I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on a dealership hosting their own email server as opposed to having email hosted by a large ISP (like GoDaddy)?
The ability to maintain robust and reliable email communication is increasingly important in this time where few leads are walking in the front door of our dealerships. Each time our email “goes down” we experience a loss in productivity and therefore sales.
I am the CRM Administrator and also help design and maintain the web presence for a small dealer group in the Northeast. I am not network or exchange certified so we rely on the “expertise” of our IT consultants (an outside firm that we contract that specializes in Automobile Dealerships). We tend to do 3-4 email campaigns per month using our AutoBase CRM system. We host our own email through a MS Exchange 2003 Server and seem to run into problems that crash our mail system company-wide regularly. Our current Primary ISP (Paetec) is set up to relay the mail and they do not like to see more than 2,500 emails/hour send rate during an email “blast”. Paetec has “shut us down” temporarily because of exceeding that send rate. Our IT consultants tell us that we need to maintain a send level of under 2,000 emails/hour to stay active with our current Primary ISP and that, although AutoBase claims they “buffer” their email “blast” sends, from what our IT consultants can tell, these are not buffered enough to stay below our ISP’s max send rate. Our IT Consultants are constantly tweaking the firewalls and are planning to configure an automatic rerouting (to a back-up ISP – BandWave) when an email “blast” occurs.
In my opinion, hosting our own server seems to be not worth the trouble. I do not know if we would be losing any capabilities in going with hosted mail services though. Reliability and the ability to continue our email campaigning is very important to us. I am looking for expert opinions from people who have been in similar situations or who currently run frequent email campaigns through their ISP hosted email solution. With maintenance fees, equipment depreciation, email firewall tweaks and the servicing cost associated with fixing email server problems, the costs of hosting mail ourselves really adds up.
What are your thoughts and experiences?