Ford is helping dealerships make mobile service an option for more customers
Ford is stepping up its remote service offerings to spare customers the trip to their dealership for things like oil changes and recall repairs. The updated program promises that more Ford owners nationwide will be able to access free pickup and delivery of their vehicles, as well as mobile repair options.
However, Ford Mobile Services will not operate from a central location. It will still be up to dealerships to offer remote services and decide which services to provide to a customer’s home or business. Ford is, however, lending a helping hand to dealerships to get the services up and running. “We have worked with multiple teams at Ford to provide our customers with more ways to personalize vehicle service,” Ford National Dealer Council Chairman and dealership owner Tim Hovik said in a press release.
Historically, dealership models have fragmented the vehicle buying and servicing experience for customers, which can leave an impression – good or bad – on the manufacturer rather than the dealership.
Some companies like Tesla continue to disrupt dealership models, however. By avoiding dealerships, Tesla controls the shopping and service experiences of its cars entirely internally. The automaker is particularly known for its mobile technologies that can be booked in the app to come to customers’ driveways and do things like replace smelly air filters in Model 3 vehicles.
But Ford is trying to catch up. In this week’s press release, Ford cites a JD Power Customer Service Index study that finds customers with remote vehicle repair experiences are more likely to recommend their car brand. Last year, it separated its combustion car business from its electric offerings so it could better compete with Tesla with transparent pricing and online ordering.
Customers expect a modern online car shopping experience with an intuitive mobile app that supports them, based on a baseline set by Tesla. That’s where Ford has an opportunity, as dealers playing ball can dispatch trained technicians for “light repairs and routine maintenance,” saving customers time and improving their ownership experience.
In practice, Ford’s online and mobile service offerings always live and die by the dealership. FordPass, the automaker’s kind of do-it-all smartphone app, lets customers do things like remotely view their car’s status, get help and recommendations, and book appointments. ‘interview. As of this writing, I attempted to book an appointment for my Ford Focus EV on the app, but couldn’t find any dealerships that offered mobile service (I’m also a FordPass Rewards member). In fact, the dealership I bought the car from didn’t support booking through the app.