Murdock Hyundai had a bottom-line goal for its top initiative of 2012: boost sales by upgrading its technology. With the help of technology provider RyanTech, the dealership adopted the Microsoft Office 365 and Windows Intune cloud-based services,
plus Windows phones and other Microsoft technologies. Murdock Hyundai salespeople now spend half the time on email that they did before, redirecting the 30 minutes they save each day to increased time with customers and training from Hyundai. They respond
200 percent faster to customer inquiries from the dealership’s website than they could before. And the dealership reduced its PC replacement costs by half. Murdock Hyundai increased sales by 35 percent in the first quarter of 2012 and attributes one-third
of the gain to its use of Microsoft technologies. It expects those technologies to add at least $3 million toward its annual sales growth.
Automobiles, with scores of sensors, electronic displays, and wireless connectivity, often seem like computers on wheels. And it’s not just automakers that have adopted new technologies—so have auto dealers, although their paths to success have sometimes
Consider Murdock Hyundai, which owns and operates three Hyundai auto dealership locations in Utah. For K. Blake Murdock, General Manager of the dealership, selling cars now means embracing the web. Murdock Hyundai shifted half of its advertising budget from
newspapers and television to online media, which increased its sales. It advertises its discounts online and offers those discounts to every customer who comes into the dealership. And it adopted Internet and other technologies to boost sales. By 2011, however,
it was clear to Murdock and his colleagues that increased competition required them to continue these efforts, rather than be satisfied with past successes.
Customer inquiries from the dealership’s website come via the email system, making that system essential to Murdock’s success. But the dealership relied on an unreliable Linux email system that was more problem than solution, according to Murdock. Calendar
notices were incompatible with the mobile phones that salespeople used, making it difficult to make and keep appointments with customers. Spam filled inboxes and legitimate email frequently ended up in junk folders. Outages were common. Customer email could
show up in a salesperson’s inbox two days after the customer had purchased a car from a competitor.
||Office 365 more than paid for itself with our first additional sale. Don’t tell Microsoft this, but I wouldn’t hesitate to pay twice as much for what we’re getting.
|| K. Blake Murdock
General Manager, Murdock Hyundai
The dealership’s telephone system is equally essential, of course. But its voice over IP (VoIP) telephone system was also an issue, sometimes dropping calls, sometimes losing customers placed on hold. Outages, a frequent occurrence, lasted anywhere from 15
minutes to five hours. The dealership increased VoIP capacity several times to try to solve the problem, to no avail.
The unprecedented immediacy of the Internet made it crucial for Murdock Hyundai to be able to post and update discounts and special offers as quickly as possible; any delay could throw a customer’s business to a competitor. But it could take several days
for the dealership to work with its website vendor to make relatively simple changes.
The dealership’s PCs were also hindering productivity. The 70 PCs spread across the three locations were relatively new—Murdock Hyundai replaced them on two-year cycles—but they were littered with spyware and viruses that slowed them down and sometimes stopped
them entirely. At any one time, several computers were at an IT support vendor to clear the offending software.
“At the end of 2011, our executive team made a decision,” says Murdock. “Solving the technology concerns would have the greatest impact on sales of any single effort we could undertake, so it would be our leading initiative for 2012.”
To help it implement that initiative, Murdock Hyundai engaged RyanTech, a Utah-based technology services provider serving the automotive industry and a Microsoft Partner Network member with multiple Gold and Silver competencies and Cloud Champion status.
“RyanTech knew the technology, and they knew our business,” says Murdock. “We were so impressed with their service that we eventually turned over our entire IT system to them to manage.”
RyanTech’s first opportunity to impress Murdock Hyundai came with its approach to those sluggish PCs. The technology provider used Windows Intune, a cloud-based subscription service for PC management, endpoint protection, and automatic Windows updates. It
installed the Windows Intune client software and ran reports to identify factors on each PC, including unauthorized software, available disk space, and memory utilization. In one day, RyanTech used Windows Intune to remotely remove the viruses and malware,
install updates, and restart the computers. It added policies for passwords, software installation, backup, and hard disk optimization.
