22 May

In the most basic terms, there is nothing in the world so completely useless and so utterly frustrating as a computer or software system that doesn’t work. Computer or software downtime leads to increased overhead costs, lost productivity, lost customer satisfaction and sometimes even lost revenues.

The quality of the technical support provided by your software companies can minimize the frustration and lost productivity when you do have problems, and you will. No software is perfect and, with operating systems constantly changing and being updated, issues will arise. Access to first-rate support is critical in keeping your dealership operating at peak efficiency.

Many times, when dealers evaluate software systems for their dealerships, they fail to consider the support that is available from each dealership management software solution they consider. Let’s look at some things you need to consider:

  1. The first thing a dealer should look at is how support is obtained. Does the software vendor have a toll-free support number or do you have to call a local number or, even worse, do you have to submit your support request online or by email? What is the average call- back time for their support? Email support requests that take a couple of days to get a response from can make even the least expensive software products more expensive in the long run.
  2. Next, when is live support available? Do you have access to a support technician when your dealership is open? Again, the potential cost of not being able to get a problem solved quickly once one occurs can add to the overall cost of your software solution.
  3. Also, how knowledgeable is the support staff about your business? A support tech that understands computers and software but knows nothing about your business and how you utilize their software may not be able to offer the best solution for your issue. This is particularly true in the Buy Here Pay Here or Lease Here Pay Here business. Industry knowledge may be as important as technical knowledge in the BHPH or LHPH business in order to come up with a solution that works best for you.
  4. And last, but certainly not least, how friendly and courteous are the technicians when you or your staff call in for support? Do they honestly seem to be interested in helping solve a problem or do they seem to be in a hurry to close your call and move on to the next one? Almost every company in America seems to do customer satisfaction surveys and software companies are no exception. Make sure the company you are thinking about dealing with is willing to share their scores with you.

Many dealers mistakenly assume that all support is equal but nothing could be further from the truth. You probably spend a considerable amount of time to make sure your staff is adequately trained to treat your customers well. We all have heard horror stories of how customers are treated at competing dealerships. The same is true in the DMS software industry. Make sure your software provider is as committed to quality customer service and support as you are.