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Advisor with customer on tablet

Automaker partners with Dealer-FX to provide dealerships in the U.S. with technology needed to deliver an exceptional retail experience

CYPRESS, Calif., October 24, 2018 Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) recently partnered with Dealer-FX, the leading Customer Experience Management provider for OEMs and their retailers, to launch an all-new digital platform for Mitsubishi dealers entitled MICAR. MICAR is based on Dealer-FX’s ONE platform, which connects all stages of service and gives customers a completely digital and convenient experience.

The tablet-based system integrates seamlessly with dealer management systems and allows dealerships real-time access to critical data and the most advanced analytics in the industry. MICAR has been rolling out in Mitsubishi dealerships nationwide and MMNA has a goal of enrolling 90 percent of dealerships on ONE Platform by 2020.

“Optimizing the customer experience at our dealerships meant upgrading our systems and equipping our dealers with the tools they need to be efficient, informed and connected to consumers,” said Fred Diaz, President and Chief Executive Officer, MMNA. “Dealer-FX has an established track record of transforming how consumers interact with OEMs and their retailers with ONE platform. They were the ideal partner for us when it came time to develop MICAR to improve both customer satisfaction and dealer financial performance.”

With the MICAR platform, dealership customers get the best digital retail experience possible. Customers can:

  • Utilize convenient mobile and online scheduling, for 24/7 convenience
  • Be greeted by their advisor at their vehicle to conduct a thorough and transparent check-in
  • Maintain ongoing text, phone and email communication during their service visit
  • View Multipoint Inspection results and recommendations on any mobile device
  • Get detailed descriptions of each recommendation (including photos) and easily approve
  • Pay invoices remotely, eliminating the need to wait in line at the cashier, and more

Dealerships using the MICAR platform have experienced a 12 percent increase in Customer Satisfaction Index scores and a 51 percent increase in Customer Pay Sales, as well as numerous efficiency and profitability improvements. MICAR has allowed Mitsubishi to meet the rising bar of customer expectations and ensure they drive away informed, satisfied and eager to maintain their dealership relationship.

“MICAR helps dealers effectively drive service retention and ensures a connected, transparent and efficient customer experience at Mitsubishi dealerships,” said Gary Kalk, CEO of Dealer-FX. “We’re excited to be partnered with MMNA to further grow their business in the USA.”

For more information on Mitsubishi Motors, please visit media.mitsubishicars.com. For more information on MICAR please visit: https://www.dealer-fx.com.

Service Dashboard lets dealerships inform customers exactly where their vehicle is in the service process.  It also enables dealers to consistently meet that expectation. Service dashboard can also send technician recommendations to customers, and handles invoices and receive payments.

 

About Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all research and development, marketing, and sales for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. MMNA sells sedans and crossovers/SUVs through a network of approximately 360 dealers. MMNA is leading the way in the development of highly efficient, affordably priced new gasoline-powered automobiles while using its industry-leading knowledge in battery electric vehicles to develop future EV and PHEV models. Mitsubishi has been producing cars for over 100 years. For more information, contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at (888) 560-6672 or visit media.mitsubishicars.com.

About Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is a global automobile company based in Tokyo, Japan, which has a competitive edge in SUVs and pickup trucks, electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Since the Mitsubishi group produced its first car more than a century ago, we have demonstrated an ambitious and often disruptive approach, developing new vehicle genres and pioneering cutting-edge technologies. Deeply rooted in Mitsubishi Motors’ DNA, our brand strategy will appeal to ambitious drivers, willing to challenge conventional wisdom and ready to embrace change. Consistent with this mindset, Mitsubishi Motors introduced its new brand strategy in 2017, expressed in its “Drive your Ambition” tagline – a combination of personal drive and forward attitude, and a reflection of the constant dialogue between the brand and its customers. Today Mitsubishi Motors is committed to continuous investment in innovative new technologies, attractive design and product development, bringing exciting and authentic new vehicles to customers around the world.

