By Sak Ryopponen, Director – Business Development at Go Technologies
Picture this: one of your customers is driving along and the music he is listening to (which he selected using voice control) is interrupted by a voice text message telling him he is approaching a florist, in case he wanted to buy flowers for his wife for their wedding anniversary. Your dealership sent the message. Pretty good CRM compared to what you might be doing today.
Reading this, you may have started wondering how far into the future are we talking about? The short answer is that it is all possible today. BMW have already announced that they will launch location marketing in Germany via their ConnectedDrive system.
As a dealer, you are either eagerly awaiting the launch of these new technologies by your franchisors, or are dreading the thought of being dragged into “all this technology nonsense”.
As a technology-aware dealer, is there anything you can do to advance or broaden the impending benefits of new technologies? Again, the short answer is yes, especially if your particular franchisors are not going to act for some time.
Breaking down the various components of the opening scenario:
- Your customer’s anniversary date (or other relevant data) is already able to be extracted from your DMS or other customer database, and an electronic message sent to your customer.
- There are smartphone apps available with gesture control, voice control, text to voice etc
- Plug-in GPS tracking devices can monitor vehicle location, and match it with the location of retail outlets etc. By monitoring data such as odometer readings, they can also trigger electronic service reminders, for example – and not just scheduled services, but early or additional services based on driver behaviour.
You have so far probably been picturing how this applies to new vehicles – well, what about the $60,000 used vehicle in your yard that has technology that is positively “state of the ark” compared to today’s GM Holden Barina? That 3 year old used car could have technology that is 12 years old, given a new vehicle development time of four years, then new vehicle purchase at the end of a five year model cycle, then previously owned for three years. Judicious installation of available aftermarket technology may well make for a quicker sale or higher gross, and make it easier for you to stay in touch with the buyer.
In summary, there is a huge amount of technology available to dealers to win customers, keep customers and increase your whole of ownership profitability per customer. The timing of launching your dealership into this new technology is a point of consideration. When discussing new technologies with dealers, I wait for the inevitable question: “Are any other dealers doing it already?” The answer that provides comfort to most dealers is “yes”. The answer that provides greatest opportunity for progressive dealers is “no”.