As you look at better serving your customers, consider using your CRM in new ways and for better customer insights. - IMAGE: Pixabay

As you look at better serving your customers, consider using your CRM in new ways and for better customer insights.

All of us car enthusiasts love to help customers find the right cars for them. What many dealers don't realize, though, is that even during low inventory times, they have the resources needed to boost their car and service sales. The key is their customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Why You Need Your CRM to Work for You

Your staff focuses on delivering superior service to the customers throughout your dealership. That's just what they should do. Of course, it often leaves them little time to focus on the vital processes that cultivate new leads and nurture existing ones. That's where your CRM comes into play.

You and your staff understand how to serve customers and operate your CRM. But what if you had a supercharged CRM that lowered your staff's workload and boosted sales and customer retention? 

As you know, technology changes at lightning speed. That is certainly true of CRMs. Today's CRMs not only track, but expedite, your customer communications in a way that best suits your dealership's culture. Plus, those CRMs can compile and analyze your customer data, streamline communications among departments, and offer relevant products and services to customers.

Once you adopt the right CRM, you can move your sales from the average 15% to double or triple that number. To choose the right one, you need to consider how CRMs have evolved through the years.

How the CRM Has Evolved

You may think that your current CRM already has the capabilities you need. That may even be true from a rudimentary standpoint. Just as laptop computers from five years ago offer essential functions, so do the previous era of CRMs. 

Like new laptops, today's CRM is faster, wiser, and team-focused. It is designed to communicate with customers based on their individual profiles, speed analytics, facilitate staff engagement and even determine when to pass off customer communications to your staff.

In short, the CRM will work for you even when you're not working. The right CRM can communicate with your customers through text and email until the customer interacts again. An example is our system's “substitutes.” Basically, those are automated systems that communicate. When the customer responds, the system stops and lets the humans take it from there. 

All CRMs Are Not the Same

To achieve the advantages of the best CRM, you must choose carefully. Many systems are built from a technology mindset by the techs or engineers. That forces you and other dealers to align with the technology when it should be vice versa. 

Another of my serious pet peeves about many CRM's is that they are too complicated and difficult to navigate. They're not flexible enough to set up the way it will work for your business. You must change your business to make it work. That doesn't make sense.

Ensure your CRM works for you, instead of forcing you to adapt to it. 

Crucial CRM Buying Points

When you shop for a CRM, customization is an essential element. Other absolute musts include a mobile application so you can manage your customer interactions from any place, and, of course, you must have superior customer support. I define that as responding promptly. They also must be totally honest, caring, and make sure it’s fixed at the right time.

Beyond that, CRM training is vital. Think about the purpose of the salesperson on a test drive. We don't leave the operation and interpretation of the car to the customer. If you get a CRM, they should not expect you to figure it out yourself. They should be guiding you through the system to ensure the system is customized to your needs.

I'd urge anyone who considers a new CRM to analyze the system, the training, and the support. The best way is to go beyond referrals. If you talk to the references they give you, you'll hear them say they love whatever system you ask about. Go to the dealership website and speak to the sales manager, not the owner. You want to talk to the rank-and-file people. Those are the people who will tell you the truth.

As you look at better serving your customers, consider using your CRM in new ways and for better customer insights. The right one should boost your sales, improve customer service scores, and will position you for a more profitable future.

Rick McLey is a partner with DealerPeak, the only CRM dedicated to making the automotive industry regain their love of selling cars. He can be reached at [email protected].