Gathered around the desk were Executive Director Victor Pardo, Digital Marketing Manager George Castillo, and General Sales Manager Eduardo Garza. It was easy to see the pride as each spoke about South Texas Buick & GMC.
“Our company purchased South Texas Buick GMC in January of 2006,” began Victor. “We bought it with the expectation that this was going to be a great dealership.”
Knowing they had a long road ahead since the dealership had been low-volume and family-owned, and knowing that General Motors was going through its bankruptcy process, the men dug in and got to work.
It had been a Saturn dealership that had brought Victor and George together.
“I had been in the banking business, but was asked to find a General Manager for the Saturn dealership by the company I worked for,” Victor said. “After three months without the right candidate, I decided to take the job myself.”
“I worked for Saturn corporation at the time and began working with Victor when he became involved,” George said. “We’ve been working together for about 16 years now.”
“Saturn was very focused on customers, on how to make them happy. It was a company whose policies’ emphases were based on customers’ needs,” Victor said. “When we took over the Buick GMC dealership, we made a decision to continue that philosophy. Well, we focused most of our resources treating customers and so the customers become part of our history when they, by word of mouth, passed on our story.”
With laser-like focus, the South Texas Buick GMC team members – as the employees are called – honed their customer service skills. In 12 years in business, the team has received a Mark of Excellence Award for 11 of those years.
“This award is given to the top five percent of Buick GMC dealers in the nation as a recognition for their commitment to unsurpassed performance and customer satisfaction, which includes customer service, sales, and facilities – those things important to the customer,” said Victor.
“Our focus has never been on being the biggest,” George said.
The company’s slogan, “We’re not the biggest, just the best!” is what the team lives and breathes.
Building a dealership that truly cares for its customers and employees, striving always to be the best in all they do, has become their mainstay.
“Out of our 22 technicians, 80 percent are 100 percent certified, and six are master technicians who are qualified for every certification available,” Victor said. “Forty-five percent of the Buicks and 38 percent of the GMCs sold in the Rio Grande Valley are sold by us. We are the top Buick GMC dealer in the RGV market in sales volume.”
Working together, George and Eduardo keep the www.southtexasgmc.net website current.
“We put specials, ads, photos, displays, and videos on our website,” George added. “We make sure it is smartphone friendly also.”
Maintaining its “customer first” philosophy, the website is a strong tool for them. Through the website, customers can also access their reward point totals, financing information, and any data they may need to help with their purchase.
“What South Texas Buick GMC is about, is Customer Service,” Eduardo reiterated. “We’ll have people come in just kicking tires and leave with a grin and a brand new car. We’ve grown so fast that we opened two satellite used car stores due to local customer demand, increasing our sales staff from six to 32. Last year, we were number one in the nation in Buick sales.”
“When we sell a car, we create a new relationship,” Victor said. “We have a service department designated only for Buicks and GMC vehicles. When our customers need something, we want them to come to us for their solutions. As of today, 68 percent of our customers who have bought a car from us return to our dealership, with 76 percent using our service department.”
Customers are not the only thing the dealership dotes on.
Ensuring its employees are happy is also top on its list. Completing an annual employee survey brings suggestions and results to continually improve employee relations.
“We believe in having a happy family at home and at work,” Victor said. “We want our employees to be happy in the environment we provide so they can be happy with their jobs. That will create smiles for the customers.”
Vannie E. Cook Children’s Clinic, United Blood Services Rio Grande Valley, and PalmFest are only a few of the non-profits the dealership helps. It has also been instrumental in having helped develop and create three different schools in Mexico.
“We know if we do everything right if we do what we’re supposed to be doing if we think of the customer first before ourselves, we’re going to get results,” Victor said. “And that is the South Texas Buick GMC difference. We don’t sell cars. We sell smiles.”