About Dealer-FX

Dealer-FX is transforming how millions of consumers interact with automotive brands and their retailers. Our customer experience management platform uses advanced data analysis and mobile applications to deliver convenience, transparency and trust to consumers, and increased efficiency, profitability, retention and brand loyalty to OEMs and dealers. We are backed by the strength and resources of HGGC, a private equity firm in Palo Alto, CA.

Our core offering, ONE Platform, is comprised of seven components, which along with the Service Dashboard, manage the entire service experience from initial contact through drive-off and to next visit. It delivers the best dealer service experience. Period.

Dealer-FX is the exclusive or preferred service technology provider for Mitsubishi, FCA, Nissan, Infiniti, Toyota, Lexus, Audi and several other OEMs in the US and Canada, and has more than 2,500 dealership clients. Dealer-FX is based in Toronto. For more information please visit dealer-fx.com, or connect on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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The service journey can be fast-paced and complicated. One missed appointment, a broken promise time or confused communication can lead to missed steps and a poor customer experience.

The pace of service retail in this digital-driven and on-demand market places a premium on efficiency and creates a need to build an automated monitoring, communication, and reporting technology. If you’re researching service dashboard-like solutions, make sure you start with these questions:

Service Dashboard: Dealer-FX

#1. How Does it Help My Daily Service Operation?

Service Dashboard enables managers to quickly track the progress of every vehicle through the shop, from before write-up to delivery. Advisors don’t spend time filling out route sheets because it’s automated, and service managers can quickly see all shop activity at all times. It also streamlines communication. For example, Advisors, technicians, managers and parts clerks can easily connect from their workstations. Automatically see the day’s appointments including transportation options and unfinished carry over work. View an up-to-the-minute timeline of the service process, with timestamps marking the completion of each step for every vehicle.

 

#2. How Does Service Dashboard Track Communication and Information?

All internal and customer communications are associated with a VIN, so the tool maintains a complete record of every message, recommendation, and response. In other words, “Who said what” is never in question. Send and receive texts with customers and department employees, keeping a VIN-level record of all communication in an easily accessible journal. Access the entire vehicle history with every document associated with a VIN, including pre-writes, menus, inspection results and ROs from prior work.

Service Dashboard: Dealer-FX

#3. Does it Help Identify Problem Cars and Broken Promise Times?

Yes. The Service Dashboard has an “Opportunities” tab that allows users to identify potentially problematic vehicles, including those falling behind the required timeline. It also highlights missed appointments, vehicles ready for delivery, those not delivered and more, including alerting employees when promise time and quarter-time targets are at risk.

Special Feature:  How does Service Dashboard help connect with customers?

Service Dashboard lets dealerships inform customers exactly where their vehicle is in the service process.  It also enables dealers to consistently meet that expectation. Service dashboard can also send technician recommendations to customers, and handles invoices and receive payments.

How Can Dealer-FX Help?

At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help auto brands and dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge technology solutions that create an exceptional and efficient service experience. How can we help you?

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On August 2, Apple became the first U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market valuation. In doing so, it crossed an interesting threshold once thought unattainable, at least for anything other than a global energy company.

But then again – was anyone really surprised?

Probably not. Apple is unique, after all, a public showcase of thinking differently. From iMacs to iPods and iPhones, the company has been on a journey defined by creativity and driven by innovation.

Here-are-a-Few-Customer-Experience-Lessons-from-Apple-Trillion Dollar Journey Dealer-FX

Apple is simply different.

But so is Amazon. And it’s no coincidence that Jeff Bezos’ company is in close pursuit of that trillion-dollar line. Their own valuation sits at around $424 billion. What’s interesting is that the two companies share similar customer experience keys instrumental to their remarkable achievements. Indeed, what’s most relevant about Apple’s $1 trillion valuation – and Amazon’s pursuit – are the things we can learn from their shared traits:

Culture starts with shared values

The memo sent by CEO Tim Cook after Apple reached the $1 trillion mark is a good example of a positive culture. You can read it here. The takeaway for service managers is how Apple and Amazon executives have aligned the company’s objectives with human values and hopes. This is critical because the digital transformation taking place in the automotive retail industry requires a culture shift inside the dealership. Technology only works if the team members see its value and are dedicated to making the change.

