1. Stop being a LURKER - join our dealer community and get involved. Sign up and start a conversation.
    Dismiss Notice

A candid look at ImagicLab

Discussion in 'CRM, ILM, Chat, Desking, Emails, Phone, SMS' started by Webdog, May 2, 2011.

This forum sponsored by...
  1. Webdog

    Webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Noob

    First Name:
    Robert
    Dealer or Company Name:
    Cooper Auto Group
    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi everyone,

    I’m new to this forum, but not new to the industry. Our company just went through a major switch, our group has hired on a top rated internet guru to head up our marketing division, (and I have become his assistant) and we have been slowly going over all the aspects of our online presence and how we deal with our incoming leads. Over the last few months, we have shuffled vendors, considered new pathways and changed our CRM provider along with our website. For the most part, things have gone smoothly but we have been having a lot of issues with Imagiclab.

    Don’t get me wrong, the technology is pretty good. When we were doing the research on which company we should go with, the guru that we hired gave an incredibly strong recommendation for Imagiclab; he had also been good friends with the founder and CEO, Keith Latman so the choice made a lot of sense. Since we have hired him specifically to make these decisions we went right along and got on board. There have been several incidents that have caused us to wonder about our choice. During the initial setup of the product, we asked a lot of questions about what we could do with the software and if we could get their assistance in creating an applet for our group. At the time they had said that this wouldn’t be a problem. After emailing and calling several people within Imagiclab (all the way up to the CEO) for several months we were confused and a little nervous, because we had promised certain features to our dealergroup that we were not now able to deliver. From the Junior level we were told they could not do it, from the Higher Ups we got no reply at all. Just recently we heard that they were not willing to create the applet for us, regardless of our agreement.

    During the initial setup of the software I was in communication with their Director of Implementation, his job was to assist me with getting our employees into the new system. This took weeks. We had hundreds of employees to enter in and while the Director was good with answering my questions, I hadn’t had any time with the system before I was knee deep in it and entering all our data in. In addition to this, we had allotted about two months of setup time to get everything ready but we were rushed time and time again to get our side of things done sooner so they could send the trainers out. It was about this time that they started charging us for using the system even though we hadn’t completed setup. This was beyond frustrating for me; I had told everyone how wonderful this system was and how it was going to change the world for our dealerships and yet here I was entering in all the data myself (Our previous CRM Car-Research had undertaken this task themselves), getting held under the gun to hurry up and get it ready and then getting charged for it to boot.

    So, that brings me to the present. We have all the gears turning, our training sessions went well and the calls that we’ve had to make to customer care have been helpful. Yet, I still have a bad taste in my mouth about the whole experience. I worry that if we need to make any major changes I’m going to be pushed under the bus, so I’m nervous about trying anything new that might bring additional business to our doorstep. I wanted to post this to anyone else who is thinking about working with Imagiclab, I read all the wonderful reviews and listened to everyone’s advice that it was a wonderful system. I highly doubt I’m alone in my experiences here, so I wanted to see if anyone else has had some similar problems.

    Thanks for reading, happy to be a part of your community :]
     
  2. This forum sponsored by...
  3. Richard Keith Latman

    Richard Keith Latman
    Expand Collapse
    Noob

    First Name:
    Richard Keith
    Dealer or Company Name:
    iMagicLab
    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for taking the time to write this, I know it canbe daunting to install a new system and even more difficult when your expectations are not met. As CEO of iMagicLab I can tell you we strive everyday to eliminate this kind of situation and let me be the first to take responsibility for any misstatements or mistakes we have made.

    In your group I am good personal friends with the guru you mentioned and his name is Rafi Hamid. Rafi and I have known each other for years and in fact he was our first customer when he pioneered a digital changeat the Napleton group in Chicago. He is a solid family man and I really like him a lot.

    Now when Rafi first engaged with us in 2002 we were a young company with only an ILM product. Rafi helped us understand his method of Blackberry integration and we built what you are calling an "applet"to help him route his leads. In 2002 we did not have many customers, did nothave a CRM and were kinda feeling our way.

