First off, it is no accident that I am writing this review, I volunteered immediately upon hearing that Cobalt had released a new Dealer-friendly platform.
You see, I had never been a Cobalt fan. I have been saddled with them as a sole provider due to O.E.M. mandates and had more than one unpleasant conversation with their tech support and/or my “Dealer Advocate” and never thought either group lived up to their title.
Therefore, it was with a healthy dose of skepticism and almost malicious glee that I went into this demo. I emerged on the far side of our scheduled 20 minutes a full 46 minutes later if not an evangelist than at the very least excited and hopeful. The new platform and User Interface with analytics is nothing short of the largest 180 degree turn around I’ve ever been privy to see with any company. The website editing tool is real time, easy to use and has an ever growing library of easy to install widgets. Combined with the ability to fully control my own SEO or utilize either Cobalt’s or any other providers SEO Services was a complete but pleasant surprise. In addition, the ability to create custom URL landing pages limits this new platform’s usability only by one’s imagination and OEM constraints.
The real shock came when we got to the analytics section. Though not as detailed perhaps as what a competent Google analytics user could find out, Cobalt placing most key performance metrics in easy to use graphs and charts most of which can be dialed in or out to varying desired parameters makes this UI definitely friendly for the average user and has most key indicators a power user would look for. In addition, keyword suggestions, search reports, inventory analysis and easy to launch and replicate Specials Pages round out an impressive new offering. I guess that overall I felt just this signals a change in the core service level of this Company.
This feeling was best backed when:
1) The next day for an unrelated issue I called tech support and my issue was solved with a follow-up call and survey within 10 minutes.
2) During the presentation I made a few suggestions I thought would help and the next day I received this following e-mail. (F.Y.I. Highlighted portions were MY addition)
I wanted to thank you again for your time yesterday – as you can tell I enjoy showing off our new Dealer Command Center. In addition, I spoke with the product team this morning on your recommendations (adding Stock number to the inventory reports and adding Average Page views to the funnel) – they will be adding those enhancements in a future release. Feel free to send me any more suggestions – I believe in the notion that we are here for our customers, not for our products, and I want to make certain everything we build is designed for our customers and the way they work.
Thanks again for your time,
Sr. Product Marketing Manager
ADP Digital Marketing Solutions
More importantly, I believe they mean it. Cobalt may still be your OEM-Mandated Provider, but if they continue in this mien, that is no longer such a bad thing. Log on to your Dealer Command Center and play around, I believe you too will be SHOCKED by what you find!
Congrats to all the members of the team that put this together in just 9 months on a job well done and for listening to your end-users.
*P.S. This article is entirely my opinion and therefore probably correct.