Managing customer relationships is key to success in the auto dealership industry, but the nature of the dealership industry presents unique problems. If you run a café you get to great your customers in person a few times a week or month and build a relationship through day-to-day interaction and small purchases. In an auto dealership, however, customers only purchase a vehicle every few years and that purchase is a significant portion of their budget, so customers are more cautious, do more research, and communicate differently with a dealership than other businesses.
Fortunately, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology has replaced the index cards of a few decades ago. The first CRM systems were just contact management systems to help dealers hips keep track of their customers. As computing power increased and computers started appearing on desks everywhere, software became more powerful and the new systems helped sales staff to increase efficiency and better track their opportunities, leads, and sales. With more computing power available every year, CRM systems have evolved to handle the influx of new online technologies, big data, and communication channels that are essential to the survival of a twenty-first century auto dealership.
Modern CRM systems touch every aspect of the dealership, from scheduling and social media to measuring the success of marketing campaigns and tracking leads. With such far reaching tools, determining how to take full advantage of your CRM can be difficult. To help you sort it out, we spoke to three CRM experts from the auto dealership industry: Saphura Safavi Long, CEO/President of Gratis Technologies, Brian Skutta, Vice President and GM of VinSolutions, and Bill Wittenmyer, Partner withELEAD1ONE. They gave us their thoughts on how best to use your CRM and where the technology is headed in the future.
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