    Fast forward 1400 customers and 9 years later and we have learned a ton about how things need to be done to insure that your dealership leads are accountable. Every day we receive more leads than most of our competitors combined, we send more email than anybody and we believe have the most flexible and accurate reporting in the industry. We've learned about what to avoid in our products (which now span inventory, websites, crm, ilm,desking, call monitoring and texting) and what we can deliver safely without risking the livelihoods or each and every person in every dealer that has trusted us to safeguard their data. I'm not saying we know the only way, I amsaying we have a proven way that works for us and our customers.

    What Rafi asked us to build for you, and apparently oursales staff did not fully understand, was a routing system that bounces leads and communication off of a server we do not control. This Blackberry server,which your dealership would maintain, would then forward the lead to Rafi's Blackberry and copy the DealerCRM system with the same info. Your staff would respond from the Blackberry and the cycle would start again. So in other words, we would simply see copies of these emails for the files and not be in charge of directly communicating with your customer base.

    This actually sounds cool on the surface and because we liked many of the ideas in this type of system we added the most important parts to the core CRM system years ago. Rafi didn't know this because he had never used our CRM but out of the box, with no changes, you can have the best of both worlds:

    1. iMagicLab is bi-directional with all Blackberry, Android and iPhone devices. Leads and emails go to your phone, you click reply and it's fully tracked inside iMagicLab's DealerCRM without any additional work
    2. Because we are sending the mail directly to your customers all opt-outs and SPAM complaints are handled directly by us.
    3. Because email addresses are important we want to be the one that BAD email addresses get returned to. In this "applet" we would never know
    4. We have built a robust lead routing system used by over a thousand car dealers including the largest dealer on the planet. Leaving the lead routing in one person's hands is a failure point on a number of levels.
    Without getting too deep on a forum here when our sales team was pitching your group they did not have the history of Rafi and us. When Rafi said Blackberry integration they said "yes". When he said "lead routing"they said "yes" and when you all said "customizable" we said yes. We should have done a better job at totally understanding your exact requests at that time.

    When Rafi asked us to build this applet I said no, despite our personal friendship. The reason I said it then and the reason I continue to say it is because it adds a layer or level of uncertainty to our system. When your staff calls with an email problem, we can't help because we don't send your email. When notes or emails are missing we have no idea if your server communicated correctly. You know what I mean? When I was in the dealership world I hated vendors passing the buck into an abyss. Trust me this is a recipe for distrust and frustration. Just to be clear here, I said NO quickly and repeatedly to this. I don't know who didn't inform who, but I have been very transparent on this.

    I have asked Tom Harsha, our VP of Training, to respond to your concerns regarding training issues because this is very important to us. I thank you again for taking the time to write this and offer my email if I can assist you at any point in using our tools. Let's drive the bus together...

    Best.

    Richard Keith Latman
    Chief Executive Officer

    iMagicLab LLC
    [email protected]
     
    #2 Richard Keith Latman, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  4. Tom Harsha

    Tom Harsha
    Expand Collapse
    Noob
    Staff Member

    First Name:
    Tom
    Dealer or Company Name:
    CallRevu
    Twitter Handle:
    tomharsha
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Baltimore
    Webdog –


    I’m glad to hear that you like our technology. Since we are speaking candidly I thought I would take this opportunity to help everyone better understand the implementation and training process at iMagicLab. As I’ve stated before our primary goal at iMagicLab is to help dealers sell more cars. Whenever we encounter roadblocks during the implementation process that will hinder the dealers ability to launch on DealerCRM successfully I’ve instructed the team to be steadfast.

    With every dealer we request that the assigned “super user” at each dealership be responsible for adding users into the system to make sure they know how to complete this task. It’s a very important step and we need to make sure that the correct settings are selected for each new users permissions and management assignments from Sales to BDC to Service are correct. We’ve never turned a dealer down that requested assistance adding users once they have proven proficiency at this task. The process for adding new users is easy and can be completed in about two minutes per user. It would take twice that amount of time for a dealer to write down the same information or dictate so that we can add the users for them.

