It’s an unfortunate side-effect of working in the automotive retailing industry that, at times, dealers can get stuck in a cycle of short-sightedness.
Pressured by frequent deadlines to hit revenue goals and drive traffic to the Sales floor, it’s often too easy for dealers to lose sight of long-term goals such as process improvement – even when such long-term goals result in increased profitability.
This is a challenge – and the balancing act – every dealer faces, but there’s lasting value to be found in tackling the challenge head-on rather than ignoring it in favor of the monthly grind of your operation. To do so, it is critical to adopt a mindset of constant process improvement in the near term that will lead to delivering long-term value.
One dealership area that stands to gain a great deal from a focus on process improvement is new and used vehicle sales. By incorporating the efficiency of automation and mobile applications, you could have your sales process humming like the fine-tuned machine it ought to be.
Efficiency of the Appraisal Process
The average car appraisal takes 43 minutes – crucially, that is almost exactly halfway to the wait time of 90 minutes at which customer satisfaction ratings begin to decline. Who doesn’t want to make that more efficient?
If you have the right tools in place to digitize and automate aspects of the appraisal process, it will make it easier on your employees and faster for your customers. Digitized paperwork can be passed from person to person almost instantly while remaining secure throughout the entire appraisal process.
Once an appraised amount has been agreed upon, the files can immediately be sent with notification to the desk manager to handle. The end result of digitization throughout this process: a great deal of saved walking and waiting time for dealership personnel and the customer – plus enhanced security.
The Need for Secure Mobile Technology
A big part of shaving time off of those 43 minutes is going mobile. Being able to walk outside with a phone or tablet to appraise a vehicle saves time. But, you have to make sure the process is secure, meaning your tool, already optimized for mobile, should also be tied to your dealership management system (DMS).
By ensuring the data you enter into a phone or tablet is stored directly on your DMS and linked to the deal, rather than remaining on the device, you protect the privacy and security of the data while still leveraging the flexibility of mobile optimization to maximum effect.
Current and Correct Information
Consider the following: you just acquired a vehicle and have completed the appraisal. It truly maximizes efficiency to have a solution in place where each store automatically has its inventory updated with the newly acquired vehicle.
Not only does this speed up the process, but it also keeps your inventory up-to-date in real-time, prepping all your stores to make a sale sooner.
Balancing short term deadlines in the business with long-term improvements in the business is a dilemma automotive retailers have to solve on a regular basis – it simply comes with the territory. But the right process automation and mobile applications can deliver results, improvement, and value in both the near and long term.
Incorporating process automation and going mobile can help you cut customer wait time, improve productiveness and effectiveness of your dealership employees, and help deliver results to your bottom line.
Author: Andrew Knowles
Andrew Knowles is Product Planning manager for Vehicle Inventory based applications at Reynolds and Reynolds.