Lifestyle reached out to businesspeople all over South Florida—in categories ranging from retail and real estate to medical and automotive—and asked three questions: How did COVID-19 and the shutdown impact your business; how did you position your business in the interim; how will experiencing this unprecedented pandemic change the way you conduct business moving forward? Today, we check in with Garrett Hayim, owner of Maserati of Fort Lauderdale (along with John Vogel, the VP of marketing).
Business backstory: Hayim’s Fort Lauderdale-based dealership, part of the Experience Auto Group, honors the iconic Italian automaker with a chic contemporary showroom and five-star customer service and maintenance/repair teams. In addition to a host of 2020 Maserati models, the inventory also includes pre-owned Maseratis and other pre-owned high-end makes, including 100-plus Ferraris. The new dealership also is home to Alfa Romeo of Fort Lauderdale. (maseratifl.com; alfafl.com)
The impact: “Since we have clients all over the county, nearly 70 percent of our business already was available to our clients online, offering virtual services like inventory selection and making service appointments. So, adapting to additional services virtually wasn’t a big challenge for us. But it was a creative one. Dealing with COVID-19 created additional steps in keeping our clients safe. In addition to offering new online virtual services, such as maintenance consults and trade-in appraisals, we’ve also partnered with PermaSafe to thoroughly disinfect vehicles for short-term concerns and long-term safety. We’ve integrated the use of Zoom to execute the virtual appointments and accommodated more personal requests via phone and/or FaceTime appointments. Our associates have been a driving force in implementing these virtual services and maintaining the personalization and communication that our customers are used to. We’re proud to say that [as of press time] we have not furloughed or resigned any of our associates. [Editor’s note: Maserati of Fort Lauderdale also donated nearly 50,000 masks to assist in the coronavirus battle.]
In the interim: “With the recent opening of the Maserati and Alfa Romeo showroom, we were planning family fun days and some curated client events. So, of course, we look forward to the day when our showroom can resume being a second home for many of our clients, some of whom stop in to have an espresso or just to say hello. This challenging situation has encouraged us to adapt a very tech-savvy approach to our day-to-day business, and we’ve managed to engage customers at a personal level. It’s certainly created a newfound level of trust and understanding among our Gen X and millennial consumers. I guess you can say we’re all riding this virtual highway together.”
The future: “This certainly has taught us where we can do better in being virtually available to our clients. We see many of the virtual services now being offered becoming a permanent part of our business model, along with staying true to the newly adapted safety and cleanliness measures we are taking via PermaSafe and traditional cleaning methods.”