Get Started! Call us (423) 521-7806

January 20, 2017

No Comments

autoWALL makes relationship management easy

autoWALL makes relationship management easy

autoWALL makes relationship management easy as after each transaction customers are requested to complete a satisfaction survey, alerting the dealership to potential issues that can be resolved.

Make sure you book to visit us at #NADA100 January 26-29 2017 | New Orleans | Booth 5306 | http://bit.ly/1YjlkNc


Schedule an appointment with us at NADA here!

January 16, 2017

No Comments

Disruptors are innovators that adapt

Disruptors are innovators that adapt

Customers are keeping their cars longer – the average car on the road is 11 years old, and margins on sold vehicles are low and going down all the time. Dealers can either sink or adapt and swim. Disruptors are innovators that adapt to a changing market with solutions that fit their environment and Gratistech has a range of solutions that do just that!

Make sure you book to visit us at #NADA100 January 26-29 2017 | New Orleans | Booth 5306 | http://bit.ly/1SnQuim


Schedule an appointment with us at NADA here!

December 2, 2016

No Comments

Going to NADA make the most of it II

Going to NADA make the most of it II

Don’t fall for the fancy placement or presentation. There is nothing new there.

So, you are going to NADA and you want to make the most of it. But before you go, you need to decide exactly the reason for making this trip. You could be going for the lovely sights of New Orleans but, I would presume, if that was the only reason, you could go at a less congested and overwhelming time. So, you are going because of NADA and that is, maybe, because you are seeking a special service and the best providers. All vendors have spent a lot of money to be present at this event but some far more than others. The reason, needless to say, is as some companies have far more wherewithal to drop cash than others. But the size of booth or its placement has nothing to do with quality of product. For that matter some of the biggest booths are owned by those with the oldest tools that have not changed in years. Those companies try to make as much “noise” as possible to assure voice of the little guy with exceptional tool is drowned. And, let me tell you, mostly they succeed. But just as in most other tools and services there are constantly new and better versions developed, so are in automotive especially technology sector. So, do yourself a favor by visiting the smaller booths with unknown names; they have got something to prove and you might find exactly what you need and at a far more competitive pricing.

So, go check out the 10X10 booths in the far corners and see what they have to offer first. Or for that matter make your lists starting with those “little guys” and then go to the big guys and then compare the options. You might be amazed at what you find.

October 28, 2016

No Comments

It’s all about your intent

It’s all about your intent

It is well known that products and companies that prosper are those that first, truly provide a product that works and secondly, have the best of their clients at heart. It is also well known that you build a relationship that can be nurtured only if you truly communicate and let the other side know how important they are to you by investing time in their well being. Parents that raise successful children are those that not necessarily spend a great deal of time with their children but those that use the time spent in total focus of interacting with the child. So, the short and sweet of it is that all of us crave attention, not only from those closest to us but, from those with whom we have chosen to have a relationship. People we do business with are no different; we choose to work with them and we expect for them to focus on us when and if we are interacting with them. The other day I saw a little cartoon on the web that brought this point home more than ever. Two guys are talking and one says to the other that “you keep talking about this club you belong to and it is no more than a gym, so what is so special about the “club””.? And, the other guy says “nothing, except that the fact that I am member of their club makes me feel important”. Wow, how tremendously insightful, the club makes their customers feel as though they belong and that they are important.

There is nothing shatteringly amazing about this. The club makes their members feel special and wanted and any business owner can have that “club”. We as car dealers have a huge number of people that spend a great deal of money with us. Our top 33% customers generate 85% of our revenue. Would it not make them feel special if, first, they learned that you knew who they are and second, that you valued them enough to make them part of your community or club. The car dealer of today is inundated with businesses trying to make them irrelevant. It is the job of the dealer whether he wants to become as such. How do you keep from becoming yet another victim of times, make your customers fight for you. Make them want you there because you are a support system they cannot do without. Get to know who they are and let them know who you are and what you are about. How do you do this? Build your community, communicate through the community and allow the communication to be bidirectional. Not just you yelling at them when you are ready to sell something, but allow them to communicate when they “want” something and then react.

With autoWALL, we promote transparency and open lines of communication. That is most evident in the use of the techWALL and the vehicle health report, where a technician provides a status report on the health of the vehicle to the customer. Although you sell more service and reduce declined services and improve technician efficiency by using a system like this, none of these are the real impetus for installing it as those are again, all internally focused reasons. Meaning they make you more profitable and make your life easier. The main reason is because you make your customers feel special. It is not in the delivery of the VHR but, the fact that you are willing to spend the time and money and resources to install a project such as this where, at its heart is attention to the consumer. The question you want to ask yourself is can I survive without my customers. Well that is a silly question to ask as we all know the answer. So, do all you can to involve and take care of the customer and make them “truly” feel special. Believe me it will pay you at the end.

