CommentaryApr 17th, 2018

3 Reasons Why Dealerships Should Shift to a Single View of the Customer


Big changes are happening in our industry. New technologies are injecting incredible insight and efficiency into our everyday workflow. Customers now demand faster transactions; less than half of consumers are satisfied with the length of the car-buying process, according to the Cox Automotive Future of Digital Retail Study. And dealerships are consolidating like never before.

The top five dealer groups in the U.S. are made up of a combined 979 dealerships, according to the 2017 WardsAuto Megadealer 100. All these changes should be radically transforming the way dealers do business, yet many dealerships are still functioning like they did in the old days. Many dealers still operate with a siloed view of their customers: Sales doesn’t know about service customers, or Store A has no way of knowing that their customer has also been talking with Store B down the street.

Today’s most successful dealers have transformed operations across their businesses and see each customer for what they really are: one person. There are three major reasons for shifting your operations to be focused on a single view of the customer: data hygiene, streamlined workflow, and customer-connection quality.

1. Clean data

If you’re still operating based on a siloed view of your customers, you almost certainly have errors in your database. For example, in separated databases, an email address update doesn’t translate from service to sales. Dirty data can cause a lot of problems for dealerships. Per IBM, bad data costs U.S. businesses more than $3 trillion annually, and an estimated 30% of sales and marketing data is unusable, reports VB3.

On top of the operational inefficiencies, dirty data directly impacts your customers’ experience with your dealership. Nearly half of customers are annoyed by a business getting their personal information wrong, and more than one-third say they have less faith in the business to do a good job when it makes a data-quality error, according to Information Age. Many software providers offer solutions that will automate data reconciliation across your business to give you a single view of your customers, so ask what your options are.

2. Streamlined workflow

This one is straightforward, but still worth mentioning: Having a single view of a full customer profile from all rooftops saves you time. Many dealer groups recognize that they should be managing their customers’ interactions and transactions across all their stores, but trying to manually collect all that information from different instances of multiple software platforms is time-consuming and inefficient. Several software providers, however, have heard the needs of dealership groups, and there are a handful of solutions on the market that will give you that time-saving single view.

3. Connections that count

An accurate database and streamlined workflow facilitate the biggest benefit to having a single view of your customers: higher-quality connections.

According to the Cox Automotive Future of Digital Retail Study, 90% of consumers prefer a unique, personalized car-buying journey. Working from a single, comprehensive view of each customer allows you to provide that experience.

Understanding where your customers have been throughout the entirety of their car-buying journey — not just within your walls — exposes insights that allow you to better understand and anticipate their needs. And understanding customer needs leads to more sales.

Mo Zahabi is the director of sales and product consulting at VinSolutions, a Cox Automotive brand that seamlessly integrates systems and tools to deliver a single view of the customer across a dealership, so dealers can maintain relationships and make more repeat sales.

Authored by

Mo Zahabi

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