Category: Best Practice

Pinewood’s top tips when recording videos in the dealership

Whether buying a car or booking a workshop visit, consumers expect a personalised experience online and in-store. An invaluable part of this experience is video.

Videos give Technicians and Salespeople the chance to connect directly with their customers. Staff can give expert advice and build a personal connection, leading to increased sales, loyalty, and retention. By making use of the built-in video tools in Pinewood’s apps, dealers can expect to see:

  • More clicks and enquiries from online listings. Video ads help to stand out from competitors.
  • Higher conversion rates. Customers know what to expect before they set foot in-store, accelerating the purchase decision.
  • An increased uptake of recommended work, boosting service revenue.
  • More trust is built with customers, so they’re more likely to return and share their experience with friends and family.
  • Increased protection for the team. Service advisors can capture a quick walkaround of vehicles, noting any prior damage or issues on arrival.

To be effective, it’s important that dealers get their videos right. This involves training staff on the basics – such as speaking clearly, addressing customers personally, and taking pauses. It might sound simple, but mistakes are easily made if these guidelines aren’t followed, leaving customers struggling to make sense of the videos they are sent. With the right guidance, great video content is an easy way to boost profit. Here are Pinewood’s top tips…

Advice for Sales Teams

Motor retailers take thousands of videos daily when showcasing vehicle stock online and responding to enquiries. Mark Davis, Dealer Principal at Worthing Suzuki explains why it’s so effective –

“The sales team can do a personalised used car video with the touch of a button. It really has brought us into the 21st century with what people now expect with their online experience.”

To maximise the value of video, dealers should ensure that all team members are confident in their skills and understand how to capture great content. When briefing the sales team on how to improve response rates, managers should cover the following:

  1. Take pride and prep the area: You wouldn’t expect to win customers over if the showroom looked a mess – this applies to videos too. Before taking out your smartphone and hitting record, the forecourt should be clean and free from distractions. Whether recording a personalised video or clips for the website, avoid capturing other team members, customers, or clutter lying around on the forecourt.
  2. Be sure the car is looking its best: Check that the vehicle has been valeted and make sure it’s in a spacious area for the digital demo. Allow plenty of space to capture the car at every angle.
  3. Check the spec: If the car has unique features or a customer asks for any specific requirements, highlight them as early as you can in the video. This increases the likelihood of a viewing, or better yet a purchase. It can also be an opportunity to upsell accessories.
  4. Provide a seamless experience, on or offline: For a video to be effective, it needs to be personal and informative – like the experience a customer would expect in-store. If responding to an enquiry, the video should be sent no longer than 48 hours after it’s received. Introduce yourself and greet the customer by name, taking time to show the vehicle in full view inside and out. Mark Lambird, Managing Director at Eastbourne Motoring Centre explains the value –

“We definitely sell more cars by sending videos out, people interact and buy a lot quicker if they can physically see the car in a video. We can talk over the features and benefits. It’s been a real positive.”

  1. Finally, check footage is good to go: Always watch the video back before publishing or sending. It’s key to check that it’s easy to hear. If it’s a windy day or passing traffic can be heard, this will affect the quality and results. Dealers using Pinewood DMS can quickly clean up videos with audio enhancement in the apps, helping to remove background noise.

Leadership teams could set monthly targets for staff to improve their video skills and ultimately improve customer satisfaction, drive sales, and boost revenue.

Tips for Service Teams

Workshops and service centres also rely on video to record the condition of customers’ cars on arrival and explain or upsell recommended work –

Pinewood’s Tech+ app makes it very easy to communicate with the customer and shows them exactly what’s wrong with the vehicle, particularly with video VHCs. You can show them the state of their tyres or exhaust, etc. It makes it very believable and trustworthy.” – explains Davis at Worthing Suzuki.

