Sym-Tech daveplus®: Next Level Experience

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Derek Sloan, President, Sym-Tech Dealer Services. Photo Sym-Tech

This latest F&I e-solutions platform further advances F&I delivery and profitability. 

For more than 50 years, Sym-Tech Dealer Services has been a trusted partner to the automotive retail industry. A key part of such longevity and success has been a core mandate to improve F&I performance within the dealership and deliver a positive and seamless customer experience. 

Today, this includes not only providing high-quality F&I products but also industry-leading training and innovative software solutions to more than 1,000 dealers across Canada. 

Innovation is a key driver in Sym-Tech’s strategy and that’s been reflected in the introduction of platforms such as dave® (Dealer Automated and Verified e-Solutions), which represented a major game changer in the F&I space 10 years ago. As we go to press, Sym-Tech is in the process of rolling out an enhanced version, daveplus®—a quantum leap in functionality, flexibility and digitization. 

Perfect timing 

The timing, arguably, could not be better. Vehicle complexity has and continues to increase at an exponential rate, meaning that when repairs are required, they tend to be more technology-based and expensive. While Electric Vehicles (EVs) have 40% or so fewer moving parts than comparable ICE versions, the parts tend to be more complex and need replacement instead of repair. 

In addition, Canadians are grappling with the high cost of living and economic uncertainty. Comprehensive F&I protection that covers them and their vehicles makes more sense today than at any time in the history of the automobile. Customers don’t want or need the surprise and out-of-pocket cost of unexpected repairs. 

“There’s no question that F&I products are becoming more relevant today,” says Derek Sloan, President, Sym-Tech Dealer Services. “They are playing a bigger overall part of the vehicle transaction process,” Sloan explains. “No longer is F&I that hidden secret at the dealership, it’s very much front and centre of the entire customer experience.” With a comprehensive suite of F&I products, Sym-Tech provides a “one-stop shop” for dealers, groups, OEMs and Captives. 

It’s more important that F&I solutions are presented properly to customers, so they understand what’s available and can choose based on their own, individual requirements. Sym-Tech’s experience is that informed customers buy more products than you can sell them. 

Top tier status 

dave® was born from Sym-Tech’s creation of a customer-centric F&I sales process, which led to the adoption of a menu approach (good, better, best) for presenting F&I products. As technology improved, so did the ability to present F&I options to customers in a seamless and efficient manner. This made it easier for customers to buy more F&I products, improving profit per deal, products per deal and CSI. dave®’s reporting and analytics enabled Sym-Tech’s retail experienced trainers to hone in on key areas of improvement during their income development sessions in the store. 

Additionally, on the back end, dave® provided dealers with accurate reporting, quick e-contracting, and efficient remittance, saving time for dealers and improving internal efficiencies. 

Once in the market, more and more dealers gravitated towards dave®, elevating Sym-Tech to top-tier status as an F&I provider in Canada. “It’s been a huge success for us, and also enabled us to expand our business into the U.S.,” notes Sloan. 

A key part of dave®’s success is the fact that it was, as Sloan relates, “built by car people, for car people. It was easy, fast, presentable and looked good. We worked together with our technology experts and rolled it out.” 

Sym-Tech’s new daveplus® software platform further enhances the F&I experience for both dealers and consumers. Photo Sym-Tech.

Next generation F&I software 

dave® has been successful but Sym-Tech didn’t want to rest on its laurels. “A key question for us,” says Sloan, “was how could we make the F&I experience even better for the customer? And that led us to daveplus®.” 

“We’re really excited about daveplus®,” explains Sloan, noting that the updated platform is a direct result of a decision to remain at the forefront of innovation in the automotive F&I space. To that end, Sym-Tech formed an exclusive Canadian partnership with J.D. Power’s Darwin Automotive Division. 

With over 9,000 Darwin F&I dealer installations in the U.S., about one-third of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. are delivered through the Darwin F&I platform. 

Lindsay Duffield, Executive Vice President, Sym-Tech Dealer Services explains: “We were looking for a way to accelerate and turbo-boost our next generation dave® platform and Darwin was looking for the best F&I partner in Canada to launch their capabilities. It was a perfect match and perfect timing.” 

With the launch of daveplus®, Sym-Tech has improved all of the benefits of dave® while incorporating Darwin’s leading-edge F&I technology. In a nutshell, it’s about intelligent F&I solutions, combining analytics that have long been a staple of J.D. Power, and creating prescriptive type product recommendations that are based on a customer’s existing vehicle history, driving habits and where they live. “What’s great about daveplus®, is that it puts everything in the hands of the customer and further streamlines the F&I process,” says Sloan. 

A good example is greater flexibility in how F&I solutions are delivered through mobile phone, tablet or computer, as well as other features such as fewer menu screens and mobile e-signature options. “Ease of use was essential,” says Sloan “and now, with daveplus®, a client can transact with the dealer in real-time, within the comfort of their own home, work or even on the golf course!” 

daveplus® is digitally enabled, which means that a complete F&I transaction can be done in minutes! And there are many exciting future developments planned to assist dealers in selling more F&I products to their customers throughout the ownership cycle. 

What’s great about daveplus®, is that it puts everything in the hands of the customer and further streamlines the F&I process.” 

—Derek Sloan, President, Sym-Tech Dealers Services

With the launch of daveplus®, Sym-Tech will once again be at the forefront of F&I dealer technology in Canada, empowering dealers to quickly assess a customer’s needs, and from that, construct an F&I presentation that’s customized to their specific requirements. Prescriptive analytics provide intelligent recommendations for the customer, simplifying the F&I manager’s job, and making it easier for the customer to say “yes.” This represents a paradigm shift from the traditional F&I approach where often, a whole host of products are presented, with only a few relevant, resulting in time wasted, fewer sales and frustrated customers. 

daveplus® provides accurate up-to-the-minute analytics, including product sales, gross profit per deal, products per deal for each F&I manager, sales rep, etc. Everything is in one dealer portal, including quick and easy remittance, direct access to the automated Sym-Tech claims portal, and a comprehensive Resource Centre with all product, training, forms and compliance information at a dealer’s fingertips. 

The result is a fully integrated solution that delivers stronger F&I profitability, more product sales and higher CSI. “It does everything so quickly and seamlessly, that pilot dealers have told us that now, they simply can’t live without it,” says Sloan. 

daveplus® will enable larger dealer groups with multiple stores to have a seamless, consistent, and easy-to-use F&I experience across all locations, meaning that a client at a store in St. John’s, Nfld. can have the identical customer-centric F&I experience in terms of delivery and smoothness, as they would in Victoria, B.C. This ensures consistency in process, which is even more important for dealers that are eliminating the traditional turnover, relying on the salesperson to handle the F&I process. It also facilitates store-to-store benchmarking, comparisons and best practice implementation. 

With OEMs taking a more active interest in the F&I space, and compliance requirements increasing, a seamless, consistent, frictionless and transparent digital F&I approach is essential for dealers moving forward. 

With daveplus®, as Duffield notes, Sym-Tech has the ability to private label daveplus® for any OEM, dealer group or finance company, including two-way DMS integration with major providers. And if an OEM or Dealer Group implements J.D. Power’s Digital Retailing Solution – “Shop with Ease,” powered by Darwin Automotive, they will be able to seamlessly integrate from the OEM or Dealer Group website to daveplus in the dealership in real-time with the customer! 

The end result, as Sloan notes, is a win on all fronts: Not only for dealers, but also for OEMs, and most importantly the customer. 


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