Ford is hoping to improve the experience of its service customers with new digital kiosks currently being tested at some of its dealerships. The pilot project started at seven Ford dealerships last fall. The kiosks are designed to improve the check-in experience of its service customers. The automaker says the initiative is part of efforts to make each piece of the vehicle ownership experience more personalized, convenient and transparent.
“Our goal is to change the perception of the dealership experience,” said Robert De Filippo, global director, Ford Retail Customer Experience. “We can start to do this by meeting rising expectations for fast and reliable service and letting each customer know they matter to us.”
Just an observation if you watch the video below, at about :26 in, there is an equity alert and an opinion to review the numbers. Besides service, it appears the kiosk is also a way to get people to look at a new vehicle.
Liberty Automotive Group in Ohio is one of the Ford dealerships involved in the pilot program. As a result of the increase in efficiency and customer satisfaction from the digital kiosk in their Brunswick location, the automotive group recently purchased additional kiosks for some of its other locations.
“The way I see it, there are two types of customers,” Andrew Bellavia, Chief Operating Officer of Liberty Automotive Group said. “Customers who are coming in for quick service or maintenance on low-mileage vehicles who want to get in and out quickly, and then customers who have unique cases that they want to discuss in-depth with our service staff. These kiosks provide an option to the customer who wants to move fast, freeing up service advisors to address the more complex concerns.”
Bellavia said in December the kiosk in the Brunswick location assisted 241 out of roughly 1,100 customers, and 85 percent of these said the kiosk made their check-in process easier. According to Bellavia, a kiosk check-in on average takes a quarter of the time of a service advisor check-in.
Across the seven pilot dealers, the average customer check in time using the kiosk is just over two minutes. Additionally, 84 percent of Bellavia’s users said the kiosk made their check in experience easier and 90 percent said it was able to answer all of their questions.
The Kiosk Experience
Imagine pulling up to a busy service area. All service advisors are busy assisting other customers. A wait seems imminent. Enter the digital service kiosk. Not unlike digital kiosks seen in other retail establishments such as fast-food or airline travel, digital kiosks in dealership service areas allow customers to check-in and select services without interaction with a service advisor.
Upon approaching the kiosk, the customer is prompted to enter their phone number via touchscreen. From there, the customer’s primary information is displayed for verification of 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 be contacted with updates regarding their vehicle service. Recalls pertinent to the customers’ vehicle also are displayed on the screen during the check-in process.
There are also outdoor versions of the kiosk being piloted to provide access to vehicle drop-off or pick-up any time of day or night, regardless of service center hours. Outdoor kiosks offer similar options as the indoor iterations and will eventually have the added capability of accepting and delivering keys.