Workshop Managers should ensure Technicians and Service Advisors are aware of the dos and don’ts for capturing effective VHC and arrival videos. This includes:

  1. Noisy workshop? No problem: The quality of VHC videos can often suffer when loud machinery or radios are playing in the background. If the customer can’t hear you, it’s pointless recording the video in the first place. Audio enhancement in Pinewood DMS adjusts the volume levels and clarity of recordings in Tech+ for you. This makes a huge difference to response rates and saves time re-recording.
  2. Good lighting is key: To build trust with customers, it’s important to show them the damage identified first-hand. When doing so, you should ensure the vehicle is well-lit and any damage is clear to see. Move slowly when recording the video and use a lamp to highlight key points if needed.
  3. Speak clearly and avoid jargon: Take your time when commentating on a video VHC. When explaining recommended work, it’s key to avoid technical language. Customers will be more likely to listen and agree to amber work if your explanation is clear.
  4. Use visual aids: Some issues are trickier to show on a video, such as worn tyres or brake pads. Use a tread depth gauge and point to any hard-to-reach areas using a laser. This provides assurance as the customer can see it for themselves.

“It adds value to the health check. They can see exactly what we’re talking about – rather than just saying ‘your near tyre is worn’, you can see the wear on the tyre, you can see the oil leak, etc. So, it saves time and is more efficient and helpful to the customer” – explains Dave Joyce, Service Advisor at Porsche Wolverhampton.

  1. Get it sent out: You can add a branded intro and outro using Pinewood’s drag-and-drop editor, giving a professional finish. Make sure that you send the VHC videos out promptly, so the customer has time to review it and respond. If videos are sent too late in the day (or worse, not at all), the customer will be less inclined to proceed – especially if they need to bring the car back another day to complete the work.
In Summary

To maximise the value of video communications, dealers need to take the time to properly train team members upfront. This ensures they are briefed on the best ways to engage customers and improve results. Video targets are a great way to incentivise team members, however, the quality of videos is equally as important to keep on top of. Once mastered, effective video content is a great way for dealers to improve the omnichannel experience and boost revenue for both sales and service.

Drive workshop profits and get your team on their A-game

As business costs continue to soar and more drivers turn to electric vehicles, retailers should re-evaluate the tools in their dealer management system to boost workshop profits.

Those who are proactive in adopting the latest features, apps and system updates are seeing significant results – from process efficiencies to driving extra revenue…

Plan ahead and boost productivity

Most workshops service multiple brands, vehicle types, and fuel categories – often requiring specific technician skillsets for each. It’s key that service teams have access to a system that helps maximise productivity when planning workloads. A DMS should provide total visibility of upcoming jobs and requirements so the service team can schedule ahead and fill their workshop. Using a system with intuitive diary management means dealers can book more jobs and ultimately boost revenue.

Pinewood DMS helps Workshop Managers make more of Technicians’ productive hours. Using the built-in drag-and-drop planner, they can allocate jobs to each Technician – matching job requirements to skillsets and filling more available hours. Using Pinewood’s Tech+ app, Technicians can see a personalised planner – including scheduled start and completion times for jobs, what’s required, and highlighting no-shows. In doing so, they’re more prepared for the day, utilise their time better, and are more productive.

Take secure payments in seconds

Most systems can offer various payment types – from integrated finance plans to wireless card machines. Now, retailers also have the option of open banking. It’s fast, secure, and protects both the dealer and customer, reducing the risks of bank transfers.

Pinewood is integrated with Vyne’s open banking platform – building on their award-winning digital journey. Briggs comments –

“We recognise the importance of providing a low-cost, simple, and secure payment solution for dealers. Vyne’s open banking software removes the hassle of sharing bank details or personal data. The integration with Pinewood DMS means dealers can be confident when requesting payments for vehicle sales or service work, enhancing our digital offering.”

Payments are requested and approved in three simple clicks, and the dealer is notified immediately when complete. As result, this streamlines handovers, relieves pressure on service advisors, and provides transparency of payments.

Streamline VHCs with eSignatures

Dealers can boost efficiency by digitalising VHC processes – freeing up time for Technicians to fit more into their day. By asking service customers to pre-authorise VHC work with an eSignature, Technicians can get started on jobs immediately – removing the need to discuss requirements and getting cars on the ramp quicker – improving workshop productivity.

