Back to CRM Basics

The Pinewood DMS CRM module is a comprehensive database and contact management system for all departments within the dealership. It is used to record details of all CUSTOMERS and PROSPECTS, with a single CUSTOMER contact history maintained for all dealership activities, together with vehicle details and service history. It forms the basis of a showroom system for the sales team, allowing CUSTOMER-facing users to progress from capturing CUSTOMER information to sending of personalised vehicle videos, production of order documents, and then allows the dealership to engage with and manage the CUSTOMER and/or vehicle, post the sale (or lost sale) of the vehicle.

The CRM module is central to the Pinewood DMS – all of the data held within the CRM database is accessible by the Vehicles, Workshop and Parts modules. These modules all share the same CUSTOMER record, which can be amended by each of the departments as required, eliminating the need for duplication of data entry.

The CRM module provides the means to manage and improve the quality of CUSTOMER contacts and provides the ability to oversee and manage the daily CUSTOMER contact process to ensure that the business is CUSTOMER focused.

Yes, that’s quite a mouthful! And I’m sure you are asking: so how do I get on top of this; how do I start doing the basics right, and take care of the detail?

Simple… start today with doing these 4 things:

1. Define a Database Policy – set standards on what type of data you want captured against each CUSTOMER Record, and make sure all dealership staff that input data into the CRM module are aware of this and follow the standard. Key to this is ensuring all staff understand WHY they are required to capture CUSTOMER data in a certain way. Remember that your data capture standards should take into consideration your OEM data capture requirements as well.

2. Drive Data Quality – someone needs to be regularly checking the quality of the data being recorded; have a “DATA CHAMPION”. Whilst everyone should be accountable for the management and care of CUSTOMER data, a designated individual should be responsible for interrogating data on a regular basis and communicating and actioning their findings. (HINT: start looking at your Creations Report as a start).

3. Ask Questions – data alone means very little; even dashboards of information mean very little without context. What really matters are the questions you ask about the data or dashboards. Get to know and understand your Database by randomly enquiring a CUSTOMER record and ask questions about it (i.e. when were YOU created in my Database, who last amended YOU, what vehicle do YOU drive, when last was it serviced, do YOU have a cell phone number, where do YOU live and work, why did YOU come to our dealership as opposed to all the other dealerships out there, etc.).

4. Ensure the data can tell you a story – when interrogating a CUSTOMER Record, ensure it tells you a story about the CUSTOMER; we all have a story with our vehicles we have owned and the dealership(s) we have visited – does the record provide this story? If so, it should help you make useful decisions about your CUSTOMERS.

There was an article in AMOnline a while back which was unpacking the whole shift in the motor retail environment, the author of the article made a really simple but meaningful point that I leave you with; “Maybe dealerships won’t run their businesses exactly the way they used to, but they will survive if they remain very aware of what their CUSTOMERS expect. Cars are going to change but someone is going to have to sell them, service them, and take in old models as trade-in’s on new ones.”.

PS. Do you know how many times we made mention of the CUSTOMER in the above? 26!

If you would like to learn more? Why not arrange for an Online Training Session or a Consultancy day with one of our CRM Specialists. Or feel free to contact me directly.


Keith Magill / COO

Contact Us