In the latest release of LightspeedNXT and LightspeedEVO, hosted users of ADP Lightspeed will have access to Service Connect, an integrated smart-help menu designed to provide answers to user’s questions without leaving their work flow.
According to a press release, the feature knows what screen the user is working from and will suggest topics to answer questions. Service Connect picks up right where the user left off providing helpful hints and tips, while offering live web chat with Lightspeed customer support. LIVE chat offers a direct, online connection to Lightspeed’s support staff so customers have a choice of picking up the phone or having a web conversation with a Lightspeed expert, ADP stated.
“Service Connect will help our users tremendously,” said Dan Jacobson, director of client services at ADP Lightspeed. “Often times our phone lines get filled with customers who need answers to simple questions that Service Connect will now resolve. With one click of the “SC” button in the upper right corner of the program, customers can find answers faster than ever before. We’re excited to offer a new level of service to hosted Lightspeed dealers.”
Greg Smith, general manager of ADP Lightspeed, added, “At Lightspeed we strive to train our customers on how to use our programs, but when using a feature for the first time on their own they may not remember exactly what to do. That’s where Service Connect will add value to the dealership by saving them time. No longer will a customer have to call Support to get answers to everyday, user questions. With Service Connect they can quickly find the answer or open a LIVE chat and talk to a member of Lightspeed’s customer support team.”
As a user begins typing a question or topic into the Service Connect search bar, a list of relative help topics will appear, beginning with topics that relate to their current screen in Lightspeed, says the release. If a user still has questions they can submit an e-case where a member of Lightspeed’s support team will call them at a time that is convenient for the user.
Salt Lake City-based ADP Lightspeed has introduced Lightspeed Loyalty Rewards that will “help dealerships develop long-term relationships with their customers and capture repeat business in every department,” according to a press release.
Lightspeed Loyalty Rewards is a cardless, points-based rewards program that allows a dealer distribute points to customers for sales, service, accessory and parts purchases. Dealers can also award points for participation in events and owner groups. Customers may redeem those points by logging into their Rewards Account and either printing a gift certificate or sending the certificate to a mobile device. On a mobile device, the dealer can easily scan a bar code displayed on the screen of their phone or tablet.
“Our new loyalty program is huge for dealerships. Lightspeed Loyalty rewards will bring back customers to the dealership and turn them into repeat customers,” said Greg Smith, general manager of ADP Lightspeed. “The program is completely integrated with Lightspeed and requires very little training to get started.”
He added, “Gone are the days where dealers give discounts to customers they’ll never see again. Our product builds loyalty and encourages customers to visit often.”
The back-end reporting tool inside Lightspeed Loyalty Rewards gives dealers the power to manage points, view balances and create special events and promotions. Dealers can assign certain products or services to deliver 2x, 3x, or 4x points to the customer. The program is customized by the dealer for their customer. Full Lightspeed integration also means that point balances are updated and customers are notified with every transaction, automatically.
Editor’s Note: The following is an article authored by Zac Stringam of ADP Lightspeed offering insight into how dealers can update service departments to generate repeat business.
There is a lot going on in the backdrop. Customers – especially the younger ones – perceive that a dealership’s service department is more expensive. They are less loyal and more likely to go to independents. So you ask, how do we get more customer-pay business? It comes down to improving your customer’s experience. It’s all about the process, the people, and the technology.
The Service Department – Your Gateway To Repeat Business
First, we as an industry need to realize the fact that the service department can be cumbersome, time consuming, and ultimately do not lead to customer retention. Then we need to adopt changes that can make this whole workflow much more streamlined.
Walking through a dealership’s service processes I see that they’re thinking about it in the wrong way. Right now, it’s a series of transactions. What it should be is a continuous flow of experiences that spans the lifecycle of the customer’s major unit.
Great service experiences will linger with your customer. Hook them now and you’ll have them throughout the cycle. Are you setting up that first appointment before your customer leaves your dealership with their new unit? Do you have an easy way to do that? If you don’t you’re missing out on repeat business.
