Ford Motor Co. announced this week it will expand its “Smartt Technology” program, which integrates new technologies into the company’s dealerships, as a way to enhance the customer service experience.
“This evolution of the Smartt program represents a glimpse at the Ford and Lincoln service experience of the future,” says Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. “Using technology to help us reshape the customer service experience is just one example of how we are driving innovation through every part of our business.”
Specifically, the two new phases of the program — Smartt Mobile Write-Up and Smartt Inspect — will implement the use of tablets hoping to improve efficiency and speed.
The Mobile Write-Up component will put tablets in the hands of dealership service staff, allowing them to reference vehicle history, open recall notices, and pricing on the spot. Hinrichs says it will also make vehicle inspections and walk-around processes more efficient, giving service employees the ability to scan a vehicle’s VIN, take pictures of areas in need of repair, and attach notes, and customer comments.
Smartt Inspect then relays that information to automate and enhance communication within the service department. Once a service adviser creates a repair order, it is assigned to a technician who can use a tablet or PC to complete a complimentary, thorough vehicle inspection. The technician can then record all outcomes of the inspection and suggest necessary additional services, and that data is accessible via the tablet for service staff to share with customers.
Last year, the company introduced Smartt appointments to give customers an online-based tool to schedule service appointments, select the services they need in advance, thus speeding up the write-up process before they arrive. In its first year, Ford officials say online appointment volumes tripled.