Offer finance plans for service work to boost upsell

With the cost of living rising, car owners are more likely to delay additional work, ultimately impacting dealer profits. Service teams can soften the blow for customers by offering affordable finance plans and splitting costs into monthly repayments, which can also encourage upsell. As explained by David Haskey, Group Aftersales Manager at Thurlow Nunn

“Pinewood’s Bumper integration has been a huge step forward in our VHC offering and has received excellent feedback from our customers. The facility is seamless and as a result, supports productivity across our busy service operations.”

Make audits easy and keep your team informed

Adopting an all-in-one DMS with a live central database is a great way to improve communication between service team members.

In Pinewood DMS, Technicians can record digital notes on each operation in the Tech+ app. This eliminates the need for paper job cards and improves workflows, as all write-ups are instantly accessible in the DMS. Making audits easier to handle, as explained by Gavin Crolla, Divisional Warranty Leader at Mercedes Benz Leeds –

“We have a permanent digital history of write-ups, neatly archived against job numbers in the DMS. It meets our audit standards with name and date stamps so we don’t need to worry that warranty claims will be rejected. Information can be reviewed forever more and massively reduces our paper usage.” 

Convert more upsell opportunities

Dealers should personalise their email follow-ups to convert more aftersales opportunities.

In Pinewood DMS, dealers can customise their contact plans, adding multiple follow-up templates for each reminder type. This includes service reminders, upcoming MOTs, or warranty expiries. Differentiating each reminder boosts the relevancy and takeup, keeping customers more engaged. It’s a quick win, leading to higher response rates and extra profits!


To boost workshop profits, dealers must be proactive in using the latest tools and updates to digitalise their service journey. Those who fail to continually modernise and adapt processes will hinder their revenue-generation potential. This is key with more customers now favouring an omnichannel experience. It’s essential for dealers to be forward-thinking – especially as some systems offer many new tools as standard. As result, the cost to the dealers is minimal. With significant potential for returns, it’s essential that dealers take action.

Three ways that dealers can boost their bottom line

Following the pandemic, with seemingly never-ending chip shortages and the drive towards sustainability, dealers are being forced to adapt – or suffer serious impacts on their bottom line.

The global chip shortage has made it near-impossible to access new stock. The rising popularity of electric vehicles, containing fewer serviceable parts, has impacted aftersales revenues and earning potential. Supported by the right DMS, business leaders can uncover additional revenue, improve efficiency across their group, and cut costs.

Act on opportunities from data-rich reports

Whether managing one or multiple branches, leaders want visibility. A DMS should show how every branch and team performs, with useful reports to indicate where opportunities lie.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies explains –

“Many of our customers have adapted processes and found new ways to boost revenue based off the insights in Pinewood DMS. Dealers must identify and respond to market changes which effect margins, efficiency, and ultimately profits. We encourage our customers to make the most of our intuitive reports and BI tools.”

Many groups have refocused efforts on used sales to facilitate the rising demand. Meanwhile, by encouraging Aftersales teams to upsell more work during vehicle health checks, dealers have bridged the revenue gap.

Embrace digitalisation or get forced into the slow lane

Customers demand flexibility, so dealers should aim to improve their service offering both online and in-store. A digitally-focused DMS will optimise the omnichannel experience – catering for customer expectations of today.

Digitalising traditional dealer processes helps to streamline workflows and boost convenience – positively impacting the bottom line. Most leading systems have digital tools available, from accepting eSignatures, to storing documents digitally, to enabling customers to pay online.

In the workshop, Technicians are now largely reliant on mobile DMS apps – often faster and more efficient than working from a PC. With Pinewood’s Tech+ app, Technicians can send a VHC video to the customer straight from the ramp, add write-up notes to job cards, and immediately see if a customer approves recommended work. Dealers are boosting productivity and workshop revenue as a direct result.

Don’t complicate it. Choose a DMS which has the tools you need built-in

Switching between multiple systems can be costly, difficult to maintain, and a barrier to productivity. Therefore, its key dealers invest in a DMS that will leverage their business – with the tools they value and rely upon, built-in.

As explained by Dougal Keith, Managing Director at DM Keith Motors

“The DMS is used in absolutely every area of the business, replacing lots of different systems that we had – that was fundamental in the decision process for us. Pinewood’s system has revolutionised our workflows. It’s fundamentally changed the way we operate as a business, more efficiently and more effectively. It’s very easy to learn and implement and has driven cost out of the business.”

