Category: Best Practice

Pinewood reveals DMS enquiry management tips

As the modern-day automotive sales journey evolves, dealers face the challenge of converting leads and enquiries into sales in an increasingly digital and competitive environment. Customers have often educated themselves online or made their purchase decision before engaging with a dealer, reducing the opportunities for dealers to influence decision making during the initial stages of the customer journey.

This means that when customers do finally make contact with a dealer, it’s even more crucial that the retail experience is a flawless one.

Dealers need to have a powerful Dealer Management System in place and make full use of its capabilities, to convert leads into sales. Many dealers still don’t make use of the tools available to them within their Dealer Management System, which is a huge missed opportunity.

“Dealers must focus on creating a positive customer experience, providing them with all the information they need in a simple and efficient manner,” says Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies PLC.

Improve website listings to increase leads

With a growing number of car buyers preferring to browse vehicle information online rather than in-store, it’s vital to make sure website listings include lots of high quality photos, accurate vehicle specification and are up to date. Dealers who provide more detailed and better quality website listings are more likely to gain leads.

Many dealers have the ability to update vehicle listings quickly from their DMS. Pinewood are focused on helping dealers achieve a seamless and customer-centric online experience, with their DMS offering the ability to capture up to forty vehicle images, which are immediately available to the dealers’ website. This provides the ideal tool to showcase vehicle stock, enhancing the online search phase and resulting in more enquiries.

“Our stock management app, Stock+, allows users to instantly enhance website listings with vehicle details and photos from their mobile device”, says Briggs.

Maximise lead conversion through effective enquiry management

Similarly, choosing a DMS with tools to improve your showroom management processes will positively impact on lead conversion. From managing new enquiries, to the first contact with a customer, to the vehicle handover. The modern dealership is no longer an environment where a ‘quick and hard sell’ works – therefore converting leads relies upon the customer experience. This is an opportunity for dealers to impress.

“Pinewood DMS users can send personalised videos and emails at key points throughout the customer journey,” Briggs explains. “These communications create a more personal experience for buyers, enhancing their likelihood of taking action.”

Likewise, dealers must ensure follow-ups are dealt with effectively. “Pinewood DMS can prompt sales users to schedule a future contact following every customer interaction – whether this is online, over the phone or in person. The DMS connects with Outlook, scheduling reminders for any future appointments or contacts, helping sales teams to never let a lead go cold. Every interaction is stored on the customer’s CRM record, so other salespeople can pick up where they left off as and when required. This ensures that every dealer using Pinewood DMS has the best tools to manage and convert enquiries into sales,” says Briggs.

Make it quick and easy to pursue leads from manufacturers      

Finally, dealers can boost inbound enquiries by having a DMS with manufacturer integrations for their represented brands. For the systems which offer these integrations, enquiries submitted to manufacturers websites can automatically be sent to the DMS and flagged as opportunities for the sales team to action. Pinewood have close working relationships with manufacturers to help facilitate this.

By using their DMS to its full potential, dealers can boost their conversion rate, significantly influencing sales revenue.

Dealers are missing out on winter profit

Nobody will forget the ‘Beast from the East’ bringing the UK to a standstill. With a likely repeat of the extreme weather we faced last winter, drivers will want to be prepared – providing dealers a prime opportunity to capitalise on the increased demand for winter tyres.

Dealers should be encouraging their customers to switch to winter tyres, having highlighted this revenue-generating opportunity for the upcoming season. Focused on boosting profits, Pinewood has developed a new ‘tyre hotel’ feature, promoting dealers to efficiently manage their tyre storage and servicing business, all within the DMS.

Introducing a ‘tyre hotel’ service generates revenue in three key ways; selling tyres, storing tyres and cross-selling to customers – who need to bring their vehicle to the dealership at least two more times than usual, in a twelve-month period. This creates an opportunity to uncover additional revenue more frequently.

“We’re constantly investing in new ways for dealers to capture revenue,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies PLC. “It’s a common misconception that UK drivers don’t need winter tyres. In reality, switching to winter tyres becomes useful when temperatures are 7 degrees and below, typical of the UK from October through to March. It’s an opportunity to generate additional revenue.”

Pinewood’s new ‘tyre hotel’ feature gives dealers the ability to capture tyre details using an integrated tyre catalogue. Dealers are able to generate and print contracts and invoices for the storage of tyres. Labels can be printed and stuck to each tyre, displaying the customer it belongs to, along with the details.

