Six retailers have run a pilot programme with Centralised Service Reception (CSR), another 25 are being added and the immediate target is 100.
Calls to participating retailers are automatically diverted to a section within RAC Business Solutions’ contact centre at Cheadle, Greater Manchester. Staff answer in the name of the dealer called – a cheaper overseas centre was considered but rejected.
Paul Daly, Vauxhall aftersales director, says that now service intervals have lengthened to two years customer retention, increased efficiency and lower costs are key objectives. Use of workshop bays rose 6% during the pilot and GM Europe is already interested in extending Vauxhall’s idea to other EU markets.
“CSR does not mean we are unhappy with our retailers,” says Daly. “We recognise the difficulty in taking calls while talking to customers in reception areas.”
The CSR reception team is linked to retailers’ workshop bookings diaries and update customers’ records. Charges to CSR retailers are based on the number of bays and volume of calls.
Nigel Gray, managing director of Motorbodies of Luton, part of the pilot, says: “I was cynical at first, but CSR moves service reception into the 21st century.”
Derek Passant, who heads Greenhous Group’s motor division, says: “CSR is an interesting development now service intervals have reached two years. We might join, but we have always worked hard to look after our aftersales customers.”