Customer Data: Is Double Entry Dragging Down Your Bottom Line?
Remember the game “telephone” you played in elementary school? Everyone sat in a circle, and the first player whispered a phrase in the next player’s ear only once.
The second player repeated what he or she heard to the third player, and this continued until the phrase made it to the final player.
For children, the game was hilarious because the last player often heard a nonsensical phrase completely different from what the first player said.
At many dealerships, a game of telephone is being played — with customer data. When customer data is entered and reentered into dealership software platform after dealership software platform, the transformation of information is often just as dramatic as that phrase in telephone.
But the results are far less funny.
Many dealers understand that double entry of data is happening in their business. Maybe your software platforms aren’t integrated, or your processes aren’t quite right. But most dealers fail to recognize the extent of the damage double entry is causing to their bottom line.
With every additional data entry point comes an additional opportunity for error, and those errors are costly.
Bad data costs the U.S. economy more than $3.1 trillion a year,
For dealerships, that cost comes in the form of both money wasted — think sending two mailers to the same person — and opportunity cost. Marketing is often one of the areas hardest hit by bad data. Nearly a third of sales and marketing data is unusable, reports Experian.
If a third of the contacts in your marketing database are incorrect, a third of your marketing spend is essentially going down the drain. Double entry is often the culprit for creating these incorrect records.
Let’s say Brian Smith walks into your dealership. In the first platform, his information is entered correctly. But when his information is entered into the next platform, his name is misspelled “Bryan.”
“Brian Smith” and “Bryan Smith” are the same person, but if your systems can’t catch that, Brian is going to receive two emails, two mailers, and two phone calls every time.
This happens more than any of us would like to admit; 36% of consumers have been sent duplicate communications, says Experian QAS. Multiply this effect across all your data, and suddenly you’re looking at a big pile of wasted money.
The opportunity cost brought about by double entry is a little bit harder to track and quantify, but this area often represents an even bigger cost to your dealership.
Every minute your salespeople spend entering customer data that has already been entered elsewhere is a minute they could have been using to follow up with leads or mine data for new ones.
Think about the impact of giving everyone on your staff just an extra 45 minutes back in their day. That extra time adds up quickly, and the cost of not making changes becomes alarmingly apparent.
This is where I challenge you to begin your path to eliminating double entry. Track the amount of time your staff spends reentering customer data. It will be a tedious exercise but will open your eyes to where exactly the gaps are, and provide insight into how to fix them.
Maybe you need to consider switching to a CRM platform that integrates with your service scheduling platform and DMS. Or maybe there’s simply a staff training issue. Whatever the case, taking the time to nail down double entry will pay back exponential dividends for your dealership’s bottom line.
Mo Zahabi is the director of sales and product consulting at VinSolutions, a Cox Automotive brand, which 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.