Outdoor Travel Improves Customer Service and Communication with IDS Astra G2

Outdoor Travel RV DealerEstablished in 1992 by owner Ken Whiting, Outdoor Travel has grown to become a premier RV dealer in Canada’s Golden Horseshoe region.  Through good employees and good customer service, the Hamilton, ON, dealership has made great strides in both its service and customer relationship management to create the best possible experience for anyone who comes through the door.

We recently spoke with service manager, Scott Mahon, to discuss how the dealership maintains its success and the new technology it’s put in place to provide the best in service.

IDS: What do you think sets Outdoor Travel apart from the competition?

Scott: “I’d say it’s providing good values to our customers. It’s also the people who work for us.  We have a good team, good customer service, and we’re organized.”

IDS: How is IDS helping you with providing good customer service?

Scott: “It keeps us organized and helps with our daily business processes. It helps keep us on track and measure how we are doing both financially and performance-wise. When a customer phones in, you can look up the work order and you can see all the technician notes without having to fumble through paperwork. We fought with different systems before IDS. If you are disorganized when a customer calls or comes in, it’s a nightmare. So IDS helps with these kind of things.”

IDS: When did you start using IDS?

Scott: “We’ve used it since 2005. We switched to G2 when it first came out. The blue screen was a good program.  But from user standpoint, trying look up work orders and what’s being done was rather tedious because you had to go to different screens to see. With G2 it’s all on one screen. You just click the different tabs and everything is right there in front of you. It’s a lot better.”

IDS: What are your favorite features in G2?

Scott: “I think the parts and service sections are great!  I like the technician job screens and how they are able to punch in to all of their jobs.  It really helps keep track of their overall productivity and whether they are working on billable or non-billable work.”

IDS: Have you ever tried to gauge your ROI with the service scheduler?

Scott: “We haven’t really done that, but we know it helps with efficiency for sure.  It helps the service advisors get more work done. The more information you have for your service advisor, the more successful you are. G2 really helps us with that.”

IDS: You visited Hilltop Trailer Sales, a fellow G2 user. How did that visit go and what did you learn?

Scott: “It was great!  We learned how we can get more out of the system. For example, we saw them using tablets in the shop, which was a new thing to us.  So we decided to add tablets so technicians can punch into their jobs and the units that they are working on. It’s great because they can take pictures of the problems they encounter in the units and email those pictures to our warranty person who can email them back authorizations, which is just tremendous.  Previously there was a lot of work involved with warranties. The tech would have to punch in and out of their job in the computer located in the shop somewhere, come in and talk to the warranty person about the problem, get a camera go take pictures, bring the camera back, and finally load the images on the computer. It greatly improves our efficiency.”

IDS:  You implemented IDS CRM.  How has that integration benefitted your dealership?

Scott: “I think CRM is very important and the benefits are just tremendous. The salespeople have all of their follow-ups in there. After the follow-ups, they schedule their next activity and it could be for five days, a week, a month, or a year later. The system has great reports that shows them who to call. So when they come to work, as long as they have scheduled their activities, they just print out the report and do their follow-ups. It helps them stay on top of their customers and it helps in the closing ratios.”

IDS: Are you doing any marketing through CRM?

Scott: “We’ve started to and we are also developing work flows for the salespeople so they can have automated email responses to different situations, different types of leads, and customer quality. The system can follow-up with the customers and the salespeople will know what the computer is doing. It allows them to do their job and gives them a better chance of closing the sale. It’s just more professional and I think it gives you an edge if you have those kinds of processes in place.”

IDS: Is mobile technology an important trend for you?

Scott: “We haven’t made that jump yet. As we add these tablets in the shop, we’ve been talking about the different things we can do in sales, which would involve the mobile app. I think it’s really exciting and IDS has a lot of good ideas as far as mobile technology is concerned.”

IDS: Would you recommend IDS to other dealers?

Scott: “For sure!  There are a lot of different solutions out there, but we’ve had great success with IDS. IDS being totally integrated is really nice.  The efficiencies are good and they have great reports to tell you how you are doing in all departments. I would recommend it to any dealer that doesn’t have a system like this in place.”

IDS: What advice would you give to someone who is looking at dealer management software?

Scott: “Talk to other dealers and find out how they like the system. Get demos of the systems and see how it functions, how the transactions happen in different departments, and how those transactions flow through the box. Get different staff members involved, especially your bookkeeper and controller, so they can understand how it works in their department. You also need to look at the reports that each system provides and talk to other dealers to see how they like the system.”

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