GM is in the process of getting as many of its roughly 4,100 U.S. retailers that operate dealer websites as possible to connect their dealership management systems to the company's online applications such as service scheduling. The idea is to create continuity across brands for customer-facing websites and apps.
So far, 32 percent of the dealerships have agreed to that integration. Another 46 percent have a "stand-alone" configuration for appointment hours, available services and other features but are not fully DMS integrated. Another option offers an entry-level request form that provides leads for dealers to contact a customer.
The automaker isn't looking to take control of dealership websites, given that many dealers also have non-GM franchises, but rather implement common tools for services such as scheduling.
For several years, IT officials have worked with dealerships to integrate their DMS with a servicing tool that allows customers to schedule appointments online without any human assistance.
"We're really ramping up and pushing and focusing on DMS mode because it's great for them, and it's really great for customers," Darren Meeks, a domain director whose team runs service experience and e-commerce operations, said during a demonstration of the service tool at a GM IT center in Austin, Texas.
"We want to get rid of the request form because this is ideal," Meeks said. "The majority of our dealers are using a DMS that has the ability to do this."
GM has partnered with seven DMS providers, including CDK Global and Reynolds and Reynolds, in the U.S. to integrate the systems. Each dealership still must sign off on the integration.
Zach Grantham, a GM senior development manager responsible for a lot of the service-lane activity, said the team has consistently worked with dealers and molded options of the tool to fit their critiques — from making sure lunch breaks aren't included in scheduling times to customers being able to choose service technicians by their photos.
"Every GM dealer is different," Grantham said. "There's a step-by-step configuration approach that gives dealers options."