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I was visiting a dealership recently and the General Manager I was speaking with got a bit agitated when I asked him about their technology infrastructure. In the past quarter, their store had gone through a website changeover that was painful, negatively impacted by the recent HomeNet upgrade, and experienced a CRM Server hardware failure which caused 14 days of CRM downtime.
I didn't catch on to the depth of his frustration while I was talking about "new" ideas and strategies that he could implement at his store. At one point he stopped me, and looked in my eyes and said:
"Brian, I have never seen such a lack of reliability over the past 24 months from my automotive vendor partners. It seems like vendors are sprinting to introduce more new features or introducing a new product but I don't think anyone is really testing them very well. I just want the products I bought to work so that I can run my business! When problems are indentified I need real solutions and not the run around."
I'm sharing this story because I think that many dealers feel the same way. By the time dealers get their website platform debugged, and merchandized properly, a new version comes out that introduces new bugs and instability. A new CRM product advertises to simplify the workload of sales professionals but many of the features don't work as advertised.
Can anyone relate to the frustration of this General Manager? Are we reaching a tipping point for the patience levels of dealership executives?
Are vendors cutting the testing budgets to keep pace with their competitors but hurting their long term brand in the marketplace? I think that our industry needs to look inward and ask why their end users are feeling so abused.
What are your thoughts? What companies are doing it right?
Brian Pasch, CEO