Post-lockdown means embracing a new way of working to accommodate customers who are looking to minimise contact outside their immediate household, and there’s much dealers can learn from other sectors.
With an aftersales experience that suits the sector rather than reflecting consumer expectations and behaviour in other retail environments, coronavirus is forcing automotive retailers to rethink how to deliver their services. With plenty of business models already in operation which can be easily adapted, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Click and collect
A familiar and well-used service, click and collect allows customers to buy online and arrange a date and time to collect their purchase. The concept can easily be applied to aftersales enabling customers to book a service slot online and drop off their vehicle and collect a courtesy car using a key deposit box.
Collection and delivery
A variation of a well-established dealership service can be adapted to minimise or even remove interaction between the dealership driver and the customer.
Whether paying a deposit for a new or used car or service or repairs, online payment is convenient and means less or no time on site.
Aftersales online presence
Creating a more interactive website for aftersales beyond providing simple information such as opening hours is a must. Online service booking is a good next step, but aftersales departments should be actively putting their offerings in front of their audience in the same way as their sales counterparts.
Dealer drop-off kiosks
Similar to airport self-check-in booths and McDonalds’ screen ordering system, kiosks can be positioned both inside the showroom and in a separate lobby for out-of-hours access, allowing customers to check their cars in on the day of the service. Combined with lockers for key deposit and collection, puts the customer in control, reduces queues at the service desk and minimises physical contact between customers and staff.
Food delivery apps
OEMs could support their dealer network by adapting food delivery apps for the workshop. By connecting various partners in the logistics chain, a seamless and remote home to workshop process can be created without the need for customers to visit the dealership all managed through the app.
Dealers should be forging closer relationships with companies offering subscription-style car leasing, which given that it’s a simpler process than purchase could gain ground post-covid as it requires less dealership interaction, as a supplier and to provide service, maintenance and repair services.