How trust, transparency and the right technology can create a winning aftersales experience

By Staff
9 Min Read

Strategies guaranteed to deliver excellence in aftersales must be anchored on the principles of trust, value, and a willingness to meet evolving customer expectations.

At AM’s latest webinar titled ‘The vital steps to keep customers coming back’ in partnership with IFM, the conversation by a seasoned panel of experts in aftersales swiftly turned to the critical issue of developing effective approaches to help achieve – and continue to deliver customer satisfaction – demonstrated ultimately by healthy levels of repeat business.

Key themes such as trust, convenience, communication, and pricing transparency were identified as essential elements in developing such effective aftersales strategies.

Will Blackshaw, managing director at family-owned Blackshaws franchised dealership, advocated for offering clear service cost breakdowns to build customer confidence.

“It comes back to trust in my opinion. If you’re not displaying your service costs, why not? Are you embarrassed about them? You’ve got to give that sort of transparency and justify that cost and the value from manufacturers who may be offering certain elements of free RAC cover etc. We should be proud about what we’re doing, what we’re offering.”


Darren McDivitt, group aftersales director at Peoples Ford, echoed this and stressed not only the importance of demonstrating value to customers but also of ensuring a positive customer experience through offering an efficient service and maintaining communication with customer at precisely the time when it is required.

“You need to show your prices and you need to explain,” he said. “I think it’s key that we have that product breakdown, and explain what it actually means, what’s the value, what does it demonstrate, what does it bring to the customer – really build in the value and demonstrate.”

Michelle Wells, EMEA marketing director, Infomedia Europe whose deep dive data analytics and global aftersales expertise reduce operational costs, grow sales and improve customer retention, offered her own insights gained from recent consumer research.

These highlighted the changing expectations of customers centred on convenience, price transparency, and digital-friendly experiences.

She also highlighted the importance of leveraging data, technology, and customer-centric processes in supporting a dealership’s workforce to meet these demands effectively.

“I’d say there’s probably three key elements to getting this right. The first one is really getting to grips with your data, I’ve spoken to a lot of retailers where they talk about the frustration that sometimes the data they need to give a customer is distributed across multiple different systems, often systems that don’t talk to each other,” she said.

She said such key points of data bottlenecks cause dealerships frustrations, stressing the importance of ‘getting the data in the right place at the right time, having the right technology that’s going to back up the customer experience you want to deliver’.


The discussion also addressed the need for effective training and tools to ensure staff are equipped to be able to deliver exceptional customer service.

“Data and technology can only ever be half of it at best,” she said. “I really think you’ve got to be looking at the people processes as well, in terms of asking whether people have had the right training to put the customer experience at the front and centre of everything they do.”

She agreed that the goal is to develop long-term relationships with customers, built on trust, value, and exceptional service delivery through clear communication, transparent pricing, and efficient processes.

Drawing from a recent success story, she underscored the value of allowing customers to choose their preferred service advisor, for example, citing a notable increase in uptake as evidence of its impact when it was incorporated into the online booking tool of a client.

This personalised approach, she argues, bridges the gap between technology-driven solutions and the human element, fostering trust and loyalty among customers.

“If you have been coming to the dealership for a long time and you feel like there is somebody you’ve built that relationship, you’ve built that trust with… there was an amazing uptake on that,” she said. “They were actually quite surprised but you know, they were putting an equal focus on the technology, but also the people element.”

Neil Murphy, chief operating officer at Real World Analytics whose automotive business intelligence solution pulls from Keyloop and Pinnacle DMS systems, expanded on this theme by advocating for the optimisation of dealership systems through data organisation and automation.

“Definitely one of the challenges I think from a retailer’s perspective is just optimising those systems that you do have, whether it be your DMS, whether it be a third party, VHC systems, and making sure that they’re well-tuned so that you’re getting the most out of them,” he said.


Murphy said the secret was in effective system integration to simplify tasks and reduce operational inefficiencies, which would ultimately result in enhancing the overall customer experience.

“When you’re looking at efficiency, you’re obviously going to get increased throughputs through the workshop, which hopefully is going to reduce those lead times.”

He said better throughput, while automatically allowing for increasing revenue, meant that shorter lead times would allow a customer with an issue with their car to receive attention promptly.

Building on Murphy’s insights, Will Blackshaw, delved into the challenges posed by system integration within a dealership, speaking of the necessity of bridging the gap between disparate ‘actors’ to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

“We talk about the ‘phone tennis’ between service advisors and customers,” he said. “We’ve got a third party company that takes overspill phone calls for us. They will log in all the customers information and what they want booking in.

“When we followed that up, we would keep missing the customer so we spoke to the company and said, look, can you not actually just go on to our online booking and start booking these in for us? That got the job done.”

Blackshaw also underscored the importance of recognising the role of apprenticeships to attract and retain talent, thereby ensuring a skilled workforce that is crucial in being capable of delivering exceptional service.

Peoples Ford’s Darren McDivitt, discussing the importance of continuous improvement and data-driven decision-making to identify trends and drive efficiency in service delivery, rounded out the discussion by speaking of the need for a balanced approach to aftersales service..


“I think that while we need to embrace technology and have the digital option to give some customers the choice when they want to interact in that way – but keep the face-to-face option.

“Deep down for me is the need to have a balanced approach, in the sense of making sure that we have the right attitude, the right behaviours, etc.

He said that RWA had developed a digital capability in aftersales which indicates important trends, but that equally as important was the process in ‘peeling it back’.

“How do we improve? How do we move the needle? It’s through embracing that technology and using it to your advantage because it might then give other people in your team more time to redeploy their time, in other areas that can be more useful.”

Collectively, the webinar panellists agreed on the need for a harmonious blend of technology, personalised service, and staff empowerment. By prioritising customer relationships, optimising dealership systems, and investing in talent development, customer expectations could be met – and exceeded – in the quest for long-term success in what will remain a highly competitive aftersales marketplace.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *