How Southern Cart Services Uses Awesome Customer Service to Compete with Big-Box Stores
Anyone who has visited Georgia knows about southern hospitality. But nowadays, even in the peach state, great customer service is almost impossible to find.
Southern Cart Services in LaGrange has been proudly serving West Georgia area since 2004. Their location on West Point Road is packed full of great products at affordable prices, including service golf carts, ATVs and commercial and residential outdoor power equipment (OPE). They offer brands such as Yamaha and E-Z-Go.
They also provide quality service to customers with a staff that has over 50 years of combined experience in the industry. Factory-certified technicians are available six days a week to help with repair needs.
We sat down with Theresa Harper, Office Manager at Southern Cart Services, to learn about why so many of their customers love their awesome service and would not go anywhere else.
What would you say separates your dealership from other similar businesses?
Theresa: “Our focus is on the customer. We always make sure that they are happy and taken care of. We’ll go above and beyond to do the best that we can for them.”
Do you compete with big-box stores, and if so, how do you come out on top?
Theresa: “We’re a dealership that services the equipment that we sell, and they don’t really do that. That is one way that we are able to go above and beyond what the big-box stores can do for their customers.”
What is your position at the dealership, and what are your key responsibilities?
Theresa: “My position at the dealership is Office Manager. My main responsibilities are accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, HR, marketing and a lot more. I’ve been here since August; I just told the owner that I wanted a challenge, and so here we are.”
What would you say is the toughest part of your job?
Theresa: “The toughest part of my job is learning everything. It’s a very big industry with a lot of breadth, in my opinion. I’ve never been in this kind of business before, and I came into it not really knowing what I was doing. Every day is a challenge and I’m learning. It’s exciting and there is not a whole lot of boredom going on.”
When did you implement Ideal, and what was the reason for doing so?
Theresa: “We implemented Ideal in 2018. From what I have heard from the people there at the time, they needed to use a program that was more suited to the industry.”
In what way do you think Ideal helps your business the most?
Theresa: “Ideal helps us keep track our whole goods and inventory that we sell to customers. We can look at the history, which helps give us context. There is so much that I’ve learned in the Ideal training classes; I am looking forward to using some functionality more like the scheduler, for example, in the business.
Trying to get our processes in order is a big priority right now. Ideal has helped with that already in that regard; I feel like I’ll be able to take that several steps further as I apply what I have learned in the training sessions.”
What would you say are some of the must-haves of a system like Ideal?
Theresa: “It has to be user-friendly. We are so customer-focused, so we need to track client information easily. If we put good information into the system, Ideal helps with that.
A good search capability on products and whole goods is also a priority. Keeping track of your inventory and your costs is vital in this context. These are important reports to keep an eye on in terms of cash flow. Ideal has everything that we need; it’s just a matter of knowing how to implement it and how to use it once it is all set up.”
In your day-to-day, which Ideal functionality helps you the most?
Theresa: “For payroll, the time clock has really helped us effectively keep track of labor. Every employee can clock in and out very easily. I can add it to the task bar, and they have their own password. If they forget to clock in or out, I can easily go in and adjust it behind the scenes. You can set appropriate permissions, so that they can’t go in there and subsequently change the hours. Only an admin person can do that.
You get to monitor what each employee is doing. Before we implemented the time clock, we used handwritten time cards, so it was all self-reporting. As with any system like that, you can write whatever you want on those cards. We have a great staff, so I am not saying that they do, but without an effective and real-time tracking system, you can’t say they don’t either. So, it keeps everyone honest and we all get paid fairly.”
How much has Ideal contributed to the overall success of your dealership?
Theresa: “In the service area, it has probably helped us the most. Ideal has helped streamline the service process, especially with billing. Using the statuses has also been great, even though we have work to do on that. It has definitely been a great asset when it comes to providing the great customer service that our community is used to from us.”
In what way has Ideal changed your professional life?
Theresa: “It’s made me better at using computers and databases. Now I understand that you really need to pay attention to the information that you put into the system. Because what you put in is what you get out of it. We are known for having awesome customer service; having better data and processes is what will help our customers in the long run.”