By Renee Doyle

I’ve heard, once you are in the auto industry you never really leave. Well I left but like many, it has pulled me back and after a 5-year hiatus, I’ve landed back with DealerMine CRM.  The job is different, putting on my sales hat this time around, but it feels familiar all the same.

Reconnected with old colleagues and clients, with a refresher on our products and industry.  This is where it started to feel very different, so many aspects of the industry have evolved in the past 5 years.

 Here are some standout differences between the company and industry I left 5 years ago and today;

 1)     To begin with, I left a CRM and BDC company – I came back to a much larger organization now offering service lane technology, desking, F&I, DMS. I will need a little time to catch up on all this technology but initially I am so impressed with these advancements. The industry has embraced the digital age – no more paper appointment schedules that’s for sure.

2)     Ringless Voice Drops – what is this magic driving service appointment bookings? At first, I was a bit of a skeptic – I was having déjà vu of robocalls telling me I won a cruise. To my surprise, consumers are very receptive, likely because they are less intrusive.   The results speak for themselves – effective and inexpensive – and they have really helped offset staffing shortages through COVID.  

 3)     Digital Retailing – seriously, I can buy a vehicle online now? Without ever stepping foot in a dealership? Sign me up. I reconnected with an old client and they were raving about Autovance’s MyDeal technology. First week it was live on the dealer’s website a consumer bought a vehicle on Sunday evening and picked it up Monday morning without ever speaking with the salesperson.  Now that we are experiencing additional community restrictions, I’m not sure how dealers would survive without migrating online and virtually for vehicle sales.

4)     BDC – I’ve always known the BDC to be a key driver to a dealer’s service business. I am not sure if it is COVID or the secret is out about BDC but we have a line up waiting to get into our BDC. Staffing has been an issue for some dealers through COVID but phone volumes are way up, BDC is more important than ever.

 I’m happy to be back, it’s an exciting time in the industry.

Renee Doyle
Regional Sales Executive
DealerMine CRM

PRESS RELEASE:

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick, Nov. 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Quorum Information Technologies Inc. (TSX Venture: QIS) (“Quorum” or the “Corporation”) announced today that the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (“ACOA”), is providing a $500,000 interest free, repayable investment to assist Quorum in adding significant enhancements to DealerMine’s Online Scheduling application.

Maury Marks, Quorum’s President and CEO stated, “We are excited that ACOA is supporting the research and development of our technology in our Saint John, New Brunswick office. Online Scheduling is a cloud-based online scheduling application that allows dealership customers to book service appointments from any device. After this project is complete, we will license the Online Scheduling application as a stand-alone web booking application to dealers and industry partners. Additionally, we will be adding exciting new functionality including Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) capability that identifies potential Declined Service from past work order’s, predictive analytics that determines the Next Likely Repair based on the age, make and mileage of the customer’s vehicle and a more intuitive and engaging User Interface.”

“To bring back our economy stronger than ever, we must support small and medium-sized companies in their efforts to innovate, digitize and compete,” said Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John-Rothesay, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. “I am pleased that the Government of Canada, through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, will help DealerMine create a team of experts to develop a stand-alone Online Scheduling application for the automotive industry. This project will strengthen the company’s product line, expand its markets and create four highly skilled positions.”

About Quorum Information Technologies Inc.

Quorum is a North American company focused on developing, marketing, implementing and supporting its portfolio of software and services for automotive dealerships that includes:

  • XSellerator, a Dealership Management System (DMS) that automates, integrates and streamlines key processes across departments in a dealership, and emphasizes revenue generation and customer satisfaction.
  • DealerMine CRM, a sales and service Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and set of Business Development Centre services that drives revenue into the critical sales and service departments in a dealership.
  • Autovance, a modern retailing platform that helps dealerships attract more business through Digital Retailing (DR), improve in-store profits and closing rates through its desking tool and maximize their efficiency and CSI through Autovance’s F&I menu solutions fee.
  • Advantage, a full showroom system for both franchised and independent dealerships and a comprehensive management system that includes accounting for the independent market.

