Information: Admit it, even when you're 'on top' of your DMS, know your monthly P/L and even memorize 2,000 customers' names...you still struggle. We live and die by information. When do you act on it? How do you act on it? Is it relevant? How is it stored? Do you use it to learn? Do you seek it with the determination of an honors student with a 4.3GPA or the person who slides to the back of the classroom? Doesn't matter: your world is ruled by it. Here are some ideas about what you can do with your information and some great places for more:
: Have an ILM? Pay for a CRM? If it's not strong enough or your staff can't use it effectively, it's no better than MICKEY MOUSE. Still need to build one-to-one relationships with your customers? Sean Stapleton and the team at Visible seem to understand what dealers need to a degree that very few vendors do today from an execution perspective. The product line is inline with today's needs and their background happens to be solid enough to rest an entire football team on (in case you were wondering). http://www.visiblecustomer.com
: A few weeks ago a couple newer automotive "community" sites were mentioned that IM@CS reads and participates in. When it comes to industry blogs (including this one) there is a recognized leader through the observations and words of Jeff Kershner at http://www.dealerrefresh.com
Check it out if it's been a while or if you've never laid your eyes on the content from one of Mile One's and the industry's finest.
: Every once in a while, one of our clients completes their 218-year contract with their existing DMS supplier. Having been around and watching Richard Holland's company for the past four plus years (and acknowledging DealerTrack's great acquisition as well), Arkona seems to do that little bit more, a little bit faster, a little bit easier for a little bit less with a little more focus on you (yes, that's being a little nice to the 'other' guys). Check out their product: http://www.arkona.com
: "I can't trust my staff to get the data", "No customer is going answer my questions, they don't even answer our surveys" and "it's not my job to follow up with the customer, our CSR does that" are just a few excuses heard typically in the halls, showrooms and back offices of dealerships daily. There is a free way to get your client opinions and comments with a little bit of set up work. If you need to ask more than 10 questions, you'll pay a little but it's worth every penny. What you do with the data is up to you, but get it! http://www.surveymonkey.com
There are many more ways to accrue, store, work with and ultimately monetize your data, but hopefully the above serve as one to a few more than you had before. We'll try to keep these updates weekly and ultimately have an area where you can get in touch with the vendors.
Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results