In my last few articles, I’ve discussed the importance of having a central hub for customer data. This time, I’m really going to drive the point home.
How you manage your customer data often equates to how you manage your customers. Generally speaking, if you get your customer data right, you’ll get the customer relationship right, too.
Proper customer data management leads to fewer mistakes and redundancies, better understanding of your customers, and an improved overall customer experience. Get customer data management wrong, and sloppiness and lost opportunities can ensue.
Data management gone wrong
Not long ago, I visited a dealership and asked how they were handling their online leads. The answer I got was a cause for concern. The leads were going to an unknown system managed by someone no longer at the dealership. This is a textbook example of customer data management gone wrong.
It reminds me of a lyric in a song called “Dangerous” by Big Data. Although neither the band nor the song have much to do with data, the lyric sums it up pretty well: “Nobody’s listening, there’s nobody listening.”
Because nobody was “listening” to this dealership’s online leads, potential sales were being lost, and customer service was nowhere to be found for anyone going through their online process.
Compliance and security
In the this instance, although I didn’t probe more to find out for sure, one can only hope that no sensitive consumer data was being captured in that dealership’s process. In today’s operating environment, there is no room for error in compliance and security.
Compliance and security are not things you can do halfway or part-time. You have to be fully committed. Even before customers enter your door (including your website) and you collect information from them, the need for compliance and security kicks in. It could be ID verification or adverse action. It could be maintaining appropriate policies and procedures, handling nonpublic or private information, and document storage.
The result is the same. You need to have processes, systems, and auditing in place, along with good data and management of it. If you don’t know all the places your customer data is going, who has access to it, and how it is secured, both you and your customers are at potential risk, which is very dangerous indeed.
Do you know the decision and funding performance of your finance sources? How about what credit range is giving you the most business? Which customers are nearing the end of their financing term? Or the open compliance tasks that need to be addressed?
This is a wide-ranging set of questions to be sure, but having answers to them—and many others like them—is important to running an effective dealership. The only way to get answers to questions like these is to have your customer data stored in a secure, reliable place.
A central hub for data
This brings me to my closing point, and the one that I hope will bring it all together. As a dealer, by necessity, you live by the customer data you have access to, which often comes from different systems. (As a side note, I’d argue that the systems you choose and how you use them can be a competitive differentiator—having multiple systems can and should be a good thing, but you need a data hub, like your credit and contracting platform, to bring them together.)
A data hub will help ensure that customer leads coming from multiple places don’t get lost in the shuffle. It will also help you take the necessary compliance actions and provide you with the ability to audit them. A data hub will also help you to better understand the performance of your business by aggregating critical pieces of customer data in a secure, reliable place.
Another benefit—and a topic to be further explored in a future article—is, of course, workflow. A customer data hub can also be your integration hub, which brings your systems together into a seamless workflow to reduce duplicate data entry, errors, and time spent, so that you can spend more time finding opportunities and making sales with your customers.
Todd Mason is chief product and marketing officer (CPMO) for RouteOne (www.routeone.com), a joint venture created by Ally Financial, Ford Motor Credit, TD Auto Finance, and Toyota Financial Services. He is responsible for managing product conception, development, and strategy, as well as implementation of all marketing-related strategy and tactics for RouteOne.
Latest posts by Todd Mason
- 4 Steps to Disrupt With Trust, Not Technology - January 26, 2017
- Select Digital Disruptors That Keep Your Best Interests in Mind - November 10, 2016
- Satisfy the 4 C’s of Customer Experience With Mobile Marketing - September 27, 2016