Quorum Information Technologies Inc. is traded on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSX-V) under the symbol QIS.  For additional information please go to http://www.QuorumInformationSystems.com.

About ACOA

ACOA creates opportunities for economic growth in Atlantic Canada by helping businesses become more competitive, innovative and productive; by working with communities to develop and diversify their economies; and by championing the strengths of Atlantic Canada. For more information, visit ACOA online.

Forward-Looking Information
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (“forward-looking information”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking information is often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “plan”, “intend”, “objective”, “continuous”, “ongoing”, “estimate”, “expect”, “may”, “will”, “project”, “should” or similar words suggesting future outcomes. Quorum believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking information should not be unduly relied upon.

Forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and involves a number of risks and uncertainties some of which are described herein. Such forward-looking information necessarily involves known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause Quorum’s actual performance and financial results in future periods to differ materially from any projections of future performance or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking information.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its regulation services provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) has reviewed this release and neither accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Maury Marks
877-770-0036
Investors@QuorumDMS.com

PDF available: http://ml.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/f2503788-ac15-45bb-8f18-6e6dc41b7947


We Invite you to Join us on Thursday, November 5th at 2 pm ADT for an informal introduction to Autovance and its founder Rick Johnston. Autovance is a Sales and F&I Retail Platform that, like us, belongs to the Quorum group of companies.

In this session, Rick will talk about how Autovance is deeply integrated into DealerMine and how they are currently helping hundreds of dealers across Canada in these different areas:
 

  • Desking – Autovance was founded on the concept of Desking being an integral part of the process in every store. Rick will cover a number of the unique features of Autovance Desk, including how they get the data right, different ways to desk during the pandemic, and how Autovance is seamlessly integrated into DealerMine.
  • F&I – Autovance Menu is blazing the trail of a new and better way for F&I managers to sell more and sell quicker. Rick will cover how dealers are succeeding using a tablet in F&I as well cover a number of other ways the tool can speed the process up without sacrificing on the bottom line.
  •  Digital Retail – Autovance MyDeal is the latest creation of the Autovance team and is quickly gaining momentum as a leader in the space. Rick will talk about why Desking is the right base for a DR company, how dealers are using the tool today, and much more on the rapidly changing landscape of out-of-showroom transactions.

For more information on how to register please email info@dealerminecrm.com or reach out to your DealerMine CRM Account Manager.

DealerMine CRM’s Jordan Duguay talks strategy through changing times.

Training is a strategic investment that pays

By Justin Doyle
As a former trainer, now an account manager, I can tell you the ROI on training your staff on new technology and software is solid. 

Yes, it’s expensive. But every dollar you spend on training is an investment in your business that will save you in the long run. Training on new software or applications will make your employees more confident, knowledgeable and productive, as they won’t waste time and energy trying to muddle through on their own. 

Plus, research has shown that training increases job satisfaction. And we all know happy employees are more engaged and contribute more. 

Training compounds the value of the technology in which you’ve invested. Frankly, there’s not much point in spending a lot on a new program if no one on your team knows how to use it. Skimping out on training is like buying a sports car but not getting your driver’s license. 

And training pays dividends from a service perspective. Your customers will appreciate the excellent, efficient treatment they receive from your well-trained and helpful staff. 

Finally, training can help grow your business, as up-to-date employees who understand an entire application can harness it for more sales or service opportunities. 

Knowledge isn’t just power – it’s profit, too.

Justin Doyle
Account Manager
DealerMine CRM 

Fill capacity by keeping your service bays busy 

By Lisa Winchester 

Dealerships should treat their service bays like hotel rooms: you want them full all day, every day. And yet, I see too many turning away business because staff is out or to cater to walk-ins. 