Think of how your dentist does it – you can’t leave that place without setting up a new appointment. They do it before you pay your bill. Those people follow a tight process to get you to come back in. They’re not thinking about it like a transaction. They’re thinking in the long-term customer lifecycle way. And my dentist is vigilant on email and text reminders. Why? To reduce no-shows. Same rule applies at the dealership level.
Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Zac Stringam and distributed by ADP Lightspeed.
There are certain brand names that have become more than a brand, they define a category. Kleenex for facial tissues, Levi’s for denim jeans, Jet Ski for personal watercrafts, the list goes on and on. So how can your dealership become the name people think of first when they think of a Marine dealership? The answer is in continued contact with your customers and target audience.
Building top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) is a way for your dealership to be the first name to come to mind when somebody needs a new unit, accessory, or service. Just like if somebody said, “Will you get me a Kleenex?” you know that they are just asking for a tissue. The same can happen for somebody that says, “Let’s go check out this year’s models and they instinctively think about going to your dealership. That is powerful! With time and effort you could be the next iconic name.
Begin With Who You Know
Start with your current customers. Following up with customers is a way to avoid losing them. Statistics show that it costs seven times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Make sure you give those current customers the attention they deserve. Using the personal data you already have in your Dealer Management System, send them offers via e-mail that correlate to items they have purchased in the past. If you have a customer that bought a new unit one year ago next week, send them a “Happy One-Year Anniversary” e-mail with discount on service if they bring it in the month of their purchase anniversary.
Sending custom “Thank You” e-mails after every new purchase or service will impress your customers and create loyalty that will deliver revenue to your shop for years to come. Even something as simple as sending out automated birthday cards or e-mails will give your customers a personal touch they will appreciate. Customers love being remembered and hate being forgotten.
Reminders about service are great ways to stay in touch with your customers. Once you perform service or sell a new unit you can generate more business by sendinging e-mail reminders around the time they should be seeing you again. This can be done automatically from inside your Dealer Management System or by hand if you prefer to send a card or letter.
Attracting Those Passing By
Creating TOMA is about generating touch points through continued contact to make sure you come to mind when they need something. When is the last time you held an event that will not only bring in customers but passersby as well? Holding a parking lot BBQ where people can freely come learn about what’s new will perk up the interest of somebody who would have otherwise kept on driving.
ADP Lightspeed data shows that 50% of dealers hold events 1-3 times per year and that only 20% of dealers hold between 4-7 events. See the results here. Get feedback from your customers as to what kind of event they would enjoy.
By having youth safety events you will not only get the kids interested but will also get the parents to come out and look at new units and accessories. Even holding customer appreciation lake days sponsored by your dealership will bring families out to join in the activities. Remember: you got into this business because of the fun the sport creates. Creating fun and lasting memories for your customers is a win-win situation.
And The Survey Says…
Surveys help to stay in front of your customer and create TOMA. Surveys can benefit your dealership in multiple ways by gaining customer feedback, learning their expectations, and knowing what they wish you provided. They are an inexpensive method of knowing what your customers (and potential customer) think about your service, selection, and overall business.
By using the survey tool inside your Dealer Management System you build a great looking online survey. From there you can post the link to the survey in an email, on your website, or in your store. You may even want to offer a prize to a random survey taker. True customer opinion is often worth the cost of giving away a free iPod. Just be sure to use the results of the survey to your advantage. With great power comes great responsibility!
Old School Still Works
Not everything you do to contact customers needs to begin with the letter E. For some people a simple phone call or letter in the mail is just the thing to create loyalty to your dealership. Have you had a phone call recently from the owner of a business thanking you for choosing them? Probably not. This rarely happens anymore because of busy schedules. But think of the impression you will make on a customer by reaching out to them and thanking them for their business. That will be an experience they’ll tell their friends about.
By continually staying in front of the customer and on the top of their mind you will see lasting revenue from those who matter most, your customers. By automating these tasks you’ll see increased sales yet still have time to tend to your business.
