One of the fundamental tenants of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) success is to warehouse customer and vehicle data, push various kinds of communications to customers through different channels, and thereby prevent customers from defecting simply due to pursuit and follow-up neglect.
Proactive and relevant communication is fundamental for improving customer acquisition and retention across all profit centers. Yet, getting customer and vehicle data into your CRM for immediate and ongoing action by the appropriate team member has been cumbersome, error prone, and time consuming. For instance, how are leads handled that come from the many types of online car-shopping sites where you market inventory? How about service appointment requests or credit inquiries from your website? Or, what about sales and service records from your dealer management system?
None of these situations are as simple as they seem, I know. In my 15 years in automotive retail—10 of them in and around CRM products and processes—I can tell you that any lead or follow-up procedure that isn’t easily repeatable and automated is a source of lost business, which means your P&L can be affected in real-time.
In the heat of the battle in the typical dealership, where what’s new demands our energy and attention, a lead not converted or customer follow up not performed quickly results in lost opportunities or customer attrition. Effective CRM delivers the repeatable processes and communications to prevent the leaks.
Furthermore, when a CRM is integrated seamlessly into other, seemingly independent systems like your website or the services you use to list, publish, and manage your online inventory you connect the missing link in CRM. Now customer and vehicle data can be leveraged in real-time, resulting in higher quality communications and interactions with customers.
With customers safely warehoused in your CRM application, you can leverage this information for cohesive follow-up phone calls, emails, video emails, targeted fulfillment marketing and much more— things that have always been time consuming and uncoordinated in the past—to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time, dramatically reducing attrition while improving profitability per transaction.
CRM innovators like e-autobusiness with its modular AEROS Software Suite integrate the key components of emerging customer and vehicle management. By integrating CRM, website, inventory management, and online inventory listing, publishing and management tools, e-autobusiness is already introducing dealers to these new economies, freeing team members from data-processing chores and driving bottom-line results.
e-autobusiness, LLC, a Charlotte, NC, technology company, has provided flexible and innovative CRM solutions to dealers since 2000. Its showcase CRM, the AEROS Software Suite, is a modular CRM that lets dealers build the level of sophistication in their CRM that best fits their business needs and their budget. Components can be added as needed, over time. Certified by 15 manufacturers, the AEROS Software Suite helps dealers experience bottom-line results in sales, service, F&I, special finance, and parts, while providing web-based CRM, internet lead management, BDC control, lease and finance desking, and new media customer marketing.
Christian Thornton is managing director for e-autobusiness, LLC. For more information, contact the author at [email protected] visit www.eautobusiness.com
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