If Grilled Cheese Ruled the World

Sometimes, in our multitask-focused world, simplicity gets lost. New bells and whistles add zip as well as complexity, but often achieve the same results available from a simpler, easier approach. Such innovation might even put progress in reverse. Consider the following:

  • Automated operators:

    Is a “Press one if…” easier and simpler for a consumer than a live human answering and directing a call? Does anybody want to talk to a computer?

  • Online dating services:

    What happened to gumption and a proactive and polite self-introduction? Leave the smartphone in your pocket and get out and meet and greet people, including on your lot.

  • E-cards:

    Unfortunate is the individual who has not experienced the joy and power in sending or receiving a handwritten thank-you note. Why use someone else’s words to show you care about somebody?

  • Lettuce wraps:

    Really…lettuce wraps? Has a society truly progressed to a point where it does not value the grilled cheese sandwich anymore? Which one would you really prefer for lunch today?

I suppose preferring lunch wrapped in a lettuce leaf is progress, but when change like this comes to business processes, change is not always better—and simply not as appealing, or even worse. In auto dealerships today we see this in the advancement of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.



Designed originally as a way to capture customer traffic and then follow up later via phone, email, or postal mail, the CRM (for too many dealerships) has become a rather expensive closet. Names go in, but there they sit, unused and unprofitable for the dealership.

True, some great applications for CRM use have evolved, when used regularly the CRM can help identify unsold opportunities, customers who walked without buying, and service customers overdue for regularly scheduled maintenance services.

This narrative itself is a simplification, of course, but as CRM vendors bolt on different applications, the proverbial Swiss army knife philosophy emerges. This popular utility knife offers wonderful potential, but most users stick to using it for its main design, as a knife.

Consider this approach as you think of a recently grilled steak. What tool will be more useful and practical for cutting this steak: a multitasking one with pliers, toothpicks, tweezers, and a blade or a simple serrated steak knife?

If the dealership wants to increase vehicle sales and gross by selling newer models to existing customers for about the same monthly payment, there is but one solution: a complete portfolio management solution.

Finally, these truths remain, whatever the spin:

  1. Character
  2. Honesty
  3. A lid for every pot
  4. Focus tops multitasking
  5. Grilled cheese only, please

Boyd Warner is CEO of AutoAlert®, Inc. (www.autoalert.com), the most advanced lead generation solution available on the market today. Contact him at bwarner@dealermark.com.

Boyd Warner

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