Person looking at the rear quarter of a vehicle assessing it in a workshop environment
Person looking at the rear quarter of a vehicle assessing it in a workshop environment

Motor retailers are missing a key opportunity to generate aftersales revenue by not offering direct access to a comprehensive online booking service to car owners, according to new CitNOW Group research.

  • New CitNOW Group research finds 44% of consumers want the option to make a specific service booking online
  • Only a quarter of dealer websites allow customers to book a specific date and time online for their vehicle service
  • Research highlights importance of maximising aftersales opportunities as motorists delay servicing due to the rising cost of living

When analysing the functionality on the desktop websites of 100 leading dealers it was found that just over a quarter (27%) of retailers gave customers the option to book a vehicle service online and choose their preferred date and time.

This percentage is even lower on mobile websites, with less than one in five (18%) of dealers allowing consumers to make a date-and-time specific service booking on this platform. Data from a recent CitNOW Group survey of 1,000 car owners highlights that this is a key priority for a large number of motorists, with 44% of respondents saying they want to be able to book a specific time and date for their vehicle service online.

The survey also found that the added convenience of booking a specific time and date for vehicle maintenance was most important to younger drivers, with almost three quarters (74%) of under 25-year-olds stating that they expect dealers to offer this service – the highest of any age bracket surveyed. A further two fifths (42%) of car buyers stated that they expect the aftersales booking system to be easy to access and use.

Carol Fairchild, Chief Customer Officer, CitNOW Group said: “There are simple steps that retailers can take to encourage the continuation of the customer journey from sales to aftersales, for example almost a third of retailers (30%) do not introduce their aftersales team to customers on the handover of their vehicle. However, our consumer survey shows that technology is the most important component for retaining customers in aftersales.”

Alistair Jeff, Commercial Director for REALtime Communications commented: “Industry reports show that a growing number of consumers are putting off vehicle servicing in response to the cost of living crisis, making it more crucial than ever for workshops to offer tools like Online Service Booking, providing consumers the functionality they want, and helping retailers to maximise all aftersales opportunities.”

Using technology to increase revenue in aftersales

CitNOW Group’s research also reveals that video remains a key role in customers approving repair work required: two out of five (41%) of car owners stated they would more likely approve repair work on their car online if a video of the vehicle clearly showing the work required was sent beforehand. By utilising technology available to them, retailers can maximise the revenue potential of each customer booking, while reducing the time each vehicle spends in the workshop, helping to increase the flow of work.

To assist with this process, REALtime Communications (RTC), part of the CitNOW Group, offers streamlined aftersales operations for automotive retailers, including a dynamic online service booking platform that connects directly to the workshop diary. RTC helps retailers simplify workflows in aftersales by enabling staff to manage the entire customer journey in one place, using simple, user-friendly platforms and actionable insight reporting.

To access further insights from CitNOW’s recent industry research and consumer survey, download CitNOW Group’s new report, Uniting Customers and Retailers Through Technology.