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ADP Lightspeed Improves Dealer Training Tools

August 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

 

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ADP Lightspeed: Make Dealerships ‘Addictive’

July 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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:

Acquisition

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.

Experience

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.

Wallet Share

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.

Loyalty

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.

 

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ADP Lightspeed to Study Customer Patterns

July 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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Savvy Website Strategy Will Improve Sales

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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ADP Lightspeed, Stag-Parkway Get Connected

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

ADP Lightspeed 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.

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ADP: Finding Ways to Create Loyal Customers

April 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

ADP Lightspeed Editor’s Note: The following article is one in a series of industry-related articles provided by Hal  Ethington and ADP Lightspeed.

What does it take to create loyal customers?

Before the Great Recession it seemed liked all you had to do was turn on your “open” sign. Sure you had to take care of your customers, but if he went somewhere else there were always more coming in.

Then the crisis hit. The past few years have proven that loyal customers are as valuable as rare metals, and just as difficult to find. Even during the roughest times, you had the old reliables, they walked through your doors and slapped money on the counter. They are your lifetime customers, thick and thin. Thanks to these customers, your doors are still open.

Now things are starting to turn around. More door swings, more sales, more customers, each one, a new opportunity to build dedicated customers. The kind that you can rely on. So what are you doing to make sure they stick? Are you just hoping they’ll stumble back, eventually?

Things have changed. There is more competition, and they are willing to cut their prices deeper. Every customer has infinite opportunities to price shop on the internet (haven’t heard of the internet, search it on Google). Somehow you need to convince your customers that you are worth coming back to, even if your prices are higher. So how do you do it?

We turned to the purchase history of 3 million first-time Parts customers over 2009 and 2010 to find the answers. The goal: see how to get first-time customers to return, and more often.

64% of the customers came once, bought something from the parts department and never came back. This group found your business through a friend, your marketing or the internet and decided to come in. They walked out the door, and did not return. One and done.

You spend a lot of money on your building, marketing and staff to get new customers. It would seem that the war is won once they finally cross the threshold and make a purchase. But that is just the beginning. It’s your job to make sure they want to come back, and bring their friends.

Losing 64% of the first-time customers really hurts when you put it into perspective of dollars lost. On average, each over-the-counter transaction in our survey was worth $96. That means that if the “one and done” customers came back just one more time it would add $170,000 in parts sales per dealer. That’s a chunk of change. So how do you get to it?

The answer lies in the 36% that became repeat customers.

Of the roughly 3 million customers, there were about 1 million that came back, and not just once. The new loyal customers came back three times on average in a single year. Every time they visited, they spent an additional $96 and some repeat customers spent $2,000 or more on parts and accessories in a year.

So what’s the key? How do you get customers out of the “one and done” bin to the “loyal customer” pool? The answer: Get them back… quick.

The first time customers that turned into repeat customers returned to the dealership within two months of their first purchase. The average time between their first and second purchase was 62 days. Once the first purchase happens the clock starts ticking. The first two months is the incubation time for loyal customers, or the black hole for the duds. The good news? You can influence the outcome.

Once you get a new customer in your doors you need to give them a reason to come back, soon. If you see that they are a first time customer, go above and beyond to make them feel welcome. Invite them to next week’s event. Get their email and put them on the newsletter list. Give them $10 off their next purchase, if they come back within a month.

Use all the tools at your disposal to get them back. One of the biggest misconceptions in our industry is that marketing tools are only for the Sales department. If there are any departments that would benefit from a CRM, newsletters and email blasts, it’s the Parts and Service departments.

The sales team sees a customer once every three to four years. The Parts and Service Department wants to see that same customer at least 12 times in that same time frame. If you’re not using marketing tools to draw customers in on a consistent basis through birthday discounts, manufacture specific specials or preventative maintenance reminders, then everyone is losing customers, including the Sales department.

First-time customers need to be nurtured. Tie the excitement they feel from the outdoors, to the excitement in your store. That takes more than just good customer service. It takes effort in reaching outside your walls and pulling them back in.

Those two months after their first buy are vital to forming loyal customers. Don’t miss your opportunity to build lifetime customers.

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Survey: Rising Counter Sales in Down Market

April 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: Following are excerpts from an article by Hal Ethington and distributed by ADP Lightspeed. The story refers to a study of 800 dealers that included powersports, RV and marine products. The majority of the info came from the powersports industry. The firms reported $2.3 billion in counter sales in the period 2009-2010.

The study shows that both sales and ticket count overall decreased significantly in 2010. Contributing to this decline was a drop in ticket count from 17.2 million to 16.5 million, or 750,000 counter tickets. Average ticket actually increased by 40 cents during this same time period.

While the collective industry decreased, other dealers actually increased in sales (the “Up Group”). Some 300 dealers were up over 2009.

Isolating the 300 dealers who grew in 2010, we find they added $40.6 million in sales over 2009. How did they do it? Two factors: First, these dealers wrote 360,000 more counter tickets in 2010, and second, they added $2.48 in sales to their average ticket. The Up Group increased their average ticket so much that it compensated for a decrease from other dealers making the average positive.

While the top producers above were adding millions in sales, 500 dealers were experiencing significant decreases in their Parts Counter Sales (the “Down Group”). These dealers dropped a collective 1,106,000 counter tickets, and lost an additional $.97 on each ticket when compared to 2009. These two factors resulted in a revenue drop for them of $85 million.

