MSN CarPoint Announces New Customer-Management Tools To Help Automobile Dealers Handle More Customers in Less Time

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 24, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today previewed a new version of the DealerPoint customer management system at the National Auto Dealer Association (NADA) Annual Convention and Exposition to help dealers affiliated with the MSN TM CarPoint TM online automotive service ( ) improve their online customer management. DealerPoint’s enhanced features will help CarPoint-affiliated dealers manage more customers in less time, track and manage customers more easily, and close more sales via the Web.

All CarPoint-affiliated dealers have access to DealerPoint, launched in February 1999 and based on demand from dealers for a better way to track and manage Internet customers. The new version of DealerPoint announced at NADA features many enhancements to make it even easier for dealers to get the most out of their Internet investments by helping them manage the Internet sales process more easily, respond more quickly to customer inquiries, and cut average per-car selling costs.

DealerPoint recently was licensed for use by all Ford, Honda and Acura dealers in the United States, making it one of the most widely adopted online customer management tools in the industry.

“We anticipate seeing DealerPoint on 40 percent of dealers’ desktops by the end of this year, ensuring greater efficiency in online car sales for all participating dealers,”
said Lindsay Sparks, CEO of CarPoint.
“This version of DealerPoint is powered by the latest Microsoft® technology, making it even easier for dealers to close their Internet leads.”

DealerPoint’s latest enhancements are possible with the new Microsoft ClearLead TM lead management platform, designed to help businesses easily respond to and manage real-time inquiries of Internet customers. Automobile dealers will have the first opportunity to take advantage of the new lead management tool because the CarPoint DealerPoint system is the first service to implement the ClearLead platform. The following enhancements to DealerPoint are scheduled to be available by mid-2000:

  • The task summary area helps dealers increase their sales efficiency by consolidating and posting daily tasks. Each task is a hyperlink that takes the user to the appropriate area of DealerPoint to complete the task.

  • Customizable e-mail templates make it easier for dealers to create automatic replies, follow up in labeled templates, provide consistent replies and messaging, and respond quickly.

  • Improved security allows dealers to specify designated responsibilities of the sales staff and identify which staff members have access to certain systems and databases, so managers can better administer their business without worrying about security.

  • Improved workflow rules help dealers ensure a top-quality buying experience for their Internet customers by helping dealers structure and monitor their online sales process.

  • Follow-up reminders help ensure that all customers are followed up with. This feature allows a dealer to mark a customer for future follow-up and be automatically reminded once the date is reached.

  • Exporting
    capabilities enable dealers to export data into other software such as word processing applications and databases.

  • Multiselect options allow dealers to select multiple customer records upon which to apply an action (such as delete, send e-mail, reassign or merge) and change the status (such as active, sold or dead), saving time and simplifying processes.

  • Intelligent

    voucher discounts
    help dealers move aging used-car inventory off the lot by setting progressively increased discounts over time.

  • Global promotion text allows dealers to market their dealership’s key promotional points by writing a marketing message that appears next to all used-car classifieds.

About CarPoint

CarPoint is the most visited online car-buying service, a comprehensive automotive Web site that offers complete car-buying and ownership information. Launched on the Internet in July 1996, 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 and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

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

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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