Connected car technology boosts dealers’ customer loyalty

Connected car technology boosts dealers’ customer loyalty

Connected cars provide a wide range of advances and additional services for car owners – including smartphone integration, roadside assistance, parking apps, remote diagnostics and voice commands. But the technology also has its benefits for manufacturers and dealers, helping to streamline aftermarket services and boost retention rates.

In our last blog, we looked at how connected cars are revolutionising motoring, with a focus on driver benefits. Here we will explore how manufacturers and dealers can use the technology to provide a better service and, therefore, boost customer loyalty.

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How connected cars can boost customer retention

Many models of connected cars are constantly transmitting data back to the manufacturer about location, wear and tear, mileage and even when they’ve been involved in a bump. This data can be used to contact the customer about their annual MOT or service and automatically book them in at a franchise dealer, or dealer of their choice. In future, it could monitor when a part will fail, inform the customer that it needs replacing, purchase and arrange delivery of the necessary part to the repair centre of choice and book them in.

There are other benefits for manufacturers and retailers also. The technology can inform intelligent stock management systems, replacing the traditionally low-tech, trial-and-error process driven largely by the service team’s experience. By using historical data collected from connected cars as well as service and repair histories, systems can ascertain what stock levels should be at certain points, and recommend orders to dealers based on the output.

These streamlined, automated services can help save time, money and provide a more proactive service for customers, who may not need to leave their vehicle at the repair centre while a replacement part is delivered, because it arrived before they did.

Giving connected car owners a choice

Concerns have been voiced surrounding how connected car technology could lead to manufacturers monopolising access to data, giving them an advantage in the competitive aftercare repair market. Last year, Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) chief executive Wendy Williamson spoke about this at the Automechanika expo, at the NEC in Birmingham, according to a report from AM Online.

She said: “The big challenge with autonomous vehicles will be access to information to repair them.

“Undoubtedly the vehicles manufacturers want to have all the access to these vehicles through their own servers, their interface, using their log-ins. This threatens the very livelihood of the aftermarket as (under these circumstances) we would rely on VMs to give us access to a vehicle’s data in a timeframe they determined.

“We need to be able to continue doing what we’ve always done in giving customers choice to have their vehicles serviced where they want and when they want, by whoever they want.”

While challenges still lay ahead for this growing technology, there are clear benefits for the entire automotive industry, from the manufacturer down to individual drivers.

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