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Up to 40% of the customer information held by dealers could be out of date with the potential for staff to contact those who have died proving a significant risk during marketing campaigns.
The warning comes from PEP Consultancy which advises data cleansing before and after the database has been used.
Mark Graham, of PEP, said: “There’s no doubt that with pressures on overheads, most dealers find it very difficult to train and retain staff for database maintenance.
“Often we find that dealer databases contain large volumes of out-of-date information and we have estimated that between 25%-40% of customer data can be redundant.
“It means a quarter to almost half of some dealers’ marketing budget is being wasted or used ineffectively.”
Graham explained how, during the course of making follow-up calls on behalf of dealers, PEP effectively undertakes a data-cleanse as part of the process.
“Typically we discover some customers have changed address meaning that any mailings are not received, others have changed or sold their cars - with a surprising volume have given up driving due to age or illness and still others request to be removed from the database for a host of reasons.
“The most potentially damaging data is, those customers who are deceased but still on the dealer’s contact lists. Family members hate receiving mail and calls under these circumstances, so we always flag-up to dealers these and other categories which must be removed from the database,” he said.
Henrys, a family owned Honda and Skoda franchise in Glasgow for 30 years enjoyed a sales boost in a campaign – branded ‘Simply Honda Big Weekend’ based around an effectively managed database.
With input from PEP, Henrys sorted their data against a number of criteria in-house using their DMS, forming the basis for a mailing list of some 5,000 customers to which an event invitation was sent.
A sub-set of this data, containing 2,000 records, was then selected for a follow-up telephone marketing call by PEP’s call centre service PEPtalk.
Dealer principle Bruce Henry said around 200 people attended the event.
“I’d say results from that first event were exceptional,” he said.
“There’s no doubt the process, with its focus on detailed planning and preparation, paid dividends.
“Our staff were magnificent and contributed ideas about how the event should be structured and we all found the experience very motivating and great for team-spirit” he said.
“Total sales for the event were 33 used and 12 new Hondas which exceeded expectations. I believe that the combination of carefully targeted direct mail and the telephone follow-up calls contributed significantly.”
Henrys has telemarketed almost 16,000 records over two years and sent around 40,000 mailshots.
“After each campaign, we go through the results very carefully, following up those who express an immediate sales or servicing interest and update our central DMS with any changes to physical or email addresses, telephone number changes and actioning any database removals that have become necessary.
“I view our databases as critical resources to be maintained and developed as the business moves forward,” Henry said.
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