Customisable checklists can also be added to tyre inspections, highlighting key areas for technicians to check.

These features will help transform the typical small-scale tyre storage setup, into a scalable, revenue-generating business opportunity.

Pinewood highlights what to look for when choosing mobile devices for your dealership

With the automotive landscape changing and smartphones and tablets becoming commonplace in dealerships, a new challenge emerges in trying to futureproof your business. It can be difficult to choose between the number of devices and operating systems on the market.

Retailers who invest in the latest devices and embrace new apps will gain a competitive advantage, making device choice a more important factor, as technology becomes ever-more pervasive throughout the dealership.

An older generation device and operating system may be cheaper, but will limit app performance, proving slower, less reliable and – crucially – unable to support the latest updates. This means dealers will miss out on new features, which will limit the efficiency and customer service levels the business can offer.

DMS vendor, Pinewood Technologies, has developed a cutting-edge app suite, focused on streamlining processes, driving productivity and enhancing profit opportunities for dealers. So far, this includes apps for capturing personalised video, conducting integrated vehicle health checks, processing card payments, managing vehicle stock and issuing parts whilst employees are on-the-go.

Pinewood recently updated their technician app ‘Tech+’, bringing a new look-and-feel, the ability to add flexible checklists to work and improved menu pricing. Users with newer generation devices could immediately update their apps to benefit from the new features.

Microsoft’s discontinuation of mainstream support for Windows 8 devices, earlier this year, was a prime example. Any dealers still using Windows 8.1 will no longer benefit from improvements to apps or be able to access new features. Those who invested in newer generation devices with up-to-date operating systems will continue to run their business using the latest tools and features, arguably giving them a competitive edge.

Pinewood recommends:
• Apple iOS devices on iOS11 or above
• Windows devices on Windows 10 or above
• Android devices on at least Version 7 (Nougat)

Before choosing a device, the role of the user must also be given some thought. Technicians may require a smaller, easy-to-carry device with a light, or camera flash – facilitating clearer VHC video recording from beneath vehicles. For these users, Apple’s latest iPod Touch is a suitable option to consider, as an alternative to the more costly iPhone.

Users of reception-based, meet and greet apps, may prefer a larger screen to enhance the customer experience. Here, there is a range of tablet devices to consider, from the premium Microsoft Surface Pro to a variety of reasonably priced Android tablets.

DMS: Take a step back and evaluate the potential

Dealership leaders using Pinnacle DMS are increasingly trialling new approaches to traditional business processes thanks to the range of new functions the system continues to deliver.

Every two-weeks Pinewood provides a refreshed and updated version of their Pinnacle system, free-of-charge, and each time unveil a new set of standard tools for dealerships to test in their business. These new functions, integrated throughout the dealer management system, soon become standard tools across the business and help the dealership to better serve their customers.

Neville Briggs, Pinewood Managing Director said, “Pinnacle is an ever-evolving system, and our development is closely matched to be able to assist with ever-changing customer requirements. There’s more to this than just functionality”.

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Social media isn’t just for kids, 80% of 50-75 year olds regularly use social networks

A new survey, released today, adds further weight to an ever increasingly reported trend – that more and more mature web users are switching onto social media networks.

McAfee’s Fifty Plus Booms Online study reported that 80% of 50-75 year olds regularly use social networks. The study, predominantly focusing on the security aspect of over 50s online use, announced that this age demographic overshare key information which could put them in danger of being a victim of financial fraud, identity theft and other criminal activity.

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Instagram consumer engagement is 18 times that of Facebook

New research suggests that Instagram is becoming a core platform for brands to engage with consumers

New York based L2 Think Tank recent research, published in “The Intelligence Report: Social Platforms”, suggests that Instagram is becoming a core platform for brands to engage with consumers.

The research found that the inherent visual component associated to Instagram, registered consumer influence positively by 18 times more than that of Facebook, and 48 times that of Twitter.

Chris Caines, Marketing Executive at Pinewood, said “being part of the conversation is a cross-industry lesson learnt in the early adopter days of Facebook and Twitter – that your customers are talking about you, or the brand you represent. Although 70% of well known brands have Instagram accounts, many more traceable conversations are taking place.”

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22% post online comments about their dealership experience

If 1 in 5 interactions lead to an online review, do you know your customer’s opinions before they publicly review you? Does your DMS provide you with the tools to manage this?
Reviews influence purchase decisions
From the consideration of different brands and models, to conversion at brand and dealership levels. This isn’t anything new.

