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July 25, 2014

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Dealerships Benefit from Social CRM

So, in the last Blog we discussed the benefits of the Autowall to the dealership customer. In this Blog we will discuss the benefits to the dealership. First and foremost the dealership can communicate easily and seamlessly with their customer base directly. If they want the customer to see a special they do not have to email that customer they can just post that special on the wall for all to see or post it on specific profiles. No more sending extensive emails that get lost in the great World Wide Web and no one is sure if they are ever received or even seen. The Autowall is an application where the movement of the customer on the Wall is measurable and visible. Hence the dealer now can tell which advertisement is receiving more attention. Or which widgets tend to receive more clicks and therefore the dealer can measure customer trends and gain knowledge of customer interests and then tailor further advertising to match the interest.

Dealership data is also tremendously valuable, and few dealers know how to receive revenue from the valuable data base of their constituents. The concept of “Adds-On” dealer has been born to address this tremendous revenue generating opportunity. Here the dealership allows other service providers or retailers to post advertisements on his Wall, which is visible to his constituent customers and employees. For this great opportunity afforded that retailer the dealer can and should charge a fee. The revenue generated from this opportunity can easily offset the usage costs of the AutoWall and provide a nice stream of revenue. For a change here the dealer makes money as he uses a service rather than always paying for that service.

Lastly, most web sites designed for a dealership are static boring and never changing. Although the dealership pays monthly for these sites they are always the same. The web site of a dealership is their presence on the World Wide Web and many customers walk into those “doors” far before they do the physical dealership without anyone having any knowledge of such and just as many are turned away by the not useful difficult to maneuver web sites. The question I would like to ask is what is the rule when a customer walks into your dealership? Do you just allow him to roam around your dealership unattended? Try and find a car he likes by himself? And if he did not succeed do you just let him walk away unnoticed? If the answer to all of above is NO, then why are you letting this go on in your virtual dealership?

The Autowall, lets you know who came on site, where they went, what they looked at and what was of interest to them. Would you not like to gain this knowledge, while you are also making money from your hard earned customer base just by their presence on the Wall?

Another great advantage of the Autowall is its ability to store content. This content is not only relevant information for the customer on product safety, product use and other pertinent information, but also moves the Autowall higher and higher in the search engine optimization. The search engine crawlers of today are highly sensitive to words packed together just so that the site is elevated in the search results. However, true relevant content is the best and most effective way of promoting your presence on the World Wide Web.

Can you afford to be without this tool?

July 15, 2014

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Customers Benefit From Social CRM

This series will discuss what’s in it for each and every constituent using the AutoWall. The sign of a successful tool is one that every constituent benefits by using it. The most important user of any business is their customer base. We business holders have and should first and foremost focus on services and tools that benefit our clients. The constituent who benefits most from the usage of the AutoWall is the customer. How is that? That is what this blog aims to address. When communicating with clients as to one of the most aggravating issues when contacting their service provider be it an auto dealer or any other, most indicate finding and communicating with the right person within the company who can address their concern easily and in a timely manner is the number one issue. Some, of the most successful and funniest advertisements have to do with customer treatment when calling a company and trying to communicate with someone within the company. The customer could email someone at the dealership, but who is that person and when will they respond if the request is urgent? They can call the dealership but usually after a lengthy wait they end up leaving a message which will end in a pile and usually goes unanswered.

So, the customer wants to communicate with their favorite salesman and they do not remember who that guy was? What do they do, call the dealership and ask who? And where does that call go. How about service advisors? Who was the guy they liked so well? How do you find again who that person was? And most importantly, if a service was performed on the customer’s car what was the nature of that reapir, how long ago was that? What is the next service? Supposing a customer just had their car serviced and he is driving the car and the car again has similar problems, how does the customer know exactly what was the service performed, what they paid for and what is their recourse if the service done did not address the need.

The Autowall addresses exactly the problems portrayed here. The Autowall is a community networking tool for the auto industry through which the whole community can communicate with one another. Who is the community? All employees of the dealership, all prospects and all customers who have had any transactions with the company are members of the community. They each have their own profile. However, unlike the profiles of most familiar social networking tools that have to do with a “personal” profile, this is more about the vehicular profile. Meaning every member of the community has their vehicle list. This includes employees as in many cases they are also customers as well. This “profile” is only visible by those with “rights and privileges” to see it. No customer has a right to access the profile of another. All company members can access those customers to whom they are assigned. Which means the salesman can access “his own” customers the service advisors the same, but if this is a group dealership each dealership manger can access his own customers, but only “group mangers” can access all. On each profile, a user can load their own picture with a minimal description of themselves. But each user has a list of their won vehicles and all the repairs done to that vehicle in chronological order. Each user also has his own list of appointments and their “wish list” of any car they would like to have if that vehicle type entered the inventory. Needless to say total access to inventory is available to all.


July 3, 2014

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We are Nissan Certified!

