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February 13, 2018

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NADA 2018

One of the busiest people in the dealership are service advisors who are greeting customers coming in helping people online or on the phone setting appointments all along; promising the customer who just left their car that they will communicate with them while the car is in the shop about further services needed and when the car is going to be ready. And, as the people in the face of advisor are louder and require more attention, he quickly forgets about the customer who left and he promised to communicate with. In a large service department where repair numbers are in the hundreds per day this can magnify to be quite a huge problem. So, customer does not hear from dealership and he calls and he calls and he calls for the status on his vehicle. These status calls can become quite a new monster to deal with in a very busy service department. They cost not only money but cause disgruntled customers who will give you bad reviews and or express their unhappiness by abandoning your dealership or abandoning your brand totally. Being as at autoWALL not only we believe that a happy employee leads to yet happier customers, we believe in all our products that we should make the life of employee, first and foremost, easier and not to add to their burden. That burden, also incudes products that are hard to learn and require lots of training. Because, we also believe that if we make usage of any of our tools difficult to learn, that is the quickest way that dealership employees tend to abandon the tool no matter the level of effectiveness. So, in order to address the status calls, we have developed this easy to use autoWALL APP which advisor downloads to his own cell phone and accesses the open repairs directly and sends quick easy texts back and forth to the customer. The customers love it, as they hear from him and the advisors love it as it is simple quick and is on their phone. Mind you the texts are all held in the system repository of texts for that dealership and can be easily recouped for accountability concerns and yes, they are compliant as well. And guess how they have affected status calls in one of the largest BMW dealerships in the country with their most busy service advisor? He used to have 10% status calls, and that number is now reduced to a mere 1%. Pretty amazing result no? You want to learn about this amazing product and the other sister products? Come see us at booth 1780C at NADA 2018 in Vegas. But don’t just come by, as we get very busy, please click here https://gratistech.com/schedule-demo/ to set an appointment for some personal time with one of our representatives there. We look forward to seeing you at NADA and introducing you to the amazing awAPP

January 3, 2018

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Still wondering if your dealership should sign up on online payment system?

So, what is the impetus for online payment system? It is a winner all the way around. Look at it this way what do the consumer of today go for? Experience, Experience and further experience. That translates to; all the nice amenities in the service department but most of all quick well performed service that does not waste time. You could have a very beautiful dealership; a very nice service advisor and the repair done expeditiously and well the first time and even save them money. But have that customer stand at the end of busy day, with two hungry kids in the car screaming, in front of your cashier to wait to pay and to review that invoice can wreck the whole experience. It is amazing that online payments trickle in all day but there is a tsunami of payments at the end of day specially Friday nights and in large metro areas where driving is tough. Customer wants to make sure that they can pick their car up even if they are passed closing. And, dealership can rest comfortably that they are paid for the work done and have a small crew that can just release a car upon identification in place after hours, not the whole department. So, as a dealer you save money on overhead and end up with much happier customer a win win all around and you really have no choice. The sooner you bite the bullet the better. Don’t wait till your customers ask for it as it will make you come across as behind times. See how much stuff you buy online and remember you are a member of the same community.

October 27, 2017

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What’s up with all the videos on website backgrounds?

What’s up with all the videos on website backgrounds?

A particular side effect of the 21st century is something called digital motion sickness or cybersickness. Increasingly common, according to medical and media experts, it causes a person to feel woozy, as if on a boat in a churning sea, from viewing moving digital content” Feeling Woozy? It may be cyber sickness according to an article written by Kate Murphy in the digital New York Times.

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/14/feeling-woozy-it-may-be-cyber-sickness/

So, what is causing so many auto dealerships to install these websites with moving background videos? I guess they are listening to the fabulous stories their vendors are telling them about the success of these sites.

