Draiver lets dealers track vehicle movements for service and for vehicles on the lot, and will now track rideshares in the same way.  -  IMAGE: Pexels/Antoni Shkraba

Draiver lets dealers track vehicle movements for service and for vehicles on the lot, and will now track rideshares in the same way.

IMAGE: Pexels/Antoni Shkraba

Service at automotive dealers can leave a lot to be desired, according to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index Study.

The survey noted that satisfaction with the service experience declined two points year-over-year to 846 on a 1,000-point scale.

Consumers cited high repair costs as a key reason. The July Consumer Price Index report showed repair costs rose by almost 20% in the past year.

J.D. Power discovered satisfaction declined 23 points when owners bring their vehicles in for a recall repair rather than for traditional maintenance or repair.

But the factor packing the biggest wallop is the number of days owners must wait for a service appointment, which has increased 1.9 days for premium vehicles for an average of 5.6 days, and by 1.3 days for mass-market vehicles for an average of 4.8 days.

Then there’s the wait for the vehicle repairs themselves, which can range from hours to months because of parts and labor shortages.

Considering the current service environment, availability of loaner vehicles has become more crucial than ever, according to Jason Sideris, fixed operations director for Reynolds and Reynolds.

“There are many times when rental vehicles or shuttles are not available, and consumers have to wait,” he says. “They even may need to travel to where the rental vehicle or shuttle is available.”

Those issues can derail the customer experience, but “providing top-tier service is a must for car dealerships,” says Susan Anderson, global head of Uber For Business and for business development at Uber.

With an eye on that tension, Reynolds and Reynolds, and Draiver, an on-demand vehicle-delivery service, formed a partnership to provide a seamless way for dealerships to request Uber rides within Reynolds’ dealer management systems.

Draiver lets dealers track vehicle movements for service and for vehicles on the lot, including the cost of movements. The technology will now track rideshares in the same way, adding an easy way for dealers to directly request rides from Uber for customers. Now a dealer’s Reynolds DMS integrates with Uber For Business to request rides to and from the shop while vehicles are repaired.

“When companies collaborate, they can change the overall experience for both dealers and consumers,” Sideris says. “Together we can raise the bar on how customers view their experience.”

The Transport Headache

Transportation has long been a key issue at dealerships, Sideris says, and dealers address it in various ways. Some service centers provide loaner vehicles, others rentals, and still others shuttle services.

“All of these options can be very costly,” he says. The options also come with their share of problems. There may be times when loaners and rental vehicles are not available or times when consumers wait a long time for a shuttle.

“We saw rideshare services as a more cost-effective alternative for dealers and a means of improving the customer experience for repair customers. With rideshare, we can ease a lot of the issues, such as how can we pick up customers and bring them back to the dealership when they are ready or provide them with a vehicle to use as their vehicle is repaired.”

Rideshare as the Cure

Ridesharing is a convenient option for people who need one-way transportation at short notice. Uber and Lyft are the dominant players in the ridesharing market. The companies require consumers to use their apps to request a ride, rather than hailing a car from the curb because of legal restrictions on the latter.

Although repair customers were capable of doing this themselves, Reynolds and Reynolds aimed to simplify the process for dealers. Sideris for many dealerships, the process of securing and getting reimbursed for ridesharing has been “disjointed, inefficient and cumbersome.”

“We wanted to figure out a way to streamline that process and make it more efficient,” he says. “In automotive retailing—especially in dealership service departments, where every second counts—the slightest delay can cause a loss of profit. We’re giving dealers a better, faster, more cost-effective way to meet customers’ needs.”

The resulting solution combines Reynolds’ DMS with Draiver technology so dealers can directly request rides from Uber for customers.

How it Works

The process is simple and efficient, according to Sideris. To create a seamless experience, Reynolds and Reynolds collaborated with its partners, product managers and dealer customers to develop a rideshare workflow that integrates with existing processes.

