As other sectors evolve seamlessly into the information age, the automotive aftermarket - reported to drag its heels on occasion - works hard to keep up. Continued development is imperative given that service and repair departments tend to offer VM’s significantly more profit share than their sales counterparts.

There continues to be a barrier to loyalty, with a common misconception that customers are overcharged and unnecessary work is undertaken. Despite the obvious benefits dealers offer, such as fully trained staff, OEM parts and system updates, overcoming these perceptions continues to be a challenge. A transparent and accessible customer touchpoint solution is incredibly valuable.

Clifford Thames developed Online Booking in order to meet customer needs and to deliver an efficient platform, enabling users to take ownership of their vehicle service booking anytime and practically anywhere.

The cloud-based software enables customers to book their vehicle in for a service or repair at their convenience, in turn reducing the requirement of courtesy cars. To date, 40% of bookings globally take place outside of dealer opening hours, with 20% at weekends. Not only is this delivering efficiencies for dealerships it’s delivering significant return for both VMs and OEMs.

2016 saw a 30% increase in booking value (year on year) across Clifford Thames OLB customer base, the Vehicle Manufacturers.

“Online Service Booking is one of the most important incremental channels that we have provided customers”

“The return generated by OLB is staggering”

“The huge reduction in the need for courtesy cars is having a dramatic impact on our bottom line”

"Given that today we can shop, review and organise almost every part of our lives online and out of hours it makes perfect sense to be able to book your car in for a service at your convenience… and at 3am if it suits!"

“Since using OLB we’ve identified a strong spike in older vehicles being returning to our dealer groups. Perceptions are shifting and OLB is making life easier for customers.”

OLB visitors are also up 16% year on year with bookings increasing to nearly 60% in the UK, which means more customers arriving to the site are converting. As improvements continue OLB functionality stands out as being easier to use, more intuitive and importantly, on the whole, fully responsive (adapting to users device/screen) making it more accessible to more customers globally.

A key battleground for dealerships with Independent[G1]  Motor Traders is encouraging older vehicles back into the dealer network. OLB is producing results here, with 50% of bookings across the UK being placed for work on vehicles over 3 years old.

For VM’s the benefits are clear: deployment is easy, customer experience is enhanced (in turn impacting loyalty) and there is a clear identifiable return almost immediately.

For more information about Online Booking and the Servicecare 360 programme please contact or call Emma Knewstub on 01245236600