In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not just a Digital Signage company anymore!
If you work in a dealership you might know us as that ‘digital signage company’, but you may not know that we have grown into a full dealership solutions provider. Or maybe you are aware that we have a texting and an e-payment tool, but you might not be aware of just how far we have grown. With that in mind, we wanted to provide a quick overview of our new tools and some advancements over the last few years. But first, let’s start with a little history.
VenueVision Integrated Dealership Solutions, based in Oakville, Ontario, has been in business since 2001. The company originally started as VenueVision Media Systems with the focus primarily on Digital Signage in the automotive industry. Since the start, our main objective was to help clients implement turnkey solutions to improve communications with customers.
In the area of Digital Signage, we are not just installers and hardware providers. VenueVision creates and manages fully branded, high-quality digital content for every OEM. Our Content Management service is one of a few differences we offer that sets us apart from other digital signage companies. Our innovative Integration technology is another feature that helps make us unique. With DMS and other dealership software integration, you can display data on dealer-branded dashboards to provide a premium customer experience.
The team at VenueVision has always been focused on helping dealerships improve their communication with their customers. That is why, over the years, the team has been listening and observing the day to day functions of dealerships, specifically their service departments. This has enabled our developers to assess areas of frustration and department processes which could use streamlining. With this knowledge, our team of designers and software developers have been hard at work building additional tools and solutions that can help dealerships improve their functionality, customer service and enhance the overall customer experience.
So, what have we been up to at VenueVision? Here are some of the additional solutions we offer and some of their recent upgrades.
Although not new to the suite of VenueVision solutions, as it was originally launched in May of 2017, our texting solution is always developing to keep up with changing needs and demands. This powerful two-way, cloud-based desktop texting solution provides all the functionality any sized dealership could need. A centralized texting solution that all staff can use and oversee all customer conversations in real time. Our autoTEXT solution has always been capable of capturing and storing full customer conversation history, sending updates with DMS integration and automated messaging, attaching images or videos for faster repair authorizations and so much more. Some of the newly added features and functionality are:
- Multi-language translation to let you communicate to and from in any language
- Enhanced Customer Consent capture to work with CASL compliance
- Marketing Campaigns for bulk messaging or promotions
Mobile Cashier and Loyalty Rewards Program
Similar to autoTEXT, Mobile Cashier has been around for a little over 2 years since its original launch in April of 2017. The main functionality of providing secure payment links to capture mobile payments for service invoices has always been streamlined, efficient and simple, and still is. You can also create payment links to send to customers for any department in the dealership. This allows staff to collect down payments for Parts or Vehicles, payments for F&I products or even for collecting payments from your own third party vendors — all in a safe, privacy-regulated process that keeps your customers’ data safe and your staff protected from privacy law stipulations.
One of the most recent additions to our dealership solutions that ties in directly with Mobile Cashier is our Loyalty Rewards Program. Show your customers you appreciate their business by providing a program that lets them earn loyalty dollars on every Service invoice they pay using your Express Payment option. They can build and use these Loyalty Dollars on future service visits, providing great customer retention. Plus, use the program as an incentive or a way of showing more gratitude, but topping up their balance or adding to their account as for a new vehicle purchase incentive.
Shuttle Manager and Shuttle Complete
VenueVision has offered Shuttle Tracker, a GPS-based tracking system for visibility and analytics for a few years. Our continued drive for advancement has led to the recent creation of a powerful set of Shuttle Solutions. Shuttle Manager works within our main dashboard and provides the perfect centralized map view to keep a dealership’s shuttle and transportation department organized. Combined with the real-time visibility of Shuttle Tracker, and you have Shuttle Complete. All staff can see at a glance who’s been scheduled, what time and where they need to go or be picked up from. With this solution you can assign riders to specific shuttles, send text confirmations and notifications to customers and Shuttle Drivers. Use it to schedule Shuttles in advance when booking service appointments so you can staff accordingly, create efficient routes, print off current route sheets or trip history, and so much more.
More changes to come
Things have definitely been busy with our team at VenueVision. To date, our digital and automotive solutions are used in almost 500 dealerships across Canada and the U.S. to promote products and services and communicate relevant information. We are always in development and looking for ways to improve or create new solutions to help dealers and their staff. Launching soon will be tools and features such as:
- Repair Estimate tool
- Loaner and Fleet Management
- Virtual Service Advisors / Check in Kiosks
- After Hours Service Lockboxes
- Vehicle Trade-In Appraisal
So, keep your eye out for more additions and updates to our growing powerful suite of dealership solutions. All of our solutions are designed to be flexible, adaptable and work in various combinations with all of our other solutions. Our tools will greatly enhance your customer communication and customer experience — whether your dealership is small or large, run by a multi-store BDC, or under an entire Automotive Group service initiative. Our focus is to connect all stages of service, sales, marketing and communication and provide your customers with an experience unlike anything they’ve had before. Contact us any time to get more information or book a free demo to see what’s new.
