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FOCUS – Technology Improves Customer Service

November 28, 2005
Filed under Features

Trends may come and go, but powersports dealers are always looking for ways to be more efficient. Technology companies geared toward the powersports industry have been developing new ways to streamline dealership operations in all aspects, from point of sale to customer service.
Suite style programs, in the tradition of Microsoft Office, have found popularity as comprehensive dealership management systems.
Many dealers are familiar with ADP Lightspeed, which has a suite of business solutions for powersports dealers in the form of LightspeedNXT, a system accompanied by a suite of training and support services to aid dealers in efficiency and profitability.
ADP Lightspeed is part of ADP Dealer Services, which provides integrated computing solutions to 19,500 auto, truck, motorcycle, marine and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
V-SEPT, Inc. entered the powersports sales enhancement and productivity solutions market less than a year ago, but already, the company’s V-SEPT Powersports has found favor among dealers. The powersports solutions suite works in conjunction with V-Web SMART, the company’s e-commerce portal.
V-SEPT Powersports contains up-to-date manufacturer vehicle specifications, product reviews and side-by-side model comparisons. The system also allows dealers to print custom vehicle specification sheets for customers and organizes the sales process for both the sales representative and the dealership manager.
Jeff Hieber, sales manager of Barney’s Motorcycle Sales, Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., said having all information in one place helps speed the sales process along.
“As soon as we receive a used motorcycle, we run a query in our V-SEPT database and follow up with interested parties immediately, giving us a quick turn on our investment,” he told Powersports Business.
Customer service has also been a much talked about issue across the retail industry of late and powersports dealers have dived into the debate, contemplating what customer service methods work best, are the easiest to implement and are the most cost efficient. Technology has been one of the key components in improving customer service and a number of powersports companies are innovating new ways to improve customer service efforts.
MIC Systems & Software has picked up on the better customer service trend and recently developed Customer Won, which can be integrated with MIC’s Brainstorm Business Management System.
Customer Won is a three part suite designed for dealership efficiency and to improve sales. One portion of the program tracks sales staff effectiveness and offers suggestions to boost sales. A second portion focuses on customer satisfaction, allowing dealers to create their own surveys that can be sent out for every service order. The third focuses on customer contact, prompting 15 “touches” between a dealership and customer from initial contact through long after the sale.
Automated customer follow up programs have found increasing favor as a way to maintain dealer/customer contact without delegating employees to stuffing envelopes or developing contact lists.
V-SEPT has also developed a customer relationship management module for powersports dealers. Like Customer Won, V-SEPT’s model is for integration into V-SEPT’s Powersports system. The CRM contains a number of templates to work from for customized contact, from “Thank you for considering us” to “Holiday card” to “Service reminder with coupon.” Mailings are electronically sent to V-SEPT, which will process direct mail campaigns as part of the monthly subscription fee of $49.
“Our CRM module is enabling our users to decrease the number of tools and expensive outsourced solutions they use to manage their sales and marketing efforts effectively,” said Jim Vaughn, V-SEPT president and CEO. “[The module] allows subscribers to easily build one-on-one marketing materials and expand their relationship with their customers beyond the initial sale.”

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