Sales and service reps are seen to need better tools to play key role in dealerships (Photo: Renault)

Car dealers need to do more on the IT side to improve service and focus more clearly on the customer, according to a new study conducted by Germany's Autohaus magazine and consultants NTT Data.

Four out of every five experts questioned said that, although tablet PCs are gaining in importance in the dealership, only 18 percent use them. The situation is no different when it comes to using apps in the sale of cars, the study found. A large 73 percent of those polled believe apps are growing in importance, but only 23 percent use them.

Participants in the study also said IT systems should  be better integrated with systems at partners such as insurance and leasing companies.

Claudia Wegerer, managing consultant at NTT Data, said it's important to clearly define the important role of the sales and service representative as the connection between the workshop and the customer. "The study shows they see themselves in this role, but training and technical equipment are not up to this," she said. "To be able to differentiate themselves in competition, a new dealership service culture is decisive and this requires a change of thinking about roles and functions - in addition to adequate process and IT support," Wegerer said.