Dealers can access Draiver directly from Reynolds and Reynolds DMS system ERA-IGNITE to request rides. They can view everything they need without leaving the DMS or opening other applications, clicking the Draiver icon for service advisers to connect to Uber transportation. The rideshare request form is prepopulated with the destination, customer name, address, and other details Sideris says.

The system pulls estimates for pickup wait time, cost and type of available vehicles. The cost of the ride can be reported for all types of work, including warranty reapairs, integrating the repair and the rideshare for a toal cost accounting for each repair, whether the rideshare portion is passed on to the customer or not.

Draiver takes the burden off dealerships by using an advanced artificial intelligence platform to coordinate a ride or vehicle delivery to and from the service department, according to its founder and CEO Zarif Haque.

“The nice thing is we are coordinating the rideshare itself,” he says. “We can adjust the address from their home to their workplace or even the mall. Whatever they like. We also can tell the customer when the rideshare vehicle will arrive and send a link to the customer's phone with all that information. When they click on that link, they get all the benefits of the Uber interface, such as who their driver will be, the vehicle they have, and how far away they are.”

Haque adds, “Because the customer can track the position of their ride—or their vehicle’s delivery or pickup—in real time, they won’t need to call the dealership for an update.”

After the service work is done, the dealership can take the lead and organize transportation back to the dealership from the customer's location.

The integration helps dealers provide an easier experience for customers, which Susan Anderson, global head of Uber for Business and Business Development at Uber, says is a must. “Anecdotally, riders have shared that they prefer to rideshare compared to other transportation options like shuttles or loaner vehicles.”

It also will enable Reynolds and Reynolds to offer other benefits down the road. For example, dealerships may be able to track vehicle locations as they move vehicles from one spot to another. “These are the additional benefits we get from working with Draiver,” he says, adding that even parts delivery could be incorporated into the program.

Win-Win for Customers, Dealers

Integrating rideshare into the dealership DMS packs many benefits, according to Sideris.

A key one saving dealers money. “It is extremely costly to operate a shuttle or keep a very large loaner fleet. There are vehicle maintenance costs, fuel costs and insurance costs,” he says. “Now they don’t need to keep a bunch of vehicles sitting around, waiting for someone to need them. We can utilize drivers and Uber services to provide just-in-time service.”

An intangible benefit also comes with better customer service, he adds. If consumers find their experience lacking at the dealership, he says they won’t return.

Sideris says dealers have an average of four opportunities to touch customers’ cars each year. “It used to be they would bring their vehicles in for service every three months or 3,000 miles, but that’s getting strung farther and farther out. “This trend makes it more and more important to make the most of every interaction and every customer visit.”

The goal, he says, is to get customers to agree to service work. But he stresses that getting customers to say yes can be difficult, so removing friction points in the process can help.

“By providing a seamless experience, customers will return for oil changes and other service work, instead of using an independent shop closer to their homes,” he says.

Because the transportation system is flexible, dealers can tailor options to their needs. For instance, they may offer rideshare only for short repairs, such as oil changes or tire rotations.

“It’s a case-by-case basis. Dealers can determine what they want to offer,” he says. “They also can determine their pricing. Maybe they offer rideshare for free, or maybe they pass the cost on to customers.”

Haque calls the integration a win-win for dealerships and their customers. “We help elevate the dealership experience with a quick, easy and cost-controlled way of meeting customers’ expectations, while customers get a seamless transportation experience that sets the table for repeat business.”

Getting Started

Dealers interested in the Draiver-Uber integration can reach out to Reynolds and Reynolds. The program is widely available to dealers after a recently completed pilot phase to work out any bugs and improve workflows.

Sideris says that dealers who sign up for the integration will find the onboarding process to be a breeze. Reynolds and Reynolds installs an icon on the DMS to enable easy access to the rideshare once dealers activate the application, which is as easy as signing up online and allowing Draiver and Uber a day or two to establish communication.

“Once that’s done, anytime they click on the icon, they can activate the rideshare process,” he says. “We focused on making it really easy for dealers to sign up and use the program.”

 

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