Aftersales should follow retail by going ‘phygital’

Ever since the dawn of the internet, dealers have been gradually adapting to a digital consumer retail landscape, but now more than ever, change is occuring. Spurred on by the pandemic and heightened for some with the shift to the agency sales model, more and more people are researching, spec’ing and buying their new cars online.


Despite this, most customers still want somewhere to go to physically see, touch and test the car of their choice. Spurred on by OEM requirements, dealers are creating value in the offline retail experience by combining traditional physical touchpoints with digital experiences to create a ‘phygital’ shopping experience that’s connected, interactive and highly personalised. Phygital ultimately blurs the lines between physical and digital channels to create a consistent omnichannel experience.


Most of us use phygital touchpoints without thinking, such as ordering fast food via an in-store kiosk and collecting our meals from a server at the counter. The result is increased speed, convenience and personalisation. 


Like other sectors, automotive retail is evolving to these new experiences, where does this leave vehicle aftersales? Are service departments risking being left behind in the ongoing digital revolution?


Even with the growth of dealers offering vehicle collection services, customers still need to physically visit dealers to drop off their vehicles for service or repair. To deliver an enhanced experience in keeping with modern retailing dealers need to adopt more digital solutions to make the aftersales journey a more streamlined and engaging one After all, getting your car serviced is seen by most as a chore.


Creating digital solutions that allow customers to check their vehicles in at a time and a place convenient for them appeals to those customers who just want to get in and out without queuing or having to spend time going through everything with a service advisor. When designing the Tjekvik mobile-optimised technology and kiosks, we set out for it to be as intuitive and convenient to use as possible.


But what about those who prefer to speak to an actual person? After all, there are many of us who would rather discuss our requirements with a human being. The truth is we must cater for all customer requirements with every channel we have at our disposal so that customers have the freedom to complete the next step of their aftersales journey whenever and wherever they are. Using digital journeys will give service advisors more capacity to spend time with customers who prefer personal interaction. However, for consistency of process, the Tjekvik software is also provided on a tablet. This will result in a better overall customer experience, easy operation for the service advisor and fewer missed opportunities for dealers.


While giving customers even more choices will raise concerns for many, particularly those in the hectic world of automotive aftersales, digitalising the check-in process is a help rather than a hindrance to dealers. It takes the strain off busy service advisers by enabling them to keep on top of more pressing and often forgotten tasks like pre-calls and amber item follow-ups. The software can also be fully integrated with DMS, so additional revenue raised by the upsell of tailored products and services during the check-in process is quickly added to the repair order making service advisors more efficient.

Following retail and offering ‘phygital’ solutions is no longer a risk, it is a necessity and it will be the dealers that take the plunge who will be rewarded with happier customers and more efficient day-to-day operations.