    As soon as a dealer signs the iMagicLab Service Agreement and submits the initial payment we proceed with setting up the account. We then provide access to the system for each super user usually within two business days. This is to allow plenty of time for familiarization as needed before the first call. Just before the initial welcome call each dealer receives a very detailed email with the entire implementation and training requirements timeline. We have several built in review points during the process that are hard stops if the dealer has not delivered the requested data, materials or information. This is purely designed to ensure a smooth transition for the dealer to the DealerCRM software. In the case of this group the implementation team made multiply calls during the initial weeks without meaningful response. Only after we advised the dealer that the onsite training would need to be pushed out if the requested items were not completed did we begin to receive the requested items needed to properly set up each store. This is about the time-frame when the person that posted was asked to quickly get users added into the CRM. More than 3 weeks after the accounts were turned on.

    The lack of initial response also threatened to push the onsite training back far enough that an additional month of service would come due. Our “plain English” contract terms make it clear, up front, that a dealer is responsible for monthly service fees from the day the service is turned on unless otherwise noted. We credited the initial monthly fees as a goodwill gesture for this group but couldn’t process an additional credit due to lack of dealer response and action. We never rush a dealer to get things set-up beyond reminders that make it clear on-site training will not begin until the critical “Go Live” items from the list are delivered. The only rush in this case was from the dealer that didn’t want to pay for an additional month of service on a system that they couldn’t use due to lack of follow through on the dealers side.

    This might all sound a little harsh on the part of the iMagicLab implementation and training teams but we’ve learned through the pain of unsuccessful dealer launches that certain components are mission critical. If these components are not present and properly installed before on-site training begins everyone loses, especially the dealer.

    Once this dealer submitted all requested items we made several adjustments to the training schedule to quickly accommodate the group. I also rearranged my schedule to allow for a visit on the last two days of training to personally meet the owner and each general manager. During the first weekend the group was live on DealerCRM several managers that I met during my visit called my cell directly for help, I personally returned each call to make sure the launch was a success. No passing the buck! No requests to call tech support!

    Hope this helps you better understand the implementation and training process at iMagicLab.

    Best,
    Tom Harsha
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  5. autoexecutive

    autoexecutive
    Expand Collapse
    Noob

    First Name:
    Rafi
    Dealer or Company Name:
    Cooper Automotive Group
    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ladies and gentlemen of DealerRefresh, I have a Google alert on my name which alerted me of this article earlier today. The post here was done by my assistant without my knowledge and I was kind of surprised by the post and the replies on it as well. Let me assure you that my policy here at Cooper Auto Group as a Vice President of Sales and Marketing is very clear when it come to employees writing on behalf of the company. They are not allowed to, it can be a liability for the company and I would not want to expose our company to that liability. I have already addressed this with my assistant clearly; call it ‘candidly’ so to speak. Since the cat is out of the bag, I am compelled to weigh in with my experiences in this matter and it is absolutely my opinion and not representative of the opinion of Cooper Auto Group.

    To address some of the concerns brought up, the sales team from Imagiclab being referred to was in fact their Vice President of Sales, JC Amini and the technical support team. I had communicated with them to see if they would assist with my blackberry integration if I went along with Imagiclab on a phone conversation and I verified it through email. They assured me that there wouldn’t be a problem; he had verified it with the technical department as well.

