Dealer-FX launching 3.0 in Q2

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For a Canadian company, Dealer-FX’s path to success has been going against the grain.

Though based in Toronto, roughly 95 per cent of its business comes from U.S. dealers and automakers. While it does have dealer clients here and partnerships with OEMs, including Mitsubishi, Dealer-FX president and CEO Gary Kalk said he is looking to drive further business north of the border this year.

Helping with that endeavour is the roll out of is 3.0 platform to dealers scheduled for sometime in the second quarter.

“We’ve doubled our business each of the last three years,” he said. “And part of the exercise is that you go where the business is. The interesting thing about the Canadian market is that demographically, we are more predisposed to technology than the U.S. market, but, when you look at dealerships in terms of handling leads online, we’re five years behind the U.S. and it’s the same in the service drive.

“When we’ve shown it to Canadian dealers, they are all amazed. The OEMs are a lot more conservative in Canada in terms of their rollout. Still, the second half of 2015 should mark a big push for us in Canada.”

He said the new platform has an improved technician dashboard for vehicle inspection, the route sheet and the digital customer service board that will show customers waiting in a dealership lounge the status of their vehicle in service department.

3.0 will have text message capabilities and allow a dealership to send an actual video of the repair so the customer can see what needs to be done and approve the work instantly.

Kalk said video technology would be rolling out for Audi dealers in the U.S. later this year.

“Everyone talks about Millennials, but I think we’re all Millennials today. Everyone has a smartphone and even today, it doesn’t matter what your age is, you are plugged in and its instant. The mindset of all of us has been conditioned to that. What’s instant? What’s transparent? When you go into a dealership, there is nothing instant and nothing transparent. What we’re doing is to make sure everything is done collaborative with the customer,” he said.

Dealer-FX also officially announced in late January, it had collaborated with MyDealerLot in a third-party integration initiative. Dealerships using MyDealerLot’s Service Drive Concierge and the Dealer-FX Advisor Dashboard solution.

Service Drive Concierge uses radio frequency ID (RFID) technology to provide automated customer arrival information and targeted messaging to anyone within your store. Now, with the integration with Dealer-FX’s Advisor Dashboard, when a customer pulls into a dealership, all of the customer and vehicle information are automatically loaded into the Advisor Dashboard.

Service advisors will automatically get the vehicle information they need to start the write-up process right at their fingertips, such as customer information, VIN, service history, recalls, warranty information and more.

“The formal integration of these two technologies enables dealerships to provide an accurate, consistent and transparent service experience at every service visit. This will help to build trust and loyalty with your customers as it reduces data input to make the process more efficient and ensures a consistent message about service procedures regardless of receiving the information from their owner’s manual, the dealer’s online service scheduler or the Service Advisor,” said Kalk.

“Not only does it enhance the customer experience, but it also makes your service department more efficient and profitable.”

The next phase of this integration partnership will see Dealer-FX’s new Route Sheet 3.0 linking with MyDealerLot’s Zonal Tracking system to give dealers the ability to identify where in the service process each vehicle is and provide proactive status notifications to the customer.