Editor’s Note: The following article was authored by Adam Shiflett, marketing manager for ADP Lightspeed, stressing the need for effective inventory control.
What is the value of having exactly what the customer wants when they want it? Is it just worth the retail value, or more?
It is every stores’ worst nightmare; customer walks in, wallet in hand. They know exactly what they want and even know what color they want. Then comes the bad news, “It’s not in inventory.”
Of course the sales person tries to reassure the customer. “We can have it ordered in, and expedite the order.” But it’s too late. The wallet goes back in the pocket, and your door closes as the customer heads to your competitor to spend their money. Money that should have been yours.
It’s an everyday occurrence. You can’t stock everything so you have to make educated calculations to determine supply and demand. But sometimes you just don’t have it. And here comes the really scary part: with that one miss you may lose more than a sale, you may lose a customer.
Right Sizing Your Parts Inventory
Your job is to know what the customer wants and have it (or at least have access to it). But let’s be frank, you don’t have the money or the space to inventory everything. So how do you choose what to stock and where to put it?
How about based off of facts?
Your parts inventory management system can do more than tell you what parts are on your shelf. It contains the most valuable information for you to know what you need to buy. Using this information when you order will give you the most accurate stocking projections and decrease lost sales.
To read the entire article click here.
The following article was authored by Adam Shiflett, marketing manager for ADP Lightspeed, examining why businesses should track, display and publicize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
I admit it, I’m a speeder. Nothing serious just five to 10 miles over on average, but there is one time I am always below the speed limit.
Around my neighborhood the city has installed electric radar signs that display your current speed. They are very bright and display how fast you’re going to the world. Every time I see one I instinctively slow down to the appropriate speed.
So why do those electric speed signs work so well? It’s not like I have to wait for a sign to tell me that I’m speeding. I have a speedometer. I know that I am going over the speed limit.
It’s the publicity. Yes I speed, but I assume no one else knows about it. As soon as one of these signs comes into view I know that the whole world can see that I’m a speeder.
Making speed public helps people govern themselves. It is human nature that when we see something is tracked, displayed and public we focus on improving performance. This principle applies to your dealership too.
To view the entire article click here.
The following article was authored by Adam Shiflett, marketing manager for ADP Lightspeed, examining how businesses can capitalize on consumers’ need for instant gratification in their shopping experiences.
For centuries the way customers chose a retail store came down to a three part equally balanced equation: 1. Do they have what I want? 2. Do they know what they’re talking about? 3. Do they have good customer service?
If one of the three were not met, generally the others could make up for it. If an expert and well mannered retailer didn’t have what you wanted, you were more than willing to wait for it to be ordered. You waited days even weeks if it took a while for something to arrive, as long as you were asked nicely to wait.
Today the triangle has shifted. Customers have been trained by Big Boxes and the Internet to demand now. Google has taught them that if it’s not at one place it can be found somewhere else in the blink of an eye. Big Boxes have taught customers it is okay to sacrifice service for selection.
So what does that mean for your store?
First, you are not a Big Box and your customers still come to you for the experience. That is an advantage you have over general retailers. Use it as an advantage, but don’t assume people will just continue to come to you if you can’t deliver. Continually disappointed customers will take their business elsewhere.
Customers that may consider themselves loyal to you will buy from other sources if they get a better response. Often those purchases start out small: an O-ring, a handle, but beware, those smaller purchase can turn into a habit and a lost customer. If you’re going to win the fight you need the right tools. You need systems, processes and know-how to stay ahead of customers’ demand and to keep them loyal.
Use Your Resources
In October 2011 there were 2.5 million instances that someone entered a part number into an ADP Lightspeed DMS and the part was not available. Now what? You have a customer that drove to your store trusting you’d have what they needed. Now you’re going to tell them to leave empty handed?
Stop thinking about your inventory as what is located within your four walls. There are thousands of dealers that share their inventory now. Use your locator to find the part. You may not have the part in your store, but imagine how much better it is to tell your customer “I can have it in this afternoon” versus “Go look somewhere else”.
