It's music to the ears of introverted drivers everywhere.
We all know the feeling that follows the notification that your vehicle is due for its next service - usually, it's accompanied by an extended sigh and the realization that you'll need to stand in a long queue to book in your car, even if all you need is a quick oil change. Ford wants to change this and they're turning to technology for a more efficient vehicle check-in process.
It doesn't matter if you drive a humble Fiesta Hatchback or a mean F-250 Super Duty, the goal is the same, which is to get in and out of the dealership as quickly as possible. New digital kiosks are being installed to enable just that, with the pilot program beginning last fall. Instead of standing in a queue and listening to someone else's sad story about "a funny noise coming from the suspension," customers can simply check-in their vehicles via the kiosk.
According to Robert De Filippo, global director for Ford Retail Customer Experience, the "goal is to change the perception of the dealership experience." He elaborated by saying: "We can start to do this by meeting rising expectations for fast and reliable service and letting each customer know they matter to us." Considering that Ford is America's best-selling car brand, its busy service centers can only benefit from the speedy kiosks, which 85 percent of customers claimed made checking in easier.
Andrew Bellavia is the CEO of Liberty Automotive Group in Ohio and says that the new kiosks especially benefit people "who are coming in for [a] quick service or maintenance on low-mileage vehicles." These customers don't need to explain a serious vehicle malady to a mechanic or technician and simply want to get in and out quickly.
All customers need to do is enter their phone number on the screen to get started, after which several menu options will help them check-in their vehicle for the correct service. The screen also displays any relevant recalls to the customer's specific model, along with options for how the dealership can reach the owner. It all sounds super convenient (well, much more convenient than your Ford spending 16 weeks at the dealer).
Touchscreen interfaces have already revolutionized the way we interact with our vehicles, and with Ford's new digital kiosks, they're set to dramatically improve communication between owners and dealerships. The question is: will other manufacturers follow Ford's lead and also address one of the aspects of car ownership that few of us enjoy? We hope so.