Xtream Service - What are your thoughts and are there similar programs out there?

Kemick Larson
I just recently started working with this program as a manager to build a department around this tool. If you are not familiar with it, it is a customer retention tool that shows you which people are in a position to upgrade their car, who is coming through service, and updates directly from the DMS, iN (for honda/acura), and BlackBook to get values for the vehicle they are currently driving. I have a background as an internet director for a few years and decided to pick this up and try something new that not a lot of other people are doing in the industry. There are a lot of quirks with this program that sometimes make it frustrating to use, but the information is good to target specific types of customers. Also, Reynolds just picked them up, so hopefully that helps build in more features as well. So my questions for the masses are: 1. Have you ever used this program and what do you think of it? 2. What other programs are out there that are similar that I could look into that will give me similar information that has enough to build a department of 4-5 plus me? 3. I am pretty new to the retention side of things, so any tips that have helped your dealership out in the past succeed in this side of the business. I know the big answer is that sales people should be following up with their own customers and this department shouldn't really exist, but lets be honest, most sales people follow up with their customers regularly until either the survey gets in or until they have enough new customers to where the 3 year old lease customers and 4 to 6 year old finance/cash customers fall off of their map. Help would be appreciated, but I am also interested in hearing peoples opinions on a retention tool like this.
Kemick Larson
Interesting that I posted this an hour ago and 5 min. later Auto Alert showed up to run through a demo with me on how that program works as well. So next question would be who out there is using Auto Alert to its full potential and if you are familiar with Xtream as well, which is better?
Jason Davis
Basic answer is whichever tool you feel most comfortable with is the one to use. They are all pulling the same info from your DMS, use the same Black Book info, and same amortization to estimate payoff. I was a huge fan of Xtream prior to the merger as their support was second to none. I have recently canceled Xtream to move to Revenue Radar in Dealer Socket. I wanted integration with our CRM to prevent duplication of contacts due to the lack of integration from Xtream to our CRM. The way to make it effective is to contact customers via phone, email, and snail mail (preferably from Sales Manager or GM). The average customer doesn't believe it until they hear it multiple times.
Dennis Wagner
I was going to mention Auto Alert and ask which CRM you use. Most CRM's have features built in to make it very simple. I can only assume that your management team is not very CRM friendly. If they were data mining their CRM there would be no need for your department. Good Luck!
Kemick Larson
Yah! I liked how user friendly Auto Alert was when I was trying it out, but didn't seem to have the same functions as Xtream does and from what I understand it didn't directly pull from Honda's iN. It doesn't take me more than a couple days to get used to anything, so I don't mind being uncomfortable for a few days to get used to something new if it will give me a better ROI. I know most of that comes from what we use the information for, but at the same time researching for a specific person 3 times because Xtream doesn't have a specific "xtream deal" can be frustrating. Also, the information is only in the system for 6 months on the service side of things. I will also say that I am having to pull the information up from both Xtream and our CRM every time I would like to contact someone to log the activity. I have been running this for a month so far and can already see the potential for 1 or 2 more people. 2 people and myself full time on the phones / emails / mailers with 1 person full time out in the service drive as a touch and go sort of person that will pull people into the showroom. Dennis, I can agree with you to a certain point, but at the same time, when I was at a different store, along with strait internet leads, I was data mining to get my extra 5-6 cars per month and picked up a lot of gross. I was the only person doing it in the store because retention really isn't a huge focus in most of the stores out there! It is preached but almost never practiced. I was just told today that is is roughly 17x more expensive to gain a new client than it is to retain a previous client. I am not sure how much validity there is to that exact number, but in my eyes, along with a STRONG internet department, this type of tool/department is going to be an even bigger part of the industry in the next few years! As far as a CRM goes, we are kind of pigeon holed into Dealer.com which I am not a huge fan of, but hey to each their own. I have experience with Compass (AutoNation) which was my favorite, DealerSocket, iMagic Lab (which I would say is very similar to dealer.com), and now I'm working with dealer.com. Let alone the strange search functions, I don't see anywhere in this particular CRM that would show alerts for Return to Market or even equity situations. Our Management set up is GM, GSM, New SM, Used Manager, Internet Manager and Retention Director. The internet manager so far seems to be the most CRM friendly (which I would hope so). In all reality, the managers here don't have time to data mine a CRM. I am also working on taking over the orphaned internet leads as well. I do agree with the service side of Xtream! They have great support, but sometime the problems take days/weeks to get fixed because they are not web base (yet hopefully) and everything is on a server. I do have this feeling that with reynolds taking over, ADP is going to make it harder and harder for us to keep using Xtream.
Shaun Weissman
We have been using AutoAlert for 5+ years. I've looked at xStream and and other tools but AutoAlert always rises back to the top. It's all about two things.. The training they give you but the management in the store. If you are not holding your BDC/ Sales team responsible than no tool will work. I will say that if you are using AutoAlert to it's full potentional you can add 25+ to your store each month easily.

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