How technologies influence our loyalty?

What is the most important value in the contemporary business world, including in the automotive sector, is client loyalty. Among many available promotions and sales it is more and more difficult to build long-term relations and to win regular business that does not simply leave after the guarantee period. How to make the client stay with us longer? The technology may help us: Hicron would like to present its Car Data Collector solution.

The consumer market is full of trade offers, promotions and discounts, of which the sheer number may overwhelm many clients. It is the products of the lowest price that are often chosen from many offers of different brands and products, which are in many cases very similar to one another. However, the brand awareness, the values promoted by the brand, philosophy and, consequently, loyalty, are sometimes lost in this price war.

Loyalty in the automotive industry

This problem is tackled by the automotive sector to a large extent. A car is a long-term investment, which is why car dealers focus on comprehensive services, running Authorized Workshops dedicated to cars of a given make, serviced with the use of original parts and components. However, after the expiry of the guarantee period, some clients choose independent workshops, which make dealers lose a chance to keep in contact with the client, and, consequently, a chance to convince the client to choose the same brand at the time of the next purchase. Thus, is there any room for “love” to a brand in the times of fierce competition?

“According to estimates, Poles have almost 40 million repairs done a year, but only 20 per cent of them are done in authorised workshops. To minimise the risk of transfer of vehicle owners to independent workshops, it is worth expressing care for the client from the very moment the car is sold and point to the benefits connected with carrying out repairs and service works in the Authorised Workshop. Authorised Workshops do not only provide original parts and grant a guarantee for all services performed, but they also assure a potentially higher price at the time of resale of a car, along with the professionally trained employees and specialist tools” – says Anna Kopczyńska from the Association of Car Dealers.

To be ahead of the need

The informatisation in the sector is now a fact. Both smaller car salons and huge networks use DMS systems (Dealer Management System), which, in combination with solutions of ERP class (Enterprise Resource Planning – systems for management of business processes) facilitate management of sale, spare parts and service orders.

It is also the producers of IT systems that keep looking for state-of-the-art solutions. They offer us more and more innovative systems dedicated to the automotive sector, allowing (inter alia) to improve the quality of customer service with the use of mobile devices or advanced tools based on Big Data solutions or the Internet of things. Hicron developed one such solution, called the Car Data Collector.

“We function in the world of data, producing great quantities of data every second. The value of petabytes of the gathered data is great, which is why we based the CDC solution on them. It is a solution allowing for remote and permanent communication between a car and a car salon. What is the benefit for the salon? When the client decides to use the services of an independent workshop, the Authorised Workshop does not only lose a client, but also information on car use, such as the car history, mileage, and flaws. CDC, which collects and remotely transfers the data from the on-board computer to a car dealer, may become an important link aimed to improve client retention. The solution offers a wide range of applications that will be appreciated by clients that own a fleet of cars. System operators are provided with information on diagnostic errors reported by the car’s computer. They may react if the car does not visit the workshop for too long, and they are provided with information on the mileage from the last visit in the Authorised Workshop”– said Szymon Włochowicz, Solution Designer and Enterprise Mobility Team Leader in Hicron, a company that designs and implements IT Solutions for the automotive industry.

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The Car Data Collector is a solution based on the assumption that the most important source of data allowing to support the activities of Authorised Workshops in the post-sale service is the car itself. The Car Data Collector may transfer, on a remote basis, data on the car’s mileage, break-downs and engine errors, data for engine diagnostics, and monitor the mileage.

 

Device (computer hardware and software)GSM networkData warehouseInterface for collecting dataWeb server
Dedicated device connected to the car’s OBD socket allowing to read out diagnostic data and the GSM/GPRS module allowing for data transmission.Device for connecting with the data package transfer network.Solution based on technologically advanced databases which store the readout of data from car devices.Publicly available on the Internet for the purpose of gathering data from devices and recording it in the database. Interface equipped with basic security elements.Based on a WWW search engine, provides access to the database and has basic data search functions.

Table 1. Components of the Car Data Collector

Thus, the Authorised Workshop is offered an opportunity of remote vehicle diagnostics and a chance for pro-active sales activities, while the client using dedicated mobile DriveAppp application has access to diagnostics information which would not be available in a standard solution. It is also an additional tool for communication between the Authorised Workshop and the driver.

Safety first

What is particularly important in the process of remote readout of data is the highest standards of safety and privacy of clients’ data. How does the CDC cope with this issue? “The solution only focuses on the readout and transfer of data to the car dealer’s database without intervening with the on-board computer (connection through the OBD diagnostic port). The device is equipped with telemetry SIM card, serving the web traffic on the basis of a secure connection, including VPN. Data is gathered on servers properly protected in compliance with the requirements applicable to a given country” – added Szymon Włochowicz from Hicron.

Technologies entered the automotive market by storm, changing the image of vehicles for ever. The evolution also applies to car importers and dealers, who use the new solutions to better understand the clients’ purchasing habits, the manner of using vehicles, and which enable them to be ahead of a need before it is generated. We are on the path leading to the use of data from many sources, and CDC is one of the tools allowing for optimal use of data, also for the purpose of building brand awareness and client loyalty.