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Online servicing booking

A company that claims it can help dealers to make “the perfect service booking” is planning to pilot online servicing bookings using a similar method to online hotel or airline ticket reservations.

Real Time Communications (RTC), which has been part of Manheim since October 2007, has also started trialling its system on hand-held personal digital assistants (PDA) with wire-less transmission to speed up and automate the process.

“Having received a service or MoT reminder, the customer will go onto the dealer’s website and fill in the details themselves,” said RTC managing director Tim Baumfield.

“They will get a choice of dates and times and will be able to book the car straight into the workshop, just like booking a hotel or flight.”

He said: “The PDA system will add functionality. Our vehicle healthchecks are manual now, but the PDA will automate the process. We hope to launch it in September.”

RTC’s main product will be familiar to users of the highly regarded Shell Connect – it’s the same system.

It supports workshops by controlling inbound and outbound calls through a scripted process, enabling smooth workshop loading, vehicle tracking and customer notification.

Healthcheck reminders are automatic, while the standard script ensures that receptionists take every upsell opportunity when booking cars.

Management can also analyse performance by individual, inbound/outbound conversion rates, customer retention figures and work value forecasts.

“We set out to make the perfect service booking,” Baumfield told AM. “The scripted process removes the human element.”

He claims the system will on average increase the servicing invoice value by 10% while upsells alone will pay for the monthly licence fee, which averages £500.

RTC initially linked up with Shell to give it a profile in the marketplace. It implements and supports the system on behalf of Shell, which is effectively an additional sales team for RTC.

Of the 300 dealership sites using the RTC product, around 70% are Shell Connect customers.

RTC is looking for 50% growth over the next 18 months, taking it to 450 sites, by leveraging relationships with Man-heim subsidiaries eGoodManners and Portfolio. Bristol Street is in the process of rolling out the system to its Ford and Renault dealerships, while East Anglia retailer John Grose has just signed up.

RTC is also in talks with manufacturers and expects to get official endorsement within the next six months.

The system links in with most of the main dealer management systems, including ADP, Kalamazoo, Pinewood and DCS.

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