A Case Study of Applewood Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC
Applewood Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC in Mississauga has been servicing the surrounding areas, including Oakville, Toronto, Burlington and Brampton since 1959, when they originally opened their doors as Denny Motors. They have since moved into their current location in the Erin Mills Auto Center and continue to pride themselves in delivering their customers with the highest level of quality service.
The Applewood Chevrolet dealership came on board with VenueVision as part of the Humberview Group, one of Canada’s largest automotive groups. The Executive team at Humberview, signed on with VenueVision at the end of 2018 and launched the suite of innovative solutions at their dealerships across the GTA and southern Ontario. Applewood Chevrolet was one of the first in the group to start the rollout.
The management and staff at Applewood are no strangers to providing a customer service experience that stands out from the rest. Take for example their restaurant-style customer café and lounge, with full complimentary meals for waiting service customers and unlimited hot and cold drinks. Adding VenueVision’s dealership solutions to their daily communication processes and functions enhances this level of specialized customer service even further.
Service department notices benefits right from the start
Paolo Glorioso, Fixed Operations Manager at Applewood, saw the benefits of these tools instantly. “Overall, a very positive change. It’s straight forward and easy to follow along and adapt to the new processes.” Paolo comments that the staff were able to quickly learn the new tools and integrate into their daily functions and communication with the customers.
Applewood’s Service department, managed by Phil Glorioso, has 30 service bays managed daily by 7 advisors, 5 Service Consultants and 2 Appointment Coordinators. All of these employees have access to the full set of tools, which include autoTEXT, Mobile Cashier and Shuttle Manager, to help them increase their level of Customer Service communication. Phil was really excited about the addition of Shuttle Manager and Shuttle Tracker to help with the daily coordination and transportation of the busy dealership’s Service customers. Applewood chose to also implement tablets with the Shuttle Manager system to give their drivers even more visibility and control when they are out on the road. “Shuttle is working fantastic! The Shuttle drivers are really taking to the tablets. I also like all of the information that I can pull from Shuttle Tracker, regarding Idling, seatbelt, speeding, etc. Great to help monitor the vehicle usage and driver activity.”
Dianne and Nicole, who work as Appointment Coordinators at the dealership, are sometimes the first point of contact that customers have. Once appointments are scheduled, customers will receive an Appointment Reminder notification by text the day before their appointment, and if they book ahead for a Shuttle, they will also receive a confirmation of that Scheduled pick up. “Customers really like it, they like being notified.” Says Nicole. “This Service Department is really busy, so this helps keeps everyone organized.”
Managing Shuttles has always been a challenge
As Appointment Coordinators, Nicole and Dianne also work closely with the Shuttle drivers to coordinate the trips to and from the dealership. Applewood has 3 Shuttles and 5 Shuttle Drivers who all drive throughout the day on varying schedules, so keeping them all organized can be a tough job. The Scheduling screen, which is located behind the Appointment Desk, helps the drivers and staff see right away when a customer’s shuttle request has been added. And with each driver paired with their own Tablet, they can use this device to assign and claim the passengers they will be taking. Everyone can see who’s been assigned or if there’s anyone still waiting, and all changes are shown in real-time.
The Shuttle drivers like the addition of the Scheduling screen. “The scheduling board is a good visual, helps you see the quickest route based on the markers.” says Shuttle driver Russ. He also likes the advantage of having the information on his tablet. “I have found with the tablets that there are a couple of ways to do things, which is great. I can find out what works best for me. I can add information like ‘closest intersection’ in the notes field, which also makes it very easy.”
Russ points out that the information that you need is all in one place. “Sometimes I need to know what advisor that customer has been working with in order to tell them something, and it shows it all right there.”
Sue, another of Applewood’s Shuttle drivers, was really looking forward to the addition of a management tool. “I think it’s a great way to go and to stay ahead. It’s better than the note paper and the dry erase board that we have been using. It was doing the job, but this will definitely be so much better. Being able to see the jobs pop up when I’m out on the road will be great.”
Texting speeds up customer communication and repair authorizations
With the new solutions, the Service Advisors at Applewood now have the ability to text customers throughout the day, right from their desktops. Customers also like the consistency of the automated messages that go out to welcome them in for Service or to let them know their vehicle is complete. And the option to pay ahead of time on their phone is a great advantage for busy customers. Service Advisor Zeljko, has found autoTEXT has been really beneficial for getting quick repair authorizations. “It’s much easier to show the part or area with a visual then trying to explain it over the phone. This allows the customer to see it in real-time, and they are more agreeable to go ahead with the additional repair.”
