is there any room?” I said, “No, we don’t do that. That’s the price. You can buy the car.” He goes, “Well, the price of the car is okay, but the lease is a little high.”
DON: I said, “Yeah, well, I understand, but it is the price, and so here’s what’s included. This is what you get. This is what we’re going to do for you.” He said, “Well, I’m sorry, but it just won’t work.” Two weeks later, he bought it.
DON: You know, he just wanted to make sure that we were absolutely holding the line.
DON: He just didn’t want to know that — you know, have his friend buy one and say, “Yeah, well, I got this better deal,” and I think that’s at the bottom of a lot of the haggling that goes on. The difference, usually, is pretty minimal, and the margins, nowadays, are not like they were 40, 50 years ago, so they’re pretty tight.
0:24:57 Most dealerships nowadays, they make their profits by providing a good service, and they’re in the tire business now. They’re into other areas of the business. In terms of the new car business, it isn’t as lucrative as it used to be because there are so many more cars out there, and there’s much more supply than there was 30, 40 years ago.
TEMA: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Well, I think it’s really exciting, what you’re doing. If I were in the market right now for a car, I would definitely be looking at it because I would love all those things like having it picked up and delivered and all that stuff. I really do wish you the best.
0:25:39 Is there anything that I should have asked you and I haven’t?
DON: No. No, I think we covered a lot of ground, and I guess the only thing I would add is one thing we’re learning in today’s crazy business environment is that things evolve. If you aren’t willing to evolve, you’re going to likely die a violent business death.
DON: But, as much as I believe our current model is the right way and the right thing to do, I’m not precluding us from even evolving further into newer areas and newer ideas on how to really address the way in which customers want to do business with car companies. Hopefully, this is just a first step, and we’ll see even better systems and processes evolve from this.
0:26:31 I still feel it still takes too long. There’s too much paperwork. There are insurance issues. There are registration issues. I want to tackle all of that. Unfortunately, in the eight months we’ve been in business, we haven’t been able to tackle everything, but it is our intention.
DON: We are going after it. We want to get to the point where you can buy a car and that one price includes everything:
It allows you to trade.
If you want to drive a different car, you want an SUV this day, I want to get a sedan next week, or I want to drive a sports car the next day.
These are models that we have to grapple with in the future because this is where consumers are going. They’re going to want complete flexibility and simplicity and, as you said, time savings. Where we are today, I think, is a good first step, but it is not the last.
TEMA: Well, the other thing that, of course, the industry is going to be shaken up quite considerably with self-driving cars. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s coming. That also is going to pose huge potential changes to the industry.
DON: Honestly, I hear that a lot, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s going to be wonderful. I think we’re going to have another product to sell. How we sell it, hopefully, will be the Genesis. But if not, either way, imagine all the people that can’t drive today for whatever reason. There’s a myriad of reasons.
0:27:58 Imagine the people that probably are driving today that shouldn’t be because maybe they had too much to drink. But, imagine eliminating drunk driving. It looks like our country is about to legalize marijuana. Suddenly, that no longer becomes an issue on the road.
0:28:15 Imagine new drivers. It’s tough. I have four kids, and my last one just started driving. You have to go through that phase where they’re just learning.
0:28:28 Imagine all those concerns and issues disappearing with autonomous vehicles. I have an 86-year-old mother. She’s coming out here in about two weeks. Yeah, now she drives. She drives me crazy. She drives a car. She drives everything.
DON: But, you know, she’s going to have a time where she can’t drive anymore. But, imagine if she could get in an autonomous car and just say, “Take me to this area.” I think it’s just going to spur a whole new opportunity for growth in this industry.
0:29:01 My only concern isn’t whether it’s autonomous or electric. I think it will be autonomous. It will be electric, in time. But, it’s how you acquire that autonomous electric vehicle.
DON: I want that to be the real gamechanger for our industry.
TEMA: I think you’re really out on a path to be that, so congratulations. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us.
DON: Tema, my pleasure. It’s been great talking to you.
TEMA: One of the key lessons that I took from today’s interview is that you should always be exploring what’s going on outside your industry. Sometimes the best ideas will come from other industries.
0:29:41 One idea that I borrowed way back in the pre-Internet days was from the book or record subscription clubs where you could earn bonus books or music by referring friends who then became members of the club. You and they would both get a freebie.
0:29:56 We applied it to retail banking with what I dubbed the “Bring back a friend” card, and it was a hit. Sometimes the best way to think outside the box is to literally look outside the box.
[0:33:10 end of audio file]