Digitising Key Processes

Date: Mon 12th November 2018   |   Client: Redgate Lodge
Client Name: Ben Dewar, Service Manager

Thought Leadership; enhancing aftersales performance

Redgate Lodge is a fast-track independent dealer based near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  The business operates a showroom, two display forecourts, Bosch service centre, body shop and valeting service. The business has established a reputation for doing things a little differently. One of those differences is the business’ focus on productivity.

Maximising Work Bay Occupancy and Productivity 

- Ben Dewar, Service Manager Redgate Lodge

Motor retailers can learn a lot from techniques used in manufacturing and retail. An area that continues to stand out is the utilisation of space and time to enhance productivity.

Managing Space

Space utilisation is an area where retailers have long excelled. In-store and online, retailers use space planning techniques to increase the time a customer spends in a shop or online. This planning is also designed to help customers to discover additional items that were not on their shopping list, that they may now be prompted to buy. Car retailers can do the same thing.

At Redgate Lodge, our approach is geared around a total customer experience. Traditional sales vs aftersales turf wars are seen as unhelpful. Instead, we have developed our customer proposition to embed added-value services and aftersales as a natural part of every customer car buying journey. As in a shop buying experience, we help customers to discover services that can be of use to them but were not immediately on their shopping list. It is not rocket science, but in simple terms, while they are in our shop, we want to give them the opportunity to buy more things!

The approach in sales is echoed in aftersales. We work to enhance the customer lifecycle, to both retain customers and gain recommendations from happy customers.

From an aftersales perspective, the outcomes have been impressive and created more workshop traffic:

  • A 50% increase in warranty sales.
  • A 95% sales rate for our in-house service plan.

The occupancy for our seven bay service centre and workload on our technicians has increased - success can bring its own challenges!

Managing Time

Increasing capacity in our workshop started with working out where we could improve our productivity.   You can always find ‘time-stealers’, those activities that block a bay or ramp.
Similarly, anything we can do to improve the just-in-time delivery of parts and other time savers is on our radar. Warranty claims turn out to be a particular issue.

An increase in the uptake of extended warranties has created more workshop traffic and the associated claims process; this can be slow, cumbersome and frustrating. The recent launch of a digital claims process, ‘iClaim’, by our warranty provider AutoProtect has changed all of this and is buying us extra time and better customer experience.

The iClaim process now sees everything take place online. All the information required is presented upfront to AutoProtect through their own platform. We input the customer and car details, fault information and any codes any supporting evidence, upload images where appropriate. To date, we are seeing an automatic decision in seconds.

To put this in context, I estimate this is saving us 30-60 minutes three times a day. At a minimum, this equates to gaining an extra technician day every week, but this is not the only benefit;

  • The speed of response means we can order parts more quickly to minimise ’bay-blocking’.
  • Customers get their cars back more rapidly, helping to enhance their satisfaction.
  • Loan car utilisation is improved because customers get their own car back more quickly.
  • Even more complicated claims requiring an engineer visit are being served more rapidly.

The nice final point is payout. Via iClaim, we now see payment in seven days saving further time on the traditional emailing of invoices and evidence for manual processing.

To conclude; there are always gains to be had and they don't always create cost; it’s about looking to yourself and your suppliers and taking best practices from other industries.