Jump On The Telematics Train With Me

Jump On The Telematics Train With Me

All of us need to start paying attention to the opportunity provided by telematics. At least be certain it’s on your radar screen. Start to identify the potential impacts telematics may have on your business.

jim-merleWhile I still have a couple of friends who don’t use any smart devices, iPhones and iPads have become a part of everyday life for most everyone I know — heck, even my 88-year-old mother has an iPad and a smartphone.

The point is, regardless of age, most of us are incredibly comfortable with technology and the advantages it offers us virtually every minute of the day. In my opinion, this increasing comfort level will be the catalyst of a changing business model for you. 

A year ago, I participated in a panel discussion amongst a large group of shop owners. The discussion focused primarily on the challenges facing today’s owners. I commented that “all of us need to start paying attention to the opportunity provided by telematics. At least be certain it’s on your radar screen. Start to identify the potential impacts telematics may have on your business.”

While I said telematics “may” have an impact at this meeting a year ago, it seems like it’s trending more toward “will” for these two reasons:

Convenience: Customers will be able to be notified on their smart device of an on-coming failure, such as low battery life. They’ll also be able to be notified regarding maintenance-related issues reminding them of an oil change or a recommended service interval. These notifications could relay the benefits of investing in service work to your customers, making your job easier in the process.

Communication: Most of your customers maintain a hectic lifestyle. The more efficient you can make their lives, the better. Telematics is capable of notifying your customers of potential failures, advising you of what the issue may be, scheduling and confirming your customer’s visit and ordering the part.

Great, but what about cost and ROI? Your customers should like the idea of sharing their data with you to ensure better vehicle maintenance, but the million-dollar question is who should pay for the OBDII-connected dongle and the related monthly service fees? Is it you? It seems that leveraging telematics could be a customer service opportunity for your shop, albeit an expensive one if spread over your entire customer base. Is it the customer? Will the perceived value be great enough that most of your customers will want to invest in the hardware and data themselves?

But there are still more questions: Should you be “all-in” now or wait to learn more? Is the local new-car dealer taking advantage of telematics and capitalizing on more service work, especially from Millennials? Can you afford to invest in this technology, and will it pay off?

It seems the more I espouse on the topic of telematics, the more questions I have. I think for most of us, it’s really about learning more before we take the next steps.

Helping you to take these next steps is Underhood Service magazine. We’ll be covering this topic on a more consistent basis next year, and we’re proud to announce this month’s launch of TelematicsTalk, an all-new weekly e-Newsletter and website dedicated to how telematics is impacting you and your business. Sign up for this e-Newsletter at www.telematicstalk.com.

Telematics is happening. Jump on the train with me.

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