SAN ANTONIO, TX – Information technology provider DealerSocket launches an all-new digital platform that the company says took a lot of work to make it easy to use at car dealerships.
“This is really important to us,” says co-founder and CEO Jonathan Ord. “Architecturally, we ripped things down to the studs and rebuilt.”
Billed as more streamlined and intuitive, the new platform, dubbed Blackbird, incorporates two important technology elements that are critical to modern dealerships.
One is the dealership management system, the computerized operating works of a dealership. The second is the customer relationship management system that allows dealerships to regularly engage with customers, from sending them targeted sales and service emails to wishing them happy birthday.
“Blackbird is inter-operable between different (digital functions) through one consistent effort,” Ord says on stage during a razzle-dazzle sound-and-light show introduction at DealerSocket’s seventh annual User Summit here.
“Why build it?” he says of the new system. “Because 74% of dealership sales staffs nationwide don’t use their stores’ CRM systems because they think they’re too hard to use.”
As more products and information went digital over the years, IT providers put more and more functions into their offerings. That made for robust systems “but over time, screens got crowded,” Ord says. “We developed Blackbird to be easier to use.”
Without resorting to bare minimalism, Blackbird offers simpler, less-crowded and more-customizable screen images.
“The home page needs to be specific to the particular user,” says Brad Perry, DealerSocket’s co-founder and chief technology officer. In other words, there is no reason for salespeople to have access to information that isn’t relevant to what they do, but is pertinent to the sales manager’s job.
The system also is touted as offering faster and easier migration of information.
Giving an example, Jennifer Lee, DealerSocket’s vice president-product management, says Blackbird will allow a dealership inventory manager to appraise, price and market vehicles quickly and accurately.
Developing Blackbird took two-and-a-half years, she says. DealerSocket sent staffers into the field to observe how dealership employees use the CRM and DMS equipment. The field work included eye-charting, interviews and motion surveys.
“We wanted to develop a system that, where previously it took three clicks, you can now do it in one,” Lee says at a media roundtable. “The less time a dealership employee spends on the computer means more time spent with a customer.”
The new system takes its name from the U.S. military’s SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest plane ever flown.