We are one of the few “Certified CRM” providers with Nissan Infiniti

It is an honor to announce that the Gratis CRM/autoWALL has been approved and certified as a CRM provider to Nissan and Infiniti dealers.

GratisCRM/autoWALL provides a complete suite of tools that totally address the needs of a dealership in e-commerce arena. These tools encompass, CRM, website, SEO, SEM, Reputation management, Digital Service Drive and organic lead generation. Needless to say autoWALL is also a certified website provider to this prestigious OEM. We welcome all Nissan dealers to these tools and assure optimum success in their usage.

Please click here in order to contact us to receive a 25% reduction in cost coupon for any and all our services for all Nissan Infiniti dealers.

June 15, 2014

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Benefits of Social CRM to Salesmen

A salesman can first post a dealership accepted photo of him on his profile wall and write a short bio for customers to read.  Per dealership permission he can post a mass message to all his customers but most importantly he can communicate with his customers directly and seamlessly.  Of course the entire inventory is right there at his and the customers’ disposal , so he can direct the customers’ attention to the specific car he is marketing without asking the customer to yet log into another site.  For that matter, using the monthly payment calculator widget  the customer can get an idea of what his monthly might be.  In short, the salesman lives on the Wall, so to speak, the benefits of this tool to the dealership and its employees are hard to quantify.

June 1, 2014

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Benefits of Social CRM to Service Advisors

Of course the service advisor can post messages for the customer about a specific service and gain acceptance to change or up-sell a service easily and quickly in a documented form.  Remember that all messages are kept for perpetuity.   He can also post invoices and set appointments that are accessible at anytime the customer needs.  He can also reference previous repairs done on a customer’s car at anytime he wishes without leaving the system as all previous repair orders are already posted on the Autowall customer profile.

May 20, 2014

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Case for CRM

After 16 years of serving the Automotive CRM vertical, I have come to the conclusion that the best CRM is one that is specific to the user and is free.  Many CRM companies such as the one I founded Prize Corporation ReckonUp was and is capable of making some customization to the end users needs but never enough to be satisfactory.  I have gotten to believe that in the automotive space being a CRM vendor is a thankless task.  The greatest evidence of that is the end result that there is no CRM company in this vertical that has made a true success of them in the form that true financial success is defined in today’s world.  What is the reason for that?  Do we all not produce good solid products?  Do these products lack in functionality?  Do we not train users well enough?  Do we not produce enough interfaces?  What do we do wrong?

The answer is none of the above.  Most all top CRM’s offered in this vertical are decent products with rich functionality.  They interface with DMS, OEM and other vendors to make life easy for the automotive end user and they do train the user as much as they are financially able to and as much as the user is willing to buy and to take.  So, what is the problem?  How come in other verticals users have adopted multimillion dollar companies such as Salesforce and Sugar and there is none of that level of success in automotive.  Of course one answer could be that those tools cover a much larger segment of the population but the Automotive sector is by no means a small one.  There are some 19000 franchised dealers whom on average employ around 190,000 people and some 35000 non-franchisee who employ about as much.  The revenue generated by this sector is in the billions and they certainly need CRM.  How come there is not one or only two who has not dominated this world?  You could say that R&R and ADP have most of the sector for CRM!  And my answer to that is well they have a lot of the sector as clients, but those clients are by no means “true” CRM users.

   So, what makes a “true” CRM user?  We all know what it means to be a user; but the true user is defined by his usage style and frequency of the tool.  Having and using a CRM are two things.  Most of the sector might “have” a CRM but do they really use it.  It is not unlike saying that most of the population knows that if they exercise they will look better and live longer and most of us either have some kind of exercise machine or are members of an exercise club.  But how many of us really take exercise seriously?  What percentage actually puts time aside in their day that is cast in iron and actually goes and puts in the time?   It is dark in the morning when we got to go to gym or late when we are coming home.  We are sleepy or hungry or tired or many other issues and so we cut out the  exercise time and as we pay for the darn usage and we don’t take advantage we eventually give up send the machine to charity or give up on our exercise club subscription.  Also, it takes a long time and great effort to see results of exercise.  Once or twice or three times shows nothing, it is only after long term discipline and hard work that we see some change in our body.

This is not too different than what happens in the CRM world.  CRM helps us stay in contact with our clients, get to know who they are and make sure they feel good about us and stay with us.  We all know that gaining a new customer is far more costly and harder than retaining one and that most of our revenue is generated by those that approve of our business practices and that without our customers, obviously we will not exist.  We also know that CRM holds our data base of customers, it is our venue of communication with them and brings accountability to our employees.  But, if our business has a hiccup one of the first vendors we cancel is CRM.  Also, just like trying to stay in shape, we got to get our usage of CRM in shape.  Meaning all employees have to use it.  That means you Mr. or Mrs. Dealer also.  All systems have to work together.  You need to make sure your database is clean and duplicate free.  You need to make sure your internet leads are coming in per minute and your service department information is merged accurately and each and every customer visit is logged.  The management needs to get on the tool and use it and have first rate knowledge of this tool, its reports, outcome and results.