Parts and Major Unit locators can turn you from a zero to a hero. Instead of missing a revenue opportunity, you’re ringing the till. Instead of disappointing a customer, you win loyalty. And you didn’t even have to stock it. How sweet is that?
To view the entire article click here.
ADP Lightspeed is introducing its Parts and Major Unit Locator service for the Marine and RV markets. The Parts and Major Unit Locator is a searchable database of parts and units supplied by a network of dealers and OEM’s integrated directly within the LightspeedEVO Dealer Management System (DMS).
To launch the locator in the boat and RV industries, the Salt Lake City, Utah company reports, ADP Lightspeed is offering participation in the LightspeedEVO Locator free for six months for a limited time.
Dealers are faced with the challenge of finding the correct balance between inventory costs and customer demand. The Parts and Major Unit Locator was developed to address two major issues with dealer inventory: lack of inventory and inventory overages. Leveraging the largest DMS dealer network in the nation, ADP Lightspeed is giving dealers a powerful resource to address both of these issues.
The Parts and Major Unit Locator allows dealers to post their inventory nationwide automatically and search OEM, distributor and dealer inventories posted on the locator. The locator is integrated in the point-of-purchase screens in the DMS allowing for quick searches without logging into a separate system; searching is free for all dealers. This allows dealers to expand their viewable inventory and access new resources to sell their own inventory.
“Dealers need inventory solutions that decrease costs and increase fill rates,” said Greg Smith, general manager of ADP Lightspeed. “The Parts and Major Unit Locator gives the ADP Lightspeed dealer network access to a powerful tool that will help dealers find the part or unit they need even when it is not on their shelves or in their lot. It also gives dealer a new avenue to increase turns and profitability.”
By posting inventory to the dealer inventory network, the company’s press release adds, each dealer virtually increases its sales force and potential customers by networking with other dealers. For dealers, this results in an additional tool to decrease special orders, eliminate customer waiting times and move overage inventory. For dealer customers the locator improves their experience as they will not have to search multiple stores to find the unit or part they are trying to locate. This new convenience results in increased customer loyalty to the local dealership.
Parts and Major Unit Locator will be available in LightspeedEVO later this winter. Searches on the locator are free. However, posting inventory is an additional monthly charge. This charge will be dropped for the first six months after sign up. Posting dealers will be tagged for nightly automatic data pulls. The entire process of searching and posting inventory is seamless for dealers, by integrating all activities within the DMS.
ADP Lightspeed is a part of ADP Dealer Services, which provides integrated computing solutions to over 25,000 auto, truck, motorcycle, Powersports, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the world. For more information, go to www.adplightspeed.com.
The following article was authored by Adam Shiflett, marketing manager for ADP Lightspeed, examining how businesses can determine the most effective marketing tools.
Have you ever tried to loosen a rusty bolt with a pair of scissors? Using the wrong tools for a job just does not work. The same applies with your marketing tools.
To maximize your marketing power you need to decide which customers you want to focus on. Then determine which marketing tools will be the most successful in reaching that group. The combination of those tools is called your marketing mix and creates your communication toolbox.
In a survey of over a hundred Lightspeed dealers on marketing tools they use, we found that dealers felt the most effective marketing tools for generating new business were:
2. Advertisements (Billboards, Newspapers, Radio, etc.)
4. (RV and Marine dealers) Referral Programs
4. (Powersports dealers) Social Media
Each of these can be effective tools, but they may not be the right fit for you or your customers.
Getting the Right Mix
So how do you determine what works? The first step is to understand who you are trying to get in your store. If you don’t define who you want as a customer and just shoot for the general public you will spend too much money and get disappointing customer traffic.
Once you indentify your target customers, it is time to see what tools will reach them. Age, gender, race and social circles are factors you have to think about. Here is a breakdown of the tools. I’ll grade each one on: Reach: the volume of people you hit, Targeted: ability to personalize the communication, Expense, Age: ages that are mostly influenced and Tracking: availability of reporting on responses.
