The Changing role of the service consultant
The role of the service consultant as an intermediary between the customer and the service centre has changed dramatically in the past few years, both in its basic characteristics and the tasks involved. And it will be changing even more dramatically in the future. The service consultant is increasingly becoming a customer manager in the sense of comprehensive support of and interaction with the customer, even beyond the simple visit to the dealership.
The drivers of change are shifts in society and technology in the context of digitalisation:
Digtalisation of the workplace
In dealerships, smartphones, tablets and PCs are increasingly being used for digital networking within businesses, as well as with customers and external business partners. Data that was previously recorded and archived mostly by hand (e.g. customer and vehicle documents, invoicing) or was communicated by telephone and fax, is now being recorded and managed directly in digital form (e.g. using an iPad or specialised software solutions). Where information used to be passed on by telephone and fax, communication today is mainly done by e-mail or text message.
Data as a competitive factor
The significance of data (management) in the optimisation and further development of service provisions for customers, such as, for example, providing predictions that are as precise as possible and the associated pre-planning of a service requirement, has markedly increased in recent times. Due to modern hardware and software solutions in vehicles, enormous quantities of data are available, ready to be administered and evaluated. This revolutionises the further development of technology and servicing (for example, predictive maintenance).
The further development and technical progress in the automotive sector is particularly visible in areas such as connectivity, in-car internet or self-driving cars. This pushes the use of a car as a pure means of getting around much further into the background. New types of mobility are now stepping forward.
Advancements in technological development, both for industry & commerce as well as for customers, have created what seems to be an inexhaustible world of opportunities. Increasingly, augmented reality applications are used to support dealer workshop staff and serve as a replacement for user manuals or as optimum support for driving safety and navigation for the end customer. These increasing possibilities mean that customers now take the networking of every day objects for granted.
This means that the focus on a more technical background and training for the service consultant is increasingly being expanded with managerial aspects such as customer-oriented communication and leveraging of service opportunities.