GM Custom Mobile App Helps Earn Customer Trust - InformationWeek
Government // Mobile & Wireless
05:15 PM
Connect Directly

GM Custom Mobile App Helps Earn Customer Trust

General Motors IT group developed a mobile app that helps salespeople access car data quickly and engage better with potential buyers. One of seven profiles of IW 500 Business Innivation Award winners.

2013 InformationWeek 500
See our full InformationWeek 500 ranking plus more profiles and analysis

For pretty much as long as they've existed, car salespeople have battled consumer distrust.

General Motors is using technology to try to overcome this skepticism and also improve showroom efficiency. In January, the company launched its Dealer Sales Assistant (DSA) app for iOS and Android tablets, and dealers have deployed the sales tool to more than 8,000 U.S.-based GM sales associates.

With a few taps, the app lets sales consultants access information that includes vehicle inventory, specs, accessories, trim packages and towing capacity. The goal of putting that information on a phone or tablet was to "get sales representatives closer to the customer, out from behind the desk," says Les Copeland, CIO for GM North America IT.

Before DSA, salespeople would gather this information from paper-based and PC sources. Time spent assembling the material gives would-be customers a chance to walk away.

DSA also addresses moments when consumer distrust is likely to rear up -- like when a customer sits across a desk from a sales associate, staring at the back of a monitor and not seeing what the associate sees. It's a different dynamic if the sales rep hands a shopper a tablet as they walk around the dealership. Dealers have viewed more than 700,000 pages on the app through late August.

DSA shifts the customer-sales rep dynamic
DSA shifts the customer-sales rep dynamic

The mobile app development work itself wasn't all that hard, Copeland says. The hard work was making sure the app presented the right data -- "not displaying 1,000 different things, but only the most important things," he says. GM developers spent time with salespeople and customers to learn what information's essential, so a salesperson isn't clicking around on an app as a hot prospect scoots out the door. "The difference between selling a vehicle or not can be seconds," Copeland says.

DSA is an example of the kind of new, business-driving apps GM must deliver more of to make its massive IT insourcing effort pay off. GM is going from 90% outsourced IT to 90% insourced, betting that employees will know the business better and move faster than an outsourced workforce. Copeland considers this app just the start of strengthening the relationship among GM, dealerships and customers. The company is considering ambitious plans such as using data to personalize the dealership experience much like a Web retailer personalizes a user's experience. "How do we make sure we know who the customers are, the minute they get onto the lot?" Copeland asks. "It means managing customers across all our environments, from purchasing vehicles to getting service."

Go to the InformationWeek 500 - 2013 homepage

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
9/9/2013 | 6:47:37 PM
re: GM Custom Mobile App Helps Earn Customer Trust
I've been putting off buying a car for months, partly because I'm busy and partly because I've been dreading the experience. But I have to say, this is a good idea.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Cybersecurity Strategies for the Digital Era
At its core, digital business relies on strong security practices. In addition, leveraging security intelligence and integrating security with operations and developer teams can help organizations push the boundaries of innovation.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll