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In a world increasingly driven by technology, it isn’t a surprise that the automotive industry—more specifically, dealerships-has relied more on computer systems in the past few decades. As a result, the concept of customer relationship management, or CRM, was born. Dealership CRM is a management system in which the company’s interactions with potential and current clients are consolidated and streamlined, thus making the company more efficient and profitable. Today, some computer technology companies manufacture customer relationship management software; a few of them specifically focus on software for dealerships.

Sales and Revenue

Increasing the number of vehicle sold-which, in turn, boosts revenue-is perhaps the number one reason why dealerships turn to customer relationship management software. At its basic level, CRM helps dealerships receive and respond to leads, most of which come from the Internet. About 90 percent of people searching for a new car go online, according to many industry experts. With so many dealership websites—not to mention third-party venues like eBay and Craigslist-competition for auto sales is fierce. So, the success of a dealership largely depends on the efficiency of its dealership CRM software.

Traditionally, CRM software systems enable sales associates to make phone calls or send emails using the provided information from the inquiry. A few of them have more advanced features, which include responding via text for a faster response. With further communication, sales associates can set up appointments at the dealership, enabling customers to stop by in the quest of getting the desired vehicle. Also, with customer relationship management software, dealerships can set up appointments for servicing vehicles, which is another major stream of revenue.

Other Uses

Every dealership has a robust database, which consists of the name and basic information of people who have inquired about a car, bought a vehicle or two from the business, and periodically bring in their rides for repairs and maintenance. Thus, with this data, dealership customer relationship management software also functions as a promotional tool. For instance, managers can send out electronic newsletters or emails concerning weekly or monthly deals. They can also create targeted campaigns, focusing on customers who have expiring finance contracts or are up for lease renewals. In some cases, people who did not buy vehicles upon initial contact might find a promotion appealing to them, and might show up to buy something.

CAR-Research XRM

One of the industry’s foremost customer relationship management software providers is CAR-Research XRM, which is named after its product. Based in Houston, Texas, CAR-Research XRM is notable for its use of the XRM acronym, which stands for “eXtended Relationship Management.” Essentially, it is marketed as a more advanced form of CRM, with features that include Internet Lead Manager for managing Internet leads, a virtual BDC (Business Development Center) for rapid and efficient response to customers, Showroom Watchdog for managing inventory, and electronic MPI (Multi-Point Inspection) for turning inspection results into service sales opportunities. Serving over 2,000 dealers throughout the United States, CAR-Research XRM has been voted “Top Rated CRM” four years in a row by auto social network DrivingSales.com. Other dealership customer relationship management software brands or manufacturers include DealerSocket, ELEAD1ONE, and DominionCMX.

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