Tip of the Month
Duplicate Customer Records in the DMS
Your DMS is the heart of your dealership operation. Regardless of what DMS provider you are using, the single biggest problem that every system has is Duplicate Customer Records. Most of the time this problem goes undetected until you attempt to get an accurate customer count or decide to change your DMS or CRM to another service provider.
Recently, we were made aware of a situation where a dealer thought that they had over 50,000 customers in their DMS and after the file was de-duped (duplicates removed) they were shocked to find that they had just over 20,000 customers.
The root cause of this problem lies in the service department when a customer brings the vehicle back for serviceand the original record is not found or used, and a new record is created. The problem becomes acerbated when the name gets modified. For example, the original customer record is James Martin and the new record is entered as Jim Martin or Jimmy Martin or in other cases it is entered as the spouse’s name, leaving one vehicle with multiple files and multiple names.
We have found that a best practice to correct this problem is for the Service Advisor to switch his look-up procedure from name to VIN number. This is going to be more work for them as they will have to get the VIN number off the vehicle as opposed to just asking for the name, but this step will ensure that when the vehicle record is pulled up it is the correct record with all the associated vehicle history.
This will eliminate duplicate records and also provide an opportunity to ensure that the correct record has the customer’s email address attached to it. Stay tuned for next month when we dive into the importance of collecting emails addresses and importing them into your DMS.