Microsoft Introduces New Tools to Help MSN CarPoint-Affiliated Dealers Improve Service for Their Internet Customers

Redmond, Washington —
, October 20, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled new tools to help dealers affiliated with the MSN
online automotive service ( ) improve service to their online customers. The new DealerPoint tool set in MSN CarPoint helps dealers track and manage customer leads more easily, respond faster to customer inquiries, and cut their average per-car selling costs.

The new tools were designed based on feedback from a Dealer Advisory Council composed of seven MSN CarPoint-affiliated dealers that meet regularly with Microsoft.

“Microsoft has worked closely with MSN CarPoint-affiliated dealers to develop tools that make it faster and easier to provide the great service that consumers demand on the Internet,”
said Lindsay Sparks, business unit manager for MSN CarPoint.
“We know anything that helps dealers respond more quickly to customer inquiries can improve their closing rates.”

One MSN CarPoint-affiliated dealer said he is confident the new tools will help him close more deals.
“The new DealerPoint features are just awesome,”
said Paul Levine, dealer principal, Brandon Ford in Tampa, Fla.
“These tools will help my dealership better manage its Internet leads and increase closing ratios substantially.”

DealerPoint Tools

DealerPoint contains the following administrative tools:

  • Prospect Manager gives multiple salespeople online access to leads referred by MSN CarPoint, allowing faster responses to customer price inquiries. It also provides templates for rapid e-mail responses to customers; the ability to track phone calls,
    e-mail messages, price quotes and appointments; and alerts about unread e-mail lead referrals and customers’ failure to respond to dealer e-mail messages.

  • Used Vehicle Manager provides an improved interface for real-time management of inventory listings; the ability to quickly and easily add detailed options information, photos and promotional text to classifieds; Kelley Blue Book data to help dealers use vehicle options to price inventory more consistently; and tools to make it faster and easier for dealers to tag inventory with online discount vouchers.

  • Account Manager and Security features allow sales managers to allocate MSN CarPoint leads more easily among the sales staff, helping dealers respond faster to customer inquiries.

Other New Features for Dealer

The tools for the MSN CarPoint Discount Voucher Program, which allows dealers to offer discounts of at least $500 on selected vehicles, have been updated to help them minimize their average per-car sales costs. With a few easy mouse clicks, dealers can use DealerPoint to increase the discount associated with any vehicle they have carried in their inventory for too long. For example, dealers can now use these tools to quickly and easily increase the discounts offered on any cars that have been on their lot for more than two months.

About MSN CarPoint

MSN CarPoint is a comprehensive automotive Web site that offers complete car-buying and ownership information. Launched on the Internet in July 1996, MSN CarPoint allows auto dealers to market their vehicles to meet the needs of today’s Internet automobile shoppers.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.


Microsoft, MSN and CarPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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