With millions of South Africans working from home, among the first-hand discoveries many businesses are likely to be making is the limitation imposed on their processes due to their dependence on hard-copy documentation. This is especially relevant in automotive dealerships and the after-sales service industry where paper-based administration is the accepted norm.
Mark Elliott of BSI-Auto understands that digital transformation is a business trend that is daunting for most automotive businesses, regardless of their size. In order to get the industry up and running when South Africa reopens for business, Mark recommends that dealerships and after-sales service workshops should be considering a digital service strategy – adding to the bottom line by optimising customer experience but to ensure the health and safety of their customers and employees too.
“When it comes to getting information down and conveyed to your teams who are servicing customers, taking your business into the digital age is key,” says Mark. “The good news is that going paperless is simple for most businesses and there has never been a more opportune time for automotive companies that have yet to digitise their data and processes to re-evaluate their needs and get on board with cost-effective digital solutions.”
Digital services have the power to generate both monetary and non-monetary value in the traditional core business, such as vehicle sales and repairs, as well as in adjacent business areas, such as mobility services. Uncovering the full potential trapped in value pools in the automotive industry requires a tech player’s mind-set and incorporating a customer-centric digital service strategy paired with a strong yet agile execution. Fortunately the technology for this is already in place – allowing dealers and workshops to do what they do best while the software does the rest!
Efficiency off the charts
While going paperless (or as close to it as possible) significantly boosts a dealership’s efficiency and organisation quotient, digitisation’s true impact is in the delivery of an excellent customer experience.
A digital shop window can be massively more efficient when it comes to providing revolutionised customer experience. Automation such as online bookings, online check-in, online quotations and even customer service history shortens the time between the initial call and solving the customer’s issues.
“Fast, invisible and efficient for the customer, these after sales service solutions result in higher customer satisfaction and more repeat business. And running an efficient operation that delights customers also means competitors have less of an opportunity to get a foothold on your customer accounts,” Mark explains.
Social distancing made effortless
In our current and future COVID-19 environment, paper is the enemy. The physical transfer of documentation from one coworker to another – or even to a customer – is an activity that will put your workshop at risk. While so much remains unknown about the coronavirus, we do know that it is “a sticky virus” and it has been shown to live on paper for up to 24 hours. So why take the risk of contamination by sharing paper documents? A digital management system means social distancing is maintained, no face mask or gloves required.
“If there’s no physical documentation being transferred from one desk to another, it also reduces the potential for transmission. Employees stay at their workstations and the technology facilitates the movement and interaction of information between departments, not people,” Mark adds.
There’s no question about it: in this age of customer data protection, digital documentation is miles more secure than paper. Online, data is easily encrypted, boosting cyber security and keeping your customer information safe. Information stored in a highly secure system is unreadable except by those who have been granted explicit permission. Tailorable administrator controls are also available so accessibility can be made bespoke for each user within a business.
Whether they are in a cherrywood file cabinet in corner offices, a lockup safe or offsite in a storage unit, there is no question that housing paper files costs money. Lengthy searches for documents eat valuable resources and finally, there’s the loss of potential revenue that stems from locating a specific document or piece of data at the time an opportunity presented itself.
“Going paperless is all about running your dealership or after sales service workshop more efficiently. It’s about reducing the amount of time you and your employees spend on paper-based administrative activities and discovering what can be gained through new technologies,” Mark concludes.
By taking small steps to introduce digital transformation, it is possible that businesses servicing the automotive industry can refocus their efforts on growth, not just recovery.