To read the entire article click here.
The following article was authored by Adam Shiflett, marketing manager for ADP Lightspeed, examining how dealers can generate effective word-of-mouth advertising.
When I was a kid I would often play a game called telephone. A group of us would line up in a row, the first person whispered a message to the next person until it reached the end. The last person would than repeat what they heard.
The first message would only be a few words, something like “I like to eat fruit under a tree.” By the end of the line the message would change to “I lick flowers and green peas.” Even with short messages and only a few people in the line the results were the same, an incoherent message that never matched the initial communication.
Now, imagine a line of people, you are on one end and a potential customer is at the other. Between you stands friends and family of that customer. You send down the message through your website and advertising “We have the best prices and professional staff”. Somehow at the end of the line your customer hears “We over charge and don’t know what we’re doing”.
Word of mouth is the most difficult to control and the most powerful influence in purchases. In fact when asked what “influence(s) your decision to use or not use a particular company…” 71% responded family and friends had a “great deal” or “fair amount” of influence (Harris Interactive, June 2010).
So the question is: how can you control word of mouth? The answer: you can’t, but you can help influence the conversation.
Give Them Something to Talk About
People like to talk, but they only talk about what’s interesting to them. Most likely you don’t have conversations on the history of the harpsichord. Why? Because you’re not interested, unless you are part of the Western Early Keyboard Association (yes this really exists, they even have a convention). Well guess what, if you aren’t doing anything interesting at your dealership you’ll be talked about just as much as a harpsichord.
If you want people to talk about you, give them a reason. Find out what is important to your customers and tie it into your dealership. When you do something that interests your customers it keeps your dealership fresh in their minds.
My favorite example of this was a dealership that held an event in coordination with the humane society. If your customers love pets that would give them something to talk about: “My dealership is helping adopt pets”.
There is a rule of thumb in marketing that people have to see something three times to see it. Don’t assume that since you posted something on your website that your customers saw it. You need to take a proactive approach to communicating, especially if you want to influence word of mouth.
The key to effective communication is permission marketing. Permission marketing is where a customer gives consent for you to contact them. Think of collecting emails or when someone likes your Facebook page. This is a valuable form of marketing because you have found someone that is interested in you continuing contact with them.
Once you have permission, keep the conversation going. Send out a newsletter; upload pictures to your Facebook page. Keep them involved with your store and you can build lifelong customers.
Make it Personal
There is some real power in your DMS database. It can tell you what kind of unit a customer owns, what accessories they buy and how often they service their unit. With that kind of information, you can personalize your communications.
If you know your customer buys ATV’s you can assume they’re not interested in motorcycle touring luggage, so don’t send them an email about it. This is the problem with mass marketing; it makes your customer feel like you don’t know their needs. The better approach is to create groups of customers based on interest, and then communicate what is important to them.
The more you can target your communications to what is important to the specific customer the better that relationship will become, and the more likely they are to say positive things about you. Find ways to leverage your customer information to personalize the way you communicate.
Honesty Really is the Best Policy
Customers want to deal with companies they can trust. In fact, that is one of the reasons word of mouth is so influential in buying decisions. People have been taught to not trust business, so they ask around to found out who they can trust. If that source has a good opinion of you, chances are a new customer will come your way.
Dishonest treatment gives your customer something to talk about, just the wrong thing. Don’t arm your customers with reasons to tell others to go to the competition. There are some situations you just can’t change, but when you deal reasonable people honestly, they’ll talk about it, then send you new business.
There are no silver bullets in making sure you message goes in one side and ends up the same on the other, but you can help it. Arm your customers with interesting things to say about you. Their friends will hear about it.
ADP Lightspeed, a premier provider of dealer management solutions, revealed its year-long initiative to improve its dealership training tools for its software systems.
Beginning in January of this year, ADP Lightspeed started a phased process of improving training resources. According to a press release, the goal was to improve dealer usage of tools in the company’s Dealer Management System (DMS).
