Tell the truth. You have always wanted a personal assistant, right? And not in the form of a smartphone. You want a real person to call on from anywhere for the important information you need right here, right now. Only problem is, not everyone can afford a personal assistant. That’s where MyStar Personal Assistant comes into play.
The Carrollton, Texas-based company offers a toll-free, telephone-based service that employs a team of personal assistants who are on call at all times. They’re trained to answer inquiries and conduct research on a vast array of topics in four categories: Business Services, including research, equipment rental and e-mail dictation; Daily Living Requests, including driving directions, traffic and weather reports and movie times and reviews; Emergency Assistance Services such as translation and lost luggage assistance, medical services and emergency transportation; and Travel Information and Assistance Requests, including flight information, reservations and entertainment arrangements.
Ken Ferguson, the company’s president, launched the service in July 2007. Since then, he and his staff have introduced the product to a wide variety of business. In the auto retail segment, they’re building a network of agents, dealers and OEMs to provide the services of a personal assistant to car buyers everywhere.Product and Process
Dealers offer MyStar Personal Assistant subscriptions to each car buyer as a loyalty and retention tool. F&I staffers are set up with their own MyStar accounts so they can demonstrate the service for customers. A personal assistant answers the phone with a custom, dealer-branded greeting and addresses the caller by name.
“We pride ourselves on quality,” Ferguson says, noting that, for clarification, they read each question back to the caller and, for convenience, they don’t limit the duration. So if a customer finds himself in a bad neighborhood, the MyStar agent can stay on the phone with him until he has reached his destination.
The service costs the dealer $35 per customer. The charge covers 12 months or 360 minutes’ worth of phone time, whichever comes first. To sign up, the customer fills out a simple registration form that includes their name, cell phone number and e-mail address. Once the form is submitted, the customer receives a “Welcome” text within seconds.
Ferguson reports that end-users have been impressed: Several have written to say they now use MyStar in place of less-robust services offered by their banks and travel-service providers.Agents and Training
About 90 percent of MyStar Auto’s dealer customers were signed by agents. Ferguson says MyStar Auto is looking for more general agents to help promote their product, and the reason is simple: “Agents are the primary source that dealers customarily buy products through for their F&I department, for their front-end and back-end processes,” he says.
Ferguson describes the new agent-orientation process as “formal training combined with informal talk sessions.” Trainees typically take a morning flight to Dallas, start their orientation over lunch and work through the afternoon and early evening before heading home.
The training continues in the field. Once an agent’s first dealer client signs up, the company offers “Rollout Assistance” to help them with their first dealership orientation. “We go out there from a corporate level and do the whole rollout so the agent can witness, observe and learn how to do it himself,” Ferguson says.
Since all transactions are completed by phone, there is no equipment to install. The company provides the registration forms as well as point-of-sale marketing materials, including brochures, window stickers and car toppers; every piece is branded with the name of the dealership.
For more information on the system and its benefits to agents, dealers and customers, visit the company’s website.