And Jon Skinner said: “Many manufacturers now send leads directly to dealers when contact is made direct to their website.
"These should flow directly into the CRM system to be swiftly dealt with.
"Having the CRM application running on a tablet PC means that at an auction you can not only access CAP and Glass’s valuations, but can also see which customers are interested in a particular car.”
The requirement for a ‘single customer view’ came across several times in our discussions.
While that may not exist in its entirety, CRM has much more to do with how much time, effort, commitment and leadership is devoted using the tools available.
Dealers we talked to engaged with their technology providers to help get the most from their systems but also seized the initiative to develop their own style and approach.
System ‘whistles and bells’ are important, but if the Utopian system isn’t within reach, then tight, effective processes and disciplines will prevail.
Today, dealers focus their CRM activities on going out and finding customers.
With social media in the ascendant and greater use of interactive feedback tools, customers will start choosing the dealers.
"And that’s quite a different ball game.
Multi-channel sales communication platform for FordRetailOnline
FordRetailOnline’s sales operation wanted to provide its online sales team with a single view of the customer – an integrated facility to manage all inbound calls, emails and web enquiries.
Working with MPL systems, FordRetailOnline has implemented a comprehensive ‘cloud-based’ CRM environment which delivers a complete multi-channel contact and lead management system.
They report a massive impact on the company’s response times.
Customers can interact across a range of traditional and online contact points and, regardless of the channel, agents can deal with customers in the same way, helping to simplify the car-buying process and allowing them to spend more time engaging with customers, thanks to the reduced administration overhead.
Steve Hood, FordRetailOnline managing director, said: “We launched FordRetailOnline in 2009 because we knew consumers were interested in following their sale through online.
Customers were spending a lot of time looking for brands online, but then we could see that they wanted to find out more about the pricing, vehicle availability, how to do part-exchanges, online as well.
We needed two ways to import leads and to talk to customers – the telephone way and the electronic way.
We needed a system that would enable us to recognise customer conversations and be able to pick up the conversation when they called or emailed us back again with accuracy.
We also need to be respectful in terms of the customer’s time and not ask them to repeat things because the information has not been captured properly.
The solution brings all of that together and as a result our agents are becoming much more efficient.”