Motorists still see a face-to-face aftersales service as ‘the norm’ despite car retailers’ introduction of increased digitalisation to maintain COVID-19 social distancing.
The RTC Consumer Survey 2020 polled 865 UK drivers and found that three in four drivers expect in-person key handover when arriving on dealership premises, and 66% said they continue to discuss additional work required over the phone, rather than through digital channels.
RTC Automotive, which has launched a new software package that enables aftersales customers to check-in digitally for a contactless handover, said the findings demonstrate that dealerships must do more to make technology accessible to customers, to ‘embrace the benefits’ of digitalisation.
Richard Robinson, chief operating officer at RTC Automotive, said: “As digital solutions become more powerful and more widely used in the aftermarket, we have work to do to communicate the transparency, safety and convenience benefits they give to customers.
“Our data indicates that drivers are interested in new technology, but either dealerships aren’t offering the right solutions, or customers simply don’t know about them.”
A study by WhatCar? found that nine-out-of-10 in-market car buyers are comfortable visiting retailers when researching or buying their next car, despite COVID-19 causing more local restrictions and lockdowns.
The survey also found that more than one in four Brits (28%) said they would like to access technology that enables them to check their car into a main dealership for a service or repair, while a third would like to communicate with their franchised dealer through an app.
Evidence of a thorough car sanitisation process continues to deliver a key confidence boost for car buyers amidst the coronavirus crisis, according to a survey by eBay Motors.
When asked about the possibility of using more digital methods for vehicle repair, 33% of motorists said they want live service updates by email or SMS and 51% said they would rather wait for a dealership to alert them of a due service through the same digital channels, than to proactively contact a dealership and book their own appointment.
Robinson said: “Digitalisation needs to be part of a joined-up experience for the customer, integrating new technologies with the personal forms of communication that customers still value. This is possible, but only with the right software support and training.
“With a concerted effort to educate consumers and promote the use of digital solutions, dealerships will be able to fully realise the benefits of digitalization, in terms of both encouraging repeat business and opening new revenue streams.”