The following chart illustrates the difference in performance between these two groups:

difference-table-parts-smaller

This chart shows the principal differences between the Up Group and the Down Group. Those that were Up added 360,000 customers to their traffic count. The Down Group lost 746,000 . The Up Group added $2.48 to each ticket, and the Down Group gave up 97 cents.

Even more significant is when you look at the top 100 of the Up Group. These 100 up-dealers did $88 million in parts sales in 2009. For 2010, they jacked that up to $112 million. 27% increase in revenue during one of the toughest years we have ever seen. And we wanted to know more.

So we tore it apart and checked out rate and volume separately. On the rate side, we found that while the 500 dealers who were down in 2010 had lost about $1 per ticket in sales, the 100 up-dealers had tacked on $3.62 per ticket in sales. For their 1.6 million counter tickets, that earned them and additional $6 million in sales.

I don’t know exactly how they did it, but they found ways to get people to buy more every time they visited while others wondered if the doors were unlocked. They faced the same changes and the same environment as everyone else, but they discovered ways to overcome.

Yes, on average 2010 was actually worse than 2009 for parts. Overall traffic was down and parts were hard to come by at times, but in the midst of all that was 2010, 38% of dealers found a way to rise above. Look for them next time you start talking about 2010. They probably won’t be loud about their success, but you’ll recognize the smiles.

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ADP Lightspeed Announces Integrated E-mail

April 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

ADP LightspeedADP Lightspeed, a provider of dealer management programs for recreation sports dealerships, has announced its development of e-mail integration in its LightspeedEVO product for future release. This integration allows dealers to e-mail directly out of the Parts, Sales and Service modules in the LightspeedEVO DMS (Dealer Management System), according to a news release.

The e-mail integration tool allows dealers to send invoices, updates on service, receipts and purchase orders in electronic messages directly out of LightspeedEVO. Dealers have the ability to set up system preferences for populating data into form e-mails and selecting the auto populating fields. These fields pull in the customers’ specific information (name, invoice number and unit information) automatically.

“E-mail integration truly improves dealers’ ability to communicate effectively and quickly with their customers,” said Kris Denos, director of research and development at ADP Lightspeed. “With immediate communication linked to actions performed in EVO, such as closing a repair order, and the ability to send invoices electronically, dealers can improve customer service and responsiveness drastically.”

E-mail integration is included with the purchase of LightspeedEVO and will be available to dealers currently on the system for download in version 5.3 due for release this spring. System preferences must be set to enable e-mail communication.

ADP Lightspeed 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 and RVdealers 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.

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ADP Lightspeed Offers Credit Checks on DMS

October 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

ADP Lightspeed, a provider of dealer management systems (DMS), today (Oct. 28) announced integration that allows dealers to run credit checks within the LightspeedEVO Dealer Management System. Credit Check gives dealers the ability to submit customer information to all three credit bureaus without have to re-enter information, according to a news release.

“In today’s difficult financing environment it is critical to handle deals correctly to secure the financing customers need. With integrated Credit Check, LightspeedEVO allows sales and F&I representatives to pull credit information early on in the deal process. This provides the sales representative the ability to make critical adjustments that will help increase the chances of a closed sale and makes it easier for F&I management to determine an appropriate lender,” the release stated.

“Savvy dealers know they can make more money if they understand financing,” said Chris Hauck, product manager at ADP Lightspeed. “It is important for the customer and the sales team to understand what is achievable. This vital information helps dealers speed up the sales process and avoid disappointing customers with finance declines.”

Along with the ability to check customer credit scores, the information can also be passed through a credit gateway for contracting companies to search for financing. Since the information is pulled directly out of the sales deal, there is no need to re-enter or handwrite finance deal information.

The Credit Check integration will be available for dealers using LightspeedEVO later this fall. For more information on the Credit Check integration or ADP Lightspeed’s Marine Dealer Management Software visit www.adplightspeed.com.

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ADP Lightspeed Redesigns Rental Software

October 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

ADP Lightspeed announced Thursday (Oct. 7) its newly redesigned Rental Management Software within LightspeedEVO, the company’s RV Dealer Management System (DMS). The changes now allow dealers to rely on the single software solution to manage complete rental operations, according to a news release.

Complex services, functions and operations within rental departments have made it difficult to find a single source to track units, campgrounds and reservations using one system. Having operational activities tracked separately creates missed opportunities, confusion and unnecessary costs.

“Rental management teams at have been frustrated due to the inability for a single solution to provide a clear view of operations,” said Chris Hauck, product manager at ADP Lightspeed. “We worked closely with RV rental businesses across the country to identify holes in tracking and found ways to change our software to fill them. The result is a complete solution that manages every aspect of RV rental operations.”

Hauck mentioned three areas where ADP Lightspeed’s development team put particular focus:

  • Multiple Unit Rentals – Track multiple units (i.e. RV, generator, towing equipment etc.) within a single rental.
  • Flexible Billing – Adjust billing options to seasonal, hourly, daily and other intervals to fit customer preferences and match services provided.
  • Rental Transfers – Easily change reservations with graphical drag and drop functionality.

The redesigned Rental Management Software integrates with the company’s Parts, Service, Sales, CRM and Accounting packages and will be available later this fall. To find out more contact ADP Lightspeed at (800) 521-0309 or visit www.adplightspeed.com.

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, heavy equipment, powersports and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. ADP, with nearly $9 billion in revenues and about 560,000 clients is one of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing solutions.

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