According to F&I Management & Technology's F&I Factors for 2008, time spent in F&I increased by 9.1 minutes with a test drive and 16.1 minutes without a test drive. Sure, there are more F&I products than ever, a more difficult loan approval process and additional information security requirements, but what impact will this have on CSI? What customer wants to spend almost an hour in F&I?
With all the pressures on time, an efficient e-contracting system can help reduce time in F&I and increase CSI and profits ... and it doesn't have to make your life complicated! By evaluating services that can be used on a stand-alone basis or combined for a more comprehensive solution, dealerships can create tailored e-contracting solutions that don’t have to break the bank.
With cost cut-backs and technology learning curves, not every operation can have the latest and greatest e-contracting system. In addition, what at first seems to be a customized solution may just turn out to be a well-marketed, one-size-fits-all product.
The good news? There isn't just one way to integrate customer, product, rate and classification data. Reducing form inventories, eliminating re-keying and simplifying the signing process can reduce labor and save you and the customer time. In addition, by tying it into a menu presentation system, it could actually help increase F&I revenue.
E-forms are at the core of e-contracting. Many F&I partners already provide online forms or fillable PDFs. While these forms can usually integrate into a DMS or e-menu, they can also be used on a stand-alone basis — integrated with a simple signature pad and laser printer. Many systems are able to generate pre-populated forms with something as simple as a deal number, so any sized operation should be able to easily implement e-contracting.
By integrating an e-menu or even something like COINdata’s docuPAD, which creates a multimedia selling environment, customers may respond better to the F&I selling process. Having an educational, interactive system puts the customer in control. Then, when the deal is complete, hassles are eliminated because customers no longer have to sign multiple copies of forms.
E-contracting is in full force, but use it to your benefit, not to drain your budget. Work with you F&I partners to make sure you have a solution that makes sense for your operation.