    As a reminder, when we have done this in the past successfully, we would not have any emails ‘bounce’ off of our server. In reality, when the lead comes in it hits the CRM server and the Blackberry server simultaneously. The integration that I was discussing does not interfere with your out of the box CRM, in fact what it does is it allows our system to get all of our leads in plain text the same time the CRM gets it. This ensures that we do not miss any leads in the event that you have downtime for whatever reason. It also allows us to see which leads we are not getting through the CRM, if any and lets us hold our vendors accountable for any mistakes or missed leads. Perhaps your staff communicated this to you incorrectly, because there was also never an issue about any step of the process being out of your control. You still have full control over everything that you did before; the only difference is that with our system we have the ability to double check everything. I can understand there being some concern with your technical support not being able to help on our server, which is why I discussed it with our staff, telling them that I would be in charge of any email questions for the group. If it was a question that related to the CRM I would direct them to our account representative, James Boyd at Imagiclab who is fully aware of the setup. I will also remind you that this is the same way that it was set up at Napleton with 35 locations, across 5 states with 64 franchises over the course of almost 7 years and there was no issue doing it there. As you have mentioned you have a lot more customers now so I can see that you’ve taken the ideas that you found appealing and took everything risky and left it out. This is your prerogative as the CEO of the company and it is my obligation at Cooper Auto Group to make sure we have complete control over our business. This Blackberry integration was a very unique thing when I did it in 2002, (and it still is) and since I was your only customer you listened to me. You insist that the only thing that has changed between now and then is you have more customers and you have found that some projects are too risky to take on. This is my risk to take.

    I have tried to communicate with you directly through email and phone calls several times, and while I am not pleased that my assistant posted this article I have to admit that he did manage to get a reply where I did not. I’m a little upset that you’re friendlier to my assistant than me, now I’m jealous.

    I have included some of the emails that I sent to you that perhaps you didn’t have the time or inclination to read. Since I am sure that I have your attention now, I will post them here for you to look over:


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    From: Rafi Hamid, VP Marketing & Sales - Cooper Auto Group
    Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:40 PM
    To: 'Richard Keith Latman'
    Subject: FW: Friendly Request
    Importance: High

    Keith,
    I am in a predicament and I have to fulfill my promises that I have made to our auto group management. This is not what I want rather it is a need at this point, I know this is totally doable and what I understand you are afraid of another point of possible failure. This is totally outside of the CRM and has no bearings on your CRM performance, the only one item I am asking is going to help me achieve greater response time and actual responses to customer while I can watch them live across the group of abandon emails or leads. I really would have gone with iMagicLabs even if I had known you would not do it but I did set this up only after clarifying that we will have this feature and made promises to my group on those premises.

    I really thought you were my friend and I don’t believe you will not honor the promises that were made to me before signing the contract.

    Looking forward to our relationship and activating the solution right away, thank you in anticipation.

    Sincerely,

    Rafi Hamid

    --------------------------------------------------------

    From: Rafi Hamid, VP Marketing & Sales - Cooper Auto Group
    Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 8:53 AM
    To: 'Richard Keith Latman'
    Subject: Friendly Request
    Importance: High

    Keith,

    We have known each other for several years now; I have been using iCarConnect / Imagiclab and have been promoting it across the country for years. I never ask for compensation in return since my love for the product has been unconditional. I have not communicated with you directly in recent days since I am busy and I wanted to let the dust settle. I am very deeply saddened and disappointed from certain promises that were made to me before we signed Cooper Auto Group with iMagicLab. You see, I have been working as a consultant with Cooper Group for the last two years and Joe Cooper courted me for over a year and half to get onboard as an executive of the company. Now I am a full time executive of the company, during my negotiations with Joe Cooper I had made the condition that if he wants me on board I have to have iMagiclab CRM and I also explained to him what I had done with the blackberry integration with your system. He was impressed and asked me if this can be done with Car-Research and I told him no, it is exclusively done by iMagiclab and no other CRM company can offer this. I also told him that it was a couple of years ago and I have to make sure iMagic can still do that. I called JC Amini and explained him what I am looking for and sent him an email so he can check with his technical support team to make sure it is possible. Well, he replied in an email after couple of days to inform me that the functionality is still there and that it is not an issue, “If that is what you want, consider it done”.

