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ArrKann Trailer & RV Centre was founded by Ruben Friedenberg in 1976. Before founding ArrKann, Ruben had a hardware store in his local community where he started renting trailers out the back. Eventually, the hardware part of the business was dropped, focusing strictly on RVs.
Since those early days, ArrKann has expanded to six dealership locations across Alberta, Canada including two stores in Edmonton, one in Calgary, one in Medicine Hat, one in Carstairs, and the most recent addition in Red Deer. But according to Terry Harmatiuk, VP of Operations at ArrKann, the border doesn’t limit their expansion.
While in school completing his journeyman certification, Terry befriended an ArrKann employee who insisted that he come work there. Terry officially joined the crew in 1996 as an RV technician. Since then, he’s seen ArrKann’s transformation as a digital-first dealership with the help of IDS as their dealership management software.
We spoke with Terry to find out how they’ve been using ServiceCRM, the latest digital tool they’ve equipped at ArrKann to help them keep track of repairs, streamline employee collaboration, and provide even better customer service.
I use it every day in terms of the reporting. We’re up to five locations – soon to be six. In my role, I’m able to have visibility to all those locations. The reporting tool keeps me on top of KPIs and where we’re at with the important numbers that matter to us and my department.
But in the day-to-day work order, I’ll often have to go to my people and say, ‘Show me how to do this. You’re way faster than me.’ And they’re awesome. I have one advisor that’s been with us for probably about 10 years, and she’s a whiz. I go to her if I need something. I know she’ll know, and if she doesn’t know how, I can email support and they’ll know how.
Anyone in the admin and accounting departments, down to service people, salespeople, and parts people – they’re all using their section and they all become experts in their own area
As recently as a year and a half ago, we purchased a new location that wasn’t on IDS. We had to implement them on the system and the process was very smooth.
IDS does a really good job of supporting their customers. If we ever have a challenge, we call the support line or send an email and we get a response pretty quickly.
Our new store wasn’t using a proper software system at all. The staff were doing a lot of pen and paper stuff but training them has been great. Now they can see things that they couldn’t see before.
We’re in the early phases of it, but it’s proving to be a tool we’ve been missing.
In the past, when we were interacting with a customer, we would record that interaction in the comment section of the work order. But now with the addition of CRM, it’s kind of what we’ve been missing.
And that’s one of the other things about IDS – it’s not just the same, it’s always evolving. So, adding ServiceCRM has really been a huge help. And they’re listening for our feedback. The development team has been taking our feedback and integrating that into their system.
We’re really starting to see the CRM start to help us with those follow-ups, not just externally with our customers but internally with each other. And those notes now aren’t just visible in a work order, they’re visible in a feed.
Another new thing we’re doing, with us growing to the soon-to-be six dealerships, is we’ve implemented a concierge service where we’re having our team follow up with our customers, without having to dig for the information.
Now they can go in, see that feed, follow it, and they know when the customer was called, or a text was sent out. Maybe they emailed this advisor in the past.
Before, you would need to get into that advisor’s email to see that correspondence. Now, you’re able to see it right there in the feed and you know how that customer’s been handled and how they’ve been corresponded with.
We’re new in this, but it’s going to be game-changing for sure.
We discovered an issue on this RV that really looked like it might have been a preexisting issue. The beautiful thing about IDS is that we have those records, so we were able to look back at this customer’s service history and see that they bought it in 2014. They’d came in for service maybe once or twice, and then hadn’t been here for eight years.
With IDS we have all the information – that serial number, that customer name. All that data is in there and you would be surprised how much you need to refer back to it.
The fact that it’s there, and it’s always there, is ultra-important because to serve this customer better, we need to know when we’ve made a mistake or what their service history is.
The dealership is growing from when I started with that one store and 20 or so employees to now coming up to be six stores. I think the trajectory of the dealership and the plan is to continue to grow and add stores.
The thing is you can’t do it without a system like IDS.
We have our entire accounting team in one location, so just the fact that IDS ties all that in, it offers us the ability to add another store and another and another. I think also the fact that IDS is innovating and always trying to improve the product as well.
I would say anyone looking to start a business needs to consider their software as a very key consideration. You can’t run a business without it. You need to have it because otherwise, everything won’t be housed in one location and all that information is needed.
I don’t know that other companies would have people that are working on the project take the time out of their busy schedules to come out and show us the product in person.
I think that’s been our experience with IDS as a whole, is that they do care about their clients, and you’re not just a number to them.
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