But a review of any truly successful e-commerce website of the millennium such as Apple’s or Amazon’s shows nothing moving in the back ground. Instead, they present a site that is easy to maneuver and enables the consumer to find what they need easily and quickly. But somehow, we auto dealers are convinced that these sites, which so proudly present the aerial views of our fabulous dealerships, are engaging to the consumer. Has anyone performed a review of what the customers actually think about these sites? Well my personal experience is that although I do not suffer from motion sickness, I do feel extremely uncomfortable when viewing one of these sites. It makes me wonder how many “me’s” there are.

Also, what dothese sites with fabulous drone-generated aerial views of our dealerships promote? That we have beautiful buildings? And that we have spent a lot of money building them? How does that ingratiate us with our customers? And what are we trying to sell? Buildings or cars? And going back to the e-commerce sites, where do you see any reference to Amazon’s fabulous headquarters on their e-commerce site? It really is not too difficult to review the concept of Cybersickness and realize that your very expensive site can actually alienate the one group of people you are trying to engage. Is it not time we started a conversation about this matter?

October 5, 2017

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Gratis Technologies: Intuitive Platform for Enhanced Service Delivery

 

CIO has chosen Gratis Technologies as one of the 20 Most Promising Automotive Technology Solution Providers 2017.

The automotive industry is witnessing massive transformation driven by digitalization and the proliferation of ’connected’ in-car devices. With high performance electronics in small factors embedded into the modern automotive, modern cars are transforming into sophisticated digital machine that can communicate seamlessly with the outside world. Aware of the tremendous business value around the idea of connected car experiences, more technology companies are partnering with automotive manufacturers.

Equipped with the latest automotive technology that provide a digital and interactive interface to the various systems, including the in-vehicle infotainment and telematics, car manufacturers and fleet operators can not only manage a vast number of vehicles and maintain their peak performance, but also increase efficiency and lower the maintenance cost. Tier 1 suppliers on the other hand can leverage digital identity of the users to deliver personalized experience to the driver and the passengers. There are several technology companies that are at the leading edge of enabling automotive transformation, helping auto manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers to leverage the digital trend.

Click here to read more

July 19, 2017

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Website of the future is already here and performing well

AUTOWALL_Logo

Website of the future is already here and performing well

Gratistech was again honored and amazingly surprised at the analytics autoWALL provided versus other sites such as OEM mandated Dealer.com. It has been our premise, since the inception of the concept of autoWALL, that in order to remain viable in the eyes of the customer, the dealer must manage that customers’ experience in all and every interaction. That includes the customer experience when on the dealership website. Also, one must wonder as to how best to “manage the customer experience” without being able to “hear the customer’s voice”. And, “hearing the customer’s voice” does not mean that you have a phone number which they can call if needed. Have you ever tried calling your own dealership and seeing how tough it is to actually get a service advisor on the line? Come to think of connecting to a manager on the phone line! Also, try to email these guys and see how often and how quickly they respond. Any successful business must try to walk in their customer’s shoes and gain the experience. It is only then that you actually can manage that experience and that you can improve upon it.

So, you put up a website and pay a lot for it with lots of good pictures of your fabulous building and the gorgeous cars. You, of course, have a “contact us” form which proudly provides your phone number. But, unfortunately the form is only and always routed to the sales BDC. As of course, why else would a customer fill this form out unless they needed to buy a car? Hello; wake up; where in your business can a customer go where they are unhappy or have an issue? Ah, post it on Google? And that is when you pay yet another vendor to manage those unwanted pesky bad reviews.

So, the question is how often does a customer go to your website and why would they go there? They mostly go there to research buying a car right? Well how often do they buy a car? Research shows that customers buy a car at best once every four years and certainly if they are unhappy not from your dealership. So, your website will end up under delivering on analytics which then you are told to spend yet more money to promote it on SEO and SEM; minimum cost of which is another $2000 per roof. So, now you pay for a site that is under performing twice to get customers that have no relationship with you to this site. It is no wonder that the numbers are low.

