National Automobile Dealers Association

IT Tips: E-mail

E-mail options

IT Photo If you’re in the market for an email system to support intra-dealership communications as well as connecting the sales, service, and parts departments to Internet-based customers, consider companies that could also host and manage your email activities providing an alternative to hosting it in the dealership. Your email server doesn’t have to be a mysterious temperamental computer in your dealership. In fact, outsourcing a dealership’s email needs is a way to reduce a dealership’s information technology (IT) support requirements; in this case, your vulnerability to email system failure and the expense of a systems administrator.

    Here’s how it works: web-hosting companies offer email accounts as part of their hosting packages. When you sign up for a web-hosting package, you get a specific number of email accounts, though some companies may offer an unlimited number of accounts. The company manages or administers the accounts, though you decide on a naming scheme for the first portion of each email address, such as firstname.lastname of the employee followed by your dealership name. This would allow you to brand your dealership’s name in all business emails.

    After the email addresses are set up you will need to configure each employee’s PC to connect via the Internet to the email hosting company in order to download their individual emails. The hosting company may provide the configuration program or you may be able to use a product like Microsoft Outlook Express, an email PC program bundled with Internet Explorer.

    The cost of email hosting varies, but if your dealership’s Web site is hosted by another company, request them to submit a proposal to provide your email service. You may also want to ask your Internet service provider (ISP) about email service since many ISPs offer Web and email hosting services.