Free Vendor Software Helps Dealerships Keep Up With Customer Calls Without CDK

Numa offers portion of its platform to dealers at no charge.

Alysha Webb, Contributor

June 28, 2024

2 Min Read
Multiple dealerships have accepted Numa's offer.Getty Images

As auto dealership software provider CDK Global slowly brings its dealer management system (DMS) back online, other vendors have stepped in to meet customers’ needs.

Numa, which has an artificial intelligence-driven centralized communication platform for service departments, is offering a “Numa Lite” version of its software to any dealership free of charge.

The free version taps Numa’s function using AI to collect the name, model and problem from missed customer calls to the service department as well as recording and transcribing the call.

“What we have is a version of the AI that doesn’t integrate with the DMS,” Andy Ruff, Numa co-founder and head of product engineering, tells WardsAuto.

Normally, Numa integrates with the DMS and can assess why a customer is calling and routes the call appropriately, among other tasks.

“Without (the free Numa version), you have to either not answer the call or stop what you are doing to take the call,” Ruff says. “Now you can book the appointment when you have time.”

Numa advertised its offer on LinkedIn with posts and advertisements, Shanthala Balagopal, Numa head of demand generation, tells WardsAuto. She declines to give an exact number but says “multiple dealerships” have taken Numa up on its offer.

Tom Hesser Chevrolet in Dunmore, PA., is one of the dealerships using Numa Lite. Its service department is bogged down with manual tasks previously handled by CDK software, parts manager Jason Sileo says.

The free Numa software is “coming in handy because when our writers can’t pick up the phone, it gives us the name (of the caller), what kind of vehicle and what their need is.”

Numa Lite can send text messages to customers, which “is really nice,” Sileo says.

It also transcribes calls, he says. “It helps us keep on top of calls we ordinarily would have missed.”

“At least five times as long”

To be sure, answering calls and texting customers can’t begin to replace all the tasks a DMS system handles. It touches almost every dealership function, from inventory and customer relationship management and credit checks to auto loan interest generation, tracking hours and processing payments.  

Without the CDK system, “everything takes at least five times as long,” Sileo says. His team is very flexible, however, and “we have a good system in place to document everything.”

Once the system is back up, “within one or two days, we should be caught up.” Meanwhile, the extra help from Numa is handy, he says.

Other vendors are offering help, as well. Cox Automotive, which has products that touch most parts of dealership operation, has established a “secure microsite” to help its customers find “workarounds and actions they can take while CDK systems are not available,” Cox says in a written statement.

A Cox spokesperson declines to add details.


About the Author(s)

Alysha Webb


Based in Los Angeles, Alysha Webb has written about myriad aspects of the automotive industry for more than than two decades, including automotive retail, manufacturing, suppliers, and electric vehicles. She began her automotive journalism career in China and wrote reports for Wards Intelligence on China's electric vehicle future and China's autonomous vehicle future. 

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