Technology that redefines the customer experience

For Apple, it’s been about design and the creation of devices that feel natural. For Amazon, it’s using data to anticipate behavior and supply the answer. Both companies blend amazing technology with an incredible human experience. This ideal has obvious application in the service drive: using technology to power human interaction is how relationships are made. It’s a vital component within the dealership sales and service cycle.

Create a need

No one told Apple that people would go crazy over the iPod. They noticed how the customer experience of the typical MP3 player was poor and designed an elegant user interface. Amazon didn’t wait for someone to tell them to create Alexa or apply Big Data to the shopping experience. With that in mind, how can service advisors use information and technology to introduce a need, and sell the ‘why’ to customers? It’s a good way to expand RO values and develop a stronger relationship with customers.

Creating a personalized experience

Your iPhone is personal to you. It doesn’t have to be a different colour (though that’s nice!) because the content is what makes it unique. Likewise, the personalization of the shopping experience is where Amazon gets its power. Innovations like recommendations, one-click ordering, anticipatory shipping, and price optimization make the experience unique – and uniquely valued. Creating a similar dealership service experience requires the timely application of knowledge about the customer’s needs. It also requires the building of a culture that seeks to make the experience more personal.

Someday, other companies will reach a $1 trillion valuation, and Apple won’t be alone. Yet what’s fascinating is that Apple’s success was accomplished in much the same way as it would be at the local dealership: through shared values, the application of leading technology and personalization for the customer.

How Can Dealer-FX Help?

At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive brands and dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge technology solutions that create an exceptional and efficient service experience. How can we help you?

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What’s the fastest way to get a “no” from the customer? Ask them to buy a service they don’t understand.

It seems like a pretty simple mistake to avoid, right?
Yet often, service advisors fall into the trap, mostly because they’re busy or not armed with the latest vehicle information. And when it happens, they lose the opportunity to show customers the value and quality of the dealership service experience.

Service Advisors Tell the What Sell the Why - Dealer-FX

Common Assumptions

What’s not so simple is how to demonstrate the value of quality service. In fact, there are a few common misperceptions that service advisors and managers have when it comes to how well customers understand their vehicle’s maintenance needs:

  1. They won’t spend money on service.
  2. They get the work done somewhere else.
  3. They understand the value of the service.
  4. They already know what they want.

Most of the time, these assumptions aren’t true – and they lead advisors into a classic mistake by asking yes or no questions. Here’s an example: “do you want to flush the brake fluid?” Clearly, the easy answer is no. When that happens, many service advisors will shrug their shoulders, check the box, and move on. But here’s the problem: with every rejection, the service department loses sales and an opportunity to create a bond of trust with the customer. In fact, this situation does the customer a disservice.

Be Successful at Selling the Why

Don’t walk into an easy no – educate your customers by telling the what and selling the why. Instead of asking the customer if they want a service item they know nothing about, explain why they need the service and what makes it valuable. In this way, the conversation about a brake fluid change goes something like this:

Your car is overdue for a brake fluid flush. This is important because brake fluid absorbs moisture, and excessive moisture can cause steam. Because brakes work in a high heat and friction environment, that can lead to brake fade, which increases stopping distance. It can also cause the caliper piston to freeze, so the brakes won’t work properly. On average, brake fluid accumulates moisture at the rate of 1% per year, and anything over 2% (two years) is considered too high. Would you like to add this service?

When customers understand the importance and value of the service, they’re far more likely to opt-in because it saves them time and creates peace of mind.

How to Sell the Why

To better “sell the why,” start by preparing your service advisors with talk tracks and relevant knowledge. In turn, they will use that knowledge to educate customers and build trust. Your service department should strive for a consistent “why” performance from all advisors, a goal that’s achievable when your appointment and check-in technology includes detailed information and reminders about key service items.

Ultimately, advisors are most valuable when they do exactly that – advise customers. This way, they guide and provide customers with the necessary information to make wise decisions about their vehicle. By keeping the “why” in mind, they can better educate customers and build a reputation as a trusted advisor – something customers should expect when they come to a dealership for service.

