It has perhaps happened to anyone who has bought a new car and had to take it in for periodical service or to repair a fault at the service centre.
After checking in your car and handing over the keys, you get a call from the service centre. They have spotted something unusual, which requires fixing, "but, we'll check it out first to confirm if the item needs replacing, Sir/Madam".
In most unfortunate of times, you might see your service bill with an additional zero, you really wish wasn't there. Boom, a few hundred ringgit has now become a thousand ringgit... or more!
Now, while I'm in no way suggesting that service centres are out to cheat or swindle their customers - it would surely help if there was more transparency between the service centre and the customer.
This is where a small Audi dealership in Denver, USA is starting to revolutionise the service experience for its customers, Autonews reports.
Technicians at this Audi dealership now produce a highly detailed and narrated video during the initial diagnostics and inspection process, which tells customers if their cars are ok or if something needs repair.
The video recording is then sent to the customer for his/ her viewing before the dealership starts the service or conducts any repairs.
Audi Denver uses an in-house developed software which seamlessly integrates technicians, to the administrative advisors, and then the customer.
Audi Denver's internal statistics indicate that in the short time they have been using the application and sending videos to their customers - approval ratings have almost doubled, service throughput has increased because customers approve of repairs much faster given they can see what needs fixing, and service operations are more profitable because customers are getting those repairs on time.
Audi Denver admits that it was sceptical in the initial stages if the system would improve the after-sales experience but the need to improve transparency once a customer's car goes into the service bay was at the heart of their decision to implement it.
Now, in a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the US, the same video recording has allowed technicians to conduct services for their customers at home - given the transparency and safety the system offers to both parties.
The system has also helped Audi Denver win a legal case with a customer who crashed her car and blamed the dealership for not advising her to change her tyres. However, when they went back to the video, it showed that the tyres were highlighted but the customer chose not to change them.
Technicians also learned over time to finesse their narration and not use technical acronyms and special terms, instead, using “layman” terms were found to be most effective.
A substantial number of aftersales services in Malaysia utilise smartphone apps for the booking of services, and to interact with the aftersales service personnel, this simple yet undeniably effective idea could go a long way to improving the relationship and productivity between customers and the service centre.
Especially when most customers elect to take their cars away from the aftersales network after the warranty period elapses.
This is one avenue where service centres can play catch up because most independent workshops in Malaysia have been sending pictures and videos regarding repairs to their customers for years.
How about you, would you like your service centre to send a quick informative video during your next car service?
Cover image credit: trevormessinger.com