Posted by Dennis M. Harrison, HGS, VP of Business Development
Roadside assistance is costly for most vehicle manufacturers. Ideally, roadside service is easy to use, prompt, cost-effective and capable of achieving improvements in customer satisfaction. HGS has employed our understanding of problems plaguing dealers with a solution comprising an extensive North American towing network, an easy-to-use app, and friendly agent support. Here we sit down with Dennis M. Harrison, HGS VP of Business Development, to find out more about this moment-of-need customer engagement solution.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges auto manufacturers face with roadside assistance?
Dennis: Roadside assistance (RA) has been a cost that provides little real benefit to the auto manufacturer. The auto industry joke is that every dollar spent on RA is a dollar thrown into the “black hole.” This all changes with the HGS smartphone app integrated with our VIP voice services. With this app, customers are now empowered with a five-minute confirmation of the service call being started. They can track, in “Uber-like” fashion, the service truck actually coming to him or her stranded on the side of the road. The real game changer is that the HGS RA app now gives the automaker a way to turn the black hole lost dollar into a revenue generator. This is done by pushing messages to the customer with discount offers from their dealer. And the customer becomes a “loyal customer.” Automakers make their money not on the sale of the car, but the loyal customer using the dealership.
Q: What are the benefits of our solution to the end consumer? What are key benefits for car manufacturers?
Dennis: The consumer benefits are reduced stress. Undoubtedly, breakdowns are stressful. Our HGS app and VIP voice services eliminate stress and anxiety by providing real-time insight to the consumer regarding the status of their RA call. This includes real-time mapping, full service provider contact info, and estimated time of arrival (ETA). The consumer is provided with omnichannel options and an ambassador type of service to back the app—an HGS roadside assistance specialist via SMS, chat, or a phone call, if needed.
For the car manufacturer, automotive services revenue is crucial. Our HGS RA app and VIP voice services allow auto manufacturers to turn RA from a cost to a profit center. This is truly an industry first. The digital roadside assistance platform allows auto manufacturers to layer different modular technology into their RA service. For example, if a customer needs a battery boost, our RA app can push a message of $10 off a battery at the dealer and allow the customer to book a service appointment with a single tap of the screen. HGS works with auto manufacturers to book more service appointments, increase service hours and parts sales.
Q: How does this solution make the service less complicated for manufacturers?
Dennis: The HGS RA app and VIP voice services provide insurance of a happy customer—whether it’s the user who likes the Uber-like convenience or the traditional user who can push a button in the app and talk to a real HGS agent. In any case, our HGS RA app will provide the level of reporting and data fees to the manufacturer to be used with analytic programs, as well as marketing emails and texts to the customer. All of this can be automated.
Q: Is there a nationwide trend for this service and if so, why?
Dennis: Yes, most definitely, there is a nationwide tech trend enabling cars. And RA is at the heart of the effort to empower customers and make them loyal. Every auto manufacturer is tech-enabling their cars to the point where apps can be installed in cars. Moving RA from an analog phone call to a digital planform is in alignment with current auto manufactures’ technology initiatives.