Now, how about a site that first and foremost addresses the needs of every day common customer of your dealership, those that are already there and paying? A site that allows them to express themselves to those who can actually address customer concerns without having to call the dealership or finding email address and then, also, presents your inventory and service department in an engaging and elegant manner. A site, that comes across that you care as you provide an avenue for a customer to express their concerns, set appointments, pay online for service, view inventory, read news and updates, text you and your employees. This site exists, its name is autoWALL. It is no wonder that it trumps Dealer.com in unique visitors; in some stores by as much as 1000%. Is it not time you learned about how it works?

analytics-increase

July 18, 2017

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Gratis Technologies producers of autoWALL® chosen as recipient of one of the 20 most promising automotive technology solution providers for 2017

CIO Review’s Special edition of Automotive Technology featuring the “20 most promising automotive technology solution providers for 2017”, has chosen Gratis Technologies producers of autoWALL® as recipient of this great honor.

Chattanooga, TN –Gratis Technologies the producers of autoWALL® systems and associated services today announced that CIO Review which reviews annually the most promising software providers to the automotive vertical has chosen Gratis Technologies as one of the top 20.  The company will be presented in the listing and a one page article will be featured in the Automotive Technology.   In the email announcing this honor CIO Review wrote:

From the first V8 engine developed by Ford to the driverless cars of today, automotive technology has seen massive development over the years. Going forward, these trends will see vast upturn in driver systems, autonomous vehicles, biometrics, vehicle tracking systems and more.

Further, the presence of major regulatory requirements like CAFE regulations, sustainability protocols, and changing preferences around ownership will require OEMs to depend more on technology to control costs.

In the last few months our selection panel has evaluated over hundreds of technology solution providers based on their ability to assist the technology decision makers in overcoming the challenges in the automotive sector. To help the automotive sector selecting vendors that offer most innovative technology solutions, CIOReview is coming up with the special issue on Automotive Technology in which we will feature the “20 most promising Automotive technology solution providers.

The magazine will be available in print and digital version and will reach out to over 77,000 subscribers of CIOReview which primarily comprises Senior IT decision makers and IT heads.
 

 About GratisTechnologies/autoWALL®

Gratis Technologies is the producer of autoWALL® the only customer community/ website systems, Digital Solutions 4 Service Drive®, which brings tablets to service drive and streamlines the process. techWALL®which connects consumer and technician together to address the issues of a vehicle while in service and SPOL online payment systems with texting and text to email capabilities for both service and sales.  The primary focus of autoWALL® systems is leveraging technology to manage customer experience and improvements in customer retention.  These tools have shown outstanding results in improving profitability and efficiency in automotive vertical.  These products are the only products in this vertical with the total customer experience in mind while enhancing dealership efficiency with one single, scalable tool.

March 27, 2017

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Frankenstein is still alive

Frankenstein is still alive and well and making lots of money!

The first Frankenstein horror movie was released on March 18, 1910. Most of us do not remember that date as we were not yet born. But the story has stayed with us and has caused many of us to look behind us when in a dark spot and fear the appearance of the monster. What was so scary about the poor guy was not necessarily that he was so big and so unattractive, but that his “parts” did not fit and did not “go together”. And, that when parts do not fit they cause a lot of problems when used together.

I doubt that few of us think of software technology as a “Frankenstein” but when you think of the analogy, it actually fits many of the products available to us in the automotive marketplace as “working tools”. This is greatly manifested in some of the projects that some manufacturers offer their dealers as they put together products of many companies and force the dealership to use them as one tool. No consideration is given in these instances to the fact that the products were not necessarily planned to work together, nor to how does one train the final user on two separate products with two separate cultures. Least of all is the consideration given to the cost inherent to the end user when these separate products are sold. As one has to pay the cost to each vendor separately, of course the OEM is not the one footing the bill as they are not the final user. A Frankenstein of software indeed! And we all know how Frankie faired in the end. He did not marry and live happily ever after. Of course there is CO-OP money, but has anyone actually measured the damage done to the department when doing and undoing one of these “Frankies”, and if that CO-OP money really does cover that cost?

