The visitor's lounge at Toyota of Greer was renovated to include a new customer service lounge with a lodge-like setting.
Massage chairs are featured in a separate room.
Toyota of Greer's showroom features only two vehicles as it is heading toward a virtual reality showroom in the future.
The traditional ribbon cutting for the $1.2 million renovation brought together the dealership's owners/partners, Southeast and national corporate representatives and business and political guests.
Mark Escude Sr. explained how comfortable the setting is for its customers. “We have a customer that comes regularly in the morning, gets a coffee and a snack and sits a while in a massage chair and leaves.”
That is exactly how Escude and the dealership wanted for the renovation that took nine months. The revamping includes an expanded service area, a new customer lounge, a large lot and new VIP entrance.
The visitor’s lounge features new cushioned chairs seating area, massage chairs and flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi service, complimentary coffee and snacks. Breakfast is served from 8-11 a.m.
“It all comes down to the feeling. It’s important to have a good customer experience more so now than ever,” said Escude. “They don’t have to come here. If they come you should do everything you can to make them happy.”
“This helps us meet the growing needs of our team as well as creates a greater customer experience,” said Bob Hogan, an owner of the dealership. “Everything about this was designed to enhance the car shopping experience and make it like nothing else in the region.”
Jed Holtzman, general manager of the dealership, said the lounge area is to provide customers an inviting environment. “We know we will be seeing our customers regularly with the Toyota two-year free maintenance and we want to provide a customer-friendly environment.”
The showroom, substantially smaller, had room for two vehicles Thursday. “We are moving more toward a virtual reality showroom,” said Juan Ramos, of Toyota sales.
Virtual reality is where a customer will wear a device that allows them to view the vehicle inside and out from a first-person perspective. General Motors has already begun a pilot program (Shop-Click-Drive).
“It’s the direction the world is going,” Ramos said. “Twenty years ago everybody said shopping will be only on line. While true to the Amazons of the world, very expensive items like the vehicle you want, you still have to ‘kick the tires’ – touch it, drive it and really feel it is something you want.”
“I don’t think an phone or tablet will ever take the place of a sales person which is willing to take the time to show a customer a vehicle. I think it will play a much larger role in the future as cars driving themselves. I don’t ever see technology replacing an associate who has love in their heart for the customer,” said Holtzman.
The expansion/renovation is the first since Toyota of Greer opened in 2003 at 13770 East Wade Hampton Boulevard.
Mayor Rick Danner read a proclamation and stated, “Investment in the city is always a great thing. But to have it from a partner like Toyota of Greer is significant,” he said.
“They have supported a lot of community initiatives over the years and we are honored to have them doubling down on Greer,” Danner said.
A Katana sword, a samurai blade and award that symbolizes strength, quality and integrity, was presented to the dealership by Craig Pollock, group vice president for Southeast Toyota Distributors. It is awarded dealerships that show commitment to continuous improvement.
Holtzman said, “I would love for the community to come out to see what we have done here.”