American Business Center
Randy Greenhaw remembers only too well how things were at American Business Center before the dealership made the switch to e-automate from ECi Software Solutions. “It was like trying to ride a motorcycle at 100 mph with your eyes closed,” he says with a wry smile. “Getting reports out of the system was not always easy and we never had much confidence in the data we were getting.”
Things weren’t any better on the service front. “A customer would call in with a question about an invoice and someone would have to go looking through hard copy files before they could get them an answer. It was a waste of valuable staff time and a source of frustration for our customers that they had to wait for the information they wanted.”
Prior experience with e-automate business management software
As a long-time user of e-automate at his previous dealership, Randy knew it didn’t have to be that way and as director of administration for the Youngstown, Ohio-based Ricoh dealership, he was ideally positioned to do something about it.
Even better, Bob Wagner, his boss at ABC, was more than ready for a change. Bob had seen a demo of e-automate at a Ricoh dealer meeting and talked to several other dealers about their own experiences with the system. What he heard was more than enough to give the move to e-automate a green light and Randy started planning for the conversion.
For many small businesses, bringing in new management software can be one of the most stressful undertakings they face but not this time.
Transition process to e-automate was smooth
“I would have to give the e-automate team an ‘A’ for their work on our move,” Randy says. “One of their conversion specialists took care of transferring the data from our old system and other than some very minor tweaks, it all went very smoothly. Quite literally, we experienced zero down time when we made the switch to e-automate.”
And once the new system was up and running, the e-automate team maintained that high service level. “I can’t say enough good things about e-automate’s technical support,” Randy reports happily. “When you call in with a question, you usually get an answer right away and if they can’t take care of you immediately, they’ll get back to you within 24 hours. And not only are the e-automate service team very clearly experts on the system, but they don’t leave you feeling like an idiot for calling and that’s also a big plus!”
Positive results after switching to e-automate
What’s been even better since the change has been the impact e-automate has had at the dealership.
“We have so much more visibility into how we’re doing as a company since we made the switch to e-automate,” says Randy. “Information is far easier to access and there’s a level of confidence in the data we’re getting from e-automate that we just did not have before the change.”
It doesn’t hurt, either, that e-automate is a whole lot easier to learn than ABC’s old system. “I can get new hires up to speed on the basics of e-automate in just about 15 minutes and they’re usually pretty much fluent and self-sufficient after the first two weeks,” he says.
Now, when a customer calls in with a question, the information needed for the answer is literally just a few keystrokes away and all that time spent looking through hard copy files is just a distant memory.
Management now knows where they’re making money and where they’re not. Just about every activity at the dealership leaves a trail of some kind within e-automate and the information, says Randy, is robust and reliable.
In an industry that is constantly changing, it’s also a big plus, he points out, to have a technology partner that is looking to upgrade the system and keep it responsive to dealer needs. “As an e-automate user, we really appreciate the way their engineers are continually reviewing the system and looking to add enhancements and new functionality,” says Randy.
“Making the move to e-automate was very much an investment in our future growth,” he explains. “e-automate is a key reason why even though we’ve posted double-digit sales growth every year since we made the change, we haven’t needed to add to our headcount. e-automate has made us more productive as a dealership across the board; it’s enabled us to take customer service to the next level, and it’s providing the foundation we need to understand what’s happening in our dealership and keep sales and profitability growing.”