We’re taking a little break from our regular content in this post, and we’re bringing you another close look at what it’s like behind the scenes at AutoBidMaster – your one-stop online car auction. We’re interviewing Lana, AutoBidMaster’s auction liaison with many of the salvage yards that we work with to bring you the largest auto auction inventory in North America.
ABM: Lana, thanks for taking some time to chat with us. How long have you been with AutoBidMaster? Where were you before, and what were you up to?
L: Six and a half years. Previously I worked in call centers pretty much the whole time I’ve been in the USA. Born and raised in Russia, I received my degree there, and I moved to the USA in 2005.
ABM: We’re glad to have you! Tell us about what you do now, what’s your focus?
L: For AutoBidMaster, I am the main contact for anything auction related: errors with bids, items, funds placement, vehicle pick ups, call Lana. Negotiations, call Lana. So in a nutshell, I’m the auction liaison here. I am also pretty good at analyzing any issue: tell me what is happening, and I can probably tell you why and who can fix it.
ABM: How do you deal with such a high volume of calls spread over such a large inventory? How many calls do you take a day?
L: I take and make from 30-130 calls a day. I speak to auction locations, sales teams from corporate branches, buyers, seller reps, and it can deviate depending on the type of issues I am handling on any given day. I deal with it by just grinning.
ABM: That’s a pretty tremendous amount of calls – What about the salvage yards – you speak with them directly, don’t you?
L: I speak to them all the time, yes, there are matters that need to be addressed constantly. Be it a vehicle’s title, pick up, storage, whatever: we call the yards pretty frequently.
ABM: What’s the most common interaction you have with salvage yards?
L: Vehicle pick up assistance.
ABM: How about AutoBidMaster’s members? What does it take to make sure they’re getting the best experience?
L: Listening. Understanding what the member is asking for and educating them so they can make the most informed decisions. Some of our members call saying things like:
“Can I really get a Lamborghini for $200?”
“Theoretically, yes, realistically – not really.” Learn more about the auction, the item itself and the price trends, fees, delivery, repairs – educate yourself so you are not blind sighted by the standard processes you will encounter throughout the auction.”
And another member can call saying: “I’ve seen this car, I had it inspected and want it – can you work a deal?”
So, off I go dialing the sales team to work a deal that makes sense based on facts.
ABM: Sounds like you cover a lot of bases, but where do most of your calls come from? Are there any countries that stand out more than others in terms of volume?
L: USA, Ukraine, Nigeria and Canada are the most common, I’ve spoken to Australian members a couple of times. Germany and Poland too.
ABM: So you’re serving a worldwide customer base. Do you or your team have any common languages with members from the countries you speak with often?
L: I speak Russian fluently, so anyone calling from Russian or Ukraine and is comfortable speaking Russian I can assist. There are a couple of other team members speak Russian as well.
ABM: What’s your biggest challenge with the variety of calls you get?
L: Understanding. Every person is different and comes with different preconceptions about how auctions work and a set of expectations for any given item, so understanding what this specific member needs and providing guidance accordingly.
ABM: They’re definitely lucky to have your help. Instead of issues you face, what’s the best part of your job? What brings you the greatest sense of satisfaction and completion?
L: Hearing the customer got exactly what they were looking for and more, getting a car that is better than what they expected. Or, dealing with a complicated issue and getting all parts to come together for a successful resolution.
ABM: How about your team? Tell us how you all work together to create a better experience.
L: We try to keep it light, even after dealing with a complicated matter or a difficult phone call we try to crack a joke every once in a while to keep spirits high. We rely and count on each other to do what’s expected and make it a point to be accountable not just to customer but also to each other, the teammates.
ABM: You guys seem pretty close knit. Speaking of teammates, Tabitha told us about a completely burned Corvette that a customer really wanted, do you have any other weird or strange sales memories?
L: There have been some severely damaged and funky items we’ve been sent after over the years.
I remember a Biohazard item we received a lot of calls on – members cannot bid on biohazard items themselves, so it had to be an in-house broker bid. This was a 2016 Mercedes that had some pretty nasty stuff inside of it. We came across this vehicle at least 20 times in the days preceding the sale as everyone wanted it, because there was barely any structural damage. The whole office was green and not with envy, and one of our lucky customers is driving that car now.
ABM: If you could have any car you’ve ever seen on AutoBidMaster, what would it be?
L: Something practical. I’ve learned that Toyotas and Hondas are “community cars,” meaning the parts for those are everywhere and are easy to find, hence any repair would be pretty simple. I would go for a Toyota 4Runner or Highlander, I prefer to sit high above ground.
ABM: What’s one piece of advice you’d want everybody to hear before they try to bid on a vehicle?
L: Research. The more you know the less you’re risking. You are buying a car, don’t click around and hope it will work out – know it will work out. Tools are out there – run VIN checks through ClearVin.com, send an inspector, visit in person, get repair estimates, get document advice from the DMV and shipping quotes – go into it knowing what you are doing.
Hear that folks? Do your research! The more you know about a vehicle, the less chance there is of something going wrong in the long run. So, you’ve heard it from somebody who knows, now you can sign up today and find your dream vehicle. Maybe a Toyota 4Runner or a Highlander as per Lana’s recommendation?