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Next-gen dealer management systems need to be more consumer focused

Dealer Management Systems (DMS) need to evolve to focus more on the customer and less on the vehicle if dealers are to deliver as good a customer relationship management (CRM) programme as possible, according to Jemca Car Group’s marketing and customer services director Gary Bixley.

He said: “There’s a disparity between the systems we use to deliver our services and a focus on CRM. Our systems are set up to tell us everything about the car but do not make the customer the focal point.”

Bixley spearheads the communications programme including CRM for the group which operates seven Toyota dealerships and four Lexus dealerships in and around the M25 and as far afield as Sidcup in Kent and Bracknell in Berkshire.

He will talk about the group’s vision to create a CRM culture at AM’s Aftersales Conference at the Hilton Hotel, located in the complex of the newly opened national football training centre St George’s Park in Burton on Trent, East Midlands on April 24, 2013.

He added: “The DMS looks up the registration number of the vehicle and can tell us the likely mileage but does not tell us the customer’s requirements. For example, we don’t know if someone needs to have the car returned by 2.30pm in order to collect the children from school at 3pm.

“Likewise, if a customer had a problem during a previous visit, the DMS does not flag this up to the service advisor when a future visit occurs. Whilst there’s a section where notes can be made, a service advisor would have to look for these and when you are dealing with a high volume of customers, it’s just not viable.

“If the systems don’t meet your requirements, it doesn’t matter how good your staff are or how committed they are to customer service, you will never be able to deliver the highest level of customer service all of the time to all your customers.”

Although, Bixley is battling with the DMS, he remains a firm believer in a CRM culture which is delivered by all members of staff at every customer touch point and the group is even considering providing an induction for contract staff. The group has also implemented a further system – SAGE CRM - to support its customer relationship ambitions and nurture the CRM culture it is working towards creating.

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, with a limited number of supplier tickets on sale. To book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468289, email or visit

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  • h14rry - 22/02/2013 13:01

    Gary has made some very interesting and pertinent points here in this article. Dealerships should feel that their DMS is an intelligent tool in supporting them to achieve not only maximum sales opportunities but drive repeat business through customer satisfaction and going the extra mile. In developing a successful DMS, providers must put the customer first when coming up with new innovations and a current system that definitely achieves this is Pinnacle. This is highlighted in some of their product videos on YouTube

  • Simon Verona - 22/02/2013 16:59

    Garry I think we need to make sure we can address this item in our next enhancements... I'll do a reply to say Navigator does this....

    • Garry Johnson - 22/02/2013 17:05

      @Simon Verona - Simon, Navigator does this already. On service booking, it shows customer notes and requirements on popup. Same in the Sales CRM as well - including popping up notes from Service in Sales and vice-versa!