As much as cars and the technologies integrated into them have changed over the past 100 years, the things that have to do with their maintenance and upkeep have not. You still have to take your car to the shop upon noticing the slightest irregularity in its operation, and consult a huge paperback book if you are not familiar with a function or a feature.
That does not fly in the age of smartphones and homepods and artificial intelligence. We are going to need a whole new system of customer care and support for the modern era – one built around the already established ways of communication. If Amazon can use drones now to deliver your packages, car makers should be able to come up with some way to make servicing and maintenance of their vehicles more convenient for the customer. The digital age has enormous potential in this regard, if companies are willing to invest in it.
Let us illuminate our point with an example: the How-To online portals created by Chevrolet, enabling owners of pretty much every model they make to learn about the features and equipment of their vehicle as easily as a few clicks or touches of fingertips. And they go down to the very last details, like how to turn systems on and off, or how to pair a Bluetooth device. It also enables the customers to keep tabs on the maintenance of their cars by creating an account and getting monthly health checkups through the vehicle’s operating system. Now that’s a service we can call modern. And it’s all online and app-based, which is how everything should be these days.
So we are making headway with such systems as described above, but it’s not enough. Of course, a major shift is on the horizon with the surge of electric cars which have a whole different set of needs when it comes to maintenance. What’s more, cars are getting increasingly more ‘connected’ nowadays, which could result in new ways the whole customer support thing works. Right now a concierge service that would get you a one-on-one support with an operator – just like what you get from your internet provider, or cable company – is reserved for the most expensive, most luxurious cars. But with the rise of AI every customer can have their own private Siri-like assistant that would answer their questions, schedule services and such, and update the car’s systems as needed.
That will probably take another decade or so to become prevalent. What we can expect right now and frankly should demand from every car maker is more online and connected services like Chevrolet’s How-To guides and remote services. Humans are getting busier and busier every day, and less patient. Any service that would save them only a few minuted everyday would be a very welcome change. This could be an area for start-ups to explore. Time is money is an old saying, but it has never been more true than in the current era!