The Pressing Issue of Email
With the PCs now functioning optimally, RyanTech and Murdock Hyundai were ready to resolve the dealership’s email problems. Murdock liked the idea of an outsourced service that mooted the need for on-premise email servers and that made email available through
any Internet connection, but he didn’t want to replicate the poor performance of the Linux-based vendor. RyanTech recommended Microsoft Office 365, a set of collaboration and productivity tools delivered as a cloud service that brings together Microsoft Office,
SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online.
Based on the initial success with Microsoft services, Murdock agreed. RyanTech used Microsoft-provided migration tools to move 130 email accounts, including mailboxes and messages, to Office 365 over a single day. It did so without any downtime for communication,
an important consideration given that customers were responding via email to the dealership’s web promotions throughout the migration. “When we woke up the next morning, we had this amazing email system that worked,” says Murdock.
||Solving the technology concerns would have the greatest impact on sales of any single effort we could undertake, so it would be our leading initiative for 2012.
|| K. Blake Murdock
General Manager Murdock Hyundai
Murdock and others don’t only access Exchange Online email through the dealership’s PCs; they can also access it through their Windows phones. “Now I can actually see my calendar, and when I get invitations to meetings, they aren’t unreadable email messages
that make no sense,” says Murdock. “It’s awesome.”
Murdock abandoned his iPhone for a Samsung Focus S Windows Phone. He now creates and sends Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents along with his email messages, and he cites the faster performance, greater battery life, and larger screen
size of the phone as additional benefits.
A Solution for the Phone System
To address the reliability issues with the phone system, RyanTech and Murdock Hyundai replaced it with a VoIP system from 3CX, another Microsoft Partner Network member. They paired the private branch exchange (PBX) software, based on the Microsoft .NET Framework,
with programmable handsets from Yealink (and covered most of the cost of the handsets by selling the previous phone equipment on eBay).
RyanTech and Murdock Hyundai also replaced the firewall and switches, maximizing Internet speeds and increasing phone reliability by a factor of 10. They programmed the phones so that a call to any one of the dealership’s three locations is answered by a
receptionist at either of the other locations if necessary. Sales calls can be forwarded to the salesperson’s mobile phone for immediate response. Inbound Internet sales calls are routed to available personnel for the same reason. Call tracking and other information
from the VoIP system flows into the dealership’s RyanTech-provided customer relationship management system.
New Workflow for the Web
To make it faster and easier for the dealership to post and update discounts and other special offers, the companies created a workflow process that helps to ensure that updated information from Murdock Hyundai is provided accurately, quickly, and automatically
to RyanTech. To do so, they used Microsoft InfoPath information-gathering software and the Microsoft SharePoint Online service included in Office 365.
“Our sales managers simply answer a few questions on our SharePoint site and the specials get produced by RyanTech,” says Murdock. “We don’t have to understand web programming. We thought we were only adopting Office 365 for email, but we immediately found
additional ways to take advantage of it.”
Getting Closer to “The Dealership of the Future”
Murdock Hyundai intends to adopt Windows 8 slates to revolutionize the sales and service process for customers. Murdock envisions salespeople using Windows 8 slates—tablets running the Windows 8 operating system—on the lot with customers, to make on-the-spot
vehicle presentations, product comparisons, and trade-in appraisals—and then to dock the slates back in the showroom to enter order and financing information.
Murdock says the use of Windows slates could help reduce the time that a customer takes to buy a car by 30 percent, saving customers and salespeople 40 minutes or more per sale. Service personnel could use the Windows slates, too, to facilitate multipoint
For Murdock, Microsoft technology is essential to his long-term goal. “We want a completely paperless sales process, and an innovative dealership of the future,” he says. “Microsoft and RyanTech are helping us to get there.”
Murdock Hyundai uses Microsoft technologies to decrease costs and to boost revenues, productivity, and customer service.