Similar to Russ, Zeljko has found the tools to be really flexible and have multiple uses and benefits. “I used it to help order some third party rims for a customer. I was able to add the Supplier as a customer and he could send me images that I could then forward on to our customer. It was a perfect set up and everyone was happy, and the transactions happened quickly.”
“I also like that we can schedule a Shuttle for even the next day, ahead of time,” Zeljko continues. “I might forget to do that the following morning, but, for instance, today, when I logged on, there was the Shuttle request for 9 am that I had scheduled the day before, and my Shuttle driver was already on it!”
Service Advisor James Foley, is really glad they can now text their customers, and without having to use their personal cell phones. James points out that the customers like receiving the texts, with customers letting him know they find it very impressive and modern. “I love the texting. It’s so quick for the customer’s replies to questions or information that we needed to send. Being able to schedule their shuttle right from autoTEXT is great as well. Very helpful.”
Mobile payments provide a great benefit to all the dealership departments
Not only can customers now text the dealership and receive service updates and notifications by text, but they can now also pay by text. With the addition of Mobile Cashier, customers have the option to view their invoice online and pay for their services through a secure and quick payment page. This can really speed things up at the end of the day when they’re picking up their vehicle. But the benefits of Mobile Cashier don’t stop there.
Any department in the dealership can take advantage of creating and sending secure payment links for any dealership service. The Parts department at Applewood uses it to collect down payments for large parts orders. This allows them to receive the down payment first before they order the part, and it saves the customer a trip down to the dealership to make the payment.
Kezro, a pre-owned vehicle sales advisor, has been using it almost daily to collect vehicle deposits. He says it gives his customers confidence, and the ability to secure a vehicle over the phone without having to come down. “It’s really efficient, quick and streamlined. It gives my customers peace of mind as they don’t have to give their credit card information over the phone or email it in, as they would have done in the past.”
When it comes to reconciling the payments, the Accounting Department at Applewood has only positive things to say about the system. “I absolutely love it! It’s so effective and quick. There’s a lot of information that is there, all of the info that you need for accounting.” says Dorothy, the dealership’s Accounting Manager.
System is very user-friendly
Dorothy noted that the Accounting department has also benefited from having Mobile Cashier. She now uses it to collect her monthly invoices from suppliers and even for overdue accounts. “It’s very smooth to use. The vendors that I send the payment links to really find it easy and safe, and very user-friendly. They used to want to pay by credit card over the phone, but were still wary about giving their details over the phone – they would always reconfirm that I was going to destroy any paper that I had written the credit card number down on. Now they don’t have to do that. I let them know I don’t see their credit information, only they do, and they control it all. They love it.”
Overall, the implementation and transition to the new tools at the Applewood dealership has been quite seamless. “When we had a couple of questions at the beginning, the support team at VenueVision were fantastic. They were very quick to respond and very helpful,” concludes Paolo. The whole dealership is really starting to see the benefits of these streamlined customer service tools and new processes.
VenueVision is extremely honoured to have been featured as an Innovator in the automotive industry by Auto Remarketing Canada. Their most recent November/December 2017 edition, the ‘Innovation Issue’ showcases North American innovators.
Our interview with author Sarah Rubenoff discusses how mobile trends are pushing innovation across all dealership departments. From Sales Departments to F&I to the Service Bay, technology is driving success rates. We discuss how VenueVision is developing some of today’s top technologies and innovations to help dealers stay ahead of the competition and provide the best customer experiences.
“Every step is customized to be fully dealership branded so all communications the customer receives and all payment links they touch in the secure payment process look and feel like they are an extension of the dealership, giving greater confidence in the mobile payment.”DAVE HOOPER, CEO, VENUEVISION
Solutions like autoTEXT and Mobile Cashier allow dealerships and their staff members to communicate and conduct business easily and quickly with their customers. This in turn provides an increased level of customer service that ultimately puts time back into the customer’s hands.
VenueVision, which provides high-impact, real-time digital media solutions to automotive dealerships, has just launched autoTEXT – a centralized texting solution that lets staff seamlessly connect with their customers, regardless of their Dealer Management System (DMS). This enables dealers to improve communication and service department productivity through more efficient and faster messaging.
Increasingly, customers don’t want phone calls. They want texts. According to J.D. Power’s Customer Service Index, 27% of customers with mass market brand vehicles, 42% of premium brand customers and 41% of younger customers want to communicate by text.
