Aust & NZ
7th Apr 2014

Ford signs up SMART dealers to improve customer experience at dealerships.

Several months ago at the NADA 2014 convention in America, Ford started signing up dealers to its SMART program - a new online service booking tool that allows customers to schedule service appointments in their own time. The SMART program is an effort by the manufacturer to increase customer experience at dealerships. The Ford SMART program allows “Ford and Lincoln customers to book service visits, select their preferred advisers and any transportation-related support that they need,” as told by Ford’s vice president of customer service division.

A smart move (pun intended) by a manufacturer who knows all too well that customer experience can be the absolute driver when it comes to service retention. The ability to put the power in the consumer’s hands - letting them book a service appointment when and wherever they choose - creates an edge for the franchise that keeps customers coming back.

We recently wrote a piece on how in today’s day & age - you’re more likely to get something done if you can do it quickly on the internet. Online banking, appointments, grocery shopping - it’s all a part of an Internet age that allows us to get stuff done, now. Pentana Solutions has taken the same thinking to develop the same experience for booking service appointments.

With Pentana Solutions’ new Online Service Bookings, consumers can log straight onto the dealership’s website and pick and choose exactly what date and time they want to service their car. By entering their registration and kilometres, customers can quickly sign up for the time spot that best suits them - and your availability. Through your website, there will be the option for customers to create an account, allowing them to view their vehicle details, service history, previous invoices - all in real time. The account setup can be done by the customer from home or by the service advisor in ERAnet, who can easily identify whether the customer has already registered online or not.

The key to Pentana Solutions’ new Online Service Bookings is that it’s integrated with your DMS - meaning there is no need to double key entries or appointments. Bookings, made in real time based on selected availability, show up automatically in your DMS schedule. Dealers are even able to setup recommended services for their customers when the booking is created.

In short, you don’t have to wait for manufacturers to implement SMART programs. Instead, take their lead and implement Online Service Bookings at your dealership today with Pentana Solutions. Your dealership becomes available to the public 24/7 without expending extra manpower - and your service department gains business without lifting a finger.

Now that’s smart. Sorry, we had to.