A hotel would still sell you a room even if the concierge called in sick. So often I hear, “we are short on technicians, so we can only handle X hours.” Here’s the dilemma: not enough work to hire another technician, too much work for the technicians I have. Service managers, shop foremen and advisors will work to their comfort level. It’s not until they are pushed that they will figure out how to manage the new normal.

Another thing I hear is: “We need to leave room for walk-ins.” Why hope for customers rather than book guaranteed business? Back to my hotel analogy: no innkeeper would only reserve half the rooms in the hopes the other 50% walks in off the street. 

I get it. You don’t want complete chaos in service. The key is managing a new level of normal. Here are some ways to help with the flow of traffic in service while also increasing shop capacity:

  • Don’t scale back appointments when an advisor is sick or on vacation. Get the service manager to fill in.
  • Book every 15 minutes instead of every half-hour. This allows for more customers to be greeted throughout the day.
  • Spread out larger jobs. You don’t want all your technicians tied up at the same time.
  • Stagger lunch breaks. 
  • Use overnight tech shifts to catch up on carryovers.

These simple scheduling tricks will have your bays busier than ever. What have you done to increase service occupancy?

Lisa Winchester
Technical Analyst
DealerMine CRM 

Progressive Companies accommodate the personal and professional

By Dave Haley

As the line between home and work continues to blur, thanks to technology and culture shifts, a balance between the two is more important than ever. 

For employers, the risk of ignoring employee work-life balance is high. Burnout and chronic work-related stress and its attendant physical and mental health problems can have serious negative impacts on both an employee’s work and home life.

Winning employers are those who recognize the need for balance. This can be scary, as it often means letting go of old attitudes and policies and relinquishing control. But the rewards are worth it. Your people will be happier, healthier and more productive. And it’s a powerful recruitment and retention tool for top talent.

Here are some ways to nurture work-life balance in your organization: 

  • Discretionary days: A paid day (or days) for employees to do with what they like, whether that’s spending time with family, observing a religious holiday or just relaxing. 
  • Working remotely: In the old days, a video call in sweatpants from your living room would have been unthinkable. Now, it’s practically the norm. 
  • Flexible hours: The ability to step away from traditional office hours for appointments, errands and more gives employees a sense of control over their time and responsibilities. 
  • Extracurricular activities: A growing number of companies give employees paid time to volunteer or take part in corporate sports leagues or lunchtime fitness or yoga sessions. 
  • Mental health awareness: Programs that prioritize wellness send the right message to employees, pointing them towards support in stressful times. 
  • Annual Short-Term Incentive Programs (STIP): Employees feel empowered when they have a vested interest in the company’s success and annual profits.
  • Professional Development & Training: Expanding an employee’s knowledge and potential is a great way not just to build skills, but for their personal development, as well. 

As you can see from the list above, work-life balance is about treating each employee as a whole person and respecting the range of their skills, needs and responsibilities. How is your organization creating a workplace that accommodates employees’ personal lives?

Dave Haley
Senior Technical Analyst
DealerMine CRM 

Proactive outreach nurtures winning client relationships

By Mark Macdonald

Making your customers feel special and appreciated is one of the surest ways to win their loyalty and keep them coming back to your dealership for service – and their next vehicle purchase. 

Strategic CRMs seize the opportunity to reach out to customers by phone, email or text for a variety of reasons, including maintenance reminders for service that’s due soon, follow-ups on outstanding recalls, satisfaction inquiries, declined work that was recommended, and to confirm upcoming and reschedule missed appointments. Customers will appreciate the personal touch and being kept up-to-date on all pertinent information about their vehicle.

Reaching out, rather than waiting for customers to call or visit you, has a number of benefits, including: 

  • Staying top-of-mind. The last thing you want is for your customers to start looking elsewhere for service or purchases. 
  • Ensuring customers remain happy with their vehicles. And they’ll appreciate the chance to voice any concerns to a real person.
  • Making customers feel valued. A call on their anniversary of purchase or when their term is close to expiring shows your salespeople are paying attention – and that they care.  
  • Preventing customers from falling through the cracks. A vehicle is a huge investment. If customers never hear from your dealership once the purchase is done or their vehicle’s left your service department, they may feel you don’t deserve their business in the future.

