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Retailers 'missing out' on aftersales revenue by not offering online booking

Technician inspecting vehicle

Retailers are missing on potential aftersales revenue and failing to meet motorists' expectations by not offering direct access to a comprehensive online booking service, CitNOW Group has found.

More than two-fifths (44%) of respondents to a survey of 1,000 car owners said they want to be able to book a specific time and date for their vehicle service online.

Yet CitNOW Group analysis of the desktop websites of 100 car retailers found that just over a quarter (27%) gave customers the option to book a vehicle service online and choose their preferred date and time.

The percentage is lower on mobile websites, with less than one-in-five (18%) dealers allowing consumers to make a date-and-time specific service booking on this platform.

Carol Fairchild, chief customer officer at CitNOW Group, said: “There are simple steps that retailers can take to encourage the continuation of the customer journey from sales to aftersales, for example, almost a third of retailers (30%) do not introduce their aftersales team to customers on the handover of their vehicle.

“However, our consumer survey shows that technology is the most important component for retaining customers in aftersales.”

The survey also found that the convenience of booking a specific time and date for vehicle maintenance was most important to younger drivers, with almost three quarters (74%) of under 25-year-olds stating that they expect dealers to offer this service - the highest of any age bracket surveyed.

A further two fifths (42%) of car buyers stated that they expect the aftersales booking system to be easy to access and use.

Car buyers and aftersales customers need to receive a consistent experience online, in-store and across departments, Fairchild told delegates at this year's Automotive Management Live 2022 event.

The group's research also showed that video remains a key role in customers approving repair work required: two-out-of-five (41%) of car owners said they would more likely approve repair work on their car online if a video of the vehicle showing the work required, was sent beforehand.

Retailers can maximise the revenue potential of each customer booking, while reducing the time each vehicle spends in the workshop, helping to increase the flow of work, CitNOW said.

Car retailers in the UK are missing out on £166 million in aftersales revenue due to a failure to tap into manufacturers’ vehicle safety recalls, research conducted by Auto Data Solutions has found.

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