With autoTEXT, dealers don’t have to rely solely on staff mobile phones and costly cellular plans to communicate with customers. With autoTEXT, everyone has access to a centralized desktop system that sends and receives texts. Dealers can set a single number – or different numbers for each department – to manage texts from one place. Customers can text to request appointments or ask questions. Dealership staff can send service status updates, get repair authorizations, notify on service completions with payment options and more. Not only does the system streamline communication, it eliminates the cost of individual mobile phones and wireless plans.
TEXTING BUILDS RETENTION
Texting doesn’t just make communication better – it builds retention. In the J.D. Power study, only half of the customers contacted by phone said they would return. For those who received texts, that rate jumped to two-thirds.
“Poor customer communication remains the biggest obstacle for dealerships to overcome,” says Dave Hooper, President of VenueVision. “By improving the service experience, dealerships will also improve shop productivity exponentially and get full visibility on customer communications – this is a win-win for dealerships.”
Texts take a lot less time than repeated calls, phone conversations and voice mails. And it doesn’t just benefit service departments. Parts departments can use autoTEXT to notify on special order parts arrivals, and sales departments can create and confirm sales appointments or test drives, follow up with customer and answer questions.
autoTEXT packages start at $139/month per store, and are available to dealerships in Canada and the United States. Packages for unlimited users, unlimited data and optional payment capabilities through Mobile Cashier are also available. To start a trial or sign up for the starter package, visit http://www3.venuevision.com/automotive-solutions/autoTEXT. Dealers can try the 7-day trial by enrolling online and be up and running by the next business day.
VenueVision, which provides high-impact, real-time digital media solutions to automotive dealerships, has just launched its latest mobile innovation, Mobile Cashier, at Key West Ford and Kia West in British Columbia. Serving the New Westminster area, Key West Ford is the #1 new and used Ford dealer in British Columbia. Kia West, serving Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and surrounding Lower Mainland is the #1 volume Kia dealership in Western Canada.
Mobile Cashier is an express e-payment solution that sends dealer-branded notifications to customers when their repairs are done. Customers can click the provided link to review their service invoice and pay directly from their mobile device or PC. Resulting in faster checkout times at the dealership. Mobile Cashier boosts convenience, reduces the 5:00pm rush and speeds up the pick-up process dramatically. This allows dealership staff more time with customers to review work completed and make recommendations for future repairs.
Dealer staff give rave reviews
Andrea Backman Galasso, Dealer Principal at Key West Ford, says “What impresses me most about Mobile Cashier is the control it puts back in the customer’s hands. These days everyone is so pressed for time that every moment counts. From the customer’s perspective, 10 minutes saved getting the service invoice amount and getting it paid is 10 minutes put back into their day, put back into their control. I also like that the customers now have a preview of the amount. If they have any questions they can call or email before arriving for pick up, once again saving the customer time.”
As a service manager I am happy with how much it will improve evening pick-ups and enhance the customer communication flow.”DAN NORTHCOTE, FIXED OPERATIONS MANAGER, KIA WEST
“We are very happy with the launch of Mobile Cashier,” says Dan Northcote. Kia West’s Fixed Operations Manager. “Our service advisors are excited by the product because it takes very little extra work on their part. It offers our customers an added convenience that they can’t get anywhere else. As a service manager I am happy with how much it will improve evening pick-ups and enhance the customer communication flow.”
“We launched Mobile Cashier late last year and the response has been phenomenal,” says Dave Hooper, President of VenueVision. “Dealers love it because it’s an innovative way to improve the customer experience. Dealerships like Key West Ford and Kia West who stay ahead of the curve to provide the best customer experience, are far more likely to succeed in the competitive automotive marketplace.”
Designed with customers in mind
The new express e-payment solution is designed with customer ease-of-use top of mind. “From the dealership’s perspective, I really am impressed with the level of automation and how much information is pre-populated in the forms giving very little room for error,” added Backman Galasso.
"The automated billing and payment process takes steps off of our service advisors’ hands, freeing up time for other customer interaction."ANDREA BACKMAN GALASSO, DEALER PRINCIPAL, KEY WEST FORD
Backman Galasso says that at Key West Ford, Mobile Cashier helps with increasing staff efficiency. “With our large volume of relatively standard maintenance repair orders, the automated billing and payment process takes steps off of our service advisors’ hands, freeing up time for other customer interaction. While it is just one step in the service process, it is one that blends well into our goal of making our customer’s service experiences as easy and transparent as possible. Honestly, it is hard to believe that this isn’t something we’ve been doing for years!”
Mobile Cashier isn’t just for the service department. Every part of the dealership can take advantage of the easy e-payment capabilities. Parts departments can use PAY BY TEXT to allow customers to pay invoices collect for parts deposits. Sales departments can use DEPOSITS BY TEXT to collect new and used vehicle deposits faster. Even Accounting can do A/R BY TEXT to speed up receivables collection.