August 26, 2016

No Comments

A Case for Marketing the Dealership Brand

Good Grief, you think that website makes your customers feel special? Or is it all about you?

Customers are very perceptive!

Have you ever wondered why people buy cars from one dealership versus another? You might say the reason is simple, they like the products they sell. Well how about in metropolitan areas where there are multitude of dealers of the same brand? What makes one stand out in the eyes of the customer versus another? Have you heard the phrase “my mechanic” takes good care of me or “my salesman” takes good care of me? That is when an employee of a dealership has built a solid relationship with a customer who in turn responds to his calls or communications and better yet remains loyal to dealership for both sales and service.

There have been many attempts to circumvent the dealerships as they stand. Ford Motor in the eighties tried in Rochester NY and failed miserably and so did General Motors in other parts of the country. The final reason why people buy from anyone is that people buy from people. And especially from those who have shown longevity in business and in retaining the friendship. Although Uber is trying to change that mind set; still owning a car in this country is a mandate and a right to man or womanhood and a tremendous boost to one’s independence. So car ownership and car dealerships are here to stay. So, it is the “family” of the people of the dealership and its brand that is really selling and that is what needs be promoted. Especially if you are a dealer with multi brands it becomes even more imperative for you to promote your personal brand. Why should the customer buy from you than the guy down the street? What makes you stand out and what makes you special. Believe me, although your physical facility, is important, and so are your brands, they are not the main reason you are in business. So, celebrating that brand of the people of the dealership is every bit as important as the brand of cars that you sell.

How do you do this? It is not that difficult by truly first focusing the light on your customer and making him understand how valuable he is to you. And building a solid relationship, first, initiates with an element of trust. Why should this customer trust you to spend his hard earned money to buy a car from your dealership? And better yet why should he keep on trusting you to service his second largest investment in life, his automobile. The best way to garner that element of trust is to “listen” to what the customer has to say and make it easy for him to have a venue thru which he could express himself easily. And, by that I do not mean your dealership phone system. As, it is proven that unless someone knows your employees cell number they cannot reach that person as they do not listen to voice mail on dealership land lines.

autoWALL is a system that does exactly the above, each customer and all dealership members are members of the community through which they can communicate. Customer can express his beef easily and you can sell to them as well; because now that you listen they will listen too. On this WALL you can also inform them of not only your quality of service but the service you and your people provide to the community at large. You can celebrate your employees, their qualifications and how they serve the community in other forms. Again, remember buying and doing business is a “people” relationship business and cars are just a mere commodity.

July 5, 2016

No Comments

Disrupt or be Disrupted

Disrupt or be Disrupted is the topic of a great article in the Fortune Magazine June of 2016.

The essence of this article is the following sentence.
“Accelerate speed and drive competitive advantage through digital transformation”

zebra

A survey of hundreds of thousands of autoWALL client members on the question, “what services and technologies does your dealer use that are most important to you”, was responded with these simple two characteristics.
1- Systems that save me time
2- Systems that allow me to communicate easily and seamlessly with the critical employees at the dealership.

Now, if you want to stay in business and flourish there are a few rules that you have to follow, they are as follows.
1- Listen to your customers needs
2- Implement processes and tools that get you a way to address the client needs
3- Do all of the above in most the cost effective way possible
4- Remember that at any moment other companies may wake up to your “customer’s needs” and can come up with better tools and services to nab your customers

These “Better Tools and services” are usually called “disruptive systems”. Think of Uber, people used to wait for a cab at a curb or have to call the night before and sit in a dirty yellow cab. No longer is that necessary, you can call an Uber from an app on your smart phone and have a cab in ten minutes and also provide a job and revenue to anyone who might like to join Uber and drive part time to supplement their income or work full time. Both sides of the equation win. The customer is provided an easier better way to get a ride and every day common people are provided more income. Of course, you can say that the Taxi Cab driver loses here and the answer to that is yes, and I am sorry for that, but why the Taxi Cab companies did not come up with an APP that could call a cab in ten minutes? I guess the answer is they were sitting on their laurels!

