Express-service kiosks are popping up everywhere — from airport ticketing areas to car rental lanes to even the local McDonald's. And lately — with increasing frequency — at new-vehicle dealerships. Some of the industry's biggest players, from auto manufacturers to top dealership groups, are testing kiosk programs.
Kiosks give customers the convenience to check in for a service appointment. Customers also can use a kiosk to arrange for repairs, purchase items such as new wiper blades, schedule a ride from a ride-hail service, pay the repair bill and choose a convenient time to pick up their vehicles.
In March, DealerRater polled for Fixed Ops Journal more than 24,000 customers who visit service lanes at new-car dealerships. The customers were asked whether on their next visit to the service department they would prefer to speak to an adviser or skip the face-to-face interaction and use a kiosk.
A staggering 97 percent responded they preferred to speak with a service adviser instead of using a kiosk. The results were the same among both mass-market and luxury-brand customers.
Proponents of kiosks say the machines appeal to the increasingly busy consumer who doesn't have time to wait in lines and has become accustomed to arranging business transactions without the help of a service representative.
Opponents say nothing beats an attentive service adviser who is able to troubleshoot a vehicle's issue with the owner and provide great personalized customer service.