Increases Sales Revenues by 10 Percent
Murdock Hyundai launched its technology initiative as the single most important action it could take to increase revenues. The dealership achieved this goal in fewer than three months.
||When we woke up the next morning, we had this amazing email system that worked.
|| K. Blake Murdock
General Manager Murdock Hyundai
The dealership’s sales were up 35 percent for the first quarter of 2012, during which Office 365 and the related technologies were adopted, compared to sales for the first quarter of 2011. Several factors contributed to that increase, but Murdock estimates
that the dealership’s use of Microsoft technologies was directly responsible for at least one-third of it, or at least 10 percent of the total revenue gain.
“With Office 365 and the other Microsoft technologies, we’ve boosted sales by at least 10 percent,” Murdock says. “We use them to provide a higher level of customer service. We respond to customer queries from our website much faster—and the dealer who gets
back to the customer first has a big edge in making the sale.”
Murdock says the dealership is on track to see total revenues rise by $10 million for the year. He attributes at least $3 million of that sales increase to the dealership’s use of the Microsoft technologies.
Spends 50 Percent Less Time on Email
Much of the increased revenue comes from greater productivity. By using Office 365, for example, Murdock and the salespeople spend half as much time as they formerly spent on email—saving 15 minutes a day for Murdock and 30 minutes a day for each salesperson.
With a sales staff of 45, the time savings gives Murdock Hyundai the equivalent of another half-time salesperson.
More than just saving time, the dealership uses Office 365 and the other technologies to change the way it works. By using his Windows phone to access email, receive meeting notifications, update his calendar, and create and send documents to the sales staff,
Murdock spends more time on the lot with his sales staff and less time at his desk.
“It used to be that time I spent checking email was time I wasn’t out ‘working,’ and time I was out in the showroom or on the lot was time I was falling further behind on email,” says Murdock. “I was always worrying about what I was missing. With Office
365 and my Windows phone, I don’t miss anything. I’m on top of email. I schedule meetings on shorter notice. I act on new sales data and engage my sales staff more quickly—and from wherever I am. This has really increased my productivity—and my quality of
The dealership sees greater productivity from other technology gains, too. For example, phone service outages have stopped, PCs are no longer routinely out of service, and email outages are a thing of the past.
The time to post changes to the website has declined “dramatically,” according to Murdock, with great results: “The other day we put a new offer on the website and immediately sold three cars,” he says. “If it had taken us days to post that offer and a competitor
had beaten us to it, we wouldn’t have seen those sales.”
Responds to Customers 200 Percent Faster
Improved customer service is the other key contributor to increased revenues, and Murdock attributes much of this gain to the dealership’s use of Microsoft technologies, too. For example, it used to take 30 minutes for the dealership to respond to email inquiries
from customers; now, the response time is down to just 10 minutes. Customer inquiries are no longer misdirected to junk folders, and their phone calls are no longer dropped by the phone system. Customers hear a live receptionist or other staff person whenever
they call during business hours, rather than a voice-mail system.
“Microsoft technologies are helping us to drive customer service and satisfaction, and that’s reflected in our higher sales results,” says Murdock.
Reduces PC Replacement Costs by 50 Percent
Murdock Hyundai uses Microsoft technologies not only to boost revenues but also to reduce expenses. For example, the dealership recently relocated its flagship showroom to another site. It would likely have replaced 30 PCs during that transition—but because
it used Windows Intune to manage and update those PCs, they operated as well as they had when they were new. No replacements were needed.
“With Windows Intune, I anticipate that we can double the length of time that we keep our PCs,” says Murdock. “That means we can cut our PC replacement budget in half.”
The dealership didn’t pay a licensing fee for its old Linux-based email; it pays a modest subscription fee for Office 365. Is it worth it? “Office 365 more than paid for itself with our first additional sale,” says Murdock. “Don’t tell Microsoft this, but
I wouldn’t hesitate to pay twice as much for what we’re getting.”
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications
for businesses of all sizes.
Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement guaranteeing 99 percent reliability. Office
365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.
For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:
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