Four Tips to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Dealership

In 2019, dealerships have a lot of competition when it comes to returning buyers, servicing, and simple repairs. However, if you focus on the customer experience first, you’ll keep them coming back for years to come. Nowadays, it’s not just their time at your dealership that counts, but also their convenience when visiting your website or waiting for their vehicle to be serviced.

The auto industry is evolving every day, and the way your customers experience your business is changing, too. Below, we have four tips that will keep customers coming back to your dealership.

 

Prioritize A Simple, Effective, & Informative Online Experience

Obviously, smartphones are everywhere. We all know it, and because of this fact, the way customers experience your business begins with a Google search. Typically, they’ll see a list of businesses (on Google My Business)  in their area that match what they typed in. They’ll go through, read reviews, look at pictures you upload, and then they’ll go to your website.

Customer service begins at first touch– your website. If it’s easy to navigate, provides useful information, and puts simplifying the customer experience first, then you’re much more likely to gain their business– and keep it.

 

Be Transparent With Customers

First and foremost, this will gain your customer trust. People know when salesmen are just trying to close a deal. It’s also safe to say many dealerships believe front end sales are where all of their money is made. However, in today’s market, it’s not so simple.

If you treat a customer well and prioritize their comfort, they’ll be more likely to come back for business and refer you. Beyond that, when you set expectations,  provide exact costs, estimates, rebates, and work with them through every step of the process, you’ll develop a positive relationship.

However, as you’ll probably guess, this transparency doesn’t end with the in-person meetings. The best dealerships have software in place that will calculate everything a customer needs to know, instantly, for their purchase– including all of the things (and more) that we listed above. Whether it’s for service, or simply offering information, you can send out automated text alerts for customers to stay updated, giving them another easy way to connect with you.

 

Keep In Touch With Customers

Whether it’s through emails, texts, or phone calls, it’s important to check in with customers every now and then. This isn’t to suggest you should pester them on a regular basis (don’t do that), but sending out promotions every now and then is never a bad idea. Beyond that, if you have a social media page, that can be a great way to stay in contact with customers and provide updates on anything you’re doing that they may be interested in.

 

Have A Management Software System In Place

We touched on it a little bit above, but it’s crucial to have a system in place that helps make the customer experience as easy and informative as possible. In 2019, the majority of the most successful dealerships have a software system in place that not only increases operational efficiency, but also can create custom forms, email templates for promotions, provide customers with text message updates on services, and inform them of pricing and estimates on the fly.

 

AutoMobile Technologies

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your dealership more efficient, provide your customers with the information they need, offer you better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date and you’re building a positive relationship with customers.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto marketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your control and profitability.

Best Auto Dealer Management Software Picks For 2019

If you’re reading this, you’re likely aware of all of the moving parts involved when running an auto dealership. Complications can arise from a poor workflow system, technicians making mistakes, and even simply going through paperwork. There are many things to consider, and inevitably, even the most successful auto dealerships run into productivity shortfalls.

We know that many of the problems tend to involve employee mistakes and miscommunication. If you’re like most auto dealerships, you’ve seen the shortcomings and have already implemented management software, such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds. It’s a step in the right direction; however, systems like the two we just named often have gaps in sales efficiency, inventory, and F&I information.

In auto dealerships, employee mistakes happen. Beyond that, you know there is always room for improvement– whether it’s updating your layout, installing a management software system, or simply eliminating inefficient and unnecessary steps. But management software, such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds have their limitations as well. Luckily for you, in 2019, there are plenty of software solutions out there that can help you fully digitize your inventory acquisition, marketing, inventory management, and reconditioning statuses. There are software solutions out there that can fill in those missing gaps.

Finding the right management software can be a long, headache-inducing, process. To help you out, we’ve created a list of our top 4 management tool picks that can make your auto dealership more efficient.