Of course, staying in touch means you have to keep their contact information up-to-date. Have your coordinator verify contact information each time they speak with a customer and always get their email, as it’s the one contact that doesn’t tend to change. Along with current contacts, your CRM is a great source of potential proactive contacts, including who’s scheduled for service, high-mileage lease drivers and owners of good quality used vehicles that are regularly serviced at your dealership or those whose vehicle term is set to expire. A good CRM tool has these features built into the software, and can automatically pull daily call lists.

Harness this data to stay on your customers radar – and in their good books.

Mark Macdonald
Account Manager
DealerMine CRM 

Documentation keeps your team current and consistent 

By April Hatfield

I’ve been a coordinator. A curriculum developer. A process mapper. A team manager. In each of these roles, proper documentation was key to smooth operations. 

In our industry, things don’t stay still. As good as you may be in your role, it’s impossible to remember everything you need to know, especially when change is so rapid and constant. Without proper documentation, employee errors, such as misquoting pricing or not following the correct steps of a procedure, are all too common.

Documentation is important because it: 

  • Gives staff the latest information at their fingertips;
  • Allows for more productive calls and customer interactions;
  • Ensures consistency of procedure and response among employees;
  • Means fewer calls and questions to managers and colleagues; and 
  • Allows for faster onboarding of new and interim employees. 

There are lots of ways to store your documentation. Of course, old-school paper files are an option, but digital documentation via Google Sheets, Sharepoint or ProcedureFlow, for instance, is better. It’s safe, easily accessible, usually has revision tracking and has search capabilities far quicker than sifting through papers. 

Here are a few other tips to ensure your documentation is as effective as possible:

  • Don’t over-document. Only record what is relevant to your staff.  If there is a list of instructions for a specific procedure, put it in bullet or number point form so it’s quick and easy to read.
  • Keep your documentation organized.  If it is too difficult to find the information, people will not use it.
  • Make documentation part of your organizational culture. It should be part of the job for everyone to use it and keep it updated.

 How does your team handle documentation? What works for you? 

April Hatfield
Installation Coordinator
DealerMine CRM 

Train your appointment coordinators to handle any situation

By Letisha Betteridge

Booking appointments should be a well-rehearsed routine, not an improv. But without a script for any situation that’s exactly what your appointment coordinators have to do: improvise. 

While that might make for an entertaining theatre experience, it’s not the way to impress your customers. Scripting is the answer. It will help your coordinators:

  •  Overcome objections: Increase your maintenance labor sales and gross with proper overcoming objection scripting. Overcome the “no” by informing the customer of the importance of bringing the vehicle in even if they have low mileage or are unsure of their schedule. 
  • Assume the appointment: Increase the number of appointments being booked and keep your shop full. Assuming rather than asking for the appointment gives the customer less opportunity to just say no. 
  • Set a call flow: Create consistency with customers to keep them coming back. A BDC script lets all your appointment coordinators follow the same call flow, eliminating bad experiences or surprises. 
  • Exhibit product knowledge: Higher maintenance labor gross per RO. If the appointment coordinator can explain how keeping up-to-date on services is good for the vehicle and will save them in the long run, the customer will feel more informed and be more willing to take what’s offered. 
  • Eliminate filler words: Instead of fumbling for the right words and creating doubt in the customer’s mind about the service being recommended, your coordinator exudes confidence. 
  • Instill customer confidence: Confidence is contagious. If your coordinators sounds polished and certain, your customer will trust them.

These are just a few of the benefits of scripting. What scripts do your coordinators need to book more?


Letisha Betteridge
Application Trainer
DealerMine CRM