Car dealerships are betting big on digital kiosks…here’s why

Motorists are increasingly expecting digital experiences when they drop off their vehicle for a service. Customers want to book-in online, receive text reminders as the big day approaches and, minutes after its off the inspection ramp, they expect to a video run-through of their car’s service sent to their smartphone. The emphasis is very much on convenience, personalisation, speed and reliability.

That’s why it’s no surprise Ford is now rolling out express check-in kiosks at its dealerships across the US. The kiosks efficiently gather customer details and book in the vehicle, including taking deposit of the key, cutting check-in time by around 75% on average.

Customer-service fast track

Ford’s new kiosk strategy is driven by the existence of at least two types of customer, those who want a service or maintenance on low-mileage vehicles and want to get in and out quickly, and customers who have a specific issue and want to discuss it in-depth with service department staff. The new kiosks serve time-poor customers, freeing up service advisors to address the more complex concerns.

So, how do Ford’s digital kiosks work? The customer is prompted to identify themselves by entering their phone number via a touchscreen. From there, the customer’s primary information is displayed so they can verify their name, address, vehicle type, and preferred method of contact. The customer then chooses the services their vehicle needs from various menu options and selects how they would like to receive updates regarding their vehicle service. Recalls pertinent to the customer’s vehicle also are displayed on the screen during the check-in process.

Outdoor versions of the kiosk are also being piloted to provide access to vehicle drop-off or pick-up any time of day or night, regardless of service centre hours. Outdoor kiosks offer similar options as the indoor iterations and will eventually have the added capability of accepting payment as well as returning keys.

One of the US dealerships piloting the new kiosks in Brunswick, Georgia, says that within the first month 241 customers out of 1,100 had taken advantage of its new kiosk, with 85% saying the check-in process had been easier.

Superior upselling rates

We can expect to see a steady increase in automotive companies using digital customer service kiosks if sector merger and acquisition activity is anything to go by. One big indicator is that Reynolds and Reynolds, a leading global digital services supplier to the car dealership sector, has just bought out the service lane kiosk pioneer GoMoto.

GoMoto claims digital kiosks improve customer upsell rate by 20%, increase vehicle trade-in appraisal rate by 11% and capture customer data at a 95% accuracy rate.

Solutions like GoMoto’s benefit from the fact they communicate directly with the dealership management system, helping to streamline the sharing of data between dealers’ customers and the dealership management platform.

That information can include real-time inventory data such as costs, repairs, market value, and equity position. Because kiosks are customer-facing, dealers increase conversion opportunities by consistently presenting customers with intelligent product, service, upsell, and/or trade-in offers.

Want to find out more about digital kiosks in the automotive sector and other industries including retail and hospitality? Contact Vodat International now.

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