So while discounting fear of change as a reason for dealerships to stick with the same old DMS, the reasons for switching to Dealertrack DMS comprise a long list of positives:
The Platform is New
Imagine using an iPhone or Android that was operated using the same software platform as when the first cellular phones were invented 30 years ago. That’s essentially what a dealership still running one of the outdated legacy DMS platforms is doing. Sure, both of the big providers continually provide updates and patches and send them out to the dealers who are their customers, or accommodate them via the cloud. But the basic architecture of these old systems was constructed decades ago.
Dealers and their top managers understand this clearly. “Our legacy DMS was a very antiquated system,” Richardson says. “It didn’t have enough live information for me to pull. It was very clunky. You had to use too many clicks to get to certain things.”
When Sisbarro Dealerships looked at their legacy DMS, they saw outdated technology that was holding them back.
“We realized it was hurting our business to stick with a sub-par system when better technology was out there,” says Mike Tourtillot, General Manager of Sisbarro Dealerships. “We needed a more forward-looking DMS partner.”
It’s Lower-cost—and Lower-frustration
Some DMS providers charge exorbitant fees each time a dealership needs customer service, or acquires a new form or data field – they even make such requests painful to initiate.
By contrast, Dealertrack Dealer Management System offers the following:
- Short-term contracts
- Simple and consistent invoicing
- Minimal hardware requirements
- No maintenance
- A web-based platform
- No port or user fees
- Core software package
- Performance management
A number of optional solutions are also available, including parts and vehicle scanning, and daily-rental programs.
“We were one of the first users of one of the big legacy systems,” says Brett Henkel of Big Two Auto. “But they got so big that there was no customer service anymore, and they did things in such a way that made it impossible to get anything fixed. There were non-concurrent contracts on many pieces of the system, for example. And one time I requested a simple form and got a call saying it would cost us $500 for that. There was constant nickel-and-diming, and saying, ‘We can’t do that,’ or, ‘That will be [an expensive] custom change.”
Mike Tourtillot agrees, “With our previous provider, you had to pay for any changes. When Dealertrack makes a change, it’s ours. All I have to do is implement it.”
More broadly, Sisbarro Dealerships sought a true technology partner with an innovative and responsive system that would help Tourtillot’s company streamline operations, increase efficiency and gain visibility into day-to-day activities – without charging extra fees any time it boosted an attribute.
“We needed a partner who would really be there for us,” he says. “Someone who would pick up the phone when we call, and also give us a system that works around what we do and not the way they think it should be done.”
The Transition is Easy
Dealertrack includes a number of digitally embedded and human-support tools that ensure new customers will be able to make an easy transition.
The most important one is the availability of skilled, trained and empathetic contact people for dealerships that have questions or concerns, in the transition process and beyond. “If you felt uneasy about something, they were there for you,” says Lisa Casalina, office manager for Webb Automotive Group.
One of the most important digital helps is the Wiki tool, an online information trove that anyone using Dealertrack can access from any screen they are on. It includes everything from a Quick Start Guide for the software to frequently asked questions and answers.
And the guidance provided is relevant as well as timely, because much of what Wiki addresses are questions that have been called into Dealertrack support lines – indicating common pain points that the company has addressed.
“So if I need to learn how to write a receipt and make a deposit, I just watch a tutorial that takes 10 minutes or read a step-by-step on how to do it,” explains Brittany Shearer, office manager for Motorcars of Cleveland. “It’s a fantastic training tool. I can have a service advisor writing an order online in 10 minutes.”
She says that the Dealertrack Wiki tool is especially effective in onboarding new hires. “When you hire a new person in any department, the first day or two you give them a desk, a telephone and business cards, and unless you have a really great training program in place, they can get pushed to the side and lost in the everyday shuffle,” Shearer says. “But with this tool, you can sit people down, and the first day or two is planned for them. They can learn how to use the DMS before interacting with customers and other departments.”
It’s Easy to Use
Dealertrack DMS is much easier and more intuitive to use than legacy systems. Because all the data is stored on the cloud and backed up by Dealertrack, for instance, users don’t have to download data to a CD and store it somewhere or put entries into a paper journal that need to be accessed later.
“Dealertrack has really dumbed down the system, which is important,” says Shearer. “Anytime you have a question, for example, there’s a drop-down box to help you find the answer. And you don’t really have to memorize any steps. It’s like they’ve taken the best aspects of all the DMS platforms out there and combined them into one power system.”
Brett Henkel says that after switching to Dealertrack, Big Two Auto was able to completely overhaul and simplify its management training. With the legacy DMS system, it took two to three months to train a desk manager. With Dealertrack, training requires only about a month – or less. “Even within a week of training, people don’t need a ton of supervision on the computer side,” Henkel says.
Trevor Giles, manager of Motorcars Honda, finds that Dealertrack has helped democratize duties throughout the dealership group because the ease of using the DMS means so many more tasks are not only comprehensible, but also achievable by larger numbers of employees.
“At month’s end, for instance, the office manager tells me that she doesn’t get any more calls from employees about how to pull a report or break down expenses,” he says. “Dealertrack is so easy to use that managers are able to solve issues on their own instead of going back to the office manager.”
Under the legacy DMS, Giles adds, “You needed a secret decoder ring to figure out how the system worked, and a huge book to figure out the screen, and a secret handshake. Whereas, we recently hired a new chief operating officer from Colorado, and all we had to do is send him the log-in and password for our Dealertrack DMS. By the time he came out here a week or so later, he was able to know as much or more about the system as any employee. He hit the ground running and already has been the biggest-impact new employee we’ve ever had.”
Updating is in real time
Dealertrack updates all of its information in real time, much like reloading a page on the internet.
“Just having access to our information and having it be live is a great feature,” Shearer says. “We don’t have to wait for our system to update everything overnight anymore. With Dealertrack, we can just hit ‘Update’ and move on to the next task. With the legacy system, we had to constantly backtrack to make sure our work was correct and that it was posted correctly, because you couldn’t really be sure until it updated overnight.”
Henkel notes that Big Two Auto is “probably a bit more report-driven than some stores, so we track everything. And now we don’t have to wait until after close to get the information we need. We can get it whenever we want.”
Follow-up is Thorough
Dealertrack doesn’t just tell dealers switch-and-goodbye; platform representatives are on site during and after conversions and offer as much support, both personally and remotely, as customers need afterward.
“The installation team spent about a day at each of our locations after the conversion so we could bounce things off of them,” Richardson says. “Then they transitioned us to another team, and we have one point of contact for any issues we have. He comes and sees us quarterly, and walks us through everything and anything. He’ll show us different ways to grab information a bit more quickly, for example, or how to get better information out of our data.”
Mike Tourtillot can ’t say enough about the support provided by Dealertrack DMS. “Dealertrack is like our DMS ‘Siri,’” he says. “They are always there to answer any questions and help us out.”