Customer Relationship Management (CRM) computer systems assist dealers with managing information about their customers' sales and service preferences and needs in order to increase the customer's overall satisfaction. Here are some questions to ask CRM vendors prior to purchasing their products and services.
1. What can a CRM system do for me?
A CRM system helps you recognize customers and prospective customers, understand their preferences, frequently anticipate their needs and respond to their requests quickly and effectively. It enables you to track, organize, and consolidate the interactions dealership staff has with current and prospective customers.
2. How can CRM benefit my business?
CRM can help you:
- Raise customer satisfaction.
- Increase customer retention and reduce marketing expense.
- Anticipate customer needs and preferences.
- Increase operating efficiencies.
- Improve targeted marketing efforts of customers and prospects.
3. How do I measure the success of the CRM system?
- Periodically survey customers satisfaction with sales and service.
- Compare the impact of marketing campaigns periodically.
4. What should I consider before committing to a CRM product?
Everyone (dealership staff and management) should adopt a customer-focused culture. Many will add new responsibilities to their current roles. All areas of dealership operations should be involved in evaluating the CRM products. What may meet the needs of one department may not be useful to another.
5. Will my employees use it?
Ensure that the CRM programs used by everyone are intuitive and the repetitive processes for entering and accessing information can be completed quickly. Dealership management must continually demonstrate the importance of using the system.
6. How can we access the CRM information?
CRM systems installed in the dealership should be accessible from any PC there and the staff will be responsible for ensuring that CRM data is backed-up frequently. If you choose a CRM system hosted at the vendor’s data center, ensure the agreement ensures that you can get a complete, current copy of the CRM data periodically.
7. Will it always be available?
CRM systems installed in the dealership will require that the staff is responsible for restoring the CRM data from a backup if the system fails. If you choose a hosted system, check your vendor’s agreement to ensure it includes an adequate Service Level Agreement (SLA) for you that will address all situations that could impact the performance of the data center’s operations.
8. Can the system expand as my business grows?
Make sure the technology can scale up and easily support multiple dealership locations. Also request that ongoing maintenance charges, support fees and license expenses not increase during the initial term of the agreement.
9. What should I know about the vendor?
Ensure that the vendor has extensive experience supporting the retail automotive industry with CRM products, and has provided effective training and ongoing support for everyone using the system.
10. How does consolidating customer information benefit the operations of the dealership’s departments?
- Respond quickly to customers' inquiries while being aware of their prior automotive needs and preferences.
- Vehicle management data combined with sales and service history links to customers' contact information for a comprehensive view of the customers' transportation needs.
- Voice and digital (email) systems combine their communications history with customer and prospect contact data.
- Effective service management increases customer loyalty by enabling consistent, personalized interaction across all customer touchpoints including, telephone, e-mail, Web, wireless devices, and in-person meetings.
11. How can a customer’s driving experience be included with the other CRM information?
- Vehicle-based telematics captures and communicates customer-related vehicle activity to manufacturers and retailers.
- Knowing the customers' driving experiences and the vehicles' performance could improve customers' experiences during subsequent vehicle service appointments and also facilitate targeted vehicle marketing activities.