In 1983, Tom Shankie purchased the Ford franchise located on South Monroe Street, and over the past 25 years he, his family, and the staff at the dealership have sold many vehicles, serviced vehicles and supported the community. In 2002, having outgrown the Monroe Street facility, Friendly Ford built a new, state of the art dealership on North Telegraph Road.
The company has seen many changes in the auto industry, and computerization of the dealership is one of them. We talked with Nicole Ernst, vice-president of the dealership, about how the company uses computers and the business benefits they’ve experienced since choosing Tech Experts for their computer and network services.
“We use our computers to determine what the customer’s payments will be for financing or leasing the car, we also input all customer information so that all of the customer’s paper work prints out correctly with their information,” explained Nicole. “We use the computers to communicate with the financing institutions, to manage customer follow-up after the sale, and to respond to Internet customers.”
Tech Experts installed a Microsoft Small Business Server network and IBM/Lenovo workstations for each of the dealership’s employees. Staff have access to the Internet for work related browsing and access to the dealership’s management software .
“We also use the network in the service department,” continued Nicole. “Customer information can be easily recalled if they have done business with us before. The service advisor can simply type the customer’s concerns into the computer and, while working on the vehicle the mechanic can communicate with the advisor about repairs.”
“When we decided to purchase our own hardware and instead of employing an “IT” person to contract an outside company to provide maintenance and service for that hardware I called many different places,” Nicole explained. “I started in the phone book and called a few companies that were referred to me.”
“I really hate to say that reducing our expenses is a “value added” service, but as we experience some of the worst economic times in history it does tend to stand out in one’s mind,” Nicole explained. “Tech Experts came in with a full bound proposal with at least three different options for me, the other company walked in with one sheet of paper with a large number on it.”
“I felt that Tech Experts did an excellent job listening to me when they made their first visit. They came back with a proposal that was well thought out, they knew I had expenditure concerns , and they kept that in mind when putting together all of my options.”
“They also knew that I was going to need a lot of assistance with getting this started and completed and a company that would follow up with good support after the installation. They went above and beyond, for example: when I stated that I used a management system for all of the dealership operations, they asked who it was and asked for a phone number to contact someone for more information and to ask their own questions. The other company didn’t even ask who we used or what the whole system was about or why we needed it.”
Nicole concluded, “Tech Experts truly cares about each one of their clients. They established a personal working relationship me because that is what I needed. They understand that it is important for me to not have to know every working aspect of my computer system so that I can concentrate my efforts towards taking care of my customers.”
For more information about Friendly Ford, call (734) 243-6000, or visit www.YourFriendlyFord.com.