    After we signed the contract with iMagicLab I went ahead and invested money in Blackberries and our Blackberry Server, I prepared my end of the setup just to find out that the functionality will not be turned on. In your text message dated April 4th. 12:59 your message that you wrote “I do not understand the value here when measured against our existing system (Which works with all mobile devices)”. Keith, do most of the CRMs work one way or another with all mobile devices, correct me if I am wrong here; what you are really telling me is that you have the means and functionality that was promised but you do not understand the value in your realm of things. With all due respect to you for what you have achieved and what iMagic have become, I’m not disagreeing with you just the fact that I am in a bind and have promised certain functionalities and on the premises of those I was able to get Cooper on board with iMagiclab. I have also made considerable investment in equipment, conditioning and coaching my employees about this unique upcoming integration which is really not a big deal for you but in my realm of things it is a major blow to my promises to my group. I have made Imagiclab an integral part of my structure based on the technology that you have promised to deliver. I humbly request for you to work with me and turn these features on, I promise to you that if I feel it’s not the best thing for the business I will not use it. I only need the opportunity to demonstrate it to the group so that we can make the judgment and that I can show it exists, and it isn’t just a figment of my imagination. I will consult with you after a few months after we get the functionality in place and evaluate how it is working. There is a real value in this technology to me, I hope that you can understand my position. This is a personal email to you, one on one. I didn’t want to bring anyone else into it seeing as we’ve known each other for so long.

    Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


    Warm Regards,
    ____________
    Rafi Hamid




    I still have a lot of respect for Keith Latman and Imagiclab, however had they not promised me this minor change I may have probably still gone with Imagiclab. Because of their promise, I made a promise to my group – that is the core issue here. Our support with Imagiclab has been awesome; our rep James Boyd has done an excellent job assisting us and our managers here. During our initial negotiation with JC, he had promised that Tom Hersha would be conducting the training for our group. I have personally known him for years as well and had requested him; however it was done by Brian Clifft since Tom was too important to do this training. Brain Clifft did an excellent job and we were very pleased with his training, it was no offense to him I just didn’t know who he was at the time.

    Now that we are on the same page, (literally and figuratively) I would like to know when you are turning this feature on for our group.
     
    #4 autoexecutive, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  6. Richard Keith Latman

    Richard Keith Latman
    Expand Collapse
    Noob

    First Name:
    Richard Keith
    Dealer or Company Name:
    iMagicLab
    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rafi I understand the importance to you and am sorry if you felt offended by having two of our Vice Presidents personally handle your account instead of me. Truth is they would do a far better job assessing your needs and giving you the attention you deserve. Tom can address his decisions regarding training but I will tell you Brian Clift is our National Director of Training and is one of the top 5 in the country. Clearly we gave you preferential treatment from the start and we always will.

    My answer I am afraid is the same in public as it is in private: We will not be building this piece as I deem it too risky for data to have our data security systems integrated with any adjunct system that is operated by any 3rd party. I understand that this may not work for you and respectfully ask that you and JC re-engage if you wish to consider other alternatives for your group. I am sorry that JC did not understand fully what you wanted when you described what you called this "small" feature. It was not intentional and I consider myself your friend going forward regardless what you decide.

    Best,

    Keith
     
  7. Jeff Kershner

    Jeff Kershner
    Expand Collapse
    Founder

    First Name:
    Jeff
    Dealer or Company Name:
    DealerRefresh & Mercedes-Benz of Hagerstown
    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    3,413
    Likes Received:
    893
    Location:
    Maryland
    Thought I would quickly poke my nose in on this thread, for whatever reason...

    Rafi, if imagic is bi-directional with blackberry already, then I'm not sure I see your reasoning behind needing this additional blackberry integration feature. Furthermore, if once you have a bi-directional feature as imagic offers, to overcome your objection of wanting to have the ability to track and police lead sources for delivery, why not just read this thread...Dealership lead routing procedure for CRM and ILM
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
    #6 Jeff Kershner, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  8. autoexecutive

    autoexecutive
    Expand Collapse
    Noob

    First Name:
    Rafi
    Dealer or Company Name:
    Cooper Automotive Group
    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jeff,

