Top 5 Trends in Technology that your dealership should consider.

Top 5 dealership technologies to install today or plan for in a renovation or newbuild project

Technology. We see it in every aspect of our lives.  Every new generation of cars the manufacturers bring to market have exponentially more computing power than the previous generation. The cars on the showroom floor offer cutting edge computer technology. What about the facility they’re being sold in?  How technologically advanced is your dealership? It’s time to really take stock of the technology in your store. It can not only make your dealership more efficient and more secure, but it could help you save a lot of money.  Here are our top 5 dealership technologies you should consider including in your upcoming dealership project.

5. Phone System

Desk phones are obsolete Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology reduces cost and simplifies operations.
Desk phones are now a technology of the past. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology allows phone calls to be routed through desktop computers and even forwarded to cell phones.

The desk phone is dead. Have you ever added up what you’re spending on your phone system? Internet technology has rendered desk phones obsolete, so if you’ve still got desk phones all over your store, you’re needlessly spending a lot of money. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology now allows you to route phone calls through desktop computers.  A couple clicks instantly route calls to the staff member’s cell phone, so now your team will never miss a customer’s call. The only phone number required on your sales staff’s business card is the dealership owned direct number.  When an associate leaves, the number can be easily reassigned.  It’s more secure for your employees as they don’t have to give out their personal number, and more secure for the business of the dealership, as your customer stays with you.  All for much less than that current desk phone system.   

Here is an important consideration as part of an evaluation on switching to VoIP phones. Have an expert perform an audit and verification of your billings for phone lines, data circuits, and internet service.   You might be surprised how much you could be saving every month.  George Pacinelli, Principal at Business Advancement Tactics and Technologies says this is one area he saves clients’ money every single time.  “Most businesses process phone and Internet company invoices with a tolerance for fluctuations in costs upward of 20% every month. We all know the time and effort it takes to dispute a discrepancy, and if you don’t pay your bill the service is disconnected. These companies take advantage of that process. Every time we conduct one of our audits the client ends up saving money, from a few thousand dollars a year to several hundred thousand.”

4. Building Access

New generation card access allows your phone to be the key.  Programmable to each employee, they only have access where and when it's needed.
Your smartphone is now your key. Totally programable to each employee giving them only access when and where they need it.

Who has keys to the dealership? How many are out there? Have you ever had to bring a locksmith in to rekey the building? Do you ever find customers or staff members in the back of house where they shouldn’t be? Intelligent Access Control really ups the security and safety of the facility.  Each employee is provided the individualized access they need to the building when and where they need it.  It allows doors to be secured to prevent people wandering into areas they shouldn’t be. Is an employee no longer with the organization? One click and access is completely eliminated, no need to worry about getting a key back.   Do you have vendors that need access to the building? Technology now exists to send barcodes to their phones to allow them temporary access for the time and to the places they need access to.

3. Cameras

Intelligent Surveillance systems can be programmed to alert staff to create a better customer experience.
Intelligent Surveillance can be programmed to help ensure a better overall customer experience by alerting staff to potential needs.

This isn’t a new one.  Most dealerships today have camera systems. So why is it on our top 5 dealership technologies list? Because camera technology continues to advance at a rapid rate. How old is the camera system at your dealership? The resolution of today’s cameras makes capturing details better than ever. 

Security is certainly the main attraction.  Being able to see what happened in the case of an incident around the facility is certainly important.  But, what if the sales team could be alerted when a customer spends more than 5 minutes at one specific vehicle on your lot? What if the system could send an alert if customers are getting backed up at the cashier or in the service drive? This intelligent surveillance technology is available today.

Have customers ever complained their car was returned with damage?  High resolution cameras in the service drive can capture images of each car that is dropped off for service.  Also, new camera technology allows for license plate recognition so that a personalized greeting can be displayed as they drive in. When tied to technology such as the Hunter Quick Check system the customer can also be instantly be provided with alignment and tire tread condition.  This creates an opportunity for additional service sales.

2. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

There's an app for that.  UCaaS can make your dealership communications more streamlined, effective, and productive.
There’s an app for that. UCaaS technology can make your dealership more effective and productive.

As technology advances, it creates opportunities to run the dealership more efficiently and productively.  There really is “an App for that”. There are Apps today that allow you to communicate internally with staff, receive internal and external phone calls or text messages, initiate Web or video conferences, as well as integrate with your CRM system, all in one and all secure.  These apps can also capture copies of credit cards and driver’s licenses, and it’s all Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard compliant.  Speaking about Data Security, if you’re not already concerned about PCI or The Consumer Protection Agency (TCPA) compliance, we highly recommend it.

1. Future planning technology

While the number one item in our top 5 dealership technologies article isn’t a specific technology per se, it’s a very important topic.  We see it time and again, on major facility renovations or new facility build projects.   All the other infrastructure systems such as Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical are developed as part of the plans for the facility but there’s an important system missing. 

Too often the “Low Voltage” items – computer cabling, camera wiring, card readers at doorways, wireless access points, digital signage, and all of the network support cabling and/or fiber are missed in the planning process.  Conduit that needs to be run for these systems after the fact ends up creating delays and additional cost through expensive change orders.  Take the time and plan upfront.  Sit down with a qualified low voltage design specialist and your architect and put a plan together to accommodate for your technology requirements while the drawings are still being developed.  It’s a huge cost and time savings in the long run.

Wrapping it up

Technology is advancing quickly.  Taking advantage of upgrading your existing facility or planning for it as part of a new facility project is paramount.  These technologies can not only save you money but can also make you money. Its important to sit down with an expert who can explain it all. This way you can make informed decisions on the top 5 dealership technologies to integrate into your dealership. If you want to have a deeper discussion on technology for your dealership click here