Auto Dealership Trends 2013: Satisfying Gen Y by speeding up the payment process

How are you using innovative technology to connect with Gen Y buyers? This generation of 18-32 year-olds covet technology, yet I’m astounded by the volume of auto dealerships that are still operating the same way as 10 and even 20 years ago with respect to accepting payments. I recently visited a busy dealership in Maryland. Bustling with activity would be an apt description. Getting everyone in was fast and efficient. Checking customers out, not so much.

Service advisors work their butt off to give customers a great experience. And then what happens? Customers are sent to the dreaded cashier line where the wonderful happiness diminishes a bit more with each minute they wait, or worse, when they overhear another customer loudly complaining about a negative experience. The service advisor loses control of the future customer survey the minute the customer must interact with another employee before leaving the facility.

I understand why a dealer might hesitate to expand who accepts payments. The last thing a a business owner wants is to increase risk by having more people handling cash, credit cards and checks. Everything that person does at checkout can impact EBITDA. Yet dealers will often try to eliminate cashier lines first by allowing service advisors to accept credit cards.  The typical “innovative” web-based solution simply replaces a dial-up credit card terminal with a card reader, and doesn’t address the potential negative impact on EBITDA.  Further, each user will print an end of day report and put all the receipts in an envelope. The controller then has significantly more daily reports to reconcile,  more piles of paperwork to store, and more challenges finding receipts for customer disputes. Giving service advisors a card reader with a virtual terminal is not an innovative solution to satisfy Gen Y, nor to drive higher profitability!

Here’s how dealers using CenPOS, a cloud payment processing solution, are meeting Gen Y needs:

  • In-store, each service advisor and F&I manager has their own credit card terminal to check-out customers.  A critical differentiator, CenPOS automatically drives all customer and cashier/user actions to mitigate fraud risk, mitigate future dispute risk, and optimize interchange rate qualification, the largest expense associated with accepting credit card payments. For example, CenPOS will typically increase pin-debit vs signature debit from less than 10%, to over 75%. (See related articles for benefits.)
  • Parts managers quote prices over the phone then immediately send a request for payment via text or email. The customer clicks the link to a unique secure  web page, pre-filled with sale information for faster checkout. The customer enters payment information, or chooses a stored payment method (the TOKEN tab) if they’re a regular customer that previously saved their payment information. Pick-up or delivery is then expedited.
    rsecure equest a payment
  • Service advisors are delivering invoices via email and text to customers who want to pay before pick up. The customer can click and pay, including selecting a stored payment method.  Pick-up is expedited on arrival. During regular hours, the service advisor can quickly hand over the keys and send customers on their way.  After hours, anyone in the dealership can hand over the keys and paid invoice. This is especially helpful with dealers near colleges; college students often have parents paying the bill.

By combining a single platform for all payment acceptance points with electronic signature receipts, and remote access to all data, controllers gain efficiencies even when the number of users who accept payments grows ten-fold, or more. Satisfying Gen Y with CenPOS technology, will also satisfy operations, and ultimately, the dealer-owner.

About CenPOS “Creating efficiencies through payment innovation”
Founded in 2009, Miami-based CenPOS is a SaaS payment technology provider. CenPOS is an intelligent payment processing network that streamlines the payment experience for businesses and consumers by using state-of-the-art technology to replace inefficient, outdated payment systems.

About Christine Speedy, blog author. Christine is an authorized CenPOS reseller and has been helping automotive dealer groups improve the customer experience since CenPOS launched. Global Sales: Christine Speedy (954) 942-0483.

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