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How Electronic Key Control Helps Combat Dealerships’ Top Challenges

It’s tough finding the budget to prioritize all your dealership’s challenges, from employee retention to customer satisfaction to compliance. However, even if you do invest money in one of these areas, there is a common denominator that could be worsening each of these challenges and putting your investments on the line. That denominator is key control.

Consider the role key control plays in the following three areas.


Employee Retention

For many employees — especially salespeople and service advisors — time is money. Anything that extends the sales process longer impacts their earning potential. Unfortunately, only 49 percent of business owners are taking advantage of business process automation. Dealership employees are often required to perform manual tasks such as filling out key control logs. To save time, employees tend to take a key without completing the log. If anyone else needs that key, they have to spend time searching for it.

When your employees have to cope with longer processes, they have to deal with more frustrated customers, which can increase the employee’s stress level. These factors alone are enough to cause them to look for another job. A 10-point increase in turnover will cost you around $50,000 annually.   

Electronic key control systems offer features that allow employees to do their jobs more efficiently, including CRM integration, electronic key log updates and work order tracking. These capabilities increase employees’ earning potential and reduce frustration, making them want to stick around longer.


Customer Satisfaction

When you’re constantly onboarding new associates, it’s difficult to prioritize customers. Turnover not only creates a lack of continuity for customers, it also creates a breakdown in processes. New associates are more prone to mistakes like misplacing keys or failing to update a key control log. These errors force other staff members to take longer serving customers, which makes a negative impression on the consumer — especially in the sales department. When customers are buying cars, satisfaction is at its highest within the first 90 minutes on the day of purchase. That number begins declining once time spent goes beyond the 1.5 hour mark. Every minute counts.

Incidentally, after you’ve implemented tools to make employees happier (like CRM integration, automatic key logging, work order tracking and more), they’ll be more motivated to meet customers’ needs. Your customers will also appreciate not having to wait while sales reps and service advisors track down keys.



Retaining employees and keeping customers happy is even more complicated when you throw compliance challenges into the mix. Improper key control methods and inadequate audit trails have significant compliance implications. For example, the FTC Commission’s Safeguards Rule requires you to store records containing sensitive customer information in a place where they can be locked when unattended. File cabinets, desk drawers and offices are also required to be locked securely.

Seventy-one percent of breaches at small to midsize businesses are caused by employees or on-site security weaknesses. That’s why it’s important to know who has access to areas with confidential information. If you do experience a data breach, it will cost you an average of $141 per record. On top of that, 84 percent of buyers won’t return to your dealership.

When the audit trail is consistently updated every time a key is removed or returned, you can rest assured that keys are not being misused, which helps protect your inventory and the areas where restricted information is stored. A system with security alarms helps prevent unauthorized or undetected key usage. If an alarm is triggered, you can act quickly and reduce your chances of a costly physical security breach.

These challenges don’t have to define your dealership. Fight them head on by addressing your key control first.

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