Leveraging the power of modern DMS solutions can lead to better communication between sales and service departments.
Since the Great Recession in 2008, many dealers have seen their business change.
With margins on new vehicle sales significantly thinner today than in the past, dealers have had to invest more in other aspects of the business, including used cars and fixed operations. Ensuring fast, effective communication and coordination between different departments does however require a unified approach to be successful and profitable.
One way that dealers have been able to do this is by working with their Dealership Management System (DMS) and vendor partners to create systems and processes designed to save time and ensure seamless communication—not only between staff—but also the dealership and its customers.
According to Greg Uland, Vice President, Brand Marketing at Reynolds and Reynolds, every aspect of the DMS (or RMS for Retail Management System) should be geared to making the dealership more profitable.
“Any solution or aspect of your DMS that isn’t empowering your employees or streamlining your processes is not the right solution for your dealership,” he says.
One of the key aspects of ensuring a dealership’s success in the modern marketplace is the ability to take care of its customers.
Today’s consumers expect transparency in their relationship and transaction with the dealership and they expect fast, real-time updates whether it relates to sales or service.
According to Michelle Cole, Head of Growth Marketing with Keyloop, if they haven’t already, dealers need to create a seamless experience throughout the entire customer journey of the vehicle, from the initial purchase, all the way through to its final service before being traded in.
Today, the process of achieving that has arguably never been easier, with modern digital tools and solutions providing multiple connection points and integration opportunities with the DMS.
Using tablets in the service drive to gather customer information and perform fast VHCs (vehicle health checks) is a key example, as is the ability to leverage the power of integrated video.
Not only does this allow the dealership to perform more VHCs but it can also serve to promote better transparency and a more personal customer experience across both sales and service.
The key to making it all work effectively, however, is to eliminate redundancies wherever possible, such as digitizing everyday tasks such as filing, transferring paperwork and/or performing follow-ups with customers.
Additionally, by ensuring every member of staff at the dealership has access to the same information, it allows operations to run as smoothly as possible and if an issue arises, it can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
There’s also the aspect of continuous improvement. At Reynolds and Reynolds, Greg Uland says that it’s important to bear in mind that something perceived as “good” can easily be made better.
“Too often, when someone suggests we can or should improve something about ourselves, our first instinct is to default to a defensive posture,” he explains. “And the dealership is no different.”
This can be especially true if at a glance, the service department appears to be going full steam ahead and that adding a new system or process, that will cause disruption could likely jeopardize a seemingly well-run, well-oiled operation.
The key to bear in mind however is that change is necessary and if something works well today, it doesn’t mean it will tomorrow.
That’s why stresses Uland, it is essential to look at the solutions available to the dealership that help improve processes and discover new revenue streams and profit opportunities, particularly as it relates to Fix Ops.
Examples can range from introducing tablets for service advisors to self-service kiosks, digital vehicle inspection tools as well as texting and photo/video functions.
The latter can allow service advisors and technicians to show customers how work is progressing in real-time on their vehicle as well as enabling them to make informed decisions regarding service work.
The end result is a better experience for the customer and ultimately, more profit for the dealership.