 

For Your Sales And Marketing

Hubspot

Each year, more and more auto dealerships (and companies in general) are seeing the benefits of Hubspot for their businesses. Hubspot is a software solution that helps your auto dealership with online marketing, tracking sales, and managing customer relationships. There are plenty of options within the software suite that you can choose from. While they’re all really helpful and beneficial for your auto dealership, they’re even better together.

In 2019, almost every search for a new vehicle begins with an internet search engine, such as Google or Bing. When people start that search, they’re looking for a business near them that provides the right answers to some of the most common questions buyers have. We call this inbound marketing, and it is one of the best ways to garner new customers and sales. You draw in customers through websites, blogging, social media, brand, and optimizing your content to draw in customers and rank high in search engine results.

Hubspot lets you create and publish content that you can track, measure, and target to generate leads.

 

For Your Social Media

Hubspot Marketing

While Sprout Social was our top social media management software pick just a year ago, Hubspot Marketing has begun to dominate even the social media market.

For any auto dealership’s marketing team, the number one goal has always been to advertise their business across the best and most efficient channels possible. In 2019, the internet (especially social media) is one of the best avenues that currently exist. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. Beyond that, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, nearly everyone from your grandparents (or parents) to elementary school students use social media platforms.

Hubspot Marketing allows you to to create social media marketing campaigns, has end-to-end marketing automation (publish content in a specific format in timed intervals), let’s you personalize your lead management, has an extremely user-friendly interface, customizable HTML and text messages, and SEO (search engine optimization).

 

For Your Accounting

Intuit Quickbooks

Intuit Quickbooks is probably the most fully fleshed-out accounting software there is. You can purchase Quickbooks for either Windows or Mac. However, as of 2019, Quickbooks is focusing more and more on a cloud-based subscription service where you pay a monthly fee for their software.

While the software is offered for both Mac and Windows, the Mac version doesn’t have nearly as many features as the Windows or cloud-based versions.

Whether your dealership is large or small, Quickbooks is very widely used by almost everyone in the market. It’s very easy to go online and look up information, guides, tutorials, and videos explaining exactly how all of the features work. Quickbooks works well for just about any business and offers quite a few monthly packages that can range from $5 to $25 a month; however, payroll, payment services, and enterprise installations do cost a bit more.

 

For Your Reconditioning Workflow Automation

AutoMobile Technologies ReconMonitor

ReconMonitor is one of the best software solutions out there for auto dealerships. You can monitor and manage any vehicles that are in the reconditioning process. The software allows you to track inventory and auction purchases from the time you acquire the vehicles, all the way to through the process to when they’re front-line ready. It enables tracking of each individual vehicle, the reconditioning stage it is in, the teams responsible, and alerts you to any workflow bottlenecks in real-time.

ReconMonitor is software that allows dealerships to track back-office operations, reconditioning processes, and front-end sales from anywhere on their desktop or mobile device.

Beyond that, it can alert you of potential problems in resource planning or process in order to maintain proper workflow momentum. Unlike common spreadsheets or whiteboards, this software solution is always available, in the office, on the lot, or in the field, at the push of a button.

Top Auto Dealer Management Software Picks for 2018

Automobile Dealership Management Software

Automobile Dealership Management Software in 2018

Running a successful car dealership involves countless moving parts, and within all these revolving pieces, productivity shortfalls are inevitable. Successful dealerships know it’s due to human error– because constant communication between individuals eventually leads to confusion and potential misinformation. So while most dealerships acknowledge these shortcomings and use management software such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds and other DMS software, these systems can leave gaps in efficiency when maintaining sales, inventory, and F&I information.

Despite our limitations as individuals and the shortcomings of the automotive management software above, we’re fortunate enough to live in an era where we have several software solutions to fully digitize inventory acquisition, marketing, and even inventory management– filling the gaps along the way.

To help reduce your time researching possible software solutions, we have compiled a top-5 list of management tools every dealership should consider adding.

