In a new pilot program, Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn has installed digital kiosks at seven dealership service facilities across the U.S., to improve the customer check-in experience and make the vehicle ownership experience more personalized, convenient, and transparent.
“Our goal is to change the perception of the dealership experience,” says Robert De Filippo, global director of the retail customer experience at Ford. “We can start to do this by meeting rising expectations for fast and reliable service, and letting each customer know they matter to us.”
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,” says Andrew Bellavia, COO of Liberty Automotive Group. “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 people 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.
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, which can eliminate a wait in many instances, especially when service advisors are assisting other customers.
Upon approaching the kiosk, customers are prompted to enter their phone number via touchscreen. From there, the customers’ primary information is displayed for verification of name, address, vehicle type, and preferred method of contact. The customers then choose 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.
Outdoor versions of the kiosk also are 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 eventually will have the added capability of accepting and delivering keys.