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Sandown Mercedes-Benz

By changing the way we work through mstore, we can now allocate adequate time with each customer to deliver outstanding service and of course maximise every visit and convert the opportunity well.

Charlie Charman, Group Head of After Sales
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Arena’s mstore for automotive is delivering improvements to efficiency, customer service and compliance for the service team at Sandown Mercedes-Benz six sites across the south of England. Around 250 cars are worked on daily, which is a mix of retail, service contracts, lease vehicles, MOTs and repair. And as former winners of the Mercedes-Benz customer service team of the year, Sandown take service improvement seriously.

Previously, for every warranty or recall event, Sandown’s service advisers would collate paper documents in each job pack, at times in the hundreds. These were then put on an internal post run to a central administration team in Salisbury for processing to enable warranty claims to be submitted. Now, advisers simply scan the relevant paperwork into mstore and these are then automatically indexed against the registration reference. The documentation then becomes part of a controlled, searchable database which can easily be accessed by the right people and archived securely.

Since January 2018 over 112,000 work in progress packs (WIPs) have been managed with mstore enabling warranty documentation to be submitted to the manufacturer promptly to ensure that Sandown receives relevant reimbursements from the manufacturer to maintain cash flow and avoid penalties for missing items.

“Physically transporting documents eats into that time,” explains Charlie Charman, Group Head of After Sales at Sandown. “It’s important to document every step, write up the job, and retain copies of all diagnosis test steps and working instructions as they’re all auditable. This is very easy to do when everything’s in mstore.” 

Digital reports from their workshop diagnostic machines are also indexed automatically into mstore with OCR capability recognising the WIP number in the filename which further saves the cost and environmental impact of paper, plus administration time to file correctly. 

Inefficiencies around managing the high volume of paper in an archive has also been a factor in moving to mstore. “To go and recall a document required someone to leave the site,” continues Charlie. “There’d always be a case where something had been moved or someone had a document for another reason. There was no solid process for tracking who had it or where it was, and time would be wasted manually sorting and searching job packs. This would happen weekly which created huge inefficiencies. To pull something now, we have instant access. And as it’s easy to look back, we check more often so we’re in a much stronger position to utilise useful information. Job packs are also accessible when an existing customer chooses to use a different site. Teams can still see the history without having to call or have people running around.”

Relying on clunky paper-based processes also caused issues around compliance and secure data management. “Sometimes a box of warranty documents went missing for a day or two or was dropped at the wrong site. Another document may have been needed or was missing from the pack and was sent back 90 miles on the van. The chances of losing the data or getting documents dropped at the wrong site is now eliminated. mstore is far more secure and document retention is managed automatically. Removing the archived documents from Kerridge has also speeded up our dealer management system.”

In addition, the management or compliance team can oversee the process and identify easily if a particular document is missing or when the deadline is imminent to ensure timely action to avoid non-payment.

Over 25,000 aftersales events were captured efficiently in mstore in the first five months of implementation, of which over 11,000 were warranty or recall activities, improving efficiency and removing the risk of lost revenue.

“The whole process has been simple from the beginning,” states Charlie. “In fact, we didn’t need to do too much in terms of the set up once we had briefed the Arena Team. Nic (Arena’s project manager) did the training, held our hand and has been very responsive. He’s been a real star in terms of training and support. If we’ve needed to tweak the process or set up or add a filter it’s all been done very easily, promptly and seamlessly. mstore is a very stable and straightforward system. We’ve had no issues and the team have found it straightforward to use and picked it up very easily.”

Service advisers provide an essential interface between the customer and the mechanics. Reducing their workload by streamlining the mundane paperwork frees them up to manage service quality and improve customer satisfaction. Easy access to job packs has enabled an immediate response to customer queries. There is no longer the need to search out the relevant documentation and phone the customer back, the data is accessed instantly. “As and when you need to go back to a particular visit, you can access the right document from the desk top is opposed to searching for it which allows us to meet customer expectations efficiently,” confirms Charlie.

Overall, the key driver for moving away from outdated paper processes has been achieving business efficiencies and creating more opportunities. “With many plates to spin in aftersales any increased efficiency pays dividends in the quality of the customer service we can provide. By changing the way we work through mstore, we can now allocate adequate time with each customer to deliver outstanding service and of course maximise every visit and convert the opportunity well.”

 


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