Sales & Marketing

Hubspot

HubSpot offers various marketing, sales, and customer relationship management software to fit whatever business needs you may have– and while the individual options are powerful, they’re even better when used together.

Obtaining prospects and making sales on new or used vehicles relies on you meeting a customer’s needs and working with their budget.

In today’s world, almost every single car purchase begins with an “internet search.” These searches could yield potential new customers if your dealership provides the “right answers.” This inbound marketing, where you draw in customers through social media, branding, and search engine optimization, revolves around creating and publishing content which attracts visitors and converts them into leads as they travel the sales funnel from awareness to consideration.

HubSpot assists in creating and publishing lead generation content– allowing you to track, measure and target your leads.

Reconditioning & Supply Chain Management

AutoMobile Technologies – ReconMonitor

ReconMonitor software helps dealerships monitor and manage the process of reconditioning pre-owned inventory and auction purchases from Acquisition to Front Line Ready. It can track each individual vehicle, the progress made during all reconditioning phases, help get vehicles ready in a quick and efficient manner, and save dealerships both time and money.

ReconMonitor is web-based dealership supply chain management software that picks up where your DMS leaves off, and gives any dealership stakeholder access to all in-process vehicles, the current repair stages, and deadlines from any device, at any time.

It establishes an early warning system in order to keep repair momentum from the initial acquisition to frontline readiness– tracking each vendor, employee, and repair phase to manage performance while identifying bottlenecks in the reconditioning process.

Social Media

Sprout Social

For dealership marketing teams, the primary goal is to advertise the business in the best and most efficient channels– and social media is the largest avenue to get the word out. Sprout Social allows you to track likes, shares, conversations, new contacts, and more with an incredibly clean and easy design.

Data is the driving force when it comes to marketing and understanding which posts drive the most engagement, and Sprout Social offers various monthly subscriptions to monitor your social media marketing campaign.

Sprout Social’s management screen has tabs for messages, tasks, feeds, publishing, and reports. Messages allow you to read and respond to comments left on various social media platforms all in one inbox. While publishing and feeds allow you to analyze the most viewed content and make postings on a timed schedule.

Reports are manageable both on a macro and micro scale– meaning you can view the analytics for all social media in one location or view them all individually.

If your dealership has a team using social media for customer communication, Sprout Social allows you to track tasks and measure post-performance.

Sprout Social offers in-depth data analysis for all your social media marketing on a simple and sleek platform ready to improve your business’ content.

Dealership Accounting & Sales

NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP sells itself as a tool to assist any size business to expand. Its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provides planning and management tools to help automate and simplify business processes in real time.

Netsuite lets individuals at the dealership automate various tasks, enabling data collection, viewing, and sharing without interrupting other functions.

Since NetSuite is cloud-based (meaning all information is saved online in a cloud server), updates, maintenance, support, and customization are all available and automatic across all devices using the software. To elaborate on customization, the package offers the ability to fully edit processes to work as efficiently as possible for your dealership.

NetSuite provides financial reporting, financial planning, revenue recognition (for compliance with accounting standards), global accounting and consolidation (for transparency), billing (to improve accuracy and remove errors), and real-time financial monitoring to drive success.

For Smaller Dealerships: Dealer DMS alternative

Everlogic

Everlogic is a Gold Certified Partner for Quickbooks with a complete management system designed with small dealerships and businesses in mind. Everlogic has several integrated modules which show sales, F&I, parts, services, and administration departments all under one roof. It’s known for its excellence in customer service, and much like the other options above, it’s easy to use, understand, and update all current business processes.

Summary

If recent reports are correct, the two or three-year new car sales tidal wave has begun to slow down. Dealerships will scramble in order to find solutions to boost sales and bolster profitability. The competent and savvy dealer will stay one step ahead, see the trends, and use the best and latest software available. These are our top picks for 2018, and we hope they assist your dealership to increase productivity and profitability this year and beyond.