With so many factors influencing the bottom line, businesses need complete visibility and control, to help identify and action profit opportunities. Choosing the right DMS is essential – dealers must be sure they’re equipped with the data and tools they need to succeed.

To see how Pinewood could help your business, visit

Pinewood’s Good Video Guide – Top Tips Included

With the omni-channel experience now more important than ever, dealers must adapt to meet buyers’ evolving needs, or risk sales and service customers going elsewhere. By creating engaging video communications, dealers can drive real results – capturing and converting customers before they even set foot in the dealership.

The Benefits:

  • Build trust with customers – whether sending a personalised video tour for a car they’ve enquired on, or highlighting recommended work to upsell in a friendly VHC video
  • Upsell more VHC work
  • Make listings stand out online
  • Send personalised responses to enquiries, enhancing the customer journey

It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to improve the quality of video communications, it doesn’t even require a video specialist. By following a few simple tips, as outlined by the DMS experts at Pinewood, dealers can improve the response rates on their videos.

Pinewood’s Top Video Tips:

Make it personal:

  • Introduce yourself, as though you were meeting to the customer in person.
  • Greet customers by their name, showing them, you’ve taken the time respond personally.
  • Don’t rush, take pauses and speak clearly.
  • Ensure responses are timely – don’t leave an enquiry waiting for days (or longer), or they’ll go elsewhere.

Good lighting:

  • When highlighting damage in a VHC video, use a torch or laser so the customer can clearly see the issue for themselves.
  • If recording indoors, use a lamp to ensure the vehicle you’re recording is easy to see on-screen.
  • Avoid recording in direct sunlight – the video is likely to be affected by distracting shadows, bright spots or reflections.

Speak clearly:

  • Turn down any background music or radio noises, which may distract the attention of the viewer.
  • Avoid touching the microphone on your smartphone or recording device whilst recording.
  • Wait for any loud noises to stop – this may include workshop machinery, transporter vehicles in the background, or even moving ramps.
  • Find a quieter time to capture your videos with minimal distractions – both visual and audible.

Still too noisy?

  • Try Pinewood’s Audio Enhancement tool to reduce background noise – videos sound clearer and distractions are reduced, no editing experience needed.
  • Use visual aids, such as marked masking tape to indicate tyre tread depths.
  • Invest in a Bluetooth microphone for best results.

Use a mini-tripod or gimbal:

  • Capture still, steady footage.
  • Reach all angles.
  • Clips onto any phone.
  • Low cost and effective.

Be engaging:

  • Be conversational – prospects are more likely to listen and engage.
  • Keep it concise, or the customer will lose interest.
  • Highlight the best features – these are the selling points.
  • Finish with a clear call to action.

Try out these video tips today using the built-in video tools in your Pinewood DMS apps.

Built-in versus bolt-ons – The DMS dilemma

With so many different systems on the market offering tools for every aspect of a dealer’s business, it’s difficult to know which route to take. Which bolt-ons to choose, and how many to add? If a Dealer Management System can’t do the job without bolt-ons, can it really meet your business’ needs – or are you left paying over the odds with only half the tools you require?

The ‘Bolt-on’ DMS Model

There are hundreds of additional systems on the market – you name it, there’s a system for it, generally offering features where the DMS provider has stopped short. This situation has evolved naturally over the decades, but as digitalisation has leaped forward in the last year, it presents a real challenge to providing a truly digital customer experience.

While bolt-on solutions may integrate to some extent, this all adds to the cost and complexity of managing dealer systems. The alternative is to look for an all-in-one DMS where every module is integrated and the essential tools are built into the system, designed to work entirely in sync.

Bolt-ons thrive when there are gaps between the DMS and the most effective business model, often showing the pathway to a fully digital business. Unless the DMS company is continually investing in closing these gaps, purchasing more and more bolt-ons becomes almost compulsory.

Dominic Threlfall, Managing Director of Pebley Beach explains:

“Dealers often use all these different systems, but they all have to be maintained. By having one system, the cost saving to the business is massive!”

