AM Online

Aftersales research shows the gaps between dealers' online presence and the customer's desires

Tim Smith

New research into aftersales is highlighting the gaps between dealers' online SMR presence and the desires of their customers.

Platinum sponsor digital agency GForces will present the results of its wide-ranging aftersales research at this year’s AM Aftersales Conference on April 8 at the Crowne Plaza, Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire.

It has been collating case studies and researching businesses active in the automotive aftersales arena – here and abroad – to provide up-to-date insight on current thinking and identify best practice for aftersales directors and digital marketing teams.

GForces commercial director Tim Smith will combine this information with consumer research, undertaken to help deliver a definitive picture of online aftersales’ current position compared to consumer expectations.

Smith will deliver insight and advice to help dealers shape their internet strategies – from marketing through to retention. His presentation will plot dealers’ internet aftersales presence against consumer requirements to identify gaps.

He will highlight best practice and provide retailers with the information they need to make a real difference to their aftersales performance.

Given that GForces’ consumer survey discovered most consumers would rather not talk to an aftersales department to book routine maintenance, this session promises to be an eye-opener.

Smith said: “There are dealers whose internet presence for aftersales is exceptional, but there are still improvements to be made for many. We don’t expect dealers to be in a position to compete with the High Street fast-fits but there are plenty of examples of best practice – of dealers using effective marketing to drive people to their online aftersales offering and subsequently generating significant revenue.

"A holistic approach which utilises tools like service booking, online tyre ordering and accessory stores can make all the difference in attracting and retaining customers.”

As well as the studies and surveys, GForces has been conducting an ongoing analysis of the AM100 to help determine the best practices which are currently in existence.

Its independent consumer research sought the opinions of 2,000 motorists from across the UK and full findings will also be highlighted at the conference.

However, the information does indicate that dealers will need to make some drastic changes to maintain their position in the market.

On the positive side, 61% of motorists surveyed believe that regular servicing from a franchised dealership helps maximise the resale value of their car even if less than a third follow their own advice.

More challenging for some retailers, perhaps, will be the fact that almost a quarter of motorists surveyed are now prepared to wait no more than two hours for a response to an enquiry about their vehicle service online, before taking their business elsewhere.

Interestingly, just 17% of respondents said a reminder is the most significant factor prompting them to book a car in for service work which suggests dealers need to be much more proactive with regards digital marketing to retain business.

But be warned: almost two-thirds don’t want to speak to the dealership by telephone when organising a booking.

Smith added: “An effective CRM strategy which places customers at the heart of the business is imperative whilst good old fashioned first class service is an absolute must, especially as more and more consumers are sharing their experiences via social media and dealer’s own opinion gathering tools.

"The threat of the independents and fast-fits continues and they are actively seeking customers from the franchised sector, so it’s down to manufacturers, retailers and their suppliers to listen to customers, reach out to them and give them what they really want.

“It’s not just about price; for many consumers, it’s about being able to find the price up-front, receive a timely response and benefit from convenience.”

A limited number of tickets are still available to dealers and manufacturers. To book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468289, email or visit

Click here for aftersales best practice and procurement insight

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