The auto industry is in danger of this also. There are many places that “disrupters” can hit and the easiest and the most critical is the service department. You see most service departments are run still using old technology which, in all fairness to them, is pushed down their throat by their OEM. A great article written by the insightful “Alpha Dawg”, Jim Ziegler was published in Auto Dealer Magazine on June 2016 addressing this issue eloquently and is very much worth reading. Appointment setting tools of the 1990’s which require 14 clicks to set an appointment, and no way for a customer to directly and easily communicate with critical employees at the dealership other than through the dealership phone system. They are told that a CRM, actually builds a relationship with customer, when in reality it is only a database management tool. Websites developed in the early 2000 by Cobalt are still touted as the state of the art tools.

At some dealerships service department employees are now handed a tablet, but the software on the tablet does not provide systems that enable the customer and employee to save time and communicate. Technicians are not at all part of most systems even though the technician diagnoses a lot more issues that could end in more sales and profitability in the fixed operations. The customer is usually not notified of those issues until later, requiring another trip to service department and further cost resulting in an unhappy customer.

So, there is some very cool technology that could handle all these needs and keep the dealership service department from becoming obsolete and disrupted. There is online payment system tool for a service and interactive multipoint inspection tools where technician, parts and service advisor can communicate with the customer. These tools enable the customer to directly text the status of an issue with their car to a road side assistance center. All of these tools keep service departments in the Millennium, keep millennials happy and increase customer satisfaction. This relates directly to customer retention and ultimately increases revenue. The greatest advantage of these tools is that they make the dealership the “disrupter” not the “disrupted” and improve revenue, which is the ultimate goal of any company.

March 27, 2016

No Comments

You heard of Navinder Sarao?

You heard of Navinder Sarao?

Well, until this morning I had no earthly idea who he was either. But he is about to be extradited to US for having caused the 2010 “Trigger Flash fall” of the Dow Jones Industrial average. The online magazine Market Watch in their March 23rd article introduced Mr. Sarao as:

“The Hounslow trader accused of helping trigger the flash crash of 2010 sent 7.4 million “trade modification” messages – sometimes seen as a sign of abusive trading – on a single day, according to prosecutors seeking to extradite him to the U.S.

Navinder Singh Sarao’s trade modification messages on the CME market for E-mini futures sent on April 29, 2010, amounted to 42% of all such messages sent across the market, according to Mark Summers in opening arguments seeking to get Sarao sent to the U.S. for trial.

The U.S. authorities allege that Sarao’s trading of E-mini S&P 500 futures on the CME in Chicago contributed to the May 6, 2010, crash that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.45%   fall 9% in half an hour before recovering.”

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/navinder-sarao-sent-millions-of-trade-messages-ahead-of-flash-crash-prosecutors-say-2016-02-04

So you say what does SPOL has anything to do with Navinder Sarao? Well one of the objections against SPOL is the fact that it uses PayPal as a payment platform and hence this causes the merchant to not only pay merchant services charges but also PayPal charges. This is where Navinder merges with SPOL, you see there are thousands no millions of Navinders lurking around the world just itching to get their hands on your customer’s credit card information. If a guy from the comfort of his Mom’s kitchen could bring down the Dow Jones Industrial you think he cannot access the merchant services of your bank? And if he does who is responsible? You or the bank? I bet you that somewhere in the fine print your merchant services contract indicates that they have no responsibility toward the hacking of their merchant services. But by using PayPal, your company is assured of two things first is that PayPal executes thousands of transactions per day and hence has the wherewithal to plan for contingencies that thwarts attacks such as Navinder’s far more than any specific company with merchant services. And, if they are intercepted, it is not you the merchant that is liable but PayPal. This insurance policy just as any “insurance policies” has a cost associated and is not free but is well worth the cost. Secondly, in reality, PayPal is no more expensive than merchant services, it all depends on how much in form of transactions you as a merchant put through their system. The higher the amount the lower their per transaction fees becomes. So, the security and the ultimate reduction in cost that PayPal can offer make its usage by SPOL, a no brainer.

Now, you might say, why should we even offer online payment system to our clients let them just come by and pay as they have done for that last 100 years. Well the answer to that is, are you still selling 100 year old cars? And, with the new vehicles you sell do you not also introduce complexities that can make life a bit more complicated but far easier? What about that Internet thing? Remember it can allow Navinder’s into your life, but what else it awards you and are you willing to let it go just to avoid possible issues? It is very true that with each opportunity there are issues, it is up to us to mitigate these issues by choosing the best solution and SPOL is the one for automotive online payment system.