    Bidirectional is no big deal and is being done by almost all the providers, the unique flow that I have created in 2001 is still unique and it is tri-Directional :). You see Hotmail, Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN they all have their share of blackouts and I have not seen any CRM company where they can assure me beyond a shadow of doubt that they will never have a blackout moment. Just last week I received a call from one of my Internet manager that iMagic have a short gap of services. My email platform is on redundant servers one in Dallas and other one is Ontario. The leads from the source come directly to my server and simultaneously parse to iMagic Lab in an XML and to my blackberry server in a plain text to deliver to our blackberry. Here are the benefits that I have personally experienced in the past:
    • The holder of the Blackberry “ISM†doesn’t need to log on to CRM all the time or from smart phone to see the details of the leads with comments.
    • The holder of the blackberry is not dependent on logging into the CRM from smart phone of blackberry to respond to customer.
    • The Blackberry Holder doesn’t need to rely solely on the CRM for leads, WHAT if the CRM is down? Which happened quite a bit in the past? †I have used several CRM companies, here I am not talking only iMagiclabs, just to clear thatâ€.
    • The Blackberry holder knows when the lead arrives and if the lead is missing in the CRM we can question the CRM company to find out what had happened to the lead and ironically it was fascinating in the past to hear a sound of surprise with a question that how do you know the lead came? There is no Lead here. When we presented the CRM Company with the proof magically it appeared from a Junk or Spam system in some CRM black hole.
    • The leads can be responded to the customer directly with blackberry/vanity address where as my blackberry server sends a notification to the CRM with the contents of the email to have the Date and time stamp. That takes care of the record what has taken place.
    • When the customer reply that vanity address is the same as what we have in CRM for the ISM, so it comes to the CRM as a normal communication attached to customers record also comes to the blackberry at the same time.
    • Most CRM sales pitches or they promote email templates that come across as junk mail into customers email inbox. Blackberry is internationally known for a business email service and most if not all major companies only use blackberry for mobile communication, Blackberry emails are mostly clean and clear of spam issues, The emails from blackberry are getting through to majority of my customers.
    • Once customers gets the initial email from the sender “ISM†the subsequent email from the same email address has a higher chances to get to the customer and in turn the chances are higher to close the deal.
    Jeff, there are several other benefits that I can’t get into right now, the only thing that I wanted iMagic to do is to accept my inbound blackberry email to CRM which is very precise. I am not new to these functionalities and have a proven record with imagiclab and most of the CRM companies since at Napleton I have gone through most of them in the industry, I am totally capable and experience to manage and troubleshoot any issues on my end. I have used blackberry in late 90’s when most people didn’t even know what blackberry was.
    "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Emmerson
    I really wish and hope my friend Richard Keith Latman understands the sensitive position this situation has put me in front of my group right now and honor his staff’s commitment and come through. This is not what I am asking after the fact; these were an absolute requirement presented to them and have a written email promising this feature. It is not that they can’t do it rather they won’t. I have made the investment in hardware and the setup and promise to deliver certain functionality and results which are dependent on this functionality.
    Thank you for butting your nose and have a great evening,
    Rafi Hamid
    AutoExecutive
     
  9. Richard Keith Latman

    Richard Keith Latman
    Expand Collapse
    Noob

    First Name:
    Richard Keith
    Dealer or Company Name:
    iMagicLab
    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    This will be my last post on this issue.

    I understand that many technology people have different opinions. My first and foremost job at iML is to secure data and insure stability across our systems. This request is to create a insecure email based automated data input that in my opinion adds little to a dealers needs while opening our databases to huge potential for problems from a variety of hazards. Furthermore because this system is essentially a loop, the potential issues by dealership and iMagicLab personnel are far too great.

    Rafi I intend to reach out to your dealer principal to explain my decision to him one-on-one and I am sure in the end there will be a meeting of the minds. As we have indicated before, please send us the invoices on the hardware you purchased and we will be happy to reimburse you for the costs. We could always use an additional Blackberry server in our iMagicLab technology museum :)

    Have a wonderful day everyone and Rafi I hope to see you soon..

    Richard Keith Latman
     

Share This Page

This forum sponsored by...