fbpx
Connect with us

Executive Interview

Executive Interview with Scott Libertore, President and CEO of FIMC

Libertore recently sat down with aftermarketNews to tell us more about The American Traveler Motor Club division of FIMC and the opportunities for growth and expansion in today’s independent repair market.

Advertisement

Amy Antenora has been reporting on the automotive aftermarket since 2002.

Scott Libertore is the president and CEO of Financial Insurance Management Corp., a Sarasota, Fla.-based company that develops and implements innovative membership programs for some of the largest and most respected financial institutions in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Libertore took the helm as president in 1999, dramatically scaling FIMC’s infrastructure and broadening its offerings while maintaining a culture of strong innovation. As a result of his leadership, the company has enjoyed long partnerships with world-class companies such as Allstate, CitiFinancial, American General, AAMCO and HSBC.

Advertisement

Scott’s entrepreneurial vision also led the firm in expanding its portfolio of products and services to other markets including the automotive aftermarket, trade associations, employee groups, credit unions, retailers and more. FIMC currently serves more than 2 million members under its various subsidiaries and brands including The American Traveler Motor Club, The Home+Auto Security Plan, Everyday Essentials Collection and 1-800-PITCREW.

Libertore recently sat down with aftermarketNews to tell us more about The American Traveler Motor Club (ATMC) and the opportunities for growth and expansion in today’s independent repair market.

Please give our readers, many of whom may not be familiar with ATMC, a little bit of your background.

My father started Financial Insurance Management Corp. in 1974, and in 1979 he developed The American Traveler Motor Club. So, we’ve been in the roadside assistance business a long time. Up to this point we’ve marketed membership-based products through financial institutions. Our products are offered at more than 5,000 locations, by 20,000 people in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Over the past two years, we’ve leveraged our experience to develop programs that meet the unique needs of automotive aftermarket retailers.

Advertisement

How does ATMC compare and differ from other companies that offer roadside assistance? Probably the one most commonly known to consumers is AAA, but as you said, you’ve been offering a similar product for years.

AAA is B-to-C and we are B-to-B-to-C. That difference really puts us on separate playing fields. Our programs focus on helping our clients to meet their sales and marketing objectives. We work closely with them to get their customers to return to their location for future service. Other motor clubs just take the customer where it’s convenient or profitable for someone else in the food chain.

Advertisement

People can’t afford to be off the road too long, they need to go to work and pick up their families … so roadside assistance ties right in with what customers need today. The average vehicle is over 10 years old with more than 100,000 miles and the regular maintenance schedule is out the window, so the likelihood of a breakdown is greater than ever. So, the question becomes: How does the retail repair center ensure they get that customer back when they have a problem? A better question is: How can you help your customers every day not just when they have a problem? We’ve developed a proactive approach for our clients that will drive those critical metrics, revenue and retention.

Advertisement

What do you mean by a proactive approach to customer retention?

We took a look at how our traditional business developed relationships with their customers, then expanded on that with our point of sale experience to develop a unique program that provides value to customers even when they’re not at the repair center.

At a high level, we build a branded program that works very much like a loyalty program. It combines four distinct benefit groups that customers can take advantage of every day, as well as when they need routine maintenance, a repair or get stranded on the side of the road. We’ve also brought over some very unique benefits from our other products that will make our program totally unique in the automotive aftermarket. One part of the program we have received fantastic feedback on is the discounts at restaurants, movie theaters and grocery stores we provide. Customers can actually save more money than the cost of the plan and are far more likely to remember and return to the service center where they purchased our program.

Advertisement

This preferred customer program avoids many of the problems of traditional loyalty programs; mainly costs and measurement. Our program can actually generate upfront revenue and we have a variety of tools to measure the program’s performance. So there is never a question of the program’s ROI or a need to defend budgets every year.

Another proactive way we enhance retention is through ongoing communication. The companies we work with are very focused on their core business but sometimes can’t devote the time they’d like to reach out to existing customers. So, we’ve built our program to become a self-sustaining communication platform to consistently re-enhance our client’s brand with their customers.

ATMC is dipping its toe in the aftermarket. The company currently has a test group of 50 stores offering your roadside assistance packages right now, correct?

Advertisement

Yes, what we’ve found is customers are very receptive to roadside assistance – whether it’s promotional roadside assistance in-boarded with a premium oil change or our full-blown family coverage. From the development cycle to market testing, we’ve developed a full spectrum of products to assist our clients. We can create promotions to drive customers up the good, better, best decision tree or enhance tire warranty sales, offer on-demand towing, or a private label motor club all the way through to a fully integrated preferred customer program. And then there’s the ability to be a preferred destination for our current member base of over 2 million motorists. I think we have the most dynamic product line in the industry.

Advertisement

What’s your next step after the test-run is completed?

We have met with many of the bigger automotive aftermarket retailers, and everybody is very receptive to make roadside assistance a part of what they are doing today because it just makes so much sense. We’ve just developed a new level of benefits to enhance our programs. So, I’m excited to get out there and start working with partners who understand the value and potential our products can provide. We expect the remainder of this year and into 2012 to be very busy.

Do you have a strategy in place to reach independent repair shops – is that a goal for ATMC?

That is absolutely a goal, yes. We feel our programs are relevant to any company doing repair work and looking to generate new revenue and enhance their customer retention numbers. The misconception out there is that consumers already have roadside assistance. Well, when the average age of a car is 10 years old, roadside assistance went away a long time ago. You’re going to find that more than half the motorists don’t have roadside assistance plans, so you might as well offer it to them. Customer retention and loyalty are critical to independent repair shops, so our program is a natural fit.

Advertisement

There are estimations that the average age of vehicles on the road is going to creep closer from 9 to 10 years old to 11 to 15 years old over the next several years, which is good news for ATMC.

It is. As we discussed earlier, demand is actually growing for this type of product. We surveyed our millions of members on what is most important to them and they wanted more coupons and discounts, as well as savings on quality car repairs. They’re looking for benefits that permit them to save money when they’re going to a restaurant or grocery store. So, it’s timely that we’re bringing these programs to the marketplace.

Advertisement

And let me add one thing: everything we do is private-labeled. We don’t deploy our own brand to the consumer market. Rather, we promote the name of the company that’s offering our program. When customers pull out that membership card for towing, a flat tire repair or to save money at a restaurant or retail store, they are thinking of that shop, keeping our client top of mind daily. That’s brand loyalty, which is what we’re all about.

Any final comments?

I don’t want to come across as a company that simply provides a product and hopes that it goes well. We provide very flexible programs, depending on what our partner needs. We do the implementation, all the marketing, the design work, state approvals for the products and all the training. Then we’re able to track sales by location, and report to management on the program’s success. That allows us to thank them, or to retrain over the phone or in the field. We also do some online training. We stay with this program to make sure it works.

Advertisement

How can AMN readers get more info?

It’s easy. Visit us at www.atmc1979.com, call 877-343-7521 or send us an email at [email protected].

We’ve been in this business for nearly 35 years so we know what it takes to build a successful relationship with both our clients and their customers.

Advertisement

POPULAR POSTS

Sponsored Content

What Causes Fuel Pumps to Fail?

Connect
aftermarketNews