So, most dealerships are comprised of busy people and learning CRM is difficult and buying CRM is costly and training employees is difficult.  Specially a bunch of salesmen who are still our front face to the customer who are concerned about accountability these tools bring and are also highly transient.

Now supposing the dealership has “its own” CRM.  One they have invested in acquiring that actually belongs to them.  They can buy and get service when they need and they can buy hosting if they wish and they can buy training if they like and they can buy their own upgrade that they want not the one that fits all.  Think about a truly tailored CRM to your needs, that your people get to adopt and the cost can be managed based on your need.  This is the business model for CRM of this age, a free source CRM.  Although the tool is basically designed for Automotive and is highly rich functionally; it can be upgraded and changed as you wish.   You can buy training for it as you wish or train your own trainer on the tool. You have still not eliminated the fact that with CRM continuous proper usage is the key, but you have taken many of the stumbling blocks that make users shy of CRM out of their way and it is only by hacking away at the rock mountain one chip at the time that we can hope to succeed.

May 5, 2014

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Social CRM and Why it Works

Come Join the Revolution

Social CRM and why it works!

The word CRM brings a warm and fuzzy feeling that we are doing something for our customers.  We enter our customers contact in the CRM, we send them lots of emails and we call them when we want and we are sure that our customers must be happy.  If you were to count the number of “we’s” in that sentence alone, you will realize the fallacy of the premise it alludes to.  When reading that sentence who comes in focus as the most important and focused actor?  The customer or “WE” the dealer?  Many years ago I was told as a CEO that when you interview a prospective employee, listen to how many times he uses the word “I”?  Large numbers of the usage of that one letter word, as a rule, indicates a person who is very self focused and not a team player.

Are we as dealers, using the conventional tools we have at hand, really focusing on the customer’s needs?  Or are we again only focusing on “our needs” which is to sell cars? What is unfortunate is that unless we start really focusing and listening to our customers and installing tools that really affects them we will sell fewer and fewer cars and lose our valued clients to the other guy who has solved the mystery.

The mystery is not so tough to crack; all you need to do is start listening to your customer and install tools that open the lines of communication so you can easily communicate both ways.  AutoWall the newest form of Social CRM does just that.  You can do all you did with your CRM here, but you can do far more than you ever did before for your customer and hence retain them.  In this CRM, the customer and the dealership “people” are all just simple members of a community.  These members have one thing in common and that is their relationship to the dealership.  Through this product they can communicate via post and get notifications that a post is awaiting exactly such as other social networking sites.  Except AutoWall is not “social” and the members if they are not dealership employees, cannot communicate with one another but only with the employees who have served them.

So, if you want to know more about this revolution and if you want to join the “revolutionaries” that have dropped their bondages to conventional CRM, then contact us and see what you are missing.

We even give you an outstanding powerful CRM for only out of pocket charges with AutoWall!


January 23, 2012

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Management Benefits from a Social CRM

  1. Management can have the pulse of the customer and employees by knowing what communication is transpiring. Every message posted on the Autowall is saved for ever. In this way if promises are made that are not correct or accurate, the dealership has a copy and inversely if information is posted that the client took in a wrong way that record also exists. But most importantly, communication with the client is far easier. It is no longer necessary to have complex emails sent to the customer. Specials are posted on the Wall and customers see it and take advantage by just logging into the Wall. Each and every time a change is made to the specials, an email can be sent to remind customers of a new offer. This can be automated or triggered by the user.
  2. Dealership management can also post content of interest for the customers on the wall. As an example is dealership newsletters which are usually printed and mailed or emailed to the customer to be discarded once the client received and hopefully read. Using the Autowall, the dealership can post newsletter without deleting the previous, thereby allowing the customer user to read old and new newsletters or any other content of choice. All content can also be organized by the high end user, manger or Admin to reflect what the article pertains. Thereby making the choice of an article easier for the customer. The categories could be such as “Safety”, or “Newsletters” or “Recipes” or any other category of choice and content can be added for perpetuity or deleted per choice. Also, this feature assists the Autowall to gain higher SEO rating as relevant content is truly what affects the SEO and the more content the better.
  3. Direct and quick communication, with those who you need to target. Supposedly you have a great offer for a specific customer or a group of customers. You can directly post messages in mass or individually on the vehicle profile of your customer and anytime you post a message an email is sent to that customer or employee about the comment, offer or anything else.
  4. Another tremendous way to use the Wall is to post receipts for your customers on their profile wall. This cuts down or paper printing, ties your customer more to the wall and is a true service to your customer. Of course all kinds of appointments are also posted on the Wall for the customer or anyone else.
  5. Internal usage of the Wall is also of tremendous value. Management can post messages for a specific employee or for many, calling meetings, making announcements and anything else they choose.
  6. Widgets allow the dealership to gain knowledge of customer interests. By posting widgets or Apps of interest and then receiving click results, the dealership can gauge customer trends and interests.