The problem of how to increase recall completion rates has been a thorn in the side of both manufacturers and dealers for quite some time. Despite numerous attempts from several sources, a majority of consumers fail to pay attention to any notification because they discard the mailers, discount the severity of the recall or simply don’t have the time needed to visit the dealership in order to complete the repair.
Procrastination and lack of convenience are both huge factors that prevent consumers from getting the repair done. And that is just the vehicle owners that we know of. Add to this the huge amount of second and third generation owners that never get notified by the manufacturer and that is a whole other problem.
Well, perhaps there is good news on the horizon. Several manufacturers plan to implement software capabilities in new vehicle models which allow over-the-air (OTA) updates. In some cases, especially software-related recalls, consumers won’t have to do anything. Similar to how computers and smartphones update automatically, vehicles will soon have a similar process. Vehicles equipped with this technology could make software-related recall completion percentages a number that is unheard of – 100%!
According to an article in Automotive News, three automakers will adopt and install OTA update technology into their new and refreshed model vehicles. While, initially, these OTAs will be limited to vehicle infotainment systems, these automakers plan to extend updates to include recalls for safety-critical issues. Tesla has been doing this since its inception, so the technology exists. In fact, in the spirit of advancing vehicle technology, Tesla recently released all its patents, making them open-source for anyone to use
Assuming that manufacturers adopt OTA abilities in their vehicles, consumers will benefit in that they will no longer have to visit the dealership for software-related recall repairs. Imagine if you had to take your laptop into the Apple store to get software updates, that would be a major inconvenience.
Of course, this consumer convenience comes at a price for dealers – namely fewer opportunities to identify and/or sell additional repairs to customers. However, there will still be plenty of recall and other repairs that aren’t simple software updates, so dealers will still have opportunities… just not as many.
To prepare for the future, dealers would be wise to take a look at how they can provide even better service and build a higher level of trust with their customers at a faster pace in order to keep consumers coming in for regular maintenance.
As time goes on, it is inevitable that technology will increase. But there’s always a silver lining. So, start building those relationships now to be well prepared for any future. As solely focusing on the “now” tends to only last until “later” becomes a disruption in revenue.