Is wireless the future of automotive customer retention?

Is wireless the future of automotive customer retention?

Automotive service retention solutions integrate all client touchpoints. The benefits end up driving owner loyalty through a single integrated platform to connect service solutions and increase retention.

Woman in the car with tablet pc

Automotive service retention solutions integrate all client touchpoints. The benefits end up driving owner loyalty through a single integrated platform to connect service solutions and increase retention.

A digital retailing transformation is taking place in the automotive remarketing industry.To fully take advantage of new service retention solutions properly, automotive dealers and OEMs must ensure an up-to-date information technology (IT) infrastructure is in place to successfully support and deliver these new digital solutions. And wireless is playing a growing role. According to Cox Automotive’s Dealer.com brand, in October 2017, more than half (57%) of online customer visits to Canadian dealer Websites were from a mobile device compared to a desktop (43%)—a 9% surge over October 2016.

Dealers and customers benefit from emerging technologies

Increasing inventories and incentives are squeezing profit margins. So how can dealers and OEMs drive profitable growth?

The answer lies in increasing retention rates on the fixed-operations side for Canadian dealers. In 2016, fixed-operations accounted for 9.8% of a typical dealership’s revenue. But more significantly, 33.9% of a new car dealer’s gross profit came from fixed-operations, second only to new vehicle sales (39.6%), according to a DesRosiers Automotive Consultants 2016 study.

And according to Cox Automotive Canada’s Xtime, the leading retention solution for the retail automotive industry, an improved customer experience can increase OEMs and dealership customer retention by 7.5%.

As part of this digital retail revolution, many consumers already book hotel rooms and airline flights online. Car buyers are no different. According to Xtime data, 70% of service customers are scheduling their appointments online—20% higher than by email. And, in addition to this convenience, a premium automotive service retention solution has many other features:

  • Email and text service appointment notifications
  • Live online service calendar
  • Fewer emails, more texts
  • Mobile or on the web
  • Recalls notifications

For dealers and OEMs, the chief benefit to implementing a premium automotive service retention solution is a reduction in no-show rates. But other cost-saving features can include:

  • Bi-directional DMS integration
  • Vehicle-specific maintenance menus
  • OEM integrations
  • Shop management and reporting
  • Vehicle telematics
  • Manufacturer recall integration

“FREE Wi-Fi” no longer good enough

No doubt, automotive service retention solutions can drive owner loyalty and create opportunities for shop efficiencies. However, an insufficient dealership IT infrastructure can lead to annoyed service personal and unhappy customers.

To fully take advantage of these new service retention solutions properly, automotive dealers and OEMs must ensure an up-to-date IT infrastructure is in place to adequately support and deliver these new solutions.

One Xtime Canada client that has discovered offering “free WIFI” in their dealership service lounges was no longer satisfactory is Honda Canada. The automaker created a unified, coast-to-coast secure wireless network within all Honda and Acura dealers to maximise customer and dealer satisfaction while improving customer retention.

Honda Canada’s national program calls for a unified managed network across entire dealership properties using the latest wireless infrastructure technology. This initiative ensures the dealership’s internet connection is high-speed with redundant connectivity (LTE/4G), providing dealers with options to use tablets or laptops, for customers in the showroom and service personnel in the shop.

Currently, there are 194 Honda and Acura dealers on the upgraded network, with the goal of having all Canadian Honda and Acura dealers updating their IT infrastructure by the end of 2017.

Wireless is the future of automotive customer retention

With benefits to both dealers and customers, the demand for wireless applications at dealerships will continue to grow in the future. In addition to the expanded use of tablets and laptops, many automakers are implementing over-the-air updates to their software, requiring premium wireless capabilities across a dealership’s lot.

Knowing all of this, the future of automotive customer retention and profitable growth lies in the combination of a modern wireless infrastructure with premium automotive services.

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