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Dealer support rising

by David Zatz on

While customers can get angry at dealers for not fixing their cars quickly and correctly the first time, dealers themselves are often in a tight spot with problems that are not easy to identify or resolve. Factory support includes a database of common problems and solutions, part of the company’s long-standing “Star System.”

According to Mopar’s Tony Brenders, interviewed in a comfortably tall Ram ProMaster, Chrysler has been upgrading its dealer-factory communications processes. This includes saving time by texting technicians when there’s an answer to their questions, and having an expert system app for parts and repairs. Mopar announced the industry’s first wireless information system for getting data from cars as they’re driven into the garage, and has, according to sources, been field-testing a new repair information and reporting system to cut the amount of time advisors spend on record-keeping.

tony-brenders

The company has been mining its repair database, looking for ways to proactively intervene and find people who have frustrating problems (such as a car that has been in the shop several times for the same problem), but don’t know to call the national help line.

Chrysler has been working on other forms of outreach as well, finding people in on-line forums and through internal records, and working to resolve their problems. This is a major step for the company, though it builds on prior work within and outside of Chrysler; even in the late 1980s, some companies monitored Internet newsgroups, seeking out and helping alienated customers. The effort should result in both a better reputation for quality, as problems are resolved more quickly and easily, and increase customer retention (customers who have had a problem successfully resolved are more likely to be repeat buyers than people who have had no problems at all).

Mr. Brenders noted that almost any problem can be fixed, and that most “lemons” bought back by the company have their problems fixed.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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