The ‘Built-in’ DMS Model

Looking at a system like Pinewood DMS, common bolt-on features like workshop planning, VHC video, document storage and credit cards – they’re all included in the DMS. And because they’re built-in, they sync that bit better with what’s going on around them to create a fluid customer journey and a 360-degree view of the business.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains:

“With Pinewood DMS, everything is built-in – your tools and business areas are synced, so everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet. Of course, there are the manufacturer systems and selected third parties that will need to be integrated, but we hear from so many dealers juggling separate systems about just how challenging it can be! Cost is a huge factor, plus the inconvenience of constantly switching systems. Staff need training on every system too – it really adds up!”

Darren Lakin, Aftersales Director at Wessex describes his views:

“By taking away bolt-on providers, it has allowed us to integrate our VHC process and CRM management, giving us the whole package in one place. There’s no more double-keying, so it’s a much more efficient and streamlined process.”

By reducing the number of bolt-ons, the dealer team no longer need to switch systems or re-key information just to carry out day-to-day tasks. The leadership have a clearer view with just one set of activity information to manage and can focus on creating value, rather than managing dozens of integration points and commercial relationships.

The DMS Dilemma

More than ever, it’s on dealers to be brave and break away from old habits. If your DMS is technically behind the times and without a path to keep up, it’s impossible for you to stay on top of the game – and the more you compensate with bolt-ons, the more fragmented your processes can become.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because most large dealer groups now maintain over 20 different software systems and many are now realising that decreasing, rather than increasing this complexity, is the path to the digital future. And this means addressing the problem at its source by finding a DMS provider that’s ready for the journey.

Commercial Dealers embracing new digital tools in their businesses

Pinewood Technologies is supporting commercial vehicle and truck dealers with new tools, processes and OEM integrations across every area of the business. These have been designed to enhance the important fleet aftersales relationship, improve operational effectiveness and support manufacturer propositions in the LCV and HGV sector.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains: ‘Commercial dealers are now embracing digitalisation and using our new tools to drive their businesses. Pinewood is continuously investing and innovating to help support dealers and the range and breadth of tools available is something that commercial dealers are discovering as they explore different ways to do business.

For example, Pinewood now offers a tool to manage Technician shifts in commercial workshops. Shift patterns in 24-hour workshops can be arranged in combination with skillsets to accurately allocate work.

In addition, the recently-updated Technician Planner is a flexible drag-and-drop tool for allocating work to technicians based on teams or skills. Highlighting how each member of the team is utilised makes it clear when the workshop is (or isn’t) working to full capacity.

The new planner offers the benefit that technicians can automatically pick up their next task on their mobile device using the Tech+ app. From the app, technicians can prepare vehicle or customer-specific health checks, capture video, add work, issue lubricants, prepare menu priced quotes and even issue parts directly to the job with a simple barcode scan. Additionally, technicians can message the service and parts teams from the app.

Printed job cards and paperwork are no longer necessary as all information is available digitally, including e-signatures for approval.

Jobs can be monitored using a live traffic-light system to identify problems in advance. As part of the digital journey, an online Job Status Tracker provides a clear view for the fleet customer of the vehicle progress in the workshop and off-site with subcontractors.

As commercial vehicles need to be checked at fixed intervals, this is easily managed with contact schedules which can be shared with Fleet operators to help plan downtime, supported by a follow-up process designed to deal with multiple vehicles in a single conversation.

Routine vehicle inspections make use of specialised checklists for fleet customers and commercial vehicle types which can themselves contain sub-checklists for lighting or specialist fitted equipment.

As another example of the support for Commercial business, Service Contracts can be customised and created at sale allowing service invoices to charge into the plan, with the accounts postings all taken care of.

Finally, the sales team can save time and minimise the chance of mistakes by using a menu-priced template for pre-delivery work. This means each customer and vehicle type can have their own predefined requirements to simplify the preparation request.

As this is a wide menu of things to consider, Pinewood are engaging with commercial dealers every day to help identify the right tools for each business to use on the journey to be more successful.

