In the future, the entire service process will have to be geared much more strongly to the individual needs of customers than it is today. Not just a process for all but rather the precisely fitting process for all – this is the challenge for the brand-specific aftersales. In the future, the dimensions of location and time for services will no onger be pre-defined. but will be integrated into the customers’ everyday life. This starts with booking an appointment, which must be possible online and on all end devices at any time. The location for vehicle acceptance must be just as flexible – dropping by the dealership is just one of several options. It is just as self-evident that vehicles can be taken to the workshop or handed over at defined drop-off points in the city centre. Time savings for the customer with the integration of services into everyday life is the highest priority. Expert advice does not necessarily have to be provided in the workshop. Advice can be sought from the service consultants from anywhere via video link or augmented/ virtual reality. Digital media even make it possible for customers and service consultants to take part in the same dialogue without having to be at the same place. For this, a newly defined partnership between the aftersales service sector and the vehicle manufacturer is required. This includes a stronger networking of IT systems and the exchange of information on customer and vehicle data. This is the basis on which common solutions and new service formats can be developed. Manufacturers must assume the role of the innovator because they can develop and roll out company-wide IT solutions, which individual retailers cannot do alone. These are central findings of the study “The Megatrend of digitisation in automotive aftersales: How new customer demands influence the service of the future”. The study examined five issues that exert strong pressure for change in aftersales. In order to substantiate the possible effects, the strongest conceivable expression of each issue was formulated as a provocative hypothesis. In the context of the study, market research and expert interviews were used to evaluate the individual theses and to check their validity.
1. NETWORKING: “REPAIRS ARE INCREASINGLY TAKING PLACE OVER-THE-AIR.”
According to this theory, over-the-air software updates directly from the manufacturer will play a greater role. What Tesla is demonstrating will be imitated on a large scale. For over-the-air updates, data is transmitted wirelessly to a device via a wireless interface (Wi-Fi or mobile communications). Over-the-air is already widely used in the area of smartphones and other mobile gadgets. Car manufacturers are also increasingly committed in this area. The study shows that car manufacturers have recognised the potential of over-the-air. All manufacturers surveyed assume that repairs with regard to bug fixes and software updates will be installed via wireless interface in the I 1MANAGEMENT SUMMARY Photo: Shutterstock/jamesteohart AUTOMOTIVE AFTERSALES | 2017 STUDY 5 future. This method will also become more interesting for vehicle diagnostics independent of time and place. Nevertheless, there will still be a need for mechanical service and repair, which only the workshop can cover. All manufacturers surveyed emphasise that this will not result in lost business for workshops. The majority (55%) of the dealers surveyed also believe that future updates for vehicle software or the release of services will take place increasingly over-the-air. This has implications on the entire business model: 71% of the retailers have recognised that in future, digital add-on products can be marketed directly by the manufacturer via the over-the-air channel.
2. TELEMATICS: “MORE TRANSPARENCY WITH VEHICLE DATA – THE CUSTOMER WILL BECOME THE EXPERT.”
The market research has shown that both private and business customers have a strong interest in using technical data from the vehicle to be informed about the condition of the vehicle or service needs. 57% of customers find this option interesting. Customers would like to use their vehicle data to independently assess the need for repairs or decide whether it is even necessary to consult a mechanic. 52% of private customers would like to use vehicle data for this purpose. Drivers, however, clearly distinguish between technical vehicle data and data on their own driving behaviour, which would allow the creation of a personal driving profile. There are clear reservations about sharing data on one’s own driving behaviour with a third party. For the aftersales service sector, telematics offers the opportunity to more effectively attract customers and retain them in the long term. The connectivity, which is already integrated into newer vehicles ex works, ensures that contract dealers have initial access to the customer. It is foreseeable that the service process will change significantly as a result of telematics. Because of the extensive information already available before the first contact, vehicle acceptance and handover will be significantly shortened because many questions can be clarified in advance.
3. OMNI-/CROSS-CHANNEL AND PARTNER
SHIPS: “FULL SERVICE AGENT ASSUMES
THE SERVICE OPERATIONS FOR THE CUSTOMER”
The offers of manufacturers and dealers in the field of service, repair and accessories are becoming more and more transparent and provide customers with many opportunities to inform themselves and to purchase products and services via different channels. New players on the market are also taking advantage of this trend and are pushing their way between the dealer and the customer and taking over the entire transaction process as a full-service provider – from determining service requirements, choosing a dealership and booking the appointment to vehicle transfer and billing. Market research has shown that customers want comprehensive support. However, most of the respondents obtain this service at their authorised workshop. 66% of the customers surveyed stated that full-service offers would be interesting or very interesting if they were provided by the authorised workshop. Both private and business customers see time savings as the greatest advantage of such an offer. For 54% of dealers, the range of comprehensive carefree packages creates new business potential. However, the brand-related trade also sees the risks: If external service providers in aftersales make life easier for vehicle owners and take over all the work related to the automotive service, 40% of dealers fear that the dealership-customer relationship might be weakened.
4. SMART CITY: “THE DEALERSHIP COMES
TO THE CUSTOMER.”
Cities are becoming more efficient, more innovative, and more technologically advanced. This trend is directly linked to the digitisation in all areas of life and influences the behaviour of dealership customers, especially in large cities. In the context of the market research, it was asked how interesting is a stronger integration of new service formats into the daily routine of urban residents. Both private and business customers found individual service offerings that would save time and eliminate the need for long distances interesting. For such services that are not carried out at the dealership but rather in close proximity to the customer at defined locations in the city, customers preferred the authorised workshop over a private service provider. 61% of customers would like such services. The retail sector already recognises the opportunities opened up in the Smart City environment and sees opportunities for new business models (78%).
5. AUTONOMOUS DRIVING: “THE VEHICLE
WILL DRIVE ITSELF TO THE WORKSHOP.”
By 2025 at the latest, experts expect autonomous cars to be travelling on our roads. According to studies, partially and fully automated vehicles could account for between 20–35% of the world’s vehicle production by 2035. Concrete applications of the technology are already emerging today, especially in commercial transport. In several metropolitan areas, pilot projects with autonomous vehicle fleets are also being carried out. This will also affect service. If consistently thought through, the technical development could lead to cars driving to a workshop completely alone without a driver. Although the technology for the car to be driven to the workshop without a driver has not yet been made commercially available, car users view such a scenario positively. In particular, drivers under 40 show a high degree of readiness for this possibility. Assuming the safety of the technology, 47% of the users surveyed would be willing to let their car drive autonomously to the dealership. Dealers are also open to autonomous driving with regard to the future perspective. 68% of the dealers surveyed believe that the scenario “car will drive to the workshop on its own” will be possible in 10 to 15 years. However, there is also a danger that the direct contact with the customer will be lost. 70% fear further decreased opportunities for contact.