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Ford previews 'dealership of the future'

Tech drive: With Ford's dealership of the future, customers wont ask a salesperson questions, they will talk to the car.

Technology-heavy sales and service systems for all Ford dealerships by 2016

5 Sep 2014

FORD is reshaping the car shopping experience across its dealerships with a “permission-based” sales approach, which relies more on technology and less on people in suits.

Its new take on a face-to-face sales structure ironically starts with a “non-sales-oriented concierge” who greets the customer and establishes their requirements.

After that, the shopper is presented with a range of information technology devices like tablets and smartphone applications, with which they can browse the various products and options on offer, before engaging a member of the sales team.

The technological approach continues to the test-drive, during which the customer can explore the vehicle's features by asking questions via the SYNC-based SmartDrive USB product information system.

Personalising the car is also carried out using the new technological approach with bespoke Ford applications, and if an order is placed the customer is kept up to date with “keep me informed” emails.

When the vehicle is ready to handover to the customer, they can once again use dealership technology to take pictures of the unveiling, before uploading to their chosen social media channels.

Similar technology is also being applied to aftersales systems at Ford dealerships, with an online option for owners to book in their vehicle.

The customer is then reminded via email or SMS when the service is due and on arrival the service advisor uses a tablet linked to the dealership network to log the vehicle condition and the customer's requests.

Ford says that implementing the technology-reliant systems will empower customers, giving them confidence to make important financial decision.

Applying the principle to aftersales care will reduce the cost of running a vehicle with more tailored service programs says Ford.

Ford is reporting a strong response to the introduction of its myFord capped-price servicing program, and hopes to continue the resulting customer retention with the adoption of IT focused sales and service.

A number of dealerships have nearly completed a trial program with good results, and the system will now be rolled-out to about 40 in Melbourne and Sydney by the end of this year, with all outlets adopting the new system by the end of 2015.

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