The training department at ADP Lightspeed developed self-paced online training courses that are specific to roles inside dealerships. This approach allowed the programs to be designed for specific needs and decrease unnecessary training time. The courses are tied to a dealer scorecard that tracks progress and ensures that dealer staff has the knowledge to take advantage of all the DMS tools.
“The tools within our Lightspeed DMS can help drastically improve dealer performance if they’re used consistently, we want to help dealers realize those benefits,” said Dan Jacobson, director of client services at ADP Lightspeed. “We understand dealers are busy with customers, inventory control and expenses, so we decided to create a training approach that gives them what they need to do their job in a quick and efficient way. Early responses show that our efforts are paying off.”
A month after releasing the new training tools, over 1,000 people were surveyed to see how the changes affected their training experience. ADP Lightspeed said 98% of respondents answered that they felt “confident they will be able to perform their job duties with the software…” The survey also showed a 98% satisfaction level overall with the new process in place.
“This represents a large stride in our goal to help dealers improve their performance,” continued Jacobson. “We plan to continue to create innovative education tools so dealers can take full advantage of their investment into our systems.”
The new training tools are available for dealers currently using ADP Lightspeed solutions. Training courses and schedules are accessed through the company’s extranet PSDealer.com. Access to all online training resources are included in the monthly service fee and do not require additional fees from current Lightspeed users.
ADP Lightspeed, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a part of ADP Dealer Services, which provides integrated computing solutions to over 25,000 auto, truck, motorcycle, Powersports, recreational vehicle and heavy equipment dealers through the U.S., Canada and Europe. For more information visit www.adplightspeed.com.
The following article was authored by Adam Shiflett, marketing manager for ADP Lightspeed, examining ways that dealers can build customer loyalty.
Warning: Your dealership should be habit forming. Your customers should want to come back frequently and not want to leave. But forming those habits is going to take more than just having a Sales event.
Today your customers have more options than ever. They don’t need to go down to your lot to get unit specs, they don’t even have to leave their homes to buy. That means your store has to do more than sit and wait for customers, it has to be a habit that they can’t stay away from.
Customer Lifetime Value: Customer Study
In a recent study of over 150,000 Powersports customers ADP Lightspeed found that the average lifetime value of a customer was $14,000. Average customers bought units every two years, parts twice a year and service once a year. They’re yearly spending: $5,000.
Sounds pretty good, can we do better?
We divided the customers into fourths and focused on the top 25%. The top customers spent $29,000 in their lifetime, more than double the average. They’re yearly spending: $11,500.
Where did it come from? Not unit purchases. The top customers purchased units at about the same rate, once over two years. The difference was Parts and Service. They came in for parts and service almost twice as much as the average customer and spent 30% more per visit.
Now the question is: “how do I get more of those top 25%?”
Understanding the Customer Lifecycle
The first step to creating habitual customers is to understand their needs. Throughout a customer’s experiences they will have different needs. Parts, service, rental, storage and eventually a replacement unit. Focusing on building lifelong customers will give you the opportunity to take advantage of each of those needs.
But creating lifetime customers takes work and cooperation from every department. At every point of the customer lifecycle you need to be prepared. The focus needs to be taken away from one-time wins to long-term relationships at each step of the customer’s experience. Here’s how:
Most businesses focus on getting business in, keeping inventory turning and creating new customers. What they often miss is that the heavy focus on acquiring customers often loses customers after the initial sale.
When you focus on developing loyal/habitual customers the way you treat get new customers has to change. Two examples:
a. Limit Discounting – By pushing sales and discounts you may train them to only focus on costs, giving them reason to jump ship at the next best price.
b. Gather Customer Information – If you want to get the customer in often, you better know who they are. Data collection needs to be a priority.
Our industry is exciting. Your store should mirror that excitement. Your operations need to be organized and prepared to focus on the customers. It is difficult for your staff to focus excitement if they are busy tracking down a part that was supposed to be ordered last week.
Positive customer experiences don’t start with retail displays; they start with your back office. Without the right controls in place your business will squander its time in haphazard tasks instead of focusing on customers.
