November 10, 2005, 12:00 AM

Building online CRM software for dealer service centers

Servassist is building web-based CRM software that car dealers can use to e-mail customers diagnoses along with diagrams that show suggested replacement parts.

A Michigan Internet entrepreneur is building and marketing online customer relationship management software that will help auto dealer service centers communicate more effectively with vehicle owners.

Today, most car and truck owners who use a dealer to service their vehicle make a service appointment, take the car to the dealership and then wait for the dealer to call with a repair estimate or wait in the waiting room to hear the diagnosis.

But Grant Repsher, founder of Servassist Online, believes that auto dealers can use the web, online schematics and e-mail to improve their service margins and customer relationship management programs. Servassist Online is developing web-based CRM software that enables auto dealers to send customers an e-mail with an attachment that contains greater detail on a vehicle repair or service update.

Servassist Online is building customized CRM software that includes the vehicle service and equipment specifications for about two dozen original equipment manufacturers. Dealers who acquire the web-based software can use templates and simple schematics to write up their service or repair diagnosis and then e-mail the customer the diagnosis along with diagrams that show suggested replacement parts and an illustration of how the parts would be installed. For example a customer requesting a quote or a diagnosis on replacing brake pads would receive an e-mail from the dealer with a description of the service to be perform, the repair estimate and a diagram that shows what parts of the owner’s brake system would be repaired.

“There has always been an inherently adversarial situation between service departments and car owners,” Repsher says. “This product allows a platform for discussing car repairs and maintenance and allows dealers to provide better customer service.

Servassit Online’s software, which costs between $300 and $900 to install plus a $100 or more monthly licensing fee, is currently being used by Fred Lavery Co., a Birmingham, MI, automotive dealership.


“Studies show that a 5% increase in service customer retention can increase a dealer’s revenues by 25%, but Servassist is as much about improving the relationship between customers and dealerships as it is about boosting their business,” Repsher says.



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