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June 2019

Digital instruments for a new tool box

Nicoletta Ferrini

Greater customer satisfaction with investments in online services
This is a typical case of things happening at different speeds. On the one hand, we have computer savvy consumers who are always connected while, on the other, an automotive sector that, despite riding the wave of digitization in developing new products and sales techniques, seems to be moving with the handbrake on, instead of reaping the benefits in terms of aftermarket services. This, at least, according to MotorK, an Italian company that offers digital services for the automotive industry, which highlighted the data of a survey, conducted with AsCon Auto and Consulta Service Manager on a panel of 1,000 after-sales operators, at Autopromotec 2019: looking at the survey, it appears that 30% of workshops in Italy do not even have a website and, even more significantly, 10% of them do not consider it useful at all; therefore, 70% of after-sales services have a website, while 30% of them are still unsure about its real effectiveness.

Finally, only 5% have a well-structured portal dedicated to online sales. A scenario that clashes with all current social trends. According to Comscore, about 39.3 million Italians use the Internet, or 70% of all adults, and what is more, Netcomm-Osservatori of the Digital Polytechnic of Milan expects a 15% growth in the value of online purchases compared to 2017. But there is more. "According to Google Gearshift 2018 data, since 2016, online search for after-sales service has tripled and one in four automotive searches have to do with services. Many users ask for online quotations and appointments," explained Tommaso Carboni, Country Manager Italy of MotorK, during the conference "Skills and digital roles in aftermarket companies", jointly organized with Anfia (National Association of the automotive supply chain). The paradox is that "we spend a lot of energy in selling things, neglecting to pay the necessary attention towards effective digital strategies applied to after-sales activities". Customer experience, on the other hand, is a rather wide and complex matter. "Winning customer loyalty is a must, even in the 7-8 years in which an average client will own a vehicle, with the consequent need for regular maintenance, - said Carboni -. The digital customer journey, therefore, cannot fail to take services into account”.

In plain words this means being in the right place at the right time, from a digital point of view, and ready to offer prompt answers to customers’ enquiries, not to mention offering clients a personalized experience centred on flexibility. The digital manager, therefore, must now be considered a key figure in the automotive aftermarket. However, only 5% of the workshops examined had actually hired one. "For companies that are just starting out on their path towards digitization this could be economically burdensome, - explained Tommaso Carboni. - However, it is possible to rely on partner companies for support in going from analogue to digital".

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