The goal of a complete customer lifecycle focus is to capture as much of their total spend as possible. So how do you turn a one-time purchase into a lifetime customer? Proactive needs fulfillment.
To create loyal customers you cannot wait for a customer to show up with a shopping list of needs, you need to anticipate their needs. If they bought a unit from you, you’ve won the first battle. Getting the initial purchase and collecting their information opens the door for the next purchase.
Set up reminders to contact customers at key preventative maintenance intervals and purchase anniversaries. Share information about customers across departments. After years of experience you can predict what a customer wants even before they know it. Contact them before they even had the need and make a customer for life.
You don’t want them to think of your store as just the place they buy stuff, you want it to be a habit. Encouraging those habits means making your store and staff the perfect fit for your customers.
Reward loyal customers. Follow-up with them. Show them how important they are to you. One way to keep them is to get them to bring their friends.
Many CSI surveys have put a lot of their focus to one key question: “Would you be willing to refer a friend?” The reason? If someone is willing to refer a friend you have succeeded. So ask your customers for referrals. If they are not willing then you still have work to do.
Every customer has a lifetime value that is far greater that any one-time purchase. Your goal is to extend your focus past the short-term purchase to the long-term relationship. Keep your customers addicted to your store.
ADP Lightspeed, a premier provider of automated dealer solutions, announced a 12-part study of a dealer customer’s life cycle.
This study will focus on four main parts of a dealer’s customer strategy, which include customer: Acquisition, Experience, Growth and Loyalty to demonstrate how improving a customer’s experience at a dealership can increase dealer profitability.
A recent study from ADP Lightspeed found that six out of 10 first-time parts customers never returned to the dealership after their first purchase. This customer loss could be attributed to the fact that often the majority of a dealership’s marketing efforts, communication and investment is placed on new customer acquisitions. Few dealers have created effective processes for retaining customers after they buy.
“With people holding onto units longer coupled with heavy price competition online, dealers must rethink the way they engage customers,” said Greg Smith General Manager, vice president of the Salt Lake City-based company. “Dealers need to look at the lifetime value of every customer and create a plan that captures that entire value. Our hope with this series is to help dealers recognize and take advantage of their full customer portfolio.”
Using best practices and industry data, each article in the series will discuss specific ways to implement aspects of a complete customer lifecycle marketing plan. The goal of the articles is to help dealers build successful communications that engage their customers and create more loyal customers.
The twelve white paper series will be available in July 2011 on the company’s website, adplightspeed.com, under the “Knowledge” tab. Those interested in the series can also sign up for automatic email updates at adplightspeed.com in the “Knowledge” section of the site or by following @adplightspeed on Twitter.
ADP Lightspeed ADP Lightspeed is a part of ADP Dealer Services, which provides integrated computing solutions to over 25,000 auto, truck, motorcycle, Powersports, and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
The following is an article from the ADP Lightspeed site authored by Travis Cook, CEO of Solution Stream, addressing how to turn websites into profit centers.
A strong online presence is the foundation for any retail effort in today’s business environment. But just being on the Internet is not enough.
Web pages must be found before they can influence. If found, they must deliver content in an interesting and pleasing way. And finally, that found, creative content must create a
call to action that drives customers to the brick and mortar door. Click counts are not the measure of success here. It is sales. And only sales.
To the Internet shopper, your website is your company. So you want it to look good and work right. The average American spends 13 hours a week online and is familiar with attractive, user-friendly sites. If you have flashing images, too much clutter and loud bright colors, your visitors will judge your company to be the same as your website. Can you say, Unprofessional? How about Amateurish? An outdated, messy scrapbook website is not the message you want to send to today’s sophisticated big-ticket shopper.
A successful website will be appealing to the eye, user-friendly, and focus driven. Consider:
• Appealing to the Eye: Gone are the days of bright flashing images and cartoon graphics. Your site should have professional images which have been properly purchased from high quality stock photo sources. Your text should be easy to read, your use of clean colors must be pleasing, and your functional layout must carry a simple, direct, consistent theme.
