How the coronavirus pandemic disrupted fixed ops in 2020 will continue to dominate discussions in 2021. One topic of interest is what service-related things will go back to how they were pre-pandemic and what changes are here to stay.
Todd Marcelle, vice president and founder of kiosk vendor GoMoto, said he thinks the new contactless ways customers have used to check in and out of service appointments -- and paid for repairs using mobile phone apps or kiosks -- will stick around. Or more accurately, Marcelle believes dealership service departments will be making a mistake if they don't keep these conveniences.
Well, of course, you say, the kiosk guy recommends we keep using kiosks. Big surprise. But Marcelle emphasizes that service departments should embrace all new technology, including mobile phone apps. Besides, that's just not him talking — it's service customers in survey after survey last year talking about how much they want the convenience technology gives them.
"The pandemic forced us to modernize," Marcelle said. Dealers, he said, "have to adapt to the modern retail world."
Marcelle said having digital options "gives customers ultimate control," which is a good thing, and helps service departments "develop a cadence" when it comes to scheduling appointments that helps prevent bottlenecks in the bays.
Marcelle said if fixed ops folks thought about their daily lives and how many transactions were contactless and frictionless, they would want to bring that same level of ease and transparency to their service lane.
Having kiosks or mobile phone apps "gives our consumers a modern feeling." They also accurately record a customer's contact information for any service follow-ups that might be needed. All of this contributes to a smoother service process, Marcelle said. He said last year was tough on dealers and 2021 "will be a bit of a challenge as well.
"We need to ensure that consistent process allows us to capture every potential profit opportunity and allows us to maintain and maximize lifetime value of customers."