Every day automotive manufacturers announce new technology they plan to introduce into their vehicles. Tuesday, Volvo announced that their XC90 will not only tell the driver when it’s time to visit the garage, but also suggest an appointment at their Volvo dealership. Service notifications within a vehicle are far from new. At it’s very basic; a check engine light is simply a service notification. Through the years there has been a progression in the sophistication of these reminders. They have grown from simple text reminders, to the more sophisticated On-Star reports that are e-mailed to the customer while also notifying the dealer. The system Volvo has named “The Connected Service Booking” application is unique in that it is the first of its kind to take service reminders to the next level. It enables the vehicle owner to recognize that their vehicle needs service. And it also makes the process of scheduling a service appointment convenient as it is built into the vehicle’s computer system. In so doing, Volvo has shown the value that technology and connected cars bring to dealership service departments.
Most vehicle owners have good basic intentions when it comes to servicing their vehicle. They pay attention to the service reminders their vehicles give them. And they take notice of the little sticker placed in their window reminding them at what mileage their next oil change is due. However, most consumers aren’t very good at following through with those intentions. By making it more convenient for a vehicle owner to schedule a service appointment, Volvo may be a step ahead of its competitors in retaining brand loyalty.
Today’s consumers use their mobile devices for everything. A connected car is simply a new mobile device that dealerships will need to consider. As vehicles get more connected, consumers will get used to using the features within their vehicles instead of on their phones and tablets. It then will become even more important for dealerships to be well equipped to transition that customer experience from the vehicle to the dealership. Tech savvy customers may not be very impressed with their service operation if it doesn’t also provide the same information and conveniences that their high tech vehicle offers.
I am pretty sure that Volvo XC90 owners will use this new scheduling feature and that Volvo dealerships will benefit from the decreased time between service Chances are great that other manufacturers will follow suit, as there are too many upsides to offering these conveniences through technology
It is therefore important to keep in mind that service customers will increasingly expect the same level of technology and convenience at dealership service departments as their brand vehicles are providing. Anything short of that could lead to a poor customer experience. While the consumer may stay loyal to the manufacturer, he or she may not stay loyal to you.