DATABASES are being dusted off by dealers in an effort to boost suffering sales.
Alas, many dealers are finding them full of old and useless information.
This, says dealer management systems specialist Pinewood, is a bit of a hot topic across the industry. And, says MD Neville Briggs, ‘This is something of a pigeons-coming-home-to-roost scenario.’
‘When car sales were stronger, dealers could get away with using their database as a top-up, rather than a core sales mechanism.’
‘Now that customers are finding funding more difficult to come by, and need more encouragement to enter a dealership, those databases are being found wanting in terms of providing quality information that will help dealers generate sales.’
‘A dealership’s customer database should be its number one CRM tool – but dealer sales and marketing teams are frequently finding that their database is years out of date and that very often the information it holds is useless.’
This problem is being compounded by dealers running several different computer systems that can’t talk to each other.
As a rule of thumb, Briggs reckons a quarter of the information in a database goes out of date within a year. And is calling upon every customer-facing person in a dealership to ensure the database is current.
This means working on it all the time, though the use of an integrated IT structure. A single database is key.
‘Good dealer CRM is only possible when every person who deals with the customer is able to review and update the information held on that contact.’
‘Advanced DMS systems, such as our Pinnacle product, facilitate this process, because they use a single live database structure, accessible to every user, whatever their department.’
‘There is only ever one version of a customer or prospect record, and this can be updated by anyone using the system.’