Technicians boost efficiency with Pinewood’s Workshop Planner

In the present challenging industry circumstances, more dealers are looking to their aftersales operations to boost profits. Pinewood DMS helps dealers achieve this through more efficient management, using a part of the system called Workshop Planner.

It helps dealers improve productivity, by allowing them to optimise the way they manage their technicians’ time. Users can visualise and allocate work using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Bookings can be reviewed and amended as they arise and with a real-time view of the technicians’ and service team’s workloads, service advisors can allocate jobs to available technicians.

“Workshop Planner also allows dealers to ensure that specialist technicians aren’t being misallocated to generalist jobs – a common error which stifles the potential revenue they could be generating from more skilled work,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood.

“By segmenting technicians into service teams and splitting them by skill category, it makes it simpler for management to allocate work according to the proficiency of technicians.”

Specifically designed for technicians to focus on work that requires attention, jobs in the planner change colour according to their status.

“The colour-coded planner makes it really easy to see which jobs need attention. Technicians can see exactly when work needs to be finished – allowing them to ensure the job is completed within the allotted timescale, or communicate delays with the customer. As a consequence, dealers have found that customer satisfaction has increased.”

Workshop jobs can also be accessed in Pinewood’s mobile app for technicians, Tech+, where they can seamlessly move through operations, speeding up technician clocking processes.

Dealers’ using Pinewood DMS have found the Workshop Planner particularly beneficial. The ability to project a real-time display of activity in their workshop has provided clarity, and allowed them to react easily to changing customer requirements – improving flexibility and providing a superb aftersales experience.

Supercharge aftersales profits with Pinewood DMS

As new vehicle sales decline, there is increasing urgency for dealers to find alternative revenue sources, with many looking to their aftersales departments. Despite the increasing prevalence of electric vehicles and the reliability of modern cars – reducing billable workshop hours – Pinewood Technologies believe there are still plenty of opportunities to profit.

“We are learning from markets that are more advanced in terms of their adoption of electric vehicles. From our experience in these markets, such as the Nordics, we’ve observed that dealers capture more of the work that a traditional UK dealership might not pursue as actively. For example – tyres, smart repairs and even glass repairs,” explains Managing Director, Neville Briggs.

To capture every opportunity, Pinewood DMS encourages dealers to strike while the iron is hot, when customers are more likely to authorise identified work. “The best time to upsell is when the car is in the workshop, not when the customer has gone home and has the opportunity to shop around, or faces the prospect of having to revisit the dealership, which isn’t efficient for anyone,” says Briggs. “Our most successful and profitable customers are already aware of this”.

Pinewood DMS offers a built-in vehicle checking process to build trust with customers, who are more likely to authorise further work and therefore generate more revenue. To provide transparency, dealers can send a booking confirmation to the customer, with a video link explaining the arrival and check-in process. Service advisors can be pre-allocated to an appointment, so they are ready to greet the customer and begin the VHC process.

Pinewood’s app for sales and service, Host+, allows the filming of an arrival video from the convenience of a mobile device. Doing this with the customer present provides more credibility than if the dealer were to contact the customer later in the day and gives them more time to consider proceeding with the additional work. However, when upselling, dealers must have clear pricing and the stock required. Features such as menu pricing, inbuilt tyre catalogues, recommended ordering (based on previous ­supply trends) and automatic re-ordering of parts, address these challenges.

VHC video is a major highlight of Pinewood’s technician app, Tech+. Technicians can capture and send clips of damage to customers straight from the ramp, with a link to instantly authorise or reject the work. This has proven to significantly impact conversion rates and aftersales profits.

The past year has seen the release of brand new versions of all three of Pinewood’s aftersales apps; Tech+, Parts+ and Host+, for technicians, parts advisors and service/salespeople respectively. These bring a range of new capabilities, such as digitally signing documents to reduce paperwork, issuing parts on the move and barcode scanning.

A growing business

Pinewood are constantly growing their team to drive their customers’ businesses forward, this year hiring 27 new graduates. Additionally, the introduction of Live-chat and an extensive knowledge-base have proven immensely popular, enhancing the customer support experience.

These advancements will help dealers to truly make the most of Pinewood DMS’ ever-expanding features, enabling them to boost profitability and overcome market challenges.

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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