The use of video has led to a boost in customer confidence and satisfaction levels at AM100 dealer group Sytner, but not necessarily an increase in red work authorisations.
Tom Kirkham, Mercedes-Benz divisional director at Sytner, said in 12 months using the technology, Sytner had taken a random approach when selecting which customers’ cars to feature.
Workshop technicians in the dealer group’s 13 brand sites were given iPods equipped with the CitNow app, which allows shooting, tagging and uploading of video in about a minute, linked to an electronic vehicle health check. They produce about 4,000 videos a month and send car owners a link via text or email, showing faults that require work. They also highlight where no work was needed.
“There will be a reduction in the number of dealerships and changes to the format of dealerships – the way you build your business back up again in aftersales is to rely on multi-brand coverage.
“We’ve not seen a massive impact on the red work sold. We had a fairly robust vehicle health check process already, but we have sold more work – and some centres have improved the proportion from above 40% to 70%,” said Kirkham.
“However, we’ve got countless comments in surveys, ours and Mercedes-Benz’s, from customers happy we had taken this approach. Crucially, they were confident we would fix problems should there be any next time. Increasing trust had been our motivator in using video.”
The word upsell has also been banned in the business. “We offer customers best advice,” said Kirkham.
He said Sytner does not select for videoing only those cars that need work: “We almost decide what we’re going to video before cars come into the workshop. There is a random choice of vehicle and customer.”
One example of the increase in trust was a customer who said he was going to buy replacement tyres elsewhere, but changed his mind after seeing a video. Sytner had one negative comment from a customer, who was suspicious the cost of the video was being added to his bill.
Kirkham said video has changed the service advisers’ role.
“We’ve been pushing them so hard to be salespeople in the last few years – to upsell – but video has brought ‘front-of-house’ and the workshop teams together,” he said.
“The service adviser now has absolute confidence in calling the customer because of the technician’s video.”
However, he warned it was essential for the adviser to be aware of the work required, and the price and parts required.
CItNow by numbers
Alistair Horsburgh, CitNow’s chief executive officer, shared video’s impact on dealer groups in the UK.
■ In 2014, almost 40% of UK franchised dealers used personalised video (in Europe it was 2%)
■ Sending a video link by text rather than email doubles viewing rates. Texts are also opened in half the time
■ Viewing rates approach 75%
■ The average length of a video was 57 seconds
■ Dealer group Motorline has seen a 53% increase in red work sold using CitNow technology.