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Major aftersales savings for dealer by going digital

Digital aftersales could save a large UK Nissan dealer group 10,000 hours a year of productive time, after implementing a new contactless check-in software. Could we see a similar digital aftersales service implemented here in Ireland in the near future? We’ve already seen several garages in Ireland introduce ‘virtual dealerships’, allowing customers to view and purchase a new or used car from the safety of their own home. So why not aftersales?

The group in question, West Way, has 14 locations across the UK. They have been transformed following the Covid-19 lockdown, with digital solutions underpinning the safe and efficient running of workshops, complemented by on-site sanitation and distancing regulations.

Central to this is software that allows customers to check-in for a vehicle service appointment remotely, using their smartphone or computer as well as the removal of the physical job card in place of tablet technology for advisors and technicians.

The innovative software solution at West Way is the result of a partnership with RTC, with the support of Nissan Europe, to ensure it meets warranty requirements. The intended roll out was escalated to ensure the reduction of contact points and making the facilities Covid-secure. It is also demonstrating the ability to improve workshop bottom lines by saving considerable time and costs on a daily basis.

Rather than using a physical job card, the paperless solution eliminates common pitfalls of the job card set-up, such as repeated reprints of cards, damage, loss, storage and illegible handwritten notes. Staff can also get real-time status updates on job progression, with a digital stamp ensuring a robust audit trail. The self check-in solution sends the end-user an encrypted link to an online check-in portal, where they can review and approve the work to be carried out before handing keys over at a dedicated service point.

West Way is already seeing the benefits in aftersales departments. Sara Harris, marketing director at West Way Nissan, commented: “The paperless solution and self check-in functionality is central to our post-lockdown aftersales business model. Not only has it given customers the confidence to return to our locations, it also streamlines how our teams operate – automating administrative procedures, removing the inefficiencies of a paper-based system, and freeing up space that was previously reserved for physical storage.

“As a result, we have more time to focus on work throughput and customer service quality – which is crucial as our sites work to maximise every opportunity to make up for lost time. Across our 14 sites, we will potentially free up 10,000 hours a year to spend on revenue-generating activities, instead of regulatory paperwork.”

Simon Coates, product director at RTC Automotive, added: “Providing the ability for consumers to check-in online using their own devices was a natural extension to our evolving digital workshop strategy. West Way Nissan’s invaluable input meant we could tailor the tool to the real-life needs of dealers and manufacturers, identifying and focusing on high-impact areas in terms of time savings.

“We have been working with West Way Nissan for more than 10 years, and it’s been heartening to see how our digital solutions have helped ensure all their sites are not just Covid-secure but also highly productive. The take-up of our self-check-in option by customers has been extraordinary and demonstrates not just that the technology is highly effective, but that as we emerge from a crisis there is still real demand for traditional dealerships who put customers’ needs first and offer safe, professional aftersales care.”