• User-friendly: Can visitors find your contact information easily? Does your navigation make sense and put emphasis on the most important parts of your website? Is it obvious how to make a purchase, find support, or locate contact information? If not, your site is failing at getting people to contact and buy from you. Each page of your website should enable visitors to call or message you. Make sure that your phone number is prominent on every page and provide maps so you are easy to find.
• Focus Driven: When a visitor sees your website they should know within 3 seconds exactly what to do. We know from studies that any longer than that will frustrate and confuse your potential buyers. You should not have excessive buttons, images, or links telling your users to “Click on me!” Quickly lead your visitors to a point where with they can easily take advantage of your services. There should be just one focus point on each page of your site.
A great website is the first step in growing your online business. It is important that you both update that website frequently, and that you make it easy to find. A Content Management System (CMS) enables you to easily update your site. You do not need to hire a design company for every little change.
A CMS will also keep the site’s coding in a format that is easily read by search engines that are constantly combing the web. If your site is correctly catalogued by Google, Yahoo, and Bing, they will direct more traffic to you. An awkward or poorly structured site will be downgraded by these web crawlers, and you will find that you don’t appear anywhere near the top of their search-result lists. Try finding your web site with a number of different word searches. See right now where you fall. You may be unpleasantly surprised.
So. You have a great website that you update regularly with a CMS. Now what? If no one can find your site, it doesn’t matter how good it is. And, people must be moved to find you. That doesn’t happen through serendipity, it happens through good, intensive, consistent, measured marketing. Services like Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are cost effective and proven to bring traceable, qualified buyers to your website. PPC can also target your exact potential customers so you know that none of your marketing dollars are wasted.
Creating a successful website will set you apart from your competitors. Marketing your website will ensure you are taking full advantage of your site dollars. It may be time to revamp your online presence. Look at it objectively, if you can. If you can’t measure the activity on your site, if you see clutter or colors that offend, if you do not land near the top of the search list every time, you may need a fresh set of trained eyes and some new ideas.
Quit wasting money on a website that doesn’t do the job. Get it done, and get it done right. Enjoy fully the benefits of this amazing technology that has changed our retail world.
Salt Lake City, Utah-based ADP Lightspeed, a premier provider of dealer management software (DMS) systems, recently announced its enhanced interface with Stag-Parkway’s purchase order (PO) system.
According to a press release, this new integration allows dealers to send orders directly and track status from within the LightspeedEVO DMS.
The direct interface connects inventory and ordering systems within LightspeedEVO to Stag-Parkway’s processing, allowing dealers to send POs without re-keying information. With this direct connection, dealers can now track the status of orders from the initial order, through processing to delivery, within the DMS.
This tool helps dealers improve their ordering process along with staying up to date on order delivery times, said Chris Hauck, product manager for Atlanta-based ADP Lightspeed.
“We understand the need to streamline the parts ordering process,” Hauck explained. “Teaming up with one of the most trusted names in the RV industry is a big step in refining the process. We are very excited about our interface with Stag-Parkway’s order processing.”
“ADP’s focus on improving their customers’ experience using Lightspeed EVO is absolutely consistent with our customer service approach. We think finding program and process efficiencies that improve accuracy and speed provide significant performance upsides for dealerships and others in the supply chain,” said John Spaulding, senior vice president of marketing for Stag-Parkway.
The Stag-Parkway parts ordering interface upgrade is available to all dealers on LightspeedEVO with version release 5.3. There are no additional service fees for downloading or using the new interface.
ADP Lightspeed is a part of ADP Dealer Services, which provides integrated computing solutions to more than 25,000 auto, truck, motorcycle, powersports, and recreation vehicle dealers throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. ADP, with nearly $9 billion in revenues and 550,000 clients, is one of the largest providers of a broad range of premier mission–critical, transaction processing and information-based business solutions in selected markets on a global basis.
For more information, visit www.adplightspeed.com.