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Dealers must build trust in a virtual world for aftersales success

Aftersales business will be increasingly dominated by the internet and franchised dealers and their manufacturer partners need to be prepared in order to meet consumer expectations.

Tim Smith, director of GForces, the digital automotive company who will be speaking at this year's AM Aftersales Conference on April 24, said: "It's not a question of if; but when."

He added: "The figures from numerous sources over the past 10 years or so all show how the independent and fast fit sectors are taking a higher proportion of market share and this trend shows no sign of abating.

"It makes customer retention and absorption through the aftersales department even more acute. Factor in the reduction of volume bonuses from manufacturers and franchised dealers have a big task on their hands to secure their future business."

Smith will outline the transition of aftersales business to online incorporating searches, transactions and targeted marketing campaigns when he addresses the issue at the conference which takes place at the Hilton Hotel, located in the complex of the newly opened national football training centre St George's Park in Burton-on-Trent, East Midlands.

Dealers and manufacturers need to be putting together a strategy now to incorporate online operations into the aftersales department as well as encouraging a change in culture to facilitate both a new way of conducting business and meeting the demands of today's consumer.

He said: "Some manufacturers are already facing the challenge and are implementing a wide range of initiatives as well as discount servicing rates for older vehicles to provide their dealers with the tools they need to both keep customers in the network and attract lapsed customers back."

The conference, which is sponsored by GForces, incorporates a range of speakers who will explore a number of innovations designed to increase the franchised sector’s online aftersales presence and develop customer loyalty by building trust.

It includes offering the convenience of online payments, initiatives such as a video electronic vehicle health check and the increasing importance of user generated content to enable browsers to compare honest reviews, which is fast forming a vital element of the decision-making process.

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, with a limited number of supplier tickets on sale. To book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468289, email or visit

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  • Darren Bone - - 15/04/2013 16:13

    I completely agree with Tim. Honest discounts with no hidden extras is initially met with surprise by our customers. However, repeat business indicates this is building trust and loyalty.

  • RAH - 16/04/2013 13:24

    Inflexible manufacturer controlled procedures, causing constraints and limiting individual decisions by dealer networks. Too much autocracy, too many accountants and not enough people with personality. If the dealer was any good in the first place, customers wouldn’t go elsewhere.

    • wayfwrd - 16/04/2013 21:35

      @RAH - Absolutely on the money,could not have said it better.

  • wayne.elliott - 16/04/2013 21:54

    Lets wind back to service departments face to face and service offerings,the day to day stuff first,get this right and then maybe think of digital offerings and promotion.The word on the block,if you speak to your customers is,rip off,not surprising really,over a hundred pounds a hour labour rates,often unhelpful and unsympathetic staff grinning as they inform the customer,a diagnostic to check why your management light is on will cost you initially 2 hours labour £200 plus pounds plus vat,of course this will probably not fix your car,it will hopefully give a indication as to the likely repair cost and time.Shocking if your the customer,is any wonder that the fast fits and car clinics are gathering momentum.