By Ridge McCoy

Ridge McCoy is a regional performance manager for Dealer-FX. With 20 years experience in the automotive space as a technician, service advisor and shop manager, Ridge has participated in over 1,800 hours of sales, leadership and customer service training. He holds an Automotive Management degree from AMI, a business degree from Northwest University and has served as mechanical chair of the Automotive Service Association in King County, Washington.

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How Can Dealer-FX Help?

At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive brands and dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge technology solutions that create an exceptional and efficient service experience. How can we help you?

Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX. 

 

Thriving in the Emerging Customer Service Economy

Make no mistake: It’s all about the customer experience.
As such, to thrive in today’s automotive retail economy service managers and leaders need to think differently about how they use data and platforms when interacting with customers – and what that interaction looks like. And while it’s easy to point to the likes of Amazon as an example, keep in mind that servicing cars is quite different than selling books. It’s filled with unexpected vehicle issues, limited parts availability, software updates, customer no-shows, absent technicians and more. Every day presents a new set of challenges.

Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today. and Tomorrow

So here’s the question: How do dealers deliver a customer experience similar to that of Amazon? Yet make it scalable to the complex service ecosystem? It starts by thinking differently about how they use data before, during, and after each customer interaction.

Two-Step Approach

Dealers who want to achieve this must take a two-step approach:

First, adopt a service department technology platform designed to deliver an integrated and thoughtful customer experience, across all customer touchpoints. It’s something that can only happen if the data collected is analyzed and then made available at these six critical moments of greatest service opportunity:

  • Customer connection
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Vehicle check-in
  • Vehicle inspection
  • Customer engagement
  • Customer check-out

Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience

Part One: Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today…and Tomorrow
Part Two: Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today…and Tomorrow

Every point in these six critical moments brings with it an opportunity to increase revenue, boost CSI, and improve retention – but only if the data is timely, easy to use, and relevant.

Keep in mind that available data points include vehicle history, service codes, diagnostic information, and GPS data. Just knowing history, service and diagnostic data can help to significantly personalize the customer experience, maximizing the chance the customer will be happy and will return.

Next, work to transform the department culture so everyone focuses on “over delivering” service needs — to ensure a great customer experience. This is a profound change for a business whose fundamental practices and processes have remained stagnant over the past few decades. In addition to adopting a set of new technology-enabled processes and using data to constantly measure each one, employees need to embrace a culture of being in business to serve their customers. This includes:

  • Relentless optimization of the experience, through data analysis and the establishment of customer-centric performance indicators. For example, tracking greeting time, wait time, improving walk-arounds, and ensuring the wash and top-off of finished cars. These micro-moments make a lasting customer impression.
  • Providing comprehensive training to every new employee. And then refreshing and retraining them consistently.
  • Benchmarking service department processes and CSI results, then driving toward specific areas of improvement.

The Connected Customer

Technology is only effective when the culture of the service drive promotes its use as an organic part of the daily routine. It’s not an either-or type of thing: without the right approach, the power of technology to simplify and streamline is impeded; without the right technology, a team intent on over-delivering customer satisfaction will become frustrated and leave for more sophisticated stores.

According to a recent study by Price Waterhouse Cooper, “an average of 48% of U.S. consumers point to friendly, welcoming service as uniquely defining success in an industry; fewer (32%) pointed to having the most up-to-date technology.” In addition, the study found that 55% of U.S. consumers “strongly disagreed” with the idea that human interaction would not be needed when technology improves.

The message? Humans + Tech = Better Service. And that creates loyalty. In the automotive space, when you put the two together the results are compelling across the six critical moments.

Headwinds

As the automotive industry simultaneously faces headwinds and change driven by connectivity and mobility, service department efficiency and profitability will take center stage as the most important part of a successful dealership.

To win business and increase retention, service managers must begin to think differently about how to create those perfect moments. And while it’s true that we can debate the impact of technology, one fact remains. Today’s consumer is already connected – and they expect you to be, as well.

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Part One: Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today…and Tomorrow
Part Two: Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today…and Tomorrow
It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It…and When