As trust in review content increases and technology enables more shoppers to contribute online, the modern dealership cannot afford to ignore online conversations. *eMarketer.com Study – 6 May 2013

Social media has enabled easy sharing of this content. A positive manufacturer campaign can create consideration for a specific model, but a negative dealership review, if widely circulated, can determine whether that brand/model is disregarded and which dealership they choose to deal with.

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Boutique hotel guests & dealership customers – what they share in common

Both businesses can use a “Meeter Greeter” iPad app to facilitate their customer’s journey with them… Pinnacle Mobile is here

Your customers are surrounded by innovation
Mashable.com ran an article today looking at the most high-tech hotels in the world. Featured in this list are the boutique Andaz by Hyatt. It reads:

Upon your arrival at any of Hyatt’s boutique line of Andaz hotels, a concierge will greet you with an iPad. He or she will check you into your room, process your payment and take your signature via tablet.

Upon your arrival at any of Hyatt’s boutique line of Andaz hotels, a concierge will greet you with an iPad. He or she will check you into your room, process your payment and take your signature via tablet.

This isn’t exclusive to the hotel industry. We see it at events, restaurants, museums, airports. Everywhere. And our customers enjoy this involvement with technology.

As a Pinnacle user , you’re able to enjoy the same technology, applied specifically for the automotive-industry, for a customer used to experiencing it in their day-to-day lives.

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Facebook remains the clear social channel of choice in the UK

A recent report by eMarketer suggests that Facebook reigns unchallenged as the leading social network of choice in the UK, accounting for more than 9 out of 10 social network users.

In 2012 it was estimated that 28.3 million of us logged on regularly to use Facebook – the same number as Italy and Spain combined. Social media penetration across the entire population appears to be plateauing around the 50% mark. This figure covers all social networks such as Twitter, Pinterest, etc. which in comparison makes a small mark in our choice of social channel.

Chris Caines, Marketing Executive at Pinewood said, “it’s clear that a large portion of the population who are connected are using Facebook. Dealerships exploring these social network opportunities are likely to benefit from adding this digital touch point into their multichannel approach to a smarter way of marketing”.

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“Relevance and Timing” to drive business results from Twitter

Dealers need their Twitter activity to be based on “relevance and timing” if they are to use the social media channel to drive business results.

Dealer management software specialist Pinewood says that success will come from carefully matching the content of tweets to customer and business needs, and then by sending them at a time when they are most likely to be read.

Pinewood marketing executive Chris Caines said: “From our contact with dealers, we can see that their use of Twitter is generally increasing and that it appears to be helping in areas such as customer retention.

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New arrival of 4G phone networks set to boost motor dealer mobile activity

The arrival of new 4G mobile phone networks in the UK before the end of this year is set to provide a boost to the capabilities of dealer mobile web sites.

Dealer management software specialist Pinewood says that the technology – which can be up to seven times faster than existing 3G – will allow dealers to add a range of additional services, notably much improved video performance.

Managing director Neville Briggs said: “While the roll-out of 4G is likely to take some time and users will need new smartphones to access the networks, we expect dealers to soon start taking advantage of the added speed available.

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What should dealers consider when changing their DMS?

Our key advice when buying a DMS is to avoid compromise, and buy for tomorrows needs not just todays.

1. What are the key issues that dealers should consider when changing their DMS?

There are the needs of the dealer, the requirements of the manufacturer and the wishes of the customer. The interests of all three parties must be considered. Manufacturers will have minimum standards for their dealers however these will change and the system will need to be able to accommodate these changes without expensive upgrades.

Customers have a choice and an increasing emphasis must be placed on the attraction and retention of customers, the DMS plays a significant role in this from ease of doing business at the service desk, online interaction and ensuring complete customer satisfaction.

What can the DMS supplier offer you in terms of innovation and how will the system keep fresh, how often is the system updated with enhancements and will there be a cost. In today’s world mobile phones, PCs and even cars get regular software updates usually without charge.

2. What are the major pitfalls to avoid?

There is no point in simply replicating an old out of date system, a new DMS is an opportunity for a fresh start, dealers need to see the DMS as an enabler for their business rather than a must have back office system.  A new DMS must bring something different not simply meet the minimum requirements at the cheapest cost.

3. What advice would you offer to dealers when changing their system?

Talk to and visit dealers who are using the systems you are considering, whilst this may be a time consuming exercise the real world experiences will be invaluable.

Our key advice when buying a DMS is to avoid compromise, and buy for tomorrows needs not just todays.

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