Volkswagen is piloting virtual reception service kiosks in two of its dealerships that allow customers with appointments to drop off their vehicles and get on their way in less than three minutes when the service lane is busy.
Meanwhile, an updated version of the kiosk that is to be piloted by VW this summer will not only handle payments electronically, but also receive and distribute keys — a trick that could fully automate the night drop box at most dealerships.
The German mass-market brand is the latest to experiment with digital kiosks in the service lane as a way to get busy customers on their way without having to wait in line to speak to a service adviser. Volkswagen's pilot follows earlier moves by Ford, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Audi and others with the technology, which was developed by GoMoto.
The kiosks integrate into most DMS systems and have improved upsells and customer satisfaction in the VW service lanes in the pilot, says Jon Meredith, senior manager for service business development with the aftersales group at Volkswagen of America.
"The kiosks are not here to replace service advisers," Meredith explains, "but we're looking to help the adviser service the customer more efficiently. The kiosks can help when the service lane is very busy."
Meredith said the first-generation kiosks installed at a Volkswagen dealership in Pasadena, Calif., for example, wrote up between 10 and 15 customers per day. The response from customers was positive.
"The kiosks had a high customer-satisfaction rating, and we saw that there was an average of $22 per [repair order] in additional sales through those that checked themselves in through the kiosks," Meredith said. "They also had a very consistent check-in time of under three minutes."