How to Evaluate if Your Dealership’s Technology Can Compete in 2018
It feels like nearly every day there’s a new piece of technology coming out that will change our lives. As we move into a more innovative marketplace, it’s vital for businesses to evaluate their technology to ensure they’re keeping up or ahead of the competition.
This process, courtesy of Social Media Today, can help your dealership analyze whether it has the right technology in place to make the business run smoothly, or whether there are gaps that can be filled to give it a competitive advantage.
The first two steps your dealership needs to take include conversations with both your employees and your customers. Your employees are the ones that will be utilizing the technology, so ensuring they’re on the same page about what’s needed will make all the more difference in implementing changes to your system. Questions you can ask include:
- What technology do you rely on?
- Where are you running into trouble with technology?
- What can’t you do that you wish you could?
- What technology takes the most time for you to deal with?
- What information do you track, and how do you track it?
- How do you collaborate with other departments and third-party vendors?
- What is your experience interfacing with my department?
- What business goals do you have, and how does my team help you achieve them?
The next conversation should be conducted with your customer because ultimately, that is who you’re trying to appeal to the most. Ask them what expectations they have in doing business with your dealership, such as they expect your website to function well on a mobile device while they’re in the field. You can even provide them with a short survey that includes an incentive, such as a discount, so that they can give you perspective on how the dealership is perceived when it comes to technology.
Another big piece to be considered and thoroughly researched is the state of technology among your competitors. Take the time to investigate the following areas:
- What technologies are crucial to the buying journey?
- Which social media platforms are these companies most invested in?
- How much of the research and buying journey can be accomplished on mobile?
- What role does technology play after a purchase is made?
- How does customer service work? (This is a huge factor in customer expectations.)
- How are they ranking in organic search?
- Where are their advertising investments? (Try a tool like SpyFu for help with this)
- What keywords are they invested in?
- What is their content strategy like? Articles? Video? Something else?
After these preliminary steps, it’s time to move on to the next phase, which is a thorough evaluation of your dealership with a clear and open-minded view. A commonly used approach for this evaluation is a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for the following:
Ask yourself what your biggest accomplishments have been over the past year. What is your competitive advantage compared to other dealerships? Also, ask yourself how technology plays a role in making you do what you do well, and how you might be able to leverage those advantages even further.
Think about what your employees would say you could do better. What about your customers? What have your competitors identified as areas where they can gain an advantage? In this portion of the process, it’s absolutely crucial you identify your blind spots and be honest about them.
Evaluate what you’re already doing well that can be enhanced. Where can you press an advantage? What are you not accomplishing as well as you want to, where new technology could help you seriously eliminate a weakness?
This is an important step, especially with the way a situation can be broadcast so quickly with just a few clicks. The goal is to think about the worst case scenario. What does your dealership do if you have a data breach or hacking incident? Does your dealership have the resilience to keep going?
Your Next Steps
So what do you do with all the information we just gave you? Here are some clear next steps to take action in evaluating whether your dealership’s technology is up to speed and advancing your business further.
- Commit to a clear digital roadmap with targets that keep everyone on the same page.
- Sit down with employees to get a clear picture of what technology and processes are working and what are not.
- Study competitors to identify what they’re doing well, and what customers expect from you as a result.
- Consider asking customers directly what they like and what they need more of.
- Conduct a thorough technology audit to take stock of everything going on in your organization.
- Perform a SWOT analysis to be proactive about tech improvements.