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Paper Cuts and Lost Profits: How to Avoid the Pain — Now

Article Highlights:

  • Customers and employees at your dealership are drowning in paper.
  • New technologies can help "digitize" the dealership's document workflow.

When I talk to dealers today, I’ll inevitably hear a comment about how dealerships are drowning in paper — from Sales, F&I, and Accounting to Service, Parts, and file storage and archiving.

And why not? Deal jackets can be more than an inch thick. F&I paperwork takes nearly three dozen forms to complete. Compliance requirements are increasingly stringent. Dealership personnel in different departments are stymied in taking the next step in a vehicle transaction as they wait for paper to make its way to their desks. And, after it’s all said and done, dealers are expending untold amounts of staff time and effort — and money — to physically file, archive, retrieve and, ultimately, purge paper documents.

That flood of paper is costly and inefficient to the business, but it also reinforces the worst perceptions of a dealership for consumers. So dealers lose twice.

Consumers Don’t Like It

We know from industry studies last year that the top two frustrations for consumers in a dealership are filling out paperwork and negotiating the purchase or lease. Combined, these two steps account for more than half of the time consumers spend at the dealership.

Those frustrations don’t promise to get any better. For Millennials, now the largest demographic group of potential car shoppers and buyers, 6 out of 10 believe that in the next five years everything will be done digitally on mobile devices.

Where does that leave today’s Sales and F&I process with dozens of paper forms and brochures weighing down the car shopping and buying experience for consumers?

Dealership Personnel Don’t Like It

There’s another costly dimension to this point of pain around paper.

Annual employee turnover in dealership is now at 40 percent — fueled in part by a larger presence of Millennials among dealership employees.

If you look behind the numbers, among the biggest workplace frustrations for Millennials are wasting time searching for documents and figuring out who has specific information, while also dealing with restrictions on their ability to use technology to its optimum benefits.

Ineffective technologies and legacy systems that don’t match the way people shop and work today undermine even the best efforts to improve efficiencies in the dealership and deliver a more rewarding consumer experience.

Where’s the Answer?

Newer technologies can turn those experiences around for both consumers and dealership employees.

Those technologies do more than simply “automate” a manual process; the best technologies “digitize” the dealership’s document workflow, creating a new process that changes how work is done in the dealership in order to change how customers are served by the dealership.

The leading automotive retailers are setting the standard in using technology to differentiate their business from the competition by delivering a more rewarding and engaging consumer experience, and, at the same time, improving business results. Dealers win twice.

Faced with increasing pressures on dealership profits and heightened expectations from consumers about the car-buying experience, dealers are turning to the best technologies complemented by best practices to rise above the rest and digitize the dealership’s document workflow. It makes the car-buying process faster and more efficient for consumers — and for dealership employees.

It’s paperless. It’s profitable. It’s preferred by consumers and dealership personnel.

And only Reynolds eWorkflow™ can deliver it.

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Former President, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ron Lamb is the former president of Reynolds and Reynolds (2010-2017).

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