Sticky content for car service wait areas a good notion

June 25, 2010 by Dave Haynes

I like companies that figure out they need to find a niche and go hard at it, rather than scrapping away with a general offer against a mob of competitors. So someone who decides to develop something tailored specifically to auto dealerships and their customer service waiting areas gets my attention.

The guys at Toronto-based VenueVision started off as a DOOH play in arenas and airports and discovered the hard way what great fun it is to sell advertising in a fledgling medium. For the last few years the guys have turned their attention much more to fee for service work, and have developed services tuned to the auto dealer market.

There’s a piece in Canadian Auto World magazine that runs through what they do, and VenueVision president David Kinnear sent me a PDF copy.

The story likens what the company does for auto dealers to FIDS arrivals and departures boards in airports.

VenueVision Media Systems (VVMS) has applied that principal to the car dealership: Called a service vehicle status board, monitors throughout the store broadcast service appointment times and the service status of the vehicles being worked on in the service department. Should the vehicle need more work than anticipated, the change of status notice flashes. The board tells the customer when their vehicle is ready.

This information can also be sent by email or text to the customer and it’s on display at the dealership’s website.

VVMS installed one of its systems at Roadsport Honda in late May. Twenty-one screens located throughout the store, including the drive-thru and the customers’ lounge, relay service information to the customer. Interspersed with this information is a variety of product information from the OEM about new models, finance rates and specials as well as products and service specials the dealership wants passed on to the customer and live TV featuring weather, news, stock ticker information.

Just about any software platform can put all that weather, news and stocks crap on screens (don’t get me started on why they bother), but the secret sauce here is the integration with the back office service desk systems from ADP, Reynolds & Reynolds, Serti DMS, DealerTrack and others. THAT takes months of time and investment, and I am not aware of other companies in the DS space that have done that work. Maybe Wireless Ronin???

I like the integration with email and Web, as well. Smart. Your service is not an extra at that point. It’s part of dealer ops.

This is sticky content – stuff on a screen that people will look at over and over, and it makes the dealer promotions and other advertising (if there is any) more likely to be seen than if there is just syndicated feeds for information people can now get in countless other ways.

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