It’s the holidays, you just got a deal on a new smart TV, brought it home, and are ready to fire it up. Plug and play, right?
Although it’s possible, it’s probably not the most typical-use case because most of us want an entire home entertainment experience. We have to connect our sound bar and the subwoofer, the satellite TV, our gaming system, and a Blu-ray player, not to mention the connection to the Wi-Fi so we can get our subscription-based video on demand.
The possible combinations between brands, devices, and services seem countless, and are selected based on the preferences we have, which match our individual viewing habits. With all the pieces that need to come together, the TV monitor itself becomes the central connection point. It integrates to all our auxiliary devices and subscriptions to deliver the desired output we choose to build for our entertainment experience.
A central connection for dealership systems
Similarly, in the F&I experience, every dealership has its own unique business strategies, and chooses a particular set of systems and services to meet these needs. These dealerships may require several of these systems to execute upon their strategy.
These systems need to connect and communicate with each other. They can include anything from a DMS, CRM, online lead-generation/credit application, and inventory management systems to desking, credit applications, menus, credit bureau providers, vehicle valuation tools, and other specialty providers.
Just as is the case with our personalized home entertainment experience, the multitude of options ultimately selected in a dealership need a connection point. Your credit application system can be that central hub that pulls customers from your DMS, notifies you when you get an online lead, runs credit bureaus, get your customer’s payoff quote, creates a menu, books your e-contract, and stores your deals electronically for years to come. It also helps manage your compliance requirements.
Are there other options? Of course, but straight out of the box, a good credit application system is built to integrate with a wide variety of providers, and stay current on technology to meet evolving customer needs. It can do the dirty work of all the back-end technical integrations so that you merely have to enter your credentials and go about your business.
Having one central or universal point that keeps the systems connected is key to keeping sanity to your workflow.
Let’s go back to our entertainment system example. You’ve now got six or more devices for your new TV that you need to plug in for power, but obviously you don’t hire an electrician to install individual electrical outlets to power each device. The cost would far surpass the $25 to $75 spent on a decent surge protector that you can pick up at nearly any store.
Although the cost savings and the convenience of plugging them all in at one location are notable, there is something even more important that a surge protector can offer: security. The surge protector provides protection to the devices plugged into it.
If you use your credit application system as your go-to point to manage deal data, there are several layers of security that can be offered, including multi-factor authentication, IP blocking, and active user reports, just to name a few.
Speaking of users, I’m sure you have your Netflix preferences set so your first grader doesn’t mistake Walk With the Dinosaurs for The Walking Dead. The same holds true for the central hub discussed here. You should have user preferences set so your customers’ sensitive data can only be accessed by users who truly need it.
So when you’re out shopping for the latest and greatest electronics this holiday season, think about all the systems you’re using in your dealership, how they’re interconnected in your workflow, and if they’re providing that overall experience you want to provide to your customers.
Set yourself a goal in 2017 to ensure they are all working in unison and reporting to a central hub, which will deliver the optimal experience that you expect from the business strategies you have in place.
Brad Rogers is the chief operating officer of RouteOne LLC, a joint venture between Ally Financial, Ford Motor Credit Company, TD Auto Finance, and Toyota Financial Services. He is responsible for managing all sales, business development, and support services for the company.
Latest posts by Brad Rogers
- How Dealership Tools That “Play Nice” Together Engage Buyers - July 27, 2018
- Bolster Your Dealership’s Digital Experience With Flexible F&I Solutions - April 4, 2018
- How E-Contracting Accelerates the Buying Experience - September 26, 2017