IDS Year in Review – 2013

As the RV and Marine industry expansion continued in 2013, your need to invest in your dealer management system also increased. These investments took place in technology upgrades, new IDS software products and greater utilization of your current software. To meet your increasing needs, IDS added personnel to every department over the last 12 months in order to build, deliver and support great products.

Overall, our business is in good shape. However, we are striving to be great at what we do and, as most of you know, good is the enemy of great. The key areas of emphasis for the business have been and continue to be:

  1. Product Development and
  2. Customer Service

Product Investment Accelerates

We have increased our spending in the area of R&D significantly over the last 12 months. We made the decision to add a new strategic role to our management team that is entirely centered on long-term product management. Mario Britz, our new Director of Product Management joined us late last year. His position complements our development team by adding a more customer-centric approach to product development. Mario also brings a strong technology background in product design and development to our organization.  We are excited about this new addition.

* Emphasis on Usability, Performance and Quality

A Key 2014 Goal is to Improve G2 Performance and Reduce bugs by 25%

We have recently added more people on the team that are focused on key areas that affect your user experience. We are committed to making the product more user-friendly and have emphasized the user interface as a key component to improving usability of the product. Now that all major components of Astra have been totally re-written into Astra G2, we are now in a position to make refinements that impact your user experience and at the same time, make modifications that make it faster and more reliable.  To help support these efforts, we have added members to our staff with expertise in User Interface design, Performance Benchmarking and Quality Assurance. We have moved to a quarterly release schedule, which means there are now four releases rather than two major releases per year. More frequent releases create a faster turnaround time for adding features with improved quality. We don’t expect each of you to load software every quarter. You should, however, anticipate updating at least twice a year in order to stay current and take advantage of our latest offering.

* Mobile Applications, Document Management & Paperless Transactions

Last year we introduced a mobile lead management and follow-up system for dealership sales  to complement our CRM product. This year, we will continue to develop features that will make you less dependent on your desktop. We are laying the groundwork now and making investments so that, over the next few years, you can be paperless throughout your entire dealership.

Last year we introduced electronic signature capture for the service department which captures a customer’s signature directly to the work order so that the hard copy does not have to be stored and archived for liability purposes.

By the end of 2014, we plan to enhance our mobile application to combine signature capture and document management as part of a single integrated workflow. Our Mobile Check In feature will allow a service writer using a tablet device to walk around the unit, take pictures, get a signature from the customer and email or print the work order without ever having to sit down at a computer. The pictures will be stored as part of the customer record and the work order so that they can be referenced in the future or sent on to a warranty company as part of the claim process.

Our Mobile Sales feature will similarly allow a sales representative to access vehicle or boat inventory quickly and easily provide a sales quote in a proposal format that can be configured directly on the mobile device.

We are still in the development cycle on this high value, easy-to-use mobile application. By September, we should be providing specific information about the capabilities of this product.

* Rentals and Dockslips are Slated for Redevelopment

These two modules have not had a lot of attention in terms of development resources in many years. We are in the functional design phase of developing a new rental module for both vehicles as well as dockslips and storage. Our plan is to have a totally updated and redesigned system by early 2015. Over the next 90 days we will be looking for focus group participants on these modules. Keep your eyes open for an invitation to be an early adopter on these modules.

Customer Service Improvements Continue

We have conducted a customer satisfaction survey at the end of the last two years using CSI, Inc. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to CSI and give us your honest and detailed feedback on how we are doing.  We are very happy to say that our Net Promoter Score improved by 54% when comparing our score in 2012 to 2013.  However, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Here were the themes of your feedback:

  • Slow response times and
  • Inconsistency or incomplete answers from support

At the beginning of 2014, we began measuring and reporting key metrics to our entire organization around customer support on a near real-time basis. These metrics are on large displays in each of our offices so that the entire company can see definitively how we are doing in regards to response time, call closure rates and number of open calls. The entire customer service team is committed to turn around calls faster, with improved explanations in our answers back to you. We are committed to making improvements in both speed as well as quality on service related calls. We have recently added support staff in the customer service department to add more manpower to the team and help improve our response times.

We are also investing in significant telecom and call center software upgrades to help us manage your experience better. We are in the process of implementing Microsoft Lync and integrating it to our customer care system. Lync will improve our communications internally across our organization as well as give us more sophisticated visibility into our call queues, wait times and abandonment rates that effect your customer service experience.

To help invest back into the product in order to improve our operational capabilities, there will be a 6% increase on your July support invoice versus your current rates.  It’s the first increase we’ve issued in 24 months.  We are excited about our near term and long term opportunities that exist for us as well as our dealers in the dealership space and value your continued support.

Best Regards,

Sean Raynor

General Manager

Integrated Dealer Systems

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