One vendor is re-orienting its focus to mobile and social for the coming year.
Organizational agility is a major technology priority for finance companies, according to Jonathon Dodds, chief executive officer for the Americas, at White Clarke Group.
“There are a million different ways of describing it, but essentially the ability to be able to change and react to the market conditions quickly,” Dodds said. “The single biggest thing I think that people are looking for at the moment is that organizational agility and having some control, themselves, over their technology, so they can adapt to the changing pace of the market to launch new product and initiatives quickly.”
Being able to make increasingly fast credit decisions has also become a priority among banks, Dodds said. Banks rely on price points to make the deal and don’t benefit from the built-in relationships and advantages with dealers that captives have.
“If the dealer is pushing something out, especially through Dealertrack where it’s firing out to four or five different financial institutions, usually the one that gets back first, if they’re in the right sort of price range, wins the deal,” Dodds told Auto Finance News. “So the speed of that decision, and making it a more automated decision, as far as possible, rather than having manual intervention where it takes minutes instead of seconds, is one of the key differentiators for the banks.”
To that end, in reaction to their clients’ current interests, White Clarke has turned its focus to social media and mobile for the New Year.
“There’s a lot of talk around social media and people are wondering what the real direct relevance of it is,” Dodds said. “So that’s one of the areas that we’ve seen some traction and some interest in, that we’re looking at.”
A prototype that will be deployed at a captive in New York soon, Dodds said, monitors Twitter feeds, and then uses a rules component to evaluate the nature of a particular tweet. For example, Dodds explained, complaints will be pushed in one direction to be dealt with, while tweets of interest will get pushed towards a salesperson.
It is also no secret that finding a way to capture the Millennial generation’s interest and interact with them has been a focus for many lenders. Mobile features and smartphones may be a way to sell to the younger generation, Dodds, said who don’t want to visit a dealership or be brought into a finance office.
“The intent is to link into a dealer group or a captive and search for a vehicle,” Dodds said, “then choose a particular vehicle, know what’s in stock, get a quote and be in a position to go to the dealer and do a test drive and just sign the paperwork.”
As for what the future holds for technology and auto lending, White Clarke has some ambitious ideas of how future generations could shop for cars.
“Fast forward a few years, and you’ve been looking for a vehicle, you see one drive by and you say to yourself, that’s actually pretty nice, I wouldn’t mind one of those, but I have no idea what that costs,’” Dodds said. “So you take a little picture with your smartphone or Google glasses and through the app that sits behind that, there’s then some recognition software.”
The software would then be able to pull inventory information on the vehicle, locate that model on a lot near the consumer’s location, pair it with the customer’s credit information, and generate monthly payments, all before the consumer visits a dealership.
“So it’s trying to link in with that whole experience of seeing something, wanting to buy it,” Dodds said. “And taking it to the next stage of actually getting it as qualified lead in to that dealer, finance pre-approved, and bringing that whole piece together.”