Larry Tate, Fixed Operations Director for Dublin Toyota, Dublin, CA, has worked with a range of customer relationship management (CRM) systems during his years with both public and private dealership groups. He says the CRM tool generating the most consistent return on investment for him these days is from CIMA Systems.
CIMA Systems is more than a tool for capturing customer data for ongoing customer contact purposes. It is, rather, a comprehensive hub of tools for engaging with customers at almost every touch point within the dealership. For instance, Tate says it is advanced transparent marketing tools like this that engage customers that make CIMA Systems such a potent CRM solution.
“CIMA Systems is our profit tool, and we use it to maximize every opportunity to get in front of customers to earn their business, not just to send marketing communications to customers,” says Tate. “We know it works and works well for us. We dropped off the system for a short time in ’11 to try out our OEM’s version but retention and share dropped. We switched back to CIMA and both retention and share increased even more.”
He says a unique CIMA System tool, CIMA CarView, is boosting upsell closing rates 33 percent, from a previous level of 32 percent to 65 percent today.
CIMA CarView is an interactive, Web-based software platform that allows service departments to “visually explain” repair recommendations with real-time photos, videos and expert illustrations. Dublin Toyota’s service technicians snap pictures of the parts requiring replacement or repair using the CIMA CarView application on their smartphones. The system then retrieves customer email information from the DMS and automatically sends the pictures/video with descriptive information, even technician voice-over narration, via email or text message to the customer. Customers lacking email can access images through the dealership’s service department website.
“This visual presentation virtually sells almost every upsell opportunity like this we present to customers using this tool,” Tate says, “and its use here differentiates our dealership from the competition by providing total transparency and constantly relevant communications to our customers,” Tate says.
Dublin Toyota retails 3200 new and used vehicles a year, and generates more than 61,700 repair orders a year, of which 34,500 are customer-pay. Tate says the dealership enjoys second place in retention in its region. “That has a lot to do with the CIMA approach and how its marketing teams support us to maximize our ROI. We’re now getting communications through to people we didn’t before and they’re coming back because we continue to market to them relevant communications they value.”
He said retention dropped 2.5 points and market share dropped 3 points when the dealership dropped CIMA Systems in early 2011 for the Toyota CRM tool, but quickly switched back as they watched retention and share drop. “Share went up almost 3.5 point and retention three points, reversing the damage we did,” Tate says.
These days Tate is also using CIMA to drive a popular loyalty rewards points program that keeps customers returning for service. He’s also using CIMA’s Groupon-like coupon service, Thrupon, to market service specials via Facebook and Twitter. As Facebook fans click on these coupons, the coupons populate their social media site pages as well, multiplying the distribution and impact of this marketing.
“It’s amazing how these Thrupons go viral,” Tate says, “and how their incremental exposure explodes overnight.”