Yesterday, I was presenting to a colleague, who has requested to remain unnamed, but is an insightful executive in the automotive retail market place. We were discussing other products available, and he indicated that some were “Frankenstein” to which I laughed totally missing his point, as I thought he meant they were monsters both in price and functionality. He then asked if I realized what he meant, that not only the tool is not workable but the reason is because the parts do not fit, as they were not designed for one body!

This analogy was so adept that the picture of “Parts that Do Not Fit”, has stayed with me and I decided to write this blog. . I am not sure where this will go, but at least might cause you to laugh and reconsider the Frankenstein you are about to install!

February 23, 2017

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It’s no small feat to be a dealer today!

It’s no small feat to be a dealer today!

You face the following issues

  • Customer distrust especially with millennial
  • Online reputation management difficult
  • Search result page 1 strong placement hard to get
  • CRM: delivery short of potential (internet lead management)
  • Websites: boring, static, disparate, value delivery sub-optimal to millennial
  • How to improve results in fixed operations and digitalize; without incurring huge cost!

No way to truly connect with customer and stop mass migration to cheaper options when the car goes out of warranty.

Wow, it becomes a daunting task to run a dealership and manage customer base and manage some six or seven disparate vendors that address the above mentioned issues. Not to mention the cost of each and every vendor. Add to that the cost of time spent first managing to find the right vendor for these products and, second, the expenditure of time at your dealership installing and training. It’s enough to make you run for the hills. Add to all of that this issue with CDK and R&R who are forcing all vendors to either go bankrupt or pay through the roof to serve “their” dealer as though all their client dealerships along with their data belong to them. And of course now the dealer has to pay for all this HUGE “interface” cost just to please those two DMS providers or go to court.

So, here is a solution to a great deal of these problems and it is autoWALL. This tool single handedly addresses all the above functionalities needed. autoWALL requires one single interface payment, one install and one set of training. Do you not owe it to yourself to just at least explore the possibilities this tool opens to you and your company? For how long do you hang with this abusive expensive old technology software that are part of your headache and make your life difficult? You owe no one anything but you do owe your customers, yourself and your employees a better system for communication, customer management and many other services you need. Click here to read about autoWALL and autoWALL APP. You have nothing to lose.

Click here to contact us

February 7, 2017

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How does techWALL improve service department productivity?

How does techWALL improve service department productivity?

techWALL has shown great promise in increasing lines per repair order both amongst high line and other types of vehicles.  Most customers choose repairs most “visible” to them.  Repairs such as recommended manufacturer repairs or items those are visibly wrong.  But there are usually many issues that can only be diagnosed by a technician with in-depth knowledge. These issues might not seem so pressing at the time and might lead to further more expensive repairs if done later or might just simply be dangerous such as brakes that are worn thin but are not manifesting themselves as problematic.  The high line results are truly impressive as they approach 30% increase in lines per RO.  In other vehicles, although, still impressive the percentage increase is reduced to about 11-13%.  This discrepancy might be due to the fact that highline customers have more expendable income to accept other needed repairs than others.  Remember 60% of customers struggle to pay a $500 repair bill.  But even for these people, if a timely repair ends in spending less in the future, it is certainly worth it and a great service.

Another aspect of improved productivity caused by techWALL is improving efficiency of the technician time.  techWALL not only streamlines communication with customer but also with other members of the service department team such as advisor and Parts employees.  As a rule technician spends three hours of an eight hour day either trying to communicate with advisor to attain authorization for a repair or travel to parts department to ascertain availability of a part.  All of this time spent is non productive and does not lead to one cent of revenue.  In fact this wasted time is very expensive, not only as technician is hourly paid but as he is one of the few employees of a dealership who directly contributes to revenue generation.  So, as you see this single tool not only makes lives of many, including the customer, easier but also generates a great deal of revenue all around a winning product.

January 20, 2017

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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!