An increasing number of dealers are adopting digital retailing tools to power the car buyer journey. Sharing inventory and starting deals online allows dealerships to expand their reach and customer base, which translates into year-over-year growth of out-of-state sales.
As dealerships welcome these additional customers, they quickly discover that there’s an added level of complexity to these deals. The back-end office processes of finalizing an out-of-state deal can become a time-consuming and costly process for dealerships due to 51 unique DMV jurisdictions, 100 distinct sets of taxes and fees, 250 unique forms, and 300 possible registration and title transactions.*
In a recent video chat, Dealertrack titling specialists Jay Nieman and Liz Gunnin talked about the value of improving technology and processes between the front office and back office to better streamline deal finalization. Based on their discussion, here are some key things to consider at your dealership:
Establish user-friendly processes that empower your staff
Start by examining your mix of in-state and out-of-state customers to determine where your cross-border customers are coming from. Once you know your mix, there is an opportunity for you to create step-by-step processes for out-of-state deals that will more quickly and efficiently address these customers’ registration and titling needs.
Setting up this process requires you to obtain the relevant state-specific taxes and fees. You also need knowledge of, access to, and instructions for the proper forms needed to process the cross-border deals. Think about whether technology solutions could take the place of setting this process up manually and save you the time it takes to source forms, make phone calls to get the information state by state, and keep it updated.
Ensure you’re set up for reliable deal comparisons
Before the dealership can finalize the deal, the back office needs to work closely with the front office to complete the customer’s registration and titling work so that pricing is included in the “all-in” deal price. This involves gathering the proper documentation, taxes and fees relative to where the buyer lives to help cut down on inaccuracies and offline emails and/or phone calls with the customers. A more efficient process can result in better CSI scores.
Have the proper documentation
Because each state has different registration and titling paperwork, it’s important to be able to create a checklist for your back-office staff – and for your customer – to ensure that you are filling out all the necessary documentation. As more and more states adopt electronic registration and title (and some even mandate it), an electronic checklist tailored to each customer can help you stay up to date as changes go into effect.
Provide the same level of service for every customer
Another consideration is that you want each customer to be able to walk out the door knowing that they have given you all the information you need and signed everything that needs to be signed. Some customers may not be able to go in person to their DMV because it’s closed to the public – or they may not feel comfortable going if it’s open. Handling their registration and title process for them is one way to deliver exceptional customer service.
Consider an electronic reg & title solution
A 50-state registration and titling solution can offer online processing to help dealers eliminate the uncertainty of unfamiliar state rules and requirements. In addition to providing the necessary documents and tax rates for each state, these solutions also support refund check writing and Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments to streamline the accounting process and reduce per-deal check writing.
Other advantages to a technology solution includes DMS integration to allow the back office to pre-process transactions online. Your back office can gain tools to help estimate accurate taxes and fees and checklists to guide them toward collecting the correct customer information.
Interested in learning more? See Jay and Liz discuss how you can power your back office with tools and resources that deliver an efficient car buyer journey or download our Titling for a New Today Guide that focuses on process optimization.
*Source: Cox Automotive Internal Data