When dealerships don’t use technology tools to their full potential, they fall short of what they could achieve. They can overcome that shortfall by engaging with their technology providers and participating in continuous learning activities.
We've all heard that humans only use 10% of their brains. While not true, the myth has endured because it implies that irresistible possibility of unlocking additional, untapped human potential. Most auto dealers, it turns out, are using their whole brains trying to run efficient and profitable dealerships, but are underutilizing another crucial resource—their technology. When dealerships don't use technology tools to their full potential, they fall short of what they could achieve. They can overcome that shortfall by engaging with their technology providers and participating in continuous learning activities. Many dealerships find that increased utilization can unlock additional, untapped, and very real potential within their businesses.
The Role of Dealerships in Technology Utilization
As technology evolves at a rapid pace, it can be hard for companies to keep up. Ironically, the more that a technology tool can do, the less it gets used by many dealership employees. This is because very capable tools are sometimes very complex. Alderson Auto Group in Lubbock, Texas encountered this paradox with its previous DMS platform. David Alderson, the company's president, found that he often avoided using the system to perform important financial analysis because it was overly complex and difficult to use. "I think, for a lot of dealers, [a more simple system] is probably a good thing," explained Alderson.
Dealerships bear some of the responsibility for increasing technology utilization among their team members. Specifically, dealerships should adopt a mindset and foster a culture that emphasizes continuous learning. Dealerships should provide opportunities for ongoing technology training and should reward individual employees for completing that training. Technology training is most effective when it's done in direct collaboration with technology providers. By engaging with vendors to complete training, dealerships can avoid being left behind as technology continues to evolve.
The Role of Tech Providers in Technology Utilization
For their part, technology vendors need to provide more than a product. They need to commit significant resources to training and supporting end users. At the most basic level, tech companies need to provide exceptional customer support to answer questions that come up during the day-to-day usage of their products. "We spend a lot of time on the phone with support," said Chad Grant, Controller at Alderson Auto Group. As a result, the company appreciates those partners that are available and accommodating when it comes to customer service.
While day-to-day tech support is important, more meaningful engagement is also a must. Great technology partners engage with their customers before, during, and after installation. They should offer regular training as well as self-guided learning resources. They should also implement customer success programs to monitor and increase usage, providing user training and product improvements where utilization is low. The best partners go beyond technical usage by providing dedicated performance managers to offer strategic goals and direction to their dealership partners.
Technology has the potential to make dealerships more productive and more profitable. Sadly, many dealerships are underutilizing their technology tools, leaving most of that potential untapped. Working together, dealerships and their technology providers can successfully improve utilization of technology tools. When dealerships commit to learning and technology vendors provide sustained service and support, dealerships will use more of their systems, unlocking additional and unknown potential.