V-SEPT Helps Dealers Manage Customer Relationships

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During the good years, many dealers invested in an electronic traffic log to manage the large volume of people walking in. Today, many of these same dealers are suffering from showroom full of units but void of people. As these dealers and (hopefully) their OEMs create marketing programs to bring people back, they're realizing the true value of all that contact information they've collected.

What about you? Are you still using a paper traffic log system? If so, it may be time to reconsider. Why pay for all that labor — just for something inferior?

Two electronic systems often used and praised by Top 100 dealers are Traffic Log Pro and FUSS. Another player that has been growing in popularity for the past four years is V-SEPT. Dealernews spoke with founder James Vaughn about what the Tampa, Fla.-based company offers, how much it costs, and the integration it forged last year with ADP Lightspeed.

More than 7,000 salespeople in dealerships across the country use the Web-based V-SEPT system. Surprisingly, more than 100 of these dealers are Harley dealers, even though the Motor Co. offers its own CRM tool. "In terms of technology, features and functionality," Vaughn says, "Harley-Davidson's Connect product is about three years behind us." He also points out that more than 250 Harley dealers use Lightspeed.

The setup fee for V-SEPT is $900. The base monthly subscription fee starts at $350. This covers the traffic log and the system's follow-up capabilities. Free tech support is available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern Time. V-SEPT also offers free training for customers every first or third Wednesday of every month.

Updates that occur every 90 days are also free. Because the system is Web-based, it works on mobile devices such as Web-enabled cell phones.

Colby Richardson is marketing manager for Top 100 dealer Family Powersports in Lubbock, Texas. "V-SEPT generates different thank-you surveys," he says. "We use about 10 of them that we send out on a daily basis. We have to go in there manually and send out the e-mails, but all the information is collected for us. It's all pretty user-friendly."

Additional V-SEPT features cost extra. The V-Pulse module, for starters, costs an additional $500 to $1,500 per month depending on volume. It cues up all the customer contact information to be used by a call center. Users of V-Pulse can check off each call, make notes and score customers. Then they can print out reports saying how many calls were made and completed, and what the customers said. If you don't already have or use a call center, you can request a quote from Alliance or Applied Concepts, both of which have integrated with V-SEPT so that data can be sent to them automatically.

Another module allows V-SEPT to integrate with your telephone system so that it can record how long each sales call lasts. "It really keeps the sales guys honest," Vaughn says. "Because if they noted in the traffic log that they called somebody, the manager can look to see that a call was made and how long it lasted."

Price book integrations with Black Book and NADA each cost $18 per month.

VWebSmart allows for the integration with websites hosted by ARI, 50 Below, PowerSports Network and others. Online leads are automatically downloaded into the system.

PowersportsTV.com generates leads through various sources such as trade shows, websites and mailers. V-SEPT distributes the leads for same price as the PowersportsTV.com itself does: $9.95 per individual lead, or a volume-discounted amount for batches.

V-SEPT's latest partnership is with ADP Lightspeed. Dealers who already have V-SEPT when they obtain LightspeedNXT pay a $95-per-month integration fee. For $350 per month, LightspeedNXT users also can add a CRM module to their system that's powered by V-SEPT.

Vaughn says the Lightspeed executives were a little skeptical at first because of all the CRM companies that have tried to enter the powersports industry and failed. "I told them the difference between us is we're very well funded. I've got 25 years of high-technology background, and I know how to integrate with other systems. That's where CRM systems have failed in the past: Other applications on the market are standalone software, where V-SEPT integrates with all the other systems in a dealership to provide a single CRM solution."

Richardson of Family Powersports says the great thing about the LightspeedNXT integration is that it allows the store to collect customer information from P&A receipts and service repair orders. Service customers automatically receive a survey asking them to rate the department on a scale of 1 to 10. (In addition, the V-Service module allows service writers and managers to schedule service appointments for customers. A reminder text message or e-mail is sent to them.)

V-SEPT also has a plug-in customer loyalty product that integrates with Lightspeed and Talon. Customers automatically receive points for every dollar they spend at the dealership. Customers can view online how many points they've earned and see their most recent purchases. They can then print a coupon or gift certificate to redeem at the dealership. Managers can digitally market to customers based on their buying habits.

Check out the V-SEPT website (www.v-sept.com) for several other integrations and options not mentioned here, along with a rundown on what on-site an online training services the company offers.

FUTURE PLANS: OEM TOOLS

V-SEPT also signed a deal last year with Piaggio Group, which is the first company to sign up for V-SEPT's new suite of OEM tools. Vaughn hopes other vehicle distributors will follow suit.

Piaggio Group uploads all its promotions to V-SEPT so that salespeople learn about them immediately. At least one other technology company, PSN, has aggregated OEM promotions, but V-SEPT goes an extra step. "It not only will tell the manufacturer if it was read by the salespeople and managers," Vaughn says, "it will also report back whether they understood the content of the message."

Another OEM tool is the ability to publish new-unit information using rich media such as videos. "So when Piaggio comes out with its new scooter, it can send out a five-point sales video," Vaughn says. "The sales guy clicks on it, and it's a 60-second video explaining the five major points he should remember about the scooter."

Finally, V-SEPT allows the Piaggio Group to distribute the leads it collects from its consumer websites. Vaughn explains: "Our product automatically distributes the leads to the dealership community. Each one pops up on the salesperson's dashboard as a hot lead from the manufacturer. If the salesperson doesn't do anything with it for three days, then it's automatically pulled and given to a different dealership in the area. And as soon as somebody clicks on it, then they claim the lead. It's reported back to Piaggio who claimed the lead, how many leads were sent to them that month, and how many people actually followed up with those leads."