Saphura Safavi Long, Founder, President & CEO
A century after the automotive industry went into a proverbial ‘arms race’ to gather as much traction as possible from the consumerization boom, it now stands at a similar inflection point. Rapid growth of digitally driven businesses such as Uber is already nibbling at the automotive consumer base. Uninhibited adoption of the Amazon marked by its engaging customer experience and ease of accessibility is further posing stiff challenges for the brick and mortar automotive dealerships. The need of the hour for the dealerships is to deliver enhanced customer experiences in order to stay relevant. A veteran in CRM, Saphura Safavi Long, Founder, President, and CEO, Gratis Technologies notes that dealerships struggle to deliver transparency in services, in-shop status, and the strategy for customer experience management itself is amiss.
Tapping this massive opportunity, Gratis introduced autoWALL, an interactive platform that allows dealerships to build a community whose members are the entire hierarchy of the dealership, from the lowest level technicians up to the principal, as well as their customers.
The community-based platform allows a customer to directly communicate and engage with the ‘right person’ at the dealership— without the necessity for personal email addresses or phone numbers—and get their queries and concerns addressed quickly and efficiently. This helps the dealership in understanding customer’s needs while enabling technicians and sales teams to deliver personalized services. “autoWALL is the ‘Facebook of the automobile dealer’s world’,” affirms Saphura.
Furthermore, autoWALL platform excels as the dealership’s website through which the customers can communicate with the sales team or the technicians. As more customers visit the website frequently, this helps the dealership in boosting the unique online visitor performance that improves lead generation. For instance, one of its clients had 2000 unique online visitors initially. Having taken Gratis on board to improve customer engagement, the client leveraged autoWALL to achieve 9000 unique visitors per month at no additional cost to the company—and the numbers are increasing. Customers gain easy access to information through their “vehicle profile” and this transparency reinforces their confidence and trust in the dealership. Gratis plans to build on its capabilities by enabling clients to integrate their dealer management systems that leads to better management of customer expectations.
autoWALL’s key component, techWALL, allows direct communication between the customer and technician regarding the status of the vehicle in service. techWALL can also be used by customers to access the health reports of their vehicles during the in-shop repair period, and authorize the technician to carry out lines of repair orders. Thus, “A technician’s time is better invested in health-checks and repair of the vehicle rather than making rounds of various departments at the dealership,” says Saphura.
Traditionally, the delivery of the vehicle and the payments associated it took place in a rather uncomfortable manner, with the customer having to go personally to the dealership and possibly divulging sensitive information, leaving them in fear of misuse of their payment information. Service-Pay-Online (SPOL), a key module of autoWALL, addresses this concern by providing customers an online channel for payments. In instances where a concierge brings the serviced vehicle to the customer, the payment can be made as soon as the customer receives a text message from autoWALL regarding completion of the service episode.
Having some of the high value companies as clients, Gratis is resolute to enable automotive dealerships deliver enhanced experiences to their customers. With an eye of acquisitions, the company focuses on empowering clients to achieve 100 percent customer retention by driving their capability to deliver greater transparency and openness to communication while improving the resourcefulness of the technicians.