Customer Management is a strategic approach for planning, steering and processing customer interactions. The overall goals of effective and efficient customer management are to win new customers, to retain those the company already has, to reestablish relationship with former customers, and to reduce the costs of customer service. The automotive retail business is strongly focusing on customer centricity because customer acquisition and customer retention will grow automotive revenue. How many new customers a Sales Representative should win? How many prospects should be converted into customers? Customer Management is not only important for the sales department. Customer Management is an integral part of all dealership’s departments. In the automotive business it is said: The first vehicle is sold by sales department and all others from within Service.
On the basis of the SAP Dealer Business Management Application Release 7.0 (SAP DBM 7.0 -> see also the Blog What’s new with SAP DBM 7.0 from Martin Ebert) I would like to point out the most important enhancements and benefits such as
- Easy and efficient to use cockpit for the Sales Representative and the Service Advisor
- 360° view on customer and vehicle information
- Minimized time for customer master maintenance
- Reduced time to collect all customer information, to prepare customer interaction
- Reduced time to document customer interaction and trigger follow-up activities
- Minimized risk of lost revenue by identifying customers’ value.
1. The Customer Cockpit for the Sales Representative
The Sales Representative and assigned business processes are supported by the newly introduced customer cockpit within SAP DBM 7.0. The following customer information is available within the cockpit:
- General address, communication, and marketing information
- Sales relevant customer information, e.g. currency, pricing relevant data, tax information
- Finance relevant customer information, e.g. payment terms
- DBM relevant customer information, e.g. owned vehicles
- Relationships, e.g. has contact person
- The general, sales and finance relevant information are only visible after selecting the certain customer Role, e.g. customer or vendor
The cockpit has an easy to use user interface and is further useful for Sales Representatives and Sales Managers because they can carry out preparatory and follow-up activities for their sales calls or visits. The cockpit offers follow-up processes with a Quick Create functionality for vehicle model quotations, and activities or complaints.
A Sales Representative prepares for a customer visit and calls up the relevant customer data within the customer cockpit in order to see the current relationship status. After searching for the customer with either the name, address data or license plate number, all customer information can be gathered from the customers Fact Sheet within the DBM data (see also Chapter 4). The following picture shows the DBM customer cockpit with DBM data:
The Sales Representative can check the Interaction History (last contacts) for when the last contact took place with the customer. In the Order History all orders which are assigned to this customer and the credit limit are displayed. Here, the Sales Representative is able to jump into the several orders and is able to quickly create an order or quotation. One can also get an overview about the Vehicles the customer is assigned to and can check all relevant vehicle data quickly. Here, the vehicle creation process is also possible. The Sales Representative can jump into the vehicle master easily in order to check comprehensive data or to trigger vehicle related actions. The Sales Representative gets an overview about all Activities & Complaints assigned to the customer. It is also possible to jump into complaints and activities e.g. in order to change them. The Quick Create functionality enables the end-user to create an activity or complaint directly out of the customer cockpit.
In the context of customer processing, customers can be understood as companies or organizations, e.g. fleet customers, but also as individuals and consumers that have a relationship with your company. In case of a fleet customer, the end-user can define a contact person within the customer cockpit.
In order to minimize the risk of losing revenue, customers with bad payment habits can be blocked out of the customer cockpit.
2. The Order Cockpit for the Service Advisor
Within the order cockpit the Service Advisor can trigger all customer, vehicle and order related actions. The end-user can quickly get an overview about the customer data via the Fact Sheet. Within SAP DBM 7.0 we enhanced the customer management functionality with a Quick Create customer feature. Furthermore during the order processing the Service Advisor is able to update the address and communication data of the customer for either the order or for the customer data base. The Service Advisor can easily create a sales activity or a complaint out of the order cockpit or directly out of the order (see also chapter 5). The following picture shows the DBM order cockpit with selected orders from a customer:
3. Customer Quick Create Functionality
Within the customer Quick Create feature the system automatically completes the customer master based on the determined reference customer master for the responsible organization with sales, purchase, and financial data. This is new in SAP DBM 7.0. For example the Sales Representative creates a new customer master within the customer cockpit by entering the address, communication, and marketing data of the customer. The system automatically maintains sales and financial customer data if the Sales Representative wants to trigger the order or vehicle creation process out of this customer cockpit. The new customer Quick Create functionality is also available out of the cash desk, and during the new vehicle sales and within the vehicle trade-in process.
4. Customer Fact Sheet and Memo Pad
The real secret of a modern customer centered business is to have real-time customer information available at all times. This is the well-known 360° view on the customer, which documents the relationship between the dealership and the end-customer. The Customer Fact Sheet is a one page overview of the most important customer master and business data. The hyperlink navigation enables the end-user to reach all documents. The Fact Sheet can be reached from the most important transactions within SAP DBM 7.0. The following picture displays the standard content objects within a customer fact sheet:
The Memo Pad is a one-page overview of the customer, focused on the business transaction on which the Sales Representative or Service Advisor is working, e.g., service order or vehicle sales order. For Example, the Service Advisor is creating a service order out of the order cockpit. After searching the customer and vehicle and entering the organizational and order type data, the Service Advisor confirms the entries. The Memo Pad which is customized for the service process pops up for checking the current status. After confirming the Memo Pad, the Service Advisor reaches the service order and can trigger further actions.
5. Activity and Complaint Processing
Activity and Complaint Management can be used in each phase of the DBM process, which is new in SAP DBM 7.0. It is fully integrated within all DBM business transactions, e. g. in the customer and order cockpit. The Service Advisor can also create activities and complaints with reference to a DBM order. This simplifies the creation since all of the data, such as customer and vehicle will be taken from the referenced order. In addition it is now possible to create an order out of the sales activity or complaint. The following picture shows a sales activity:
An activity or complaint is used to quickly record information resulting from interaction between customers during the customer relationship life cycle. Activities are subdivided into business activities and follow-up tasks. They include telephone calls, customer visits, preparatory tasks, and private reminders. A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction that a customer makes in relation to a service or the vehicle itself. Complaints are subdivided into complaint activities and tasks. The activity and complaint processing include a wide range of features and functions. In general, you can use the functionality, to:
- Describe a problem and identify the affected reference objects (e.g. vehicle)
- Record the names of all persons (customers) who are involved with the problem
- Define processing parameters for the activity (for example, assigning a priority to the activity and specifying a time range within which the problem should be resolved )
- Specify the tasks and assign a responsible person
- Monitor the execution of tasks through a status management function with workflow integration
6. Create Model Quotation out of the Customer Cockpit
Within SAP DBM 7.0 the Sales Representative can now create a quotation based on a vehicle model without creation of a vehicle master. In case of a customer’s interest the Sales Representative first checks all orders within the customer cockpit and navigates to the order details if necessary. One can quickly create a vehicle quotation by selecting the order type and the vehicle model. Organizational and customer data will be taken over automatically. If the customer master is not completed with sales and financial data the system automatically completes the customer master during order processing (à see also chapter 3).
An existing vehicle or a newly created vehicle will be assigned to the quotation at a later point in the process. After the customer acceptance of the quotation the Sales Representative can search for an existing vehicle based on the selected model and option data in the quotation and can assign this vehicle to the quotation. In case the desired vehicle is not in stock based on the quotation items a new vehicle can be created out of the customer cockpit. The model quotation can be triggered out of the vehicle master and out of the order cockpit as well.
SAP Dealer Business Management Application, Release 7.0, is a customer centric solution which enables automotive retail organizations to drive cross-organizational, cross-departmental, processes efficiently & effectively in the way a modern customer would expect.