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Welcome to NCM's Up to Speed Blog

The Dilemma with Your Data

Chip Maher
Written By: Chip Maher
Posted on August 22, 2017

Often dealers will refer to reports generated by their DMS, CRM, or another vendor tool to track the performance of their dealership. If they’re not careful, relying solely on these metrics can be misleading and harmful to a business. For example, if an internet lead response time metric boasts a 95% response rate within 10 minutes, are those quick responses of a quality value? Do they satisfy customer needs? Or, if a Multi-Point Inspection (MPI) completion rate metric hits 95% on all repair orders, are they, in fact, being presented to the customer?

Let me reassure you that these performance metrics are critical and should be monitored and tracked. Both will drive performance and results, but only if the processes they track are executed properly. The metrics do not rate the effectiveness of the entire process, just one task within it. We need to make sure we’re tracking more than just the metrics. Monitor the processes, improve them, edit them, and your dealership will profit.

Response time for internet leads is a crucial metric for a dealership’s e-commerce performance. The industry has established guidelines suggesting “the quicker the response time, the more likely a consumer will engage, resulting in a higher closing rate.” Unfortunately, what the response time metric does not show is the quality of the reply. Also, this metric can be manipulated to show a response was sent simply to “stop the clock.” For instance, a manager could choose to have the system send an auto-reply which has nothing to do with the inquiry from the consumer. The manager’s goal is to record a quick response time, so the report is accurate, but the quality of the reply is rendered irrelevant and is counterproductive to engaging the customer.

The MPI is another process that drives great results if executed correctly. Of course, we want to track the performance of the MPI and accurately complete an MPI on all repair orders in the service department. However, the most critical portion of the MPI process is the presentation to the client of any additional services recommended after inspection.

If your dealership completes an MPI on 100% of its repair orders but doesn’t present the results to customers, you will not achieve the desired result. I have seen many stores that refer to their MPI completion as being in the 90-95% range, but upon closer evaluation of their processes, and observing their customer/employee interactions, the entire process is only being used effectively 20% of the time! This has become a larger issue as many stores have moved to digital versions of MPIs. Of course, you get 100% completion when you send the consumer an email or text of the MPI results; however, the presentation to the client, either in the service lane or during delivery with a paper copy, is the most impactful step to generate results. Some dealerships have reinstated the use of handwritten paper reports to encourage employees to present the MPI recommendations and make the additional sale.

MPI best practices to execute today:

  • Periodically audit your MPI process. Verify all steps are completed each time.
  • Check the cashier’s office randomly to see if copies of the MPI are attached to the repair order.
  • Staple the completed MPI to the top of the Consumer Repair Order at the cashier’s office. This ensures the customer sees it before leaving your store.
  • Keep laminated samples of the MPI at the write-up station so the consumer can see what it looks like and can anticipate a completed inspection summary upon departure.

Reports are great tools and certainly have their place in the dealership, but more importantly, audit your processes to ensure your dealership is achieving the results you need to succeed.

Learn more about analyzing your dealership’s business practices by enrolling in the NCM Institute’s General Management Executive Program. You’ll dive deep into your existing processes and procedures, create new ones, and learn how to make the numbers work for you. Or, join an NCM 20 Group to review your metrics monthly and share best practices with fellow non-competing peers to gain great industry-specific ideas!

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