16 December 2019
By Paul Muers
Car manufacturers are among the world’s best-known brands. They have international reputations to maintain and protect – and part of this means ensuring a consistency of experience for consumers interacting with the brand, no matter where in the world they are located.
This customer experience spans from the original sale through to aftersales interactions – which actually form the bulk of a driver’s interaction with the vehicle brand. What, then, are the core elements of a consistent aftersales experience and how can they be delivered internationally?
A transparent experience for all customers
The first principle of an effective and consistent aftersales experience is to offer transparency for all customers. Transparency means keeping drivers informed of everything relating to the condition and care of their vehicle, in a timely and easy-to-understand manner. Without this consistency, some drivers will be kept in the dark about some elements of their vehicle, and it is impossible to ensure consistency of service.
Multimedia (photo and video) sharing of work required on the vehicle, as well as detailed checks including as much integrated service technology as possible, as we discussed in this blog on service technology, are efficient and reliable means of achieving this transparency. The point is to lead with being informative, rather than promotional. The latter can all too easily fall into the realm of pushy sales and marketing techniques, whereas the former focuses on empowering and enlightening customers.
Structured reports on vehicle service experiences, then, are a powerful way of achieving customer transparency both in terms of the performance and condition of their vehicles, and the attitude of their car dealerships. It’s not just about being accurate – it’s also about being open and comprehensive. It’s about bridging the knowledge gap between dealerships and drivers, who are unlikely to have detailed levels of technical and mechanical knowledge, or even sophisticated awareness of how to take care of their vehicles.
An easy experience for all customers
Transparency is one vital piece of the puzzle – another is ease and convenience. The easier dealerships can made it for drivers to keep on top of their vehicle’s servicing, the more convenient and seamless the customer experience. Replicate this ease between dealerships and even between countries, and carmakers can build a powerful reputation for reliability and customer-centricity.
How to make things easy for customers? Dealerships can, for example, proactively remind drivers of upcoming services, including via SMS reminders and other marketing initiatives. This is proactive without being overbearing, and helps drivers to feel empowered about taking care of their vehicles.
Flexibility of aftersales services is critical, enabling customers to fit their servicing appointments around their busy lives, rather than the other way around. This means flexible vehicle drop-offs, extended opening times and a seamless courtesy vehicle offering. And dealerships should also work on their approach to service follow-ups, including the automatic triggering of SMS reminders to make booking further appointments as easy as possible.
Similarly, when work is actually taking place, dealerships must make it as easy to as possible for drivers to approve that work. As above, being able to send customers multimedia messages indicating the work carried out, and allowing them to approve work via email or SMS without the disruption of a physical call really does put customer convenience and choice first.
Consistent training and processes internally
The above areas focus on the relationship of the dealership with customers, and consistent and convenient channels of communication and structuring of services. But dealerships also need to look internally. To achieve the above consistency internationally, dealerships need similar consistency when it comes to internal training and staff development, as well as working processes.
And this, in turn, requires service technology which can be rolled out across all dealerships internationally, providing a clear, consistent and structured approach to core working processes, such as defined approaches to service checks.
Consistency is critical for any business wishing to build a genuinely international brand with reliability and integrity. The technology exists for dealerships to achieve this.
Contact autoVHC to find out how its eVHC platform can help your brand create a consistent service standardBlog