Remember the game Telephone you played in elementary school? Everyone sat in a circle, and the first player whispered a phrase in the next player’s ear once and only once. The second player repeated what they heard to the third player, and this continued until the phrase made it to the final player. As a child, the game was hilarious because the last player often heard a nonsensical phrase completely different from what the first player said.
At many dealerships, a game of Telephone is being played – with customer data. When customer data is entered and reentered into dealership software platform after dealership software platform, the transformation of information is often just as dramatic as that phrase in Telephone. But the results are far less funny.
Many dealers understand that double entry of data is happening in their business; maybe your software platforms aren’t integrated or your processes aren’t quite right. But most dealers fail to recognize the extent of the damage that double entry is causing to their bottom line.
With every additional data entry point comes an additional opportunity for error, and those errors are costly. Bad data costs the U.S. economy more than $3.1 trillion a year, according to IBM. For dealerships, much of that cost comes from lost opportunities.
The first category of lost opportunities comes in the form of wasted resources. The more manual data entry required by your dealership software platforms, the more staff time and resources are diverted from activities directly related to selling. Every minute your salespeople spend entering customer data that has already been entered elsewhere is a minute they could have been using to follow up with leads or mine data for new ones. Think about the impact of giving everyone on your staff an extra 45 minutes back to their day. That extra time adds up quickly, and the cost of not making changes becomes alarmingly apparent.
With excessive data entry needs, the opportunity to provide a great customer experience is also lost. The car-buying process requires the use of a lot of tools and the exchange of a lot of information between you and your customers. The more you make customers repeat themselves or correct inaccurate information, the more likely those customers are to leave unhappy—or worse, without a deal.
Challenge yourself to begin eliminating double entry and winning these opportunities back. Track the amount of time your staff spends reentering customer data. It will be a tedious exercise, but it will open your eyes to exactly where the gaps are and provide insight into how to fix them. According to research by Experian, human error is consistently the biggest contributor to data inaccuracy. So as you audit your data entry points, consider where CRM integration and bidirectional data sharing can eliminate opportunities for human error.
Maybe the root cause of the problem is simply a staff training issue. Or maybe you need to consider switching to a CRM platform that integrates with your dealership dealer management system, like Connect CRM integrates with Dealertrack DMS. Whatever the case may be, taking the time to nail down data double entry will pay back exponential dividends for your dealership’s bottom line.
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