Excerpts from Automotive News
March 16, 2009
Reynolds CEO to dealers: Let us help
Services for retailers aim to cut costs, draw customers

Reynolds is pursuing a four-pronged strategy to help dealers survive the deepening recession. Major efforts include helping dealerships develop digital marketing, consulting on search engine marketing and managing customer retention initiatives.

Reynolds introduced its new services at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in January (2009) in New Orleans. Reynolds CEO Bob Brockman discussed [them] during an interview.

Managed Marketing Solutions offer dealerships an outsourced service to build customer relationships. For 25 years, Reynolds has created software to help dealerships stay in contact with customers. But in a hectic showroom the job often is ignored because maintaining customer connections has no immediate payoff, Brockman says. Dealership pay plans do not help, he says, because they reward cars sold and repair orders written, not how many birthday cards were sent to customers.

"Dealerships want to be able to contract with somebody that will focus on just doing that and making sure it gets done," Brockman says. "That will supply the consistency that's really needed to make those programs successful."

General Manager Exception Reporting uncovers profit leaks. The software can monitor more than 60 critical areas of dealership operations and report deviations from norms. For example, the software can flag discounts over a specified amount given by the service department cashier, or point out that parts counter workers are overriding the prescribed price on a part.

"It reads everything every night," Brockman says. "It is a massively busy program. It looks at literally hundreds of thousands of details. It looks for things that are out of whack."

He designed General Manager for his POWER dealership management system in 1985. That version has been updated over the years, often with suggestions from dealers. Now the software is available for Reynolds' ERA system. A key feature lets dealers define preferences and set guidelines and variance levels for the reported business exceptions.

"A dealership in a lot of respects is like a leaky ship," he says. "To think that everything goes right every day that's not a reasonable assumption."