December 13, 2023

Revolutionizing automotive service with Smartcar telematics

Erica Bickel

Content Marketing Manager

As prices for both new and used vehicles continue to skyrocket, S&P Global reports that the average age of a car on the road in the U.S. has reached 12.5 years, a new record. Although this figure is startling, this presents lucrative opportunities for auto dealerships, national franchise chains, and mom-and-pop repair shops — in the form of costly services, general maintenance, and significant upsells. According to research conducted by NPD Group, owners of older cars frequently expect to pay over $1,000 at the repair shop, and tend to gravitate toward more expensive purchases like replacing air filters, changing spark plugs, and using premium products.

But outside of solely tapping into one’s current customer base or using mass-marketing techniques, how can auto shops ensure each message is sent to the right person, at the right time? Better yet, how can they keep previous customers coming back?

By utilizing vehicle telematics, shop owners can create personalized services based on predictive maintenance, enticing consumers to their locations repeatedly with special deals and appointment reminders. Instead of hosting nationwide sales or discounts, telematics allows for targeted and effective promotions, and therefore, higher chances of bookings. With older cars increasing in popularity for the sixth year in a row, there’s never been a greater time to rethink your lead generation strategy.

Auto dealerships: service more vehicles

After having a customer opt-in to a loyalty program via an email, text message, or mobile app, automotive dealerships open the door to servicing more vehicles. Instead of blindly performing various diagnostic tests to discover the root cause of certain issues or find additional problem areas, technicians are able to see a more accurate view of the vehicle before it even enters the shop. Telematics data streamlines daily service by taking some of the guesswork out of car repairs, making customers happy with faster appointments and fewer costs. Likewise, shops may boost revenue by optimizing scheduling and fitting more customers and cars in per day.

Repair chains and franchises: improve the customer experience

While national chains and regional franchises already have brand recognizability and likely, extensive vehicle information, telematics grant space for more refined messaging. Using real-time vehicle data to tailor emails, flyers, and text messages to individual customers enhances engagement, and decreases the likelihood of looking elsewhere for service. For example, after receiving an alert that a customer’s oil is low, repair chains can send this individual a coupon and reminder to schedule an appointment. Rather than an impersonal email blast or TV commercial, these customized memos have a much higher conversion rate, and fewer costs.

Small businesses: grow and reach new audiences

For small businesses, telematics level the playing field against national competition and OEM dealerships. Increasing advertising spend in an intentional way through 1:1 messaging not only upsells current customers, but garners loyalty through better, tailored service. With exact figures on tire tread, odometer reading, or even EV battery life, mechanics can make educated, quick decisions on the best course of action for each vehicle. This improved customer experience brings greater positive word-of-mouth referrals, growing your business and reaching new prospects.

Reach new levels of precision with Smartcar

Many of these use cases can be used interchangeably, no matter the size of the repair shop. Regardless, the democratization of access to crucial vehicle data ensures that businesses of all sizes can compete effectively in the dynamic automotive market. By using Smartcar, customers may be targeted with precision and care, increasing the chances of conversions and bookings alike. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, embracing innovative solutions is not just an option — it's a necessity for those who strive to stay ahead in this competitive arena.

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