Car Repairs a Click Away, Without the Fuss and Bother

Car Repairs a Click Away, Without the Fuss and Bother

VINCE VANNELLI’S flat tire came at a bad time — just as he was on his way to the San Francisco airport for a flight to Los Angeles.

He parked his Tesla, jumped in an Uber car and contacted Tesla service. Once in Los Angeles, Mr. Vannelli was able to remotely unlock his car and allow the Tesla service person to drive it to a tire store, fix the flat and deposit the car in his driveway, waiting for his return.

“I was an early Lexus owner and experienced coffee in the waiting room and being treated civilly,” said Mr. Vannelli, a venture capitalist from Lafayette, Calif. “But this is a cut above. When it comes to service, Tesla has really exploited technology.”

Still, for many drivers, scheduling repairs, delivering and then picking up a vehicle remain exercises that haven’t changed in decades. Too often, they say, emails and calls go unanswered, checking in at the service department is as slow as waiting for a bus, and then completing the paperwork for a loaner car, paying for the repairs and waiting for someone to deliver the repaired car can test anyone’s patience.

But technology is now helping a brand’s service department move into the connected age, employing tools that reduce waiting times, provide a customized experience, increase efficiencies and even help the consumer feel better about the entire process. And the better the experience, the more likely that customer is to stick with the brand.

The best service experience may be no service experience at all, which is what Tesla promotes to its prospective customers. Because its all-electric car does not use a traditional gasoline engine, the company suggests only an annual service appointment, but even that is not required to maintain the warranty.

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