As I travel to different automotive dealerships each week, the more I am starting to notice that one of the main deficiencies that can cripple any business in this day and age is Internet Bandwidth. I hear it all the time from Dealership personnel, especially the Service Advisors, “I can’t stand this Internet, it takes so long to access any online vehicle data”, or “I can’t make the customer wait for me to check all of that, because the Internet constantly locks up.”
Just like the heart is the dedicated muscle that helps to pump oxygen around the body, in this current age of technology the Internet is the dedicated access to help keep you connected with applications, data, and customers, that is used to run your business. We will go through great lengths to keep the heart healthy so that our bodies perform at its peak performance and we should do the same for our businesses.
What’s the bottom line? Regardless of the industry, when accessibility is built into websites, products, and applications, your business can provide a rich, interactive, easy-to-use experience that is inclusive for all users. With accessible and inclusive applications, your business can reach out to new markets, build customer loyalty in a global marketplace with more choices for customers than ever before and build employee satisfaction.
Phase One – Having the right people in place
IT support personnel monitor and maintain the computer systems and networks of an organization. They may install and configure computer systems, diagnose hardware and software faults and solve technical and application problems, either over the phone or in person. Depending on the size of the organization, a technical support person’s role may span one or more areas of expertise. (This is not your Service Manager or someone “in house”, who thinks he/she knows a little bit about setting up “a” computer).
Whether its hiring someone onsite or offsite with remote access, it is well worth the investment. How can your dealership personnel be productive for the job that they are hired to do if they are constantly addressing the companies internet and computer issues. Dealing with IT issues can go from simple to intense with the wrong click of a button. The downtime of not being able to work due to internet or computer issues can cause you a lot more headaches, frustration and money if it is not properly monitored and quickly resolved. In past surveys, researchers have found that IT outages are frequent and lengthy, and they cause substantial damage to a company’s reputation, staff morale, and customer loyalty. This could result in lower CSI, Customer Retention, Sales, etc.
A lot of times companies don’t fully understand the cost of not preparing, so as a result they are not willing to spend dollars to ensure disaster doesn’t occur or they can recover quickly from a disaster. Some smaller companies traditionally don’t fully understand the breadth of technology and how to implement it to the spectrum of data loss issues that may come across their organization, because of cost and complexity.
Steve Fairbanks ~ VP of Product Management @ CA Technologies
Phase Two – The Proper Bandwidth
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period (usually a second). This kind of bandwidth is usually expressed in bits (of data) per second (bps).
Just deciding on which provider can be tough, much less what kind of service plan you need. Most local cable or phone companies offer some sort of business level services that come with different features and add-ons. Together with your IT personnel and the right internet service provider (ISP), you will be able to determine the proper bandwidth required to suitably run your store.
Phase Three: Data Security and Backup
Keeping your data and internal network secure from outside threats is an absolute must and it’s something that can’t be taken lightly. Data such as finacial records or customer information can be very tempting to a cyber-criminal, so making sure it’s kept safe has become increasingly important. There are software suites that you can purchase or you can even go so far as contacting a dedicated data security company for assistance.
In addition to keeping your data out of the hands of the wrong people, you will also want to make sure your data is backed up constantly. Commonly, data backup is done two ways, onsite and off-site (cloud). On-site backup simply means having a copy of all your data duplicated to a seperate place at your dealership. Off-site backup means backing up your data to a cloud backup/storage service. This ensures you have both a local backup and a remote backup just incase of fire or some other catostrophic incident at the dealership.
Final Phase: Tying it all together
Now that your dealership’s internet is properly in order, it gives your employees the ability to acquire the needed information without the hassle of lag times, Wi-Fi connectivity issues, or distorted upload or download speeds.
The overall Dealership experience for customers and employees should be a pleasant one. Technology within the dealership environment, especially on the Service Drive, has the potential to improve satisfaction, training, communication and, most important, profitability. Dealerships can even incorporate the use of iPads or tablets to greet the customers, saving time and making the write-up or delivery process a more interactive experience.