Following the consolidation of its regional offices into three service centers, American Honda Finance Corp.’s call center efficiency and associate training has improved.
The lender recently consolidated its service centers from nine locations to three large centers strategically located throughout the country, Petar Vucurevic, vice president of financial services at American Honda Finance Corp., told Auto Finance News.
The consolidation to centers in Alpharetta, Ga.; Irving, Texas; and Cypress, Calif., were an effort to combine service centers for Honda and Acura customers and dealers in the United States that began in February 2020. The third and final office opened in November 2022, according to a company statement.
“We’ve done things to enhance our website to be more self-serving for our customers, giving them options,” he said. “Those different things that we’ve been doing have allowed us to be more flexible to what the market has to offer. We’ve got to evolve, and we’ve got to be able to pivot as needed.”
Taking all calls, from anywhere
The consolidation allows Honda and Acura call center employees to take calls from anywhere in the country, Vucurevic said, noting it is too early in the setup to provide statistics on efficiencies.
“The system can route calls to folks that are available, regardless of where they’re located. One of our limitations in the past was strategically, if the office was in the Northeast, then it would only handle calls in the Northeast,” he said. “Now our folks have tools available. If they’re in California, they can handle a New York call. If it’s a DMV question, whatever it may be, they have the information available at their fingertips, so they can provide that service.
“Over time, as we become more knowledgeable, we’re able to increase our service levels,” Vucurevic said. “It’s allowed us to be more efficient in training our associates on a national basis versus geographically.”
The servicing consolidation solidifies Honda Finance’s ability to support the parent company, Vucurevic said. “The new structure will allow us to adopt technology quickly and efficiently to support our customers and dealers,” he said.
The key was keeping dealers and customers informed during the three-year process and minimizing the impact on operations, Vucurevic said, noting that the pandemic added a layer of challenges.
“It was a unique time; inventory levels were lower, COVID hit during that time and people were working remote,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot from it, we’ve been able to go to a hybrid approach in working. That’s helped with our associates’ morale.”
Many employees relocated to where the new centers opened, but it remains a challenge to fill roles with unemployment still low, Vucurevic said. “It’s tough to find people out there, because there’s not as many out there in today’s market,” he said.
American Honda Finance Corp. had $55.1 billion in outstandings at yearend 2022, according to the Big Wheels Auto Finance Data 2023 report.