Using the Four C’s to Determine if Your DMS is Up to the Challenge
It started out as a fine idea.
The dealer management system (DMS) was designed to be the central nervous system of the dealership. The problem with many DMS platforms, however, is that they are outdated — some were developed before the Internet was invented.
Vendors have attempted to maintain functionality by bolting on new applications here and there, but the result has been a series of patches and workarounds that don’t work well together or conform to a dealership’s processes — worse, they sometimes make the dealership conform to the DMS.
Has the time come to update your dealership’s DMS? How can you tell if installing a new system and training your staff will be a boon or a burden? By using the four C’s — Cloud, Control, Clock and Cost — you’ll be well prepared in your search for the DMS that will revolutionize the way you sell and service vehicles.
Cloud – Is Your DMS Made for the Cloud?
There’s a lot of talk about “the cloud” when it comes to automotive software, but why should your dealership be using it?
By storing data off-site using state-of-the-art technology and encryption, a cloud-based DMS not only frees your dealership from having to maintain complex and expensive computer servers and software but allows your company to use its valuable consumer data like never before. In addition, cloud-based software allows for fast development and business changing software. According to Forbes, 74 percent of tech CFOs say cloud computing had the most measurable impact on their business in 2017. When software is built on the cloud, it gives way to faster development and advanced applications.
Some benefits of using a true cloud-based platform include:
Speed — A modern DMS, fully integrated into the cloud, will allow for faster, more efficient communication with both customers and between departments. Also, instead of switching between bolt-on applications, all the data your staff needs is in one place and available to them wherever they are.
Scalability — No matter how your dealership grows and expands over the years or when demand in your dealership peaks, your DMS will be ready to take on the extra load, expanding effortlessly to the size you need. Your systems will not stand in the way of your progress.
Security — You are entrusted with a great deal of information about your customers, and data breaches can destroy a dealership. By using cloud services with the strongest security and encryption available, such as Microsoft Azure, you protect your customers and your business.
Storage Redundancy — Thanks to geo-redundancy, your data is backed up to different locations, it is completely safe should a natural disaster ever strike.
Reporting — The power of modern reporting applications let you easily display role-based dashboards and easy-to-understand reports.
Control – Do You Control How Your Data is Shared?
Some would argue that the data you’ve collected from your customers is the most valuable asset your dealership owns. Putting it to work with an out-of-date DMS, however, can be a challenge. Worse, if you don’t know where your data is going or who has access to it, you’re putting both your customers and your dealership at risk. Once trust is broken — and fines are leveled — it can be difficult or impossible to recover.
Many dealerships have no idea what data fields they share with their partners. When this is the case, vulnerabilities to a breach multiply. With a modern DMS, you can control and share your data with your OEM, third-party vendors and more, deciding what data they receive down to the field level. By using modern software and a cloud service such as Azure, security is increased far more than is possible on a nonenterprise cloud level.
In addition to controlling, vendor access will also allow dealership management to control the access their staff has to customer data, giving them what they need to have to do their job and anything more on a case-by-case basis. According to Wards Auto, 22 percent of all data loss occurs intentionally by employees, and another 21 percent are the result of employee negligence. By controlling access to your data, you greatly mitigate this potential liability.
Clock – Are You Wasting Time?
Today’s consumer has been conditioned to expect quick service and hassle-free transactions. While an automobile is one of the biggest purchases most will ever make, the days of auto sales that take hours are long behind us. Instead of being a bottleneck, a properly designed, fully embedded DMS can supercharge your sales and service process.
Having your data in one place — without having to jump to multiple bolt-on applications with different logins and various interfaces — keeps your customers engaged in the process while allowing your staff to come up with answers and appear professional at all times. Also, since your DMS will connect to mobile devices, your staff and your customers aren’t chained to the desk for the entire experience.
No matter what department is serving your customers, they’ll now all be on the same system, pulling the same real-time data and providing streamlined, personalized service. And, since your DMS interfaces with vendors, lenders and other third-party players that factor into your sales and service process, your customer will appreciate the speed and the thoroughness you’ll be providing increasing customer retention and ROI.
Cost – Is Your DMS Cutting or Creating Costs?
One of the reasons many dealerships resist shopping for a new DMS and try to squeeze the most value out of the one they have is cost. How much will a new system be? How much will training run? What about possible downtime and lost business?
The actual questions you should be asking, however, is this: Can you afford to keep using your outdated system? How much time is wasted each day by each staff member trying to use a legacy system? How much of your IT department’s time and budget goes to keeping a DMS functioning long after it has become outdated? According to QA technologies, businesses today report that 60-80% of their IT budget is used to maintain aging legacy systems. How much business are you losing to customers who don’t want to wait while their salesperson struggles to pull up information on an obsolete platform? What kind of risk are you running with a system that doesn’t safeguard consumer data?
A DMS designed for the modern dealership will increase security, eliminate friction points, improve communication and offer tools that make captivating, easy-to-follow sales presentations. Also, the platform will be easier to use because it’s not cobbled together from add-on applications that attempt to do the job. Once your staff is up to speed — and training will be far easier because modern systems are much more intuitive — your dealership will begin reaping the rewards of modern technology.
While there is initial resistance with any new process or technology, examine your existing DMS through the lens of the four C’s. You and your staff might find the answer you’ve been looking for when it comes to streamlining your processes and serving your customers. Exchange your headaches for a platform that actually helps.
Ready to build customer loyalty, raise your bottom line and communicate better? Contact us at 877.421.1040 to speak with a product specialist or visit us at drivedominion.com.
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