Fixed operations can account for 40% of a car dealership’s gross profit. While vehicle sales may drive that first customer interaction with the dealership, Service is the key to future sales and retention which significantly impacts the dealerships future gross profits. DealerMine Inc. (DealerMine) offers a robust Service and Sales CRM system to help dealerships identify those opportunities whether they are in Service or Sales to ensure that the customer returns to the dealership to create the loyalty that Dealerships today require.
Headquartered in Saint John, NB, DealerMine was founded by president and CEO, Robert Quirion. His background as a software engineer combined with 15 years experience in the automotive industry, led him to discover the significant connection between service and sales.“I saw there was a huge opportunity in service. I started to build this product which at the time was called ‘DealerTrack” back in 1998,” says Quirion. “We really wanted to grasp what our customer’s needs were when they’re calling in to us and also when we’re reaching out to them.”
Dealership departments are fragmented from service, body shop, parts, to new car and used car sales. Customers are treated as separate customers in each of those departments. “With DealerMine, we look at the customer as a whole which at the time we first started, was a complete reversal of how dealerships looked at a customer,” says Quirion. “When we first launched, within just two months, we doubled the gross profit of the dealership we were working with. As soon as the question was asked ‘Can we buy this?’ I knew we had something and the business took off from there.”
DealerMine provides a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that caters to each and every department within an automotive dealership. The approach to DealerMine’s CRM is simple: building precise personalized relationships with each of their customers.
“The term CRM typically in this industry is “Customer Relationship Management” for the entire dealership independent of department. We aspire to achieve exactly that,” says Quirion. “When they buy into DealerMine, they buy a CRM for the entire dealership.”
“We’ve evolved from a Service only CRM to a complete 360’ solution for dealerships.“Our core DNA for all of our products has evolved from the strength of our service product,” says Karen Parmenter, VP, Sales & Marketing, North America. “Over the past year we have introduced our Sales CRM product and its complimentary application Desking. We have seen a significant amount of growth with both of these new applications. Our complete 360 solution helps dealers increase their share of the household driveway whether that is through selling Service maintenance, which creates the loyalty to the dealership, or through our Sales CRM product which identifies for dealers those customers that could be potentially in a position to trade into a newer vehicle. By having a CRM solution that identifies all opportunities for a dealership it achieves two goals for the dealership, loyalty and increasing revenues in a highly competitive automotive marketplace.”
When partnering with DealerMine, dealerships notice their ability to create a unique and personalized experience for their customers. It’s the positive experiences cultivated in a service department that creates future sales in an auto showroom.
“There are a lot of CRM companies out there that tend to play in the shallow end because they focus specifically on the Showroom part of the business; the SalesCRM, says Parmenter. “When it comes to Service CRM, there really isn’t anyone in the deep end of the pool that does what we do with our Service CRM, knowing who to call, when to call and why.”
Service is the Future
Car sales can be strong but they can also be spotty. In the US market in particular, there is shift from the previous years of strong sales to a trend where vehicle sales will decline from their current levels. As result, the US market is waking to a need for service BDC to get customers back to the dealer.
“As cars are getting more sophisticated, we want to make sure that the customers don’t just wait until their car tells them that their due for a service but have the dealer contacting the customers instead,” says Parmenter.
Fundamentally the difference between the US and Canada has been that Canadian dealers have long understood that a strong Service department is instrumental to its long term success. It has only been very recent that the other CRM providers are starting to look at adding a Service component to their offering. “We’ve had 15 years of experience building the product to where it is today,” says Parmenter “Our competitors can’t touch us when it comes to that,” she adds modestly.
DealerMine strives to ensure that the entire customer lifecycle in a dealership is a consistent and rewarding one. “Other sales CRMs that are now adding a service CRM product tend to treat it more as a throw in,” says Quirion “Ours is a core service and that makes it stand apart and offer so much more.” The company strives to be a flexible partner for the dealership and wants to be perceived as a very engaging one that dealers recognize that they cannot manage their business without them.
DealerMine the only Canadian developed CRM. Which is most important as Canada is a bilingual market something which a lot of competitors don’t provide or understand as they have been developed for a different automotive market in the US. Because DealerMine has been built for Canada it is easily adapted to any language and is really a multi-language CRM.
DealerMine’s retention rate is a rare benchmark in the automotive industry where other CRM companies have come and gone and they are still around after 15 years.
“We have a 92-94% customer retention rate as we don’t lose many clients once they come on board with our products,” says Quirion.
DealerMine strives to be a company that is responsive to theircustomers. “One of the key things we really strive to do is ensure that we answer the call versus going through a call recording system and our response rate is usually within seconds, with a live person,” adds Parmenter. “Something that we’re pride ourselves for is our response to our customer base. I think that’s why customers also love our support.”
The company is enjoying considerable growth and recently moved into brand new facilities for both their head office and for their BDC expanding from 8,000 square feet to 24,000 square feet. The majority of increase in employment has been due to the expansion in their BDC. “One of our products is the outsource BDC where some dealers know they need to do a BDC but aren’t sure how to do it,” says Quirion “They can outsource that entire role to us.”
DealerMine recently introduced a new application called “telephony” which really impacts the ability for a BDC to be efficient in their outbound reach to their customer base. It also allows, from the showroom perspective, for the sales people to have recordings of the calls that they make to consumers and have record of it. “The telephony also allows the BDC agent to have a call record of any particular call,” says Parmenter. “It’s a strong solution to compliment a dealership in being efficient in their day-to-day tasks.
Beyond helping out the dealership, with telephony, dealerships have the ability to go from 125 calls to as high as 225 calls per day,” says Quirion. The end result for the dealer is that they get more calls out, they are more calls back, more appointments made, and more sales”
Benefits of Data
“From a technological perspective, what we’re seeing is dealers are tired of having to contact their suppliers or vendors for integrations, they just want the providers and the software that they buy and use to have those integrations available,” says Quirion. “API, exposed data is a big deal to dealers right now. If you try to go into a dealership right now and try to own everything, is the wrong thing to do. It’s better to be an expert in an area, and CRM is our area and we believe in agnostic software where we will open up API’s and integrate with anyone that they want to integrate with and this has been a real trend in the last couple of years.”
Complimenting the Head Office and BDC staff DealerMine is well represented across North America with a team of Sales associates who are chartered with the continued growth of DealerMine into new markets along with growing our existing account base with our newer products which take our customers to the next level.
Building products that touch the customer in some way, shape or form remains the cornerstone for DealerMine; whether is a prospective customer coming in to buy a car, service their vehicle or buy parts; DealerMine wants to own that for the dealership. This has enabled them to expand their product offering and become a 360” solution for the dealership. “We’re the big company that likes to act like we’